We moved to Austin eight years ago. And it’s so true, our city has something for everyone to love in every phase of their lives. When we first pulled into town, I figured our first stop would be Franklin’s BBQ because, obviously.
But reality sunk in. We had a three month old. And it wasn’t exactly in the cards for us to wait in line all morning long for brisket when a morning nap was to be had. So we improvised and have been improvising ever since. Guess what we’ve found out? There’s a whole bunch of amazing things to do in our city WITH your kids! In fact, I feel like we’ve barely scratched the surface of all the fun there is to be had with our tiny Austinites.
So here’s my list of our top 50 favorite things to do WITH KIDS in Austin! If you want to find us around town, there’s a good chance we’ll be at one of these places. Unless someone wants a nap. In that case, we’ll be napping.
- Start your day with a splurge at Round Rock Donuts. The Texas sized cinnamon roll will Change. Your. life.
- If it’s Tuesday, kids eat free at all of the Kerbey Lane locations.
- Enjoy a fancy, yet eclectic High Tea at Full English. Book reservations in advance.
- Are you even living in Austin if you aren’t scarfing down tacos every chance you get? Our go-tos are Torchy’s, OneTaco, VeraCruz and Lavaca Street Bar.
- Come by car or boat and enjoy dinner lakeside at Ski Shores Cafe. You’ll find us there on a few Friday nights each summer roasting s’mores on their fire pit while watching a movie on the big screen. Looking for more restaurants with waterfront views? Check out Lucy’s on the Lake, County Line, Hula Hut and the Oasis.
- Grab some Mexican Vanilla at Amy’s Ice Cream…the OG ice cream shop of Austin. We also love the cookie sandwiches at Baked Bear, Lick (yes the goat cheese, thyme & honey is legit), and Cold Cookie Co. For my favorite dairy free options, check out Anti Social Ice Cream Co. and Nada Moo.
- Enjoy some delish shaved ice from Sno-Beach, another OG of Austin, open all summer.
- Enjoy some Salt Lick BBQ at one of their two locations. The meat pit at the Driftwood location is great entertainment for tiny diners. We’ve taken our kids to both spots and everyone left with full and happy tummies.
- Grab a burger and shake while the kids play at Hat Creek Burger. Each location has a fun (and fenced in) outdoor playscape with outdoor seating so you can watch while you eat. This place is our literal Saturday night jam.
- Two Words…Food. Trucks. Take your little ones out to eat where people won’t stare at their crazy table manners or balk when they run around the picnic table. Food trucks were a life saver during the toddler years. And still now.
11. Go on a scavenger hunt of Austin murals. We’ve visited so many different murals, but our most favorite ones are:
*I love you so much (1300 S Congress Ave)
*Love from Austin (1912 South Congress Ave)
*Toms Heart Wall (1401 South Congress Ave)
*The Rainbow Wall at Cute Nail Studio (1211 E. 7th St, Austin, TX 78702)
*Erin Condren wall and rainbow staircase (11601 Rock Rose Ave Ste 128)
*John Lennon quote “Love is the answer” (11600 Rock Rose Ave)
12. Watch over 1.5 million bats fly out from the Congress Bridge at dusk.
13. Take a free tour of the Texas State Capitol building and start training your little Texans to love our great state.
15. Go for a hike on the Riverplace Nature Trail. Or one of the other amazing trails within the city limits.
16. Spray paint your name at the Hope Outdoor Gallery. The original location closed in 2019 and is reopening at a new spot in 2020. We can’t wait to check it out.
17. Spend an hour wandering around Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center.
18. Dig up some fossils and catch tadpoles in the creek at the Austin Nature and Science Center.
19. The 360 Overlook is a quick hike for a breathtaking view of our city. Bring your selfie-stick.
20. Take a ride into the hill country on the Austin Steam Train.
21. Hike to the top of Mount Bonnell.
22. Spend a morning exploring The Domain. You won’t get much shoe shopping done, but there’s TONS of stuff to do at the Domain with your kids.
23. Stick your toes in the sand at Emma Long Beach. Don’t forget to pack a picnic lunch and a lake float for some easy lake living.
24. Take a plunge into Barton Springs. But prepare yourself (and the kids), it’s 68 degrees year round.
25. Jog or take a stroll around the water on the Hike & Bike Trail at Lady Bird Lake.
26. Visit the oldest swimming pool in Texas, Deep Eddy Pool. It has a wade-in entrance and they host Splash Party Movie Nights in the summer.
27. Drive out to Hamilton Pool. Make sure to book a reservation before you go.
29. Spend a morning at the All Abilities Park. The park has a racing track, (so bring your scooter or bike), pretend play village, a zipline and all kinds of playscapes and interactive play stations. Oh, and it’s completely fenced in.
30. Lake Pflugerville has a fun beach and swimming area.
31. We drive out to Sweetberry Farm twice a year for the pumpkin festival in the fall and strawberry picking in the spring. Check their website for daily updates. Open everyday except Wednesdays.
32. Make a splash at Waterloo Adventures on their 600 foot obstacle course. Ages 7+
33. Hit a hole in one at Peter Pan Putt Putt and snap a pic in front of their iconic dinosaur.
34. Enjoy a movie under the stars at the Blue Starlight Drive-In
35. Another park that was a bit of a drive for us but TOTALLY worth it was Joanne Land
36. Splash for a day at Veterans Park pool
37. Check out a mommy and me yoga class.
38. Austin has no shortage of amazing indoor spots for kids to run, jump, play, and climb on a day when the weather’s not ideal. We love BRAND NEW Indigo Play, Little Land (Little Land North) has an awesome new outdoor space that’s attached to the indoor play area and completely fenced in.) Playmazing (formerly Catch Air), The Coop and Mt. Playmore for my little ones while my bigger kiddo is hanging out more and more with his friends at Dart‘em Up, Jumpstreet, Pinballz and Urban Air.
39. Channel your inner warrior at Austin Ninjas (two locations) for ages 5+
40. Flip around at your local gymnastics center. Most spots have open gym times or mommy and me classes. We love Austin Gymnastics Club, Rolly Pollies, and Capital Gymnastics
42. Experience all the exhibits and animal encounters at the Austin Aquarium.
44. Get creative on a Saturday morning at your local Home Depot at one of their DIY Workshops (every first Saturday of the month).
45. If you haven’t been yet, you’ve got to check out the Thinkery, Austin’s children’s museum.
46. What’s more fun for a Texas kid (or adult) then a couple of hours of Ice Skating?
47. Join the Toybrary to borrow toys or just drop in and play for a few hours.
48. I love taking my kids to see movies! The Moviehouse hosts FREE kids movies every Wednesday morning during the summer, so check their calendar for upcoming dates for 2020.
49. The Splash Shack is an indoor water park open year round and always 82 degrees.
50. Let your little ones take a cooking class at Foodie Kids…or just drop in and make a pizza or decorate a giant cupcake.
Happy exploring everyone!
Send us your favorite spots in the comments.
Photographer: Lindsay Herkert Photography