3 Things You Might Not Know About Austin’s Famous Driskill Hotel

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Tony Maples Photography


Since first opening its doors in 1886, The Driskill Hotel located in downtown Austin has been the quintessential picture of western opulence and Texas pride. While the hotel is a well-known landmark on 6th Street, there are a few things about its history, and the building itself, that are lesser known. Below are three things you might not know about one of Austin’s most famous landmarks.

1. It Was the Setting for a Famous Texas Duo’s First Date

Lady Bird and President Johnson Photo by Yoichi Okamoto

Photo: Facebook/Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum by Yoichi Okamoto

In 1934, a dashing and charismatic Lyndon Baines Johnson met Claudia Taylor or “Lady Bird” for breakfast at what formerly was The Driskill’s dining room. At the time, Johnson’s political aspirations were only faraway dreams, but his whirlwind courtship of the girl from the woods of east Texas hinted at the tenacious spirit he would become so well known for. In an article published in Texas Monthly in 2013, Madelyn Herzog noted that the couples’ first date began at the hotel, but morphed into a “…day-long car ride and ended with a marriage proposal from Johnson.”

The couple visited the Driskill many times over the course of their marriage, and today the LBJ Suite is dedicated in their honor.

2. Some Believe an Uninvited Guest Likes to Visit the Hotel

The Driskill Hotel's historic ballroom. Photo Courtesy of the Driskill Hotel

Photo Courtesy: The Driskill Hotel

According to, the Driskill is one of the most active places for “unexplained phenomenon” in the Austin area. Stories of young brides putting a tragic end to their separate honeymoons and a small child meeting an untimely demise have given fodder to tales of ghostly sightings. Whether or not the stories are true can only be determined with your own stay at the luxurious hotel.

3. The Hotel Served as the State’s Capitol Building for a Time

Driskill Hotel Stained Glass Ceiling

Photo: Facebook/The Driskill

During the time the hotel was being constructed, the state capitol building was also being built. However, work on the former was completed at an earlier date. As a result, the state Senate began to meet at the hotel, basically using it as a temporary headquarters.

Throughout the years, The Driskill has been a hot seat for political meetings and other events. Perhaps the most notable of these being the various Inaugural Balls hosted there by several newly elected governors, a tradition going all the way back to 1887.

From the golden age of the cattle drives to modern day, The Driskill has been a beloved fixture in Austin for many years. If you would like to plan your stay at this jewel of the Capitol City, call (512) 439-1234 or follow this link to the hotel’s website.


Austin History