Downtown offers the best of Austin, amplified. This is where creativity and ingenuity meet to deliver the latest foodie hotspots, legendary live music venues, one-of-a-kind shops, and year-round outdoor fun. Rock out or relax – it’s your call. LET’S GO


Downtown is the epicenter of Austin’s 24/7 idea exchange. This is where enterprises headquarter and entrepreneurs incubate, all harnessing our city’s incredible talent pool, business-friendly infrastructure and uniquely collaborative culture. LET’S GO


Downtown Austin offers residences to suit any style, whether you’re renting or putting down roots. This is where city excitement meets creature comforts – your walkable new neighborhood puts both nightly entertainment and daily essentials within easy reach.LET’S GO


Our Austin Story

Great Cities Tell Great Stories

The story of Austin through the lens of our historic squares and Congress Avenue

Our Austin Story is a comprehensive interpretive strategy for several of Austin’s most historic public spaces. It focuses on the heritage of Austin’s four historic squares (Brush, Republic Wooldridge, and Hamilton) and Congress Avenue, all of which are central to Austin’s birth and evolution as a growing, thriving city. It documents the stories of the people and places who shaped these important civic spaces and offers an important framework for celebrating, expressing and growing with respect for Austin’s diverse heritage.


Our Austin Story was commissioned by the Downtown Austin Alliance, in partnership with the City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department (PARD). It was developed with contributions from a broad diversity of Austin citizens and stakeholders, many of whom shared their stories and perspectives on the past, present and prospective future of these public spaces.


Historic Downtown squares

Austin’s historic squares date to the earliest days of our city. In his 1839 Plan of Austin, Edwin Waller reserved four city blocks as civic squares, three of which still remain – Brush, Republic, and Wooldridge. Located in four different quadrants of downtown, each of these historic squares has a very distinct history that is influenced not only by what takes place in the square, but by what takes place in the surrounding area. 



congress avenue

Edwin Waller platted Austin with Congress Avenue as the central axis of a 14 by 14 block grid system. In Waller’s plan, Congress Avenue was (and still is) the geographic and cultural center of Austin. Congress Avenue is central to Austin’s history and should be interpreted through the lens of the many connections that it conveys. This interpretive strategy introduces the concept of vibrant connections as a way to conceptualize the planning and interpretation of Congress Avenue, which is integrally tied to the many vibrant connections along the Avenue.


Our Austin Story Reports

Executive Summary


Full Report


The Project Team

The Downtown Alliance conducted this project in partnership with Austin Parks and Recreation Department. The project consultant is Ted Lee Eubanks, Founder and President of Fermata Inc. Eubanks is a certified interpretive planner with over 25 years of experience both nationally and internationally in heritage tourism and community development. 

Steering Committee

Chair: Kate Singleton, Preservation Austin
Austin Parks and Recreation Department Liaisons: Kim McKnight, Cara Welch
Charles Peveto, Friends of Wooldridge Square
Sylvia Orozco, Executive Director, Mexic-Arte Museum
Dr. Andrea Roberts, University of Texas at Austin, School of Architecture 
Vanessa Castro, City of Austin, Tejano Walking Trail
Mike Miller, Austin History Center 
Rey Hernandez, Austin Parks and Recreation Department 
Bob Ward, Travis County
Laura Esparza, Austin Parks and Recreation Department 
Allison Watkins, Austin Parks Foundation
Ashley Dowgwillo, Austin Convention & Visitors Bureau
Joanna Wolaver, Shoal Creek Conservancy

Project Manager

Melissa Barry - Vice President, Planning

Photo Gallery

Our Austin Story

Photos courtesy of Ted Eubanks Photography and Austin History Center, Austin Public Library