Picture this: dinner time is approaching. You’re exhausted from a long day, the kids are starting to get in that hangry mood and the thought of cooking a meal sounds like torture. You want to eat out, but you know the little ones will be squirming out of their chairs before you’re even able to place the order. Lucky for us, Austin is a very child friendly city with many options of restaurants with playgrounds and kid areas to run free and burn off all of that energy while parents sit back, relax and enjoy their meal! Here are my family’s favorite restaurants with playgrounds.
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With so many locations, burgers that hit the spot every time and playgrounds to keep the kids occupied, Hat Creek is definitely at the top of my favorites list and is a must visit in Austin. Their kids menu always hits the spots with the little ones. It’s a classic choice that never disappoints!
Easy Tiger serves delicious comfort food and has a simple green playscape for the kiddos to run off their energy. It doesn’t look like much, but the open space is great for imaginative play and running around! This is a great spot to grab a cocktail or beer and a delicious soft pretzel or bratwurst sausage while watching the little ones play.
There’s a new kids play area so the kids can enjoy themselves while you enjoy your lobster rolls. While you’re there, have some ice cream from Connor’s Creamery.
Sit outside under the shady trees while your kids play on the playscape.
The perfect place to visit when you’re craving pizza and wings! And don’t forget a side of garlic knots, too. They have a great fenced in greenery area for the little ones with outdoor seating nearby to keep a look out. My toddler loves to hide in the little tunnel and chase after the big kids. The pizza is New York style, thin crust, fresh ingredients and a very family friendly ambiance.
This Eastside bakery/coffee shop/deli offers a relaxed fast-casual vibe. Feel good about supporting our very own food community at this farmer & rancher-friendly restaurant — pantry items, veggies, eggs, and animal products are sourced locally. What makes Sour Duck so appealing for families is their backyard, called “The Yard”: spacious, communal, and it has the absolute cutest food truck converted into a children’s play area.
Mandola’s Italian Kitchen (Four area locations: The Triangle, Bee Cave, Cedar Park & Arbor Trails)
This Texas-born Italian grocer & eatery is as family-friendly as they come. Kids meals are authentically Italian and include a drink & gelato. The gelato is the key part, here…my kids absolutely love choosing their flavor of this frozen sweet treat at the end of their meal. Our family opts for Mandola’s time & again because it has both indoor & outdoor dining options, child-size tables & chairs for our minis to eat together, the tastiest bread & dipping oil that arrives promptly when you’re seated, and the playground. Toddlers love it!
Have a margarita and nachos on the patio while the kids play on the playground and run around the big open space.
With three locations throughout Austin, delicious burgers and ice cream next door, Phil’s is a staple amongst parents and non parents alike. The playgrounds are big enough to keep the big and little kids occupied for awhile. We love their bacon cheeseburger, called the Brentwood, and they have an extensive children’s menu.
Eating at Casa De Luz feels like such a treat every time. The food is healthy, the space is calm with great energy and it’s easy to connect with likeminded families eating by the playground right in front. The restaurant has a rotating daily menu of delicious vegan, gluten free fare. The playground itself caters more to older children, but my toddler still always enjoys it here.
Coming to Bouldin Acres is always a blast! I love that they have a big open patio with lots of seating and lawn games, a great playground for the kids and a pickle ball court as well! They also boast a fun menu, with items like the brisket crunch wrap and delicious cocktails. It can get very busy here, sometimes they have live music and there can be lots of pups running around – something to keep in mind if you have very small children or little ones who get overstimulated easily.
Where Veracruz Tacos and Fleet Coffee meet – a central Austin gem! My family loves the vibe here. Lots of shade and a clean, calm environment with space and simple greenery for the kids to run around. The perfect place to grab breakfast or lunch and beat the heat. The breakfast tacos from Veracruz are a must have!
An Austin classic since 1976, Waterloo has an extensive menu and three locations where the kids can enjoy a playscape, sandpit and lots of shade!
They make the list because both have back patios that lookout onto an epic shared playground that’s suitable for all ages. We usually find a table outside, order food (both places have great kid’s menus), and then let the kids run over to the playground while we sit back and actually have an adult conversation. The dining patios are covered and the playground is shaded by trees. The Trails at 620 is a mixed-use shopping center that doesn’t feel like one: mature oaks, beautiful landscaping, backs up to green space, etc. The peaceful setting & playground/patio set-up makes for a lovely dinner option with sunset views.