Architecture & Lodging
1996 Readers Poll
1996 Critics Picks
Best Downtown Building (new)

Could it be the serene blue neon which makes this the winner four years running? And this skyline definer doesn't just win, it landslides. Notable also-rans include One American, the new Post Office and the Capitol Extension, all fine mergers of design and function, indeed.

Franklin Federal
111 Congress

Best Downtown Building (old)

Is it a wonder that our proud State Capitol Building sweeps this category every year? Too bad it can't grab a broom and sweep out certain attitudes held by visiting legislators, hostile to its friendly host city. The Driskill takes second with about half the number of votes as the winner. The Seaholm, the Paramount, and the Littlefield clock in with far distant but respectable ballots.

Texas State Capitol
1100 Congress

Best Historic Structure

Well, what a surprise. The rosy dome is a tough contender and wipes out this category year after year. Other votes of note: Driskill, SRV(!?), Caswell House, French Legation, and languishing in the background, our old noble and tragic Treaty Oak.

Texas State Capitol
1100 Congress

Best Hotel/Motel

Last year's winner as well, The Driskill, Sixth Street's pearl of Texas elegance, has been duking it out with past winner and close second The Four Seasons for the last four years. Omni, Stouffer at the Arboretum, and the Hyatt on Town Lake tie at third.

The Driskill Hotel
604 Brazos

photograph by Minh Carrico   Minh Carrico

Best Indoor Mall

The perception is that Austin is not a Mall Town. You'd never know it from the response to this category. Past ecological controversies notwithstanding, the Square wins hands down. Last year's winner, Highland, took a solid second. Newcomer Lakeline showed a strong presence for the northwest crowd. And "Hate Them All" or "Ugh" took three ballots each.

Barton Creek Square
2901 Capital of TX Hwy. S.

Best Landscaping

The North-enders again make a strong showing here, just barely edging out town fave and past winner Zilker Botanical Gardens. Natural havens Umlauf Sculpture Gardens and the Wildflower Research Center took equal amounts of the majority of the rest of the ballot.

The Arboretum
10000 Research

Best Motel

Past shoo-in Motel 6 is smoked with a 10% margin by the independent Austin Motel. Dotty Deane's vision of refurbishing the South Austin mom & pop motel has delivered a new Austin landmark. The La Quinta chain and the noble Stars Inn, near campus on I-35 which is actually now a Days Inn, received enough to tie at a distant third.

Austin Motel
1220 S. Congress

Best Mural/Graffiti

It says something about a city when over 50 different works (mostly murals) are given votes in this category. Not long after the unveiling of the masterpiece, a local graffiti-removal firm solicited Sound Exchange to help with their "problem" on the south wall. In a stunning upset, the alien frog which has become synonymous with the life, the work, and hard times of Austin passer-through Daniel Johnston, has overtaken the mighty Varsity/Tower mural on 24th.

Best Neon

The perennial fave for four years now is a Mooo-ving tribute to Austin neon. It's interesting to note that the cows are tipped into first by only a few handfuls of votes. Again, here's a category where over 50 signs received marks. Special mention and enough numbers to tie second go to Ion Art and Hayward Neon. The whole of Burnet Road got a mention as well.

Amy's Ice Creams
1012 W. Sixth, 512/886-5737
3500 Guadalupe, 512/886-5933
2805 Bee Caves Rd. #416, 512/883-4187
10000 Research #140, 512/886-5955
AUS: Amy's Ice Creams, 3600 Presidential Blvd. #20, 512/530-2918
1301 S. Congress, 512/440-7488
4477 S. Lamar #790, 512/886-5998
13265 Hwy. 183 N., 512/918-2697
5624 Burnet Rd., 512/886-6153
9600 S. I-35 Ste. 400-C, 512/399-8030
12800 Galleria Cir. Ste G-150, Bee Cave, 512/262-9447
2901 S. Lamar, 512/447-2697
2002 Manor Rd., 512/551-8225

Best Public Artwork

A fave photo-op for young and old alike, SRV is becoming as much a part of this city's character as the bats and Barton Springs. Stevie wins easily as Umlauf Sculpture Gardens and the Mustangs at UT tussle for second.

Town Lake Hike & Bike Trail, SW corner, First Street Bridge

Best Romantic Spot

We can't think of a more endorphin-rushing spot ourselves. Well, actually there's the second-place ties: Zilker Botanical Gardens and 360 Bridge and third place Town Lake. And with 30 more love spots listed, we know this is a town full of Romeos of all genders.

Mount Bonnell at Covert Park
3851 Mount Bonnell Dr.

1996 Intro
Readers: Arts & Culture

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