2. 6th & 4th Streets Have Been Party Venues Since the Civil War

Austin 6th Street

They say Austin has been a hard-partying town since 1865 when General George Armstrong Custer quartered his troops there, bringing prosperity and hijinks to the dive bars on 6th Street and, to a lesser extent, 4th Street. Through the decades Austin absorbed and benefited from every musical ethnic wave, including African-American, Mexican, and German. Blues bars, jazz clubs, hard rock, alt rock, country all thrived. But hard partying can take a toll of neighborhoods as well as the partygoers, so downtown Austin has had its ups and downs over the years. One turning point that will appeal to policy wonks was the 1960s move to allow residential in formerly commercial zones which, says the historic plaque, “served as catalyst for introduction of contemporary mixed uses and redevelopment of East 6th Street.”

Rezoning of Shamrock Saloon in 1968 kicked off mixed-use redevelopment of 6th Street