Sixth Street is a historic street and entertainment district located in Downtown Austin. Sixth Street was formerly named Pecan Street under Austin’s older naming convention, which had east-west streets named after trees and north-south streets named after Texas rivers (the latter convention remains in place).
The nine-block area of East Sixth Street (“East” starts at Congress) roughly between Lavaca Street to the west and I-35 to the east is recognized as the Sixth Street Historic District and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Developed as one of Austin’s trade and commercial districts in the late 1800s, the predominant building style is two- or three-story masonry Victorian commercial architecture. Most structures in the area had already been built by the 1880s, though a few notable exceptions include the Driskill Hotel (1886), the Scarbrough Building (1910), and the Littlefield Building (1910).
The area around 4th Street and 6th Street has been a major entertainment district since the Seventies. Many bars, clubs, music venues, and shopping destinations are located on East Sixth Street between Congress and I-35, and many offer live music during the week. Traffic is generally blocked on East 6th Street and most crossroads from I-35 to Brazos Street on weekend evenings, during home football games (depending on pedestrian traffic), as well as holidays and special events, to allow the crowds to walk unfettered to the many venues that line the street.
East Sixth Street (known locally as Dirty Sixth) plays host to a wide variety of events each year, ranging from music and film festivals (such as South by Southwest) to biker rallies (such as The Republic of Texas Biker Rally) and the Pecan Street Festival.
The area of Sixth Street west of Lavaca is known as the West 6th Street District. Recently, a movement has been growing to develop this area as an entertainment district of its own, geared toward the live music crowd.