Downtown Austin Hotel Next Door to State Capitol
Built in 1888, the pink granite Texas Capitol building is the largest state capitol in the country—and nearly 15 feet taller than the US Capitol in DC—putting some truth to the saying that everything's bigger in Texas. Inside, statues, paintings, and intricate architectural details convey the history and spirit of the Lone Star State. Sheraton Austin Hotel at the Capitol sits right next door in downtown Austin, so you can easily walk to the capitol building for its free guided tour. The hotel also puts you close to Sixth Street, Austin’s entertainment district and home to shot bars, dance clubs, historical theaters, and quirky restaurants.
Unlike the capitol’s Renaissance Revival façade, Sheraton Austin has modern architecture, with tall windows and straight lines. Its renovated interior feels fresh and contemporary, from the lobby’s bright yellow seats to the long leather bench in onsite Landmark Restaurant. Head here for southwestern cuisine for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. On evenings when the weather is nice, feel free to dine under the lights at the restaurant’s terrace. Simply decorated guest rooms look out onto downtown Austin's skyline. Traditional and superior rooms have the same layout, but superior rooms are located on higher-level floors.
Austin, Texas: Live-Music Capital of the World near University of Texas
Located just an hour north of San Antonio, Austin stands out from the rest of Texas politically and culturally, which locals seem to revel in. "Keep Austin Weird" has become a popular motto here, brandished on bumper stickers and T-shirts. This theme presents itself throughout the town, where you’ll find a death-metal-themed pizza place, a cathedral made of garbage, and the Museum of Natural & Artificial Ephemerata, currently displaying an 1893 World’s Fair stereograph and one of Marilyn Monroe’s cigarette butts. Even nature plays along, as an estimated 1.5 million mexican free-tailed bats emerge from underneath the Congress Avenue Bridge at dusk each night from mid-March to November as the flock hunts for food.
Austin calls itself the “Live Music Capital of the World,” and it backs up that claim with nearly 200 venues playing everything from blues to punk rock. It also has the backing of Travel + Leisure, which named Austin one of America's Best Music Cities, calling it the "mother ship for indie rock and alternative-country types." On any given night you can catch a live blues, reggae, or punk band playing at one of the city's more than 100 venues. Stubb's Bar-B-Q frequently books some of the bigger acts that come to town—acts like the White Stripes, Johnny Cash, and Snoop Dogg have played at the barbecue joint/music venue. Austin also draws in crowds with two massive popular music festivals each yeah, South by Southwest and Austin City Limits.
The University of Texas brings its share of cultural attractions to the city as well, housing the Blanton Museum of Art on its sprawling campus. Check out the Blanton to see one of the country's largest private collections of old-master paintings. The campus is also where you’ll find the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library & Museum, which exhibits several artifacts related to the 36th president.
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