If you’re spending spring break here in Austin, the place to be is south of the river. As a South Austin resident, I’m biased, but I think this area combines the best of everything our city has to offer—beautiful nature areas, great parks, amazing food, and quirky Austin culture.
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Whether you live in South Austin or you’re visiting from afar (AKA north of the river), here’s how to fill your spring break week with fun in South Austin.
FUN AND GAMES
Play mini-golf at Peter Pan, an Austin tradition since 1948, and walk to Sandy’s afterwards for ice cream. Or try the newer Duke’s Adventure Golf in southeast Austin.
Go rock climbing at Crux Climbing, which has a designated kids area, or at the South Lamar location of the Austin Bouldering Project.
Spend time playing at Pikopye’s Town, an imaginative, adorably designed indoor play town. MyGym is another fun play gym in south Austin.
COFFEE, FOOD, AND BEER
Caffeinate yourself at Cosmic Coffee (across the parking lot from Crux Climbing), a family-friendly spot with a koi pond, chicken coop, and food trucks. Madrone Coffee Co. is a newer spot in Oak Hill that has a full playscape for kids.
Shop for delicious food, hear live music, and support local farmers at the Barton Creek Square Farmers Market or the Sustainable Food Center (SFC) market in Sunset Valley, both held Saturdays from 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
Grab lunch at Easy Tiger on South Lamar, my new favorite family-friendly spot. The food is really tasty, and there’s a huge patio next to a fenced-in kids’ play area.
Phil’s Ice House is a south Austin classic with an inviting playscape that serves up burgers, corn dogs, and Amy’s Ice Cream.
Thicket Food Park has a cute playscape, toys, live music, and a variety of unique trucks serving everything from Italian to Nepali to Cajun food.
Bouldin Acres is a hip, all-outdoor restaurant and bar with a playground for kids and two pickleball courts.
Enjoy coffee, delicious eats, and beer and wine in the beautiful backyard garden at The Hive, a family-friendly gathering spot that includes a fun playscape.
Relax with a beer at The ABGB in south central Austin or Meanwhile Brewing Co. in southeast Austin. Both are family-friendly spots, and Meanwhile has a sprawling playscape and soccer field.
PARKS AND NATURE
Take in the beauty of the Zilker Botanical Garden, with its various themed gardens, koi ponds, waterfalls, and more.
Check out the Alliance Children’s Garden, which has an innovative slide area, cool tunnels and climbing structure, a sand pit, and a splash pad that’s open even in winter.
The sprawling playground at Zilker Park is always a hit, and the new Zilker Eagle train is supposed to open very soon!
Two other great parks are Mary Moore Searight and Circle C Metropolitan Park, which both have playgrounds, nature trails, and creeks.
Explore nature areas like the Blunn Creek Nature Preserve and the Stephenson Nature Preserve.
Go for a hike on the Barton Creek Greenbelt. My favorite spot to go with kids is Gus Fruh (2642 Barton Hills Drive), which frequently has water as well as caves to explore. Other popular spots are Twin Falls, Lost Creek, and The Flats.
Hike around McKinney Falls State Park and enjoy the beautiful views of the waterfalls.
Spend a morning at the Wildflower Center checking out the Family Garden or strolling along the various trails. Storytime is held Wednesdays and Thursdays at 10 a.m.
The Austin Nature and Science Center in Zilker Park has so much to offer—animals, birds, a dino dig sand pit, a pond perfect for wading and minnow catching, and nature trails.
THEATRE AND ART
Surround yourself with art at the UMLAUF Sculpture Garden, where you can lightly touch the sculptures. Their free Family Day is the second Sunday of the month, and storytime is the third Saturday of the month.
Walk in to the Art Garage in southwest Austin and create a variety of art projects: painting pottery, mosaics, fused glass projects, and canvas painting.