Architecture & Lodging
2000 Readers Poll
2000 Critics Picks
Best Architect

Homegrown and UT-educated, Little's aesthetic strengths are matched only by her commitment to the revitalization of existing homes and historical buildings. Among other projects you can thank her for are 14 of the moonlight towers around town, which Little restored.

Emily Little
Clayton Korte
2201 N Lamar Blvd.
www.claytonkorte.com

Best Bed & Breakfast

This category's a toss-up, and with good reason: The Governor's Inn and the Miller-Crockett House both offer comfortable accommodations, genial hosts, and plenty of 19th-century ambience and charm. The Governor's Inn, situated in the heart of West Campus, is a great place to send out-of-towners who want to experience the charm of one of Austin's historic neighborhoods. And the Miller-Crockett, with its stunning view of the Austin skyline, is right up the road from South Congress, downtown, and some of Austin's most scenic central-city attractions.

Miller Crockett Bed & Breakfast
112 Academy
512/441-1600
www.millercrockett.com

Best Billboard

Texans - even ones from the big city suburbs - know a bit about cattle. But maybe our Austin readers don't really care that Chick-Fil-A uses Holsteins in their "Eat mor chikin" advertising campaign. Sure, they're pretty with their big black splotches and smooth, creamy white hides, but even city slickers know that Holsteins are milk cows, not steak on parade. So what gives? Is this divine bovine solidarity? Or just another way of saying "Got Milk"?

Chick-Fil-A
Texas Union, 24th & Guadalupe
512/475-6500
www.utexas.edu/student/txunion/

Best Downtown Building

No matter how much the downtown landscape changes, this is the one building we can always count on to stay the same. Built in the late 19th century of native pink granite quarried near Llano, it was lovingly renovated and expanded in the late 20th century. Music venues, garish downtown officeplexes, and dot-com ventures may all come and go, but the dome of this stately edifice remains the crown jewel in the Austin skyline, the compass point that lets us know we're home.

Texas State Capitol
1100 Congress
512/305-8400
www.tspb.state.tx.us

Best Hotel

With downtown "redevelopment" throwing up glass-and-metal behemoths everywhere you turn, it's nice to know that in the heart of the city there's still a place that looks like the downtown old-timers remember: classy, refined, and tastefully charming. Sure, the Hyatt's got everything you need; but for a taste of what upscale Austin used to be, the Driskill's still the grand old dame of high-end Austin hotels.

The Driskill Hotel
604 Brazos
512/439-1234
www.driskillhotel.com

Best Landscape

A Zilker Haiku for you: Oasis of shade Dappled light amid blossoms Center city-free. This "perennial" fave is back again. No wonder. In the increasing boomtown hubbub, Zilker Gardens retains its status as Austin's finest in-town escape and respite from the daily grind.

Zilker Botanical Garden
2220 Barton Springs Rd.
512/477-8672
www.zilkergarden.org

Best Motel

Built along the main highway out of town in 1938 and restored to its former glory in the mid-Nineties, the Austin Motel deserves an Austin salute for hundreds of reasons. To name just a few: It boasts both an old-style marquee advertising that it's been "Corporate Free" since 1938 and a gorgeous Todd Sanders neon sign; the coffee shop is the delectable El Sol y La Luna cafe; it's the motel of choice for visiting musicians during SXSW; and most importantly, the renovations done here by owner Dottye Dean helped spark the renaissance of several blocks of South Congress Avenue. What's not to love?

Austin Motel
1220 S. Congress
512/441-1157
www.austinmotel.com

Best Motel And Best Storefront/Sign

Built along the main highway out of town in 1938 and restored to it's former glory in the mid-Nineties, the Austin Motel deserves an Austin salute for hundreds of reasons. To name just a few: it boasts both an old-style marquee advertising that it's been "Corporate Free" since 1938 and a gorgeous Todd Sanders neon sign; the coffee shop is the delectable El Sol y La Luna cafe; it's the motel of choice for visiting musicians during SXSW; and most importantly, the renovations done here by owner Dottye Dean helped spark the renaissance of several blocks of South Congress Avenue. What's not to love?

Austin Motel
1220 S. Congress
512/441-1157
www.austinmotel.com

Best Mural

A colorful feel-good snapshot of life leaps out from the outer wall of this Gap location on the Drag. Look at it for more than a fleeting moment and you can't be unaffected by its upbeat message of the power of touch, prayer, and creativity.

Best New Building

There's an ancient design dictum that says the really great buildings, looks-wise, would make perfect bases for glass-topped coffee tables, were those buildings shrunk to room-sized proportion. Seems that most of our readers would enjoy having a miniaturized Idea City, with its tastefully conflicting bricks and glass panels and shapes and colors, supporting the silicate upon which is strewn the remains of the morning's klatsch. Certainly, it - like the actual-sized example of brash architecture near the frenzied crux of Sixth & Lamar - would make a terrific conversation piece, at the very least.

GSD&M Advertising
828 W. Sixth
www.gsdm.com

Best Public Artwork

The bats under the Congress Avenue bridge are fickle creatures, appearing briefly each night briefly at dusk between May and October before flitting off to Mexico in search of warmer climes. Fortunately, the bridge is watched over all year long by this iconic iron sculpture, created by Dale Whistler in honor of the colony that frequents this gateway to South Austin at the intersection of Congress Avenue and Riverside Drive.

Dale Whistler
Night Wing Bat Sculpture
300 S. Congress
wikimapia.org/90071

Best Restoration Project

Named for the revered father of Texas, the Stephen F. (as it's known to locals) was built in 1924 to serve cattle barons, oil magnates, and statesmen in luxury and comfort. The grand old man fell on hard times during the bust-town Eighties and was shuttered for more than a decade while one renovation plan after another fell flat. Inter-Continental Hotels rode to the rescue, and now the lovely downtown property has been painstakingly restored to all its former grandeur. The Stephen F. once again welcomes guests to the balcony overlooking Texas' main thoroughfare. The owners even promise another famous Texan named Steve will bring his Star Canyon restaurant to the newly renovated hotel, and we'll believe it when we see chef Stephan Pyles' custom cowboy boots in Austin.

InterContinental Stephen F. Austin
701 Congress
512/457-8800
www.austin.intercontinental.com

Best Romantic Spot

Whether it's your second date or your 25th anniversary, there's something about the view from the top of Mount Bonnell that brings out the romantic in even the most world-weary cynic. Maybe it's the sparkling river, or the twinkling city lights, or just the dizzying walk up the 100 steps to the top of this popular West Austin hilltop. Take a loved one, look at the stars, and fall in love all over again.

Mount Bonnell at Covert Park
3851 Mount Bonnell Dr.
512/974-6700

Best Storefront/Sign

Built along the main highway out of town in 1938 and restored to its former glory in the mid-Nineties, the Austin Motel deserves an Austin salute for hundreds of reasons. To name just a few: It boasts both an old-style marquee advertising that it's been "Corporate Free" since 1938 and a gorgeous Todd Sanders neon sign; the coffee shop is the delectable El Sol y La Luna cafe; it's the motel of choice for visiting musicians during SXSW; and most importantly, the renovations done here by owner Dottye Dean helped spark the renaissance of several blocks of South Congress Avenue. What's not to love?

Austin Motel
1220 S. Congress
512/441-1157
www.austinmotel.com

 
2000 Intro
Readers: Arts & Culture

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