Take an Austin Detour and Experience The Capital of Texas Like a Local

Lone Star Texas Logo in the Sidewalk at the Capitol building in Austin, Texas
I recently visited Austin, Texas for work and like I always do when traveling for business, I carved out some time to explore this fascinating city and capital of Texas. Keep Austin Weird is the town's rallying cry so we decided to dig in and see what Austin was all about.

Austin Detours Tour

Austin Detours Tour Van Logo
My colleagues and I decided to take an Austin Detours Tour to experience the city like a local. When on a work trip, it can be a fun idea to enlist your colleagues to join in on the fun. I genuinely enjoy their company and had a blast driving around Austin in the Austin Detours van. Austin Detours offers both public and private tours. We opted to rent the entire van and turn the experience into a team building activity.

Counting Stars at the Texas Capitol

Texas State Capitol in Austin
Our tour began at Austin's magnificent State Capitol building. Austin has been described as the blueberry in the tomato soup or as a spot of blue on an otherwise red political map of Texas. We were fascinated to learn just how different Austin is compared to other parts of Texas. The university (UT Austin) and the city's artistic and musical heritage seems to draw a different type of person like a magnet.
Door hinges at the Texas Capitol in Austin
Our Austin Detours guide, Jason Weems, was a professional musician (of course!) who has lived in Austin for 17 years. He runs tours to show off his adopted city to visitors to help us appreciate what makes Austin so special. He did a great job of pointing out the details at the Capitol including the ornate Texas Capitol door hinges.
Door frames inside the Texas State Capitol in Austin
Inside, the Capitol was stately with plenty of carved wood, marble, and stern portraits of state politicians.
Portrait of a state politician at the Texas Capitol in Austin
Texas and Lone Star in the floor at the Capitol in Austin
The magnficent dome was awe-inspiring with TEXAS and a lone star emblazoned across the apex.
Texas written in the dome of the State Capitol in Austin
Speaking of Texas' signature lone stars, we saw them everywhere. The fence surrounding the park at the Capitol was a particularly fine example of the motif. 
Lone star fence at the state Capitol in Austin, Texas

Austin's Graffiti Park at Castle Hill

The Graffiti Park at Castle Hill for amazing street art in Austin, Texas
Moving on from the State Capitol, we visited a much different Austin attraction and one that I may not have discovered if not for Austin Detours: the graffiti park at Castle Hill. Austin's graffiti park is situated on what looks like an old building site. 

Layer upon layer of paint has been applied over the years forming thick strata.
Layers of street art paint at the Castle Hill graffiti park in Austin, Texas
Anyone and everyone seems to want to have a go at creating street art here so contributions range from serious artists practicing their craft to amateurs having a bit of fun.
Professional street art at the Castle Hill Graffiti Park in Austin, Texas
LOVE Professional street art at the Castle Hill Graffiti Park in Austin, Texas
Graffiti Park at Castle Hill in Austin, Texas

South Austin's Postcard Mural

South Austin's "Greetings from Austin" postcard mural
Moving on from the graffiti park at Castle Hill, we headed toward South Austin. This part of town is known for food trucks and Austin's postcard mural, a perfect photo spot. 

South Congress

Neon boot sign on South Congress Street in Austin, Texas
South Congress is another area recommended by Jason, our Austin Detours guide, as well as by a friend of mine from Dublin who's from Austin. Driving down South Congress, we were impressed by the number of boot shops. I've also heard that the shopping and nightlife are buzzing here. 

Austin's Buzzing Sixth Street

Sixth Street facades in Austin Texas
Austin's Sixth Street has great character. The architecture looks like something out of the old west where you might mosey into a saloon at any moment before going outside for an old-fashioned shoot out. The vibe on Sixth Street reminded me a bit of Dublin's Temple Bar or Bourbon Street in New Orleans. Sixth Street is lined with awesome restaurants, bars, and music venues. 

Music at Austin's San Jac Saloon

Musician at San Jac Saloon on Sixth Street in Austin, Texas
We liked the modern country/folk music emanating from San Jac Saloon and wandered in for a drink after our Austin Detours tour was finished.
Awesome bartender at San Jac Saloon on Sixth Street in Austin, Texas
The bartender was one of the friendlier fellows that I've met in my global travels and was quite the character. Don't be afraid to ask for a craft beer recommendation. Austin and San Jac Saloon have got you covered. 

Kick Up Your Heels in Austin

Cowboy boots at the visitors' center in Austin, Texas
Overall, Austin is a great place to kick up your heels and have a bit of fun. Whether you like architecture, great food, or live music, this gem of a city deep in the heart of Texas will leave you wanting to come back again and again.

Have you been to Austin? What are some of your favorite things to do?

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An Austin Detours Tour featuring the Texas State Capitol, Street Art, and plenty of cowboy boots

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Sidewalk Safari: Take an Austin Detour and Experience The Capital of Texas Like a Local
Take an Austin Detour and Experience The Capital of Texas Like a Local
Experience Austin like a local on an Austin Detours Tour. A photo-rich post by travel blogger, Jennifer (aka Dr. J), from Sidewalk Safari.
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Sidewalk Safari
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