Sixth Street#7 in Best Things To Do in Austin
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- 5.0Food Scene
A trip to the "Live Music Capital of the World" wouldn't be complete without discovering some of Austin's up-and-coming talent along Sixth Street. After drastic restoration took place in an effort by the National Register of Historic Places to save the area from its grungy reputation, this area became the hub of Austin's music scene in the 1970s.
Today, Sixth Street between Congress Street and Interstate 35 (known as Dirty Sixth to locals) is the center of the musical action in Austin. The area buzzes with activity from shops, restaurants, bars and yes, live music joints, such as Esther's Follies, Pete's Dueling Piano Bar and the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema.
Many recent visitors compare Sixth Street to New Orleans' Bourbon Street, assuring that there are venues certain to appeal to all tastes, from rowdy clubs to low-key bars, but it can get overrun with tourists (and homeless Austinites) and might not be suitable for young kids at night. On Friday and Saturday nights, the police restrict vehicular traffic on Sixth Street, which allows people to carouse in the middle of the street. Plan your visit for one of these two nights to experience this entertainment district at its best. Many of the the best guided tours also stop by Sixth Street venues; consider signing up for a tour if you want a local's perspective. For more information on the bars, restaurants and lodging options available on Sixth Street, visit the district's website.
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#1 State Capitol
Standing stoically in the heart of central Austin is Texas's legislative center, the State Capitol. Opened in 1888, this pink-granite landmark stands 14 feet taller than the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. Much of the capitol, including the 218-foot rotunda, the chamber of the Hall of Representatives and the governor's receiving room, still look the same as they did when the capitol opened.
The structure underwent a large-scale restoration starting in the 1980s, including replacing the zinc statue of the Goddess of Liberty that sits atop the dome with an aluminum one. The restoration also included a 667,000-square-foot underground extension that was completed in 1993 to accommodate how much the state government had grown. Many visitors say it's the most impressive state legislative building they've ever seen, but they also warn it can be crowded at times. If you want to learn a bit of Texas history without having to pay an entrance fee, you can't beat a visit to the capitol building, according to past travelers. The building is also a featured stop on many of the best tours in Austin.
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