The Texas State Capitol (Congress Ave. and 11th St., 512/463-0063, www.tspb.state.tx.us , 7 a.m.–10 p.m. Mon.–Fri., and 9 a.m.–8 p.m. Sat.–Sun.; free guided tours are offered 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Mon.–Fri., 9:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m. Sat., and noon–3:30 p.m. Sun.) presides over the city and state with a dignified grace. This magnificent 1888 Renaissance Revival edifice, with its captivating exterior of “sunset red” granite (actually a light pink hue) and intricately detailed interior, is nothing short of stunning.
The Capitol building truly represents Texas, from its legislative chambers to the tip of its dome—deliberately designed 15 feet taller than the U.S. Capitol. Visitors from across the world flock to Austin  to experience this architectural and cultural wonder, designated a National Historic Landmark for its significant contribution to American history.
The Capitol’s magnificent architectural features set it apart from its counterparts across the country. Notice the attention to detail, particularly inside the building. Upon close examination, themes and patterns emerge—stars, for instance—that tie all elements of the building together, from floor tiles to staircases to window frames to door fixtures to chandeliers.
Statues and paintings exude the magnitude of Texas history, and the sounds of busy legislative aides’ clacking heels and tour guides’ spirited shtick reverberate around the echoey halls. For an added bonus, order a take-out lunch from the cafeteria and enjoy it on the surrounding 22-acre Capitol grounds. Majestic oaks tower over the lushly manicured lawn, overlooking the bustling Congress Avenue scene from atop Texas’s version of Capitol Hill.