Texas State Capitol

An architectural marvel that rivals anything you might see in the great cities of Europe. 

The Texas State Capitol building houses the state's legislature chambers and the offices of the Governor of Texas. The structure is an example of 15th-century Italian Renaissance-style architecture, with a cylindrical granite dome and many large granite columns.

At first glance, the Texas State Capitol looks quite similar to the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. In fact, it's 15 feet (4.5 meters) higher than its D.C. counterpart, and is the largest state capitol in the country when including overall land size. It was built mainly by convicts and immigrants in the late 1880s, and paid for with land grants of around 3 million acres (more than 1 million hectares). It has been the center of power in Texas ever since. The building is significant for its striking beauty and grand presence. Views of the capitol from various vantage points around the city are protected by state law. Tall buildings cannot block the line of sight to the capitol.

Take a free tour of the building to get a view inside as well as some fascinating historical background. Tours run every 45 minutes, seven days a week, and begin in the Capitol South Foyer. Pick up a brochure from the information and guide service desk, on the first floor of the Capitol building. You can also take a self-guided tour of the surrounding 22 acres (nine hectares) of beautifully manicured grounds. There are historic monuments dotted throughout the gardens.

The Texas State Capitol building is located in downtown Austin, four blocks south of the University of Texas. Admission to the building is free. Food is not readily available on site, so bring a packed lunch or picnic basket and find a quiet spot in the gardens.