Austin architecture is as diverse and eclectic as the city’s art and music, and in this blog we look at three examples that are sure to catch the eye of first-time visitors. Bring a camera with a full battery and an empty memory card, and get ready for some amazing photo opportunities as you explore Austin!

Austin City Hall:

Austin City Hall opened in fall 2004 and since then has provided a graceful and modern focal point for the city’s elected officials and administrators. Designed by Antoine Predock to be a relaxed and informal setting, and clad in copper, glass and limestone, City Hall connects the bustle and business of downtown with the natural environs of Lady Bird Lake. A huge limestone stage and amphitheater provide great venues for live entertainment, and there’s plenty of shade under some funky trellis thingies that trap and recycle Austin’s abundant sunshine. We’ve seen some bland and stuffy city halls elsewhere but Austin breaks the mold with its own version. Does it look like an armadillo? Some say so, but we’ll let you make up your own mind on this! You can read more here:

The Driskill Hotel:

Downtown’s Driskill Hotel opened in 1886 costing its owner, Col. Jesse Driskill, the pretty sum of $400,000…a chunk of cash today and an even bigger chunk 130 years ago. The hotel has created plenty of history since then, including the first date between a certain Lyndon B Johnson and Claudia Taylor, and to this day holds inaugural balls for each incoming Texas governor. The brick and limestone icon has had it’s ups and downs, including nearly going under in the late 1960s, but is now a thriving hub of Austin’s downtown scene. It takes a deserved place on the National Register of Historic Places, and we just love the stately ambience of the lobby. If you’re looking for a piece of Austin’s heritage look no further than the Driskill! You can read more here:

The Downtown Skyline:

The downtown skyline is a work-in-progress and if you blink you’ll likely miss a new building going up or an old one coming down. The worst joke in town is that Austin’s official city bird is the crane…the construction crane…so be prepared to hear this over and over on city tours! The skyline got its start in 1910 with the Scarbrough Building, kicked on in a big way in the 1980s, and has boomed again, like most things, since 2008. More than 50 new towers are currently on the drawing board so we can expect things to keep changing. Our favorite is One Congress Plaza, the brown ‘steppy’ looking one just off Congress Avenue north of the lake. Sure, it’s not as tall or modern as the likes of 360 or The Austonian, but there’s something about those steps we just love!

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