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Key Info

Price & Hours

Free

Details

Entertainment and Nightlife, Festivals, Free, Cafes, Neighborhood/Area, Shopping Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend

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  • 5.0Value
  • 4.0Food Scene
  • 4.0Atmosphere

While the SoCo District sits about 5 miles south of downtown Austin, the area plays a vital role in the city’s weird culture. A portmanteau neighborhood nickname, SoCo stands for South Congress and is most known for its namesake South Congress Avenue. The shops lining the avenue mostly specialize in boutique or retro clothing, attracting both tourists and locals who are in search of conversation-starting outfits. 

SoCo also offers an assortment of excellent eateries. Past travelers recommended Amy’s Ice Creams, Jo’s Coffee and Torchy’s Tacos. Many of the area’s restaurants also offer outdoor patios, which recent visitors said provide excellent vantage points for people-watching in the trendy neighborhood. When you’re not shopping, eating or staring, swing by The Continental Club to grab a drink and enjoy some live country music in an iconic venue.

Getting to SoCo presents relatively few challenges. The neighborhood is easily accessible via bus Nos. 10, 801 and 803. Street parking is available, though visitors will compete with the area’s hotels and food trucks for space. Check out SoCo District’s website to learn more about the area’s restaurants and storefronts, as well as the schedule for any events in the area during your visit.

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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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