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Congress Avenue, Austin

(4.1/5 based on 180+ reviews on the web)
Congress Avenue is a major thoroughfare in Austin, Texas. The street is a six-lane, tree lined avenue that cuts through the middle of the city from far south Austin and goes over Lady Bird Lake leading to the Texas State Capitol in the heart of Downtown.Congress Avenue south of Lady Bird Lake is known as South Congress, often abbreviated to SoCo, and is an increasingly popular shopping and rental district. It passes the historic Travis Heights neighborhood, the Texas School for the Deaf, and St. Edward's University as it passes south out of town.HistoryEdwin Waller, the first mayor of Austin, designed Congress Avenue to be Austin's most prominent street. Early structures along Congress Avenue included government buildings, hotels, saloons, retail stores and restaurants. By the late 1840s "The Avenue" formed a well-established business district. The mid-1870s introduced gaslight illumination and mule-driven streetcars as well as construction of a new Travis County courthouse at Eleventh Street. The present Texas Capitol at the north end of Congress Avenue was built in 1888. The original dirt street was bricked in 1910. Trolley cars operated on the Avenue until 1940.Before Interstate 35 was completed in the 1960s, Congress Avenue was the primary road to reach Austin from the south. Certain landmarks such as the Austin Motel identify the road as a major thoroughfare for travellers through the mid-20th century.
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TripAdvisor
  • I feel walking a city is the best way to see it. You can go from the University of Texas, to the Capitol, to shops along the was, to town lake, to even more shops and restaurants a mile or so beyond t...  more »
  • For me, the whole South Congress experience revolves around The Continental Club, because Stevie Ray Vaughan played there, on that same stage! Some great acts still play there, and you can find some c...  more »
  • We spent much of our time here enjoying the restaurants and the shops. Great place to walk and look.