The Downtown Austin Alliance recently welcomed a new staff member to our team: Walter Gonzales. A native Austinite, Walter will lead our government relations efforts at the organization. Learn more about our new employee, Walter’s background and favorite spots downtown.
Name: Walter Gonzales
Title: Director, Government Affairs
First Day at the Downtown Alliance: May 16, 2021
Hometown: Austin, TX
Fun Fact: He danced professionally
A Brief History
Walter was born and raised in Austin. He attended the University of Texas where he received his Bachelor of Science in Communications. He juggled his course load with being a professional dancer with the Roy Lozano Ballet Folklorico.
Walter continued his education in California at the University of California in Los Angelos, where he obtained a Master’s Degree in Urban Planning. He remained in California for several years before returning to Austin in 2015. Walter spent time in California and later back in Texas in a variety of government and public affairs roles. We are thrilled to have him on our staff.
Ideas for the Future
Walter is passionate about expanding transit options in downtown. He feels that downtown is a great place to live, work, and play, but it needs more ways to get people to those and from downtown from other areas of Austin.
Walter’s favorite thing about downtown is its walkability. He never runs out of places to explore and fun things to do, all within walking distance. Walter encourages Austinites and visitors to explore all the amazing places, historic sites, parks, and more that make our town special.
Since he grew up in East Austin, many of Walter’s favorite hidden gems downtown were gone when he returned. In his seven years back, he has discovered some newer spots to grab good food and people watch. Walter particularly enjoys Walton’s, Halcyon, and Wu Chow.
When asked about his favorite spot downtown, Walter said, “I love exploring the Capitol and its grounds any time I get a chance. The Mexic-Arte Museum is also a favorite, as well as the Central Library. These are all family-friendly spots where you can almost always see something new. For the adults, I love grabbing a drink and listening to live music at the Driskill Bar!”
Outside of Work
Walter and his partner have a 6-year old son who loves to get out and about. The family enjoys spending time at friends’ houses or local parks enjoying the sunshine. Walter and his son especially enjoy exploring Austin cemeteries. As a native, he also has a lot of family members in the area, so his family tries to spend as much time with them as possible.
Before the pandemic, his ideal day downtown started with taking his son to ballet class at Ballet Austin on Saturday morning. After the class, he found that a walk along the Shoal Creek Trail to the Central Library with some of the other families from the ballet class was a great way to relax and let the kids explore the books. Walter would end the morning with a delicious lunch at one of the many restaurants in the downtown area.
Welcome to the team, Walter! At the Downtown Alliance, we are excited to see what new ideas you will bring and how you will help us broaden our impact on downtown. Learn more about everyone on staff on our Staff & Board page.