Here’s a question for you that sounds almost offensively simple until you start thinking about it: Where’s downtown Austin’s “heart?” You’ll see that phrase — “the heart of downtown Austin” — in glossy hotel brochures and Airbnb listings and even on this very site, but where do you think of when you see it?
We asked some people around the office and got different answers nearly every time — though most people said it was somewhere along Congress Avenue north of the river. Is the Capitol the heart of downtown? That one was popular. The intersection of Sixth Street and Congress Avenue? Even more popular. We did catch a couple of outliers — the intersection of Cesar Chavez Street and Congress Avenue, and Second Street and Congress Avenue both showed up, the latter probably due to the success of the Second Street District as a downtown destination.
For those we asked, the heart of downtown is almost always along Congress Avenue, but does it really have to be? The heart isn’t directly in the center of the body, if we want to get weirdly literal with this question. Plus, does it really have to be an intersection? That’s not super glamorous, is it? Maybe you consider the heart of downtown Austin to be a specific building, restaurant, bar, park, or particularly charming sewer grate. What about Buford Tower, or Republic Square?
Like the pronunciation of “Mueller,” people are going to have some hot takes on this subject, and we’d really like to hear them. Stick your answer in the survey down below and we’ll figure this thing out together: