I love Austin, but having moved from the sightseeing and museum hot spot of Washington D.C., it took me a little while to uncover the best places to bring grandparents who came to visit us. With time and a sense of adventure, though, I’ve come up with a go-to list of fun places to take grandparents visiting Austin.
The activities on this list strike the balance of being kid- and senior-friendly, perfect for planning a grandparent visit that showcases what Austin has to offer and keeps the kiddos entertained. Be sure to keep in mind Grandma and Grandpa’s physical abilities, interests, and of course the weather when planning your itinerary.
In honor of Grandparents’ Day on September 10, here are our favorite places to take grandparents who are visiting Austin.
While Jester King is a popular spot, the brewery is spread out over 165 acres of Hill Country land so it never feels too crowded, which is why I love it for grandparents who want a more chill vibe. There are unique farmhouse brews and tasty pizza, a goat barn, and a wooden play structure. Check out other kid-friendly breweries here.
This is always at the top of my list for grandparent visits. The landscapes and serene setting of this botanic garden, particularly if you can visit during wildflower season, really show off the beauty of central Texas. Kids can explore the Family Garden, which has a cave, water area, sandpit, and climbing area with logs and forts. The Wildflower Cafe is a great spot to end the day.
A great park to take grandparents because it has cool features you won’t see in many other playgrounds, plus a year-round splash pad/fountain, pond with turtles, and gorgeous view of the skyline perfect for a family photo.
Kids can explore the koi ponds, streams, and waterfalls while grandparents take in this peaceful oasis tucked away in busy Zilker Park.
Visitors will be blown away by our stunning downtown library, which opened in 2018. The enclosed children’s area is full of fun stuff, and you can also check out the reading porch off the kids’ section or the rooftop garden. The Cookbook Cafe on the ground floor has a kids’ menu and light, flavorful fare for adults.
This beloved local bookstore is great fun for grandparents to browse and find a new book or toy to spoil the grandkids with. Kids also love crawling through and around the mini amphitheater. Afterwards, the Whole Foods flagship store next door (with rooftop playground) is a sightseeing attraction in itself that will impress the grandparents.
This beautifully designed park has a wooden playground, interactive splash pad, treehouse observatory, and more. Located in the heart of Austin with Shoal Creek running through it, it’s a great place to take grandparents to show off the best parts of our city.
Take a free, 30-minute guided tour to learn about the history of the building and take in the ornate architecture. Afterwards you can walk the lovely grounds or grab lunch at a downtown spot; Cooper’s Barbecue is one of my kid-friendly favorites.
Grandparents can explore more than 16,000 years of Texas history at the state’s official history museum, which also has plenty of artifacts, exhibits, and experiences to satisfy curious kids. The museum’s IMAX® Theatre has the largest screen in Texas at six stories tall—everything’s bigger in Texas!
This museum, located on the UT campus, recently revealed its stunningly redesigned entrance and grounds. You can borrow a Family Activity Box when you check in to enhance your visit with art supplies and other interactive materials. On Tuesdays all visitors get free admission, and kids under 5 are always free. Afterwards you can enjoy a stroll around campus.
Grandparents and kids alike will love greeting the two dozen or so peacocks that live in this lush park, as well as the koi fish and turtles in the pond. If the grandparents can handle climbing the 102 stairs, Mount Bonnell is less than a mile away and offers one of the best views in the city.
Grandparents will love walking the gorgeous gardens and grounds at this museum, located on the shores of Lake Austin. You can check out an Action Pack for the kids from the Visitor Center, stocked with art-making activities, games, and puzzles. Have a picnic with food from on-site eatery Spread & Co., which has a vibrant and fresh menu for grandparents and kids alike.
This Austin original is one of the coolest (and biggest, at 12,000 square feet) toy stores I’ve ever been to, and it’s fun to take grandparents who want to find a unique gift for the grandkids. They have high-quality toys for all ages and friendly staff who can help you find the perfect item.
Grandparents always love seeing their grandkids exploring the exhibits at the Thinkery, located in the Mueller neighborhood. Mueller also has multiple playgrounds, a splash pad, restaurants, and a weekend farmers market.
Pioneer Farms in north Austin has five themed historic areas, spread over 90 wooded acres, that give you a first-hand look at how Texans lived in the 1800s. There are animals all over the farm, with the highlight being the friendly donkeys.
Mini trains are always a hit with grandparents. This ride takes you on a 15-minute tour of Southwest Williamson County Regional Park, which is also home to the awesome Quarry Splash Pad. Little ones can also power their own trains on a small track or explore the train playscape and pretend town.
We love taking grandparents here because the stadium is almost as nice as the major leagues. The games are low-key but have fun stuff for kids, and the tickets aren’t terribly expensive so we don’t feel bad leaving in the middle. And of course, hot dogs!
We have gone with grandparents to this Georgetown farm many times because there are a ton of activities included in the entrance fee to keep everyone entertained: pony rides, petting zoo, jumping pads, pig races, obstacle course, slides, and more. They host events and festivals throughout the year, but we have had the most fun going on a regular weekday when crowds are lowest.
Take the grandparents to one of these kid-friendly dining options that show off Austin’s culture and flavors while entertaining the kids.
- Sour Duck Market – Casual and trendy spot with huge patio and outdoor play area.
- Hank’s – Beautiful decor but very family-friendly; large patio and nice kids’ menu.
- Salt Lick – Famous BBQ spot in Driftwood with outdoor playground.
- Oasthouse – Gastropub with patio and playground.
- Easy Tiger South Lamar – Delicious food and pastries, solid kids’ menu, astroturf play area.
- Vinaigrette – One of our grandparent favorites. Gorgeous outdoor area with magical live oak tree.
- Terry Black’s – Another great BBQ spot with outdoor patio.
- Fareground – Food hall with five eateries and outdoor turf area.
- Brentwood Social House – Neighborhood coffee house has delicious food and pastries; fully fenced-in backyard with playscape and indoor kid-friendly room with toys.
- Home Slice North Loop – Super popular pizza joint serving NY-style pies; this location has an astroturf climbing area.
- Central Market North Lamar – Fun grocery store to browse before grabbing lunch at the cafe; large patio and playground.
- Ski Shores Cafe – Austin lakeside classic since 1954 serving classic comfort food; has a playground.