Take a walk through Texas history when you explore the State Capitol building in the heart of downtown Austin. The Texas State Capitol is the largest state capitol building in the country, second only to the U.S. Capitol in D.C, and it's worth the trip just to see it tower above you at a whopping 310 feet tall.
The Texas State Capitol is unique as it was designed as part of a country-wide contest in 1881. Its Renaissance-inspired construction, including the elaborate arches, and its beautiful red granite structure make it one of the most visited landmarks in Texas. Stop in and learn more about its design, the contest, and its history by taking a guided tour through the facility.
Things to Do
- Start your tour off in the Visitors Center where you can get more information about the self-guided tours and the surrounding monuments, including the Cowboy Statue and Hood's Texas Brigade. You'll want to start here because the Visitors Center is located in the General Land Office Building, which was originally built in 1856 and stands as the oldest state office building in Texas.
- Self-Guided Tours: Tour the Capitol and explore the beautifully manicured lawns on your own at any time during normal office hours. These tours are free and can be completed at a comfortable pace.
- Guided Tours: Free guided tours are available at certain times of the day and last about 45 minutes. These tours will give you an inside look at Texas legislation and the history of the Capitol building.
- Trail of Trees Tour: The Texas Forest Service designed this tour to teach visitors about the different types of trees and plants growing on the Capitol grounds. Pick up a free brochure from the Visitor's Center and enjoy this free tour.
Texas Capitol Insider Tips
- Bring a camera! There are more than enough photo opportunities on the grounds of the Capitol.
- Parking in downtown Austin, including near the Capitol, is not free. The Capitol Visitor's Parking Garage, located nearby on San Jacinto St, is free for the first 2 hours and then will cost $1.50/hr after that.