My kids, like most, have a lot of energy. Energy that I do not typically wish to bring into a restaurant. It’s not particularly enjoyable keeping two wildlings quiet and occupied in an enclosed space full of breakable objects. So, for my own sake and the sake of other diners, we almost always choose a restaurant with a playground when we eat out.

I have visited many other states and my unscientific conclusion is that Austin has the most restaurants with playgrounds of any city. And thank goodness. While it’s definitely not as relaxing as eating out sans kids, being able to sip my margarita in peace while my kids run around a playground with a chicken tender in their hand feels like a win.

As a south Austin resident, I’m biased, but I think we have some of the best restaurants with playgrounds. These places have fun playscapes, beautiful outdoor settings, good food, and laidback Austin vibes.

Here are all the restaurants with playgrounds in south Austin. 

Phil’s Ice House – Phil’s is a staple for our family. It’s a happy, colorful place that reminds me of the fun of childhood. They have great burgers, a playscape with big slides and cows to climb on, and Amy’s Ice Cream.

Easy Tiger – The play space is simple, with a turfed lawn and a tunnel and a few toys, but it’s big enough for my kids to play tag or soccer. We go here for the food, especially for brunch. Some favorites are the pretzels, avocado toast, and French toast bites.

Oasthouse – I like that the menu and vibe feels a bit more upscale, but it’s still family-friendly with a playscape and relaxing patio. Great happy hour!

Waterloo Ice House – Both the Circle C and Southpark Meadows locations have a nice playground. (Southpark Meadows recently reopened after a long closure.) The kids menu is reasonably priced and includes ice cream for dessert, and margaritas are $4 during happy hour, which seems unheard of in Austin these days.

Photo by Marrisa G. / Yelp

Casa de Luz – Places like Casa de Luz are what make south Austin special. More than a restaurant, it’s a community that hosts various classes and events to support holistic wellness. The food is organic, vegan, and sugar-free, and while I’m none of those things I think it’s delicious. The setting is gorgeous, like a peaceful garden oasis in the middle of the city, and there’s a big playground on the patio.

Bouldin Acres – I like this sprawling, lively sports bar because you can be in the mix with a fun crowd, but you don’t feel out of place with your kids because of the big, fenced-in playground. There are also two pickleball courts, TVs on the patio to watch a game, and good burgers and barbecue on the menu.

Photo via Yelp

Doc’s Backyard Grill – This place has a huge playground with playscapes for big and little kids, swings, monkey bars, a playhouse, and lots of stuff to climb. There’s a shaded patio where you can enjoy classic pub grub like wings, burgers, and tacos.

Photo via

Flores – Authentic Mexican/Tex-Mex cuisine with all your favorites, an extensive drink menu and kids menu, and a fairly large playground with some shade.

Photo by Paul D. / Yelp

Mandola’s Italian Kitchen – Your kids will love choosing their free scoop of gelato that comes with each kid’s meal, as well as the playscape.

Photo by Jen. C / Yelp

El Mercado – This Tex-Mex restaurant has an inviting patio with a small playscape and toys like giant Jenga.

Photo via

Meanwhile Brewing – This brewery has a sprawling rustic play structure, as well as a full-size soccer field. Multiple on-site food trucks serving pizza, smoked meats, Mexican, and American. Don’t miss the ice cream from Bésame on your way out.

Food Truck Parks with Playgrounds

The Thicket – This food park has a small playscape, swings, toys, live music, and a variety of unique trucks serving everything from Italian to tacos to vegan cuisine.

Way South Food Park – Opened in 2023, Way South Food Park has an awesome shaded playground and food trucks serving barbecue, tacos, Thai food, and more.

Photo by Joel C. / Google

The Hive– This family-friendly gathering spot has a big backyard garden with a fun playscape and a toddler area with shade and toys. (Note: the indoor area is closed for repairs as of April 2024.)


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