A dad’s guide to staying in Austin with young kids
Where your littles will love to play, learn, and eat around the Texas capital.
When it comes to restaurants and activities in Austin, there’s no shortage of family-friendly options. The Texas capital is an ideal destination for parents with young kids.
Trust me, I have a six-year-old and a two-year-old. Keeping their tummies full and minds engaged is the best way to make everyone’s life easier. As is living in a Blueground apartment. After all, these fully furnished apartments in Austin provide a hassle-free experience from day one.
Seriously, Austin has loads of places where kids and parents can both have a blast. These are just a few of the restaurants, playgrounds, and destinations that I’d recommend if you’re a parent living in Austin.
Where to eat
- Bouldin Acres: With grown-up drinks and kid-friendly eats that can be ordered right from your phone, Bouldin Acres is already ahead of the game. But what makes this eatery great for all ages? Lots of outdoor seating, pickleball courts, and a playground surrounded by shade trees.
- Brentwood Social House: Open for breakfast, lunch, and afternoon tea, this quaint, European-style cafe serves up freshly made baked goods, sandwiches, and vegan fare. That includes every kid’s favorite, grilled cheese. There’s a small indoor play area, but the main attraction is the pirate-themed outdoor playground. Sit and relax while your kiddos run around in between bites.
- Easy Tiger: The South Lamar location of this Austin beer garden and bakery has a cute “little tiger den.” Your youngsters can explore this small outdoor area with artificial turf while you enjoy a blueberry muffin and cup of coffee. More substantial goodies are available as well.
- The Picnic: While the balcony of your Blueground apartment is perfect for al fresco dining, so is this food truck park in Austin. And it’s perfect for families with picky eaters. Because you can choose from nine delicious options — burgers, tacos, Thai, and more!
- Voodoo Doughnut: Sixth Street with kids? You better believe it. Except we’re getting what everyone craves in the morning — donuts. Give your sweet tooth what it wants with the fun and colorful donuts at Voodoo. Vegan options available.
- Waterloo Ice House: With multiple locations in the Austin area, this restaurant has classic American dishes, ice-cold margaritas, and refreshing cocktails. What puts it over the top? You guessed it, a spacious outdoor play area where kids can climb and slide.
Where to play
- Alliance Children’s Garden: Part of Butler Metro Park, this play area is unlike any other in Austin. From giant rope ladders and extra-wide slides to tunnels, rock walls, and a splash pad, this spot beautifully blends nature into its design. Bonus: there are lots of places for parents to sit and chill!
- Bat-Watching: From about March to October, you can watch over a million Mexican free-tailed bats fly out from underneath the Congress Avenue Bridge. Take in the experience while standing on the bridge or from underneath it. Either way, be sure to arrive in time before the bats depart, typically 30 minutes before sunset.
- Mayfield Park: This is a smaller park at only 23 acres, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in charm. Get up close to wild peacocks and koi fish, go for a short hike in the woods, or explore the lush gardens around the site’s cute cottage.
- Peter Pan Mini Golf: This has been an Austin institution since 1948. Fun and affordable, miniature golf lets kids play at their own pace. And the whimsical statues scattered around the two 18-hole courses make it even more enjoyable! Just keep in mind that parking is limited, so you may want to come right when it opens.
- Texas Capitol: Take a free, 30-minute tour of this historic building in downtown Austin. You’ll have plenty of time to explore the grounds and some fun exhibits. Don’t forget to check out the Texas African American History Memorial in front of the Capitol building, too.
- The Thinkery: Austin’s best children’s museum, this is a great place for kids to play and learn. When it’s hot or rainy and inside entertainment is a must, you’ll enjoy hours of fun here.
Find more family-friendly Austin ideas here.
Where to day trip
- Inner Space Cavern: There’s an world underneath your feet only 30 minutes north of Austin. These beautiful caves are sure to capture the imagination of you and your kiddos. What level of adventure do you prefer? Choose from four different tour types, from casual exploration to thrill-seeking spelunking.
- Omi’s Blackberry Farm: How sweet is this? If the season is right, you can pick your own berries at Omi’s Blackberry Farm. Right off the vine! A fun (and delicious) activity that all ages will savor.
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