The Texas State Capitol is a popular attraction in Downtown Austin. It sits at the end of Congress Ave., acting as Downtown Austin’s bookend and is the seat of government in Texas. The Capitol building is home to the the majority of the governmental offices of the Texas state government, including the Texas Legislature and Governor of Texas.
History of the Texas State Capitol
The building itself has a long history. Originally constructed in 1876, the building as we know it today adopted the Renaissance Revival stye, giving it an ornate and complex exterior as well as an exquisite interior with large stair cases and a large domed ceiling. In 1993, a $75 million underground extension was completed that doubled the available space at the capitol building. The Capitol building is included on the National Register of Historic Places and is a National Historic Landmark.
What Can You See at the Texas State Capitol
Whether you’re from Texas or a newcomer to the state, visiting the State Capitol is a fun way to spend an afternoon or evening strolling the grounds looking at the various monuments and taking a guided tour.
The Texas Capitol Complex is home to several memorials, statues, and monuments that commemorate notable moments in Texas state history and renowned Texans, including the Heroes of the Alamo, Volunteer Fireman’s Memorial, Confederate Soldier’s Monument, Terry’s Texas Rangers Monument, and Vietnam Veteran’s Monument. All monuments can be found along the tree-lined Great Walk pathway circling the capitol building itself.
If you’re interested at getting a look at the grand interiors of the capitol building, visitors can take free, guided 30-minute tours any day of the week. These tours allow you to walk through the historic halls and learn about the building’s history. Some of the notable stops on the tour are the large central dome, the legislative offices, and various conference/meeting rooms that have been inhabited by famous governors and past presidents.
The Texas State Capitol building itself is the largest capitol building in the U.S. and it features ornate architecture. There are brass chandeliers in the House of Representatives Chamber that feature light bulbs that spell out T-E-X-A-S.
The Capitol building sits on 22 acres in the heart of downtown Austin. You can picnic, explore the other historic buildings, or walk through the area and enjoy the towering live oaks on the grounds.
Visiting the Texas State Capitol
Guided tours are offered from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM Monday through Friday. The tours depart every 30 to 45 minutes. On the weekends, tours run from 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM on Saturday and from noon to 3:30 PM on Sundays. Guided tours leave from inside the South Foyer outside the tour guides’ office in the Capitol. And yes, pictures are allowed on the tours.
Or, if you prefer, you can also take a self-guided tour of the capitol building and grounds, from 7:00 AM to 10:00 PM on weekdays and from 9:00 AM to 8:00 PM on weekends, though we highly recommend the guided tour.
Parking at the Capitol building is simple. There is a garage just two blocks away, and the first two hours are free.
Capitol Building & Info
The Texas State Capitol is open Monday through Friday from 7:00 AM until 10:00 PM and from 9:00 AM until 8:00 PM on Saturday and Sunday.
The Capitol building is located at 1100 Congress Avenue, in Austin, Texas, 78701.
The main Capitol Complex Information number is 512-463-4630.
To reach the Tour Guides Office, call 512-463-0063.