If you’re a parent, there is a good chance your enjoyment of the Austin scene – everything you love about this city – looks a little different these days. And if you’re a parent on the outskirts of Austin, there’s an even higher chance your regular outings don’t land you downtown.
You may even stow “that would be fun” ideas in the back of your mind for if and when the opportunity presents itself, yet when you do have a free day to adventure you can’t think of a single thing to do! (Guilty!) An opportunity to explore the city’s core is not to be wasted, though.
There are so many fun, kid-friendly things to do in downtown Austin, for kids and family members of all ages, perfect chance with Spring Break around the corner!
- Tour the Texas State Capitol, and throw a frisbee under the grand trees.
- Learn about Texas’ state history, or watch a 3D IMAX showing at the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum. (Free entry the first Sunday of each month.)
- Buy fresh produce at the Downtown Farmer’s Market.
- Souvenir shop on 6th Street (day time!), and cool off with Jim Jim’s Water-Ice.
- Try to escape from one of Austin’s several escape rooms.
Progressively snack your way through Austin’s many food trucks.
- Rent a scooter or take a pedi-cab to explore the city streets.
- Catch a ride on the Austin Metro, and plan some pit stops along the way.
- Get touristy with a downtown scavenger hunt or segway tour.
- Catch one of Austin’s many festivals, like the Pecan Street Art Festival or SXSW.
- Watch the bats fly out from the South Congress Bridge during warmer months.
- Stroll the shops of South Congress, grab a bite to eat at the classics like Home Slice or Gueros, and smile in front of the I Love You mural.
Take selfies on a complete Austin mural tour.
- Explore the Hike-and-Bike Trail – bike, jog, boardwalk, Stevie Ray Vaughn statue, dog park, graffiti art and more.
- Rent a kayak or swan boat on Lady Bird Lake.
- Cool off at the Liz Carpenter splash pad.
- Play golf at Butler Park Pitch and Putt.
- Eat at the flagship Whole Foods, and take a picture with the colorful ATX sculpture.
- Browse music staples at Waterloo Records, or catch one of the many events at BookPeople nearby.
- Visit the Seaholm District, and enjoy Baked Bear ice cream on the outside lawn.
- Read a book, and explore the kid’s area at the modern Central Library.
Head to Barton Springs Road for the OG Chuys, Picnic food truck park or Holla Mode’s hand-rolled Thai-style ice cream.
- Keep it weird at Peter Pan Mini Golf. (BYOB for the adults.)
- If time permits, skip on over to Zilker Park for a picnic or to visit the Austin Nature and Science Center.
- Venture north to explore the UT campus, and shop at The University Co-Op on the Drag.
So much to do in this great city. Comment if you have more kid-friendly downtown Austin activities that you love!
Photography: Lindsay Herkert Photography