The Capitol Visitors Center is located in the General Land Office Building, which was built in 1856, making it Texas’ oldest state office building. It is located at the southeast corner of the Capitol grounds and admission is free. The Visitors Center contains a gift shop and many exhibits, including photos, videos, artifacts, and even a room honoring short story author O. Henry.
Also available at the Visitors Center are travel counselors from the Texas Department of Transportation, who can provide free maps, literature, and information about destinations around Texas.
Visiting the Texas Capitol Building
While the Visitors Center can give you plenty of background on state history, you should also be sure to explore the Capitol itself. Self-guided tours of the grounds and Capitol building are available during business hours. If you’d rather be shown around, there are free daily tours of the Capitol, which teach you about the building, the Texas legislature, and some Texas history. Tours last about 45 minutes; they start in the South Foyer and end in the Capitol Extension.
Free Capitol tours are available during these times:
Monday-Friday: 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Saturday: 9:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Sunday: Noon - 3:30 p.m.
Parking at the Capitol
There are many street parking meters available around the Capitol area. There is also the Capitol Visitors Parking Garage at 1201 San Jacinto (between Trinity and San Jacinto Streets at 12th and 13th streets). For the first two hours, parking is free; after that, it costs 75 cents for every 30 minutes (up to $6).