One local’s best-kept secrets for kid-friendly outings and eatings around the proudly “weird” and truly wonderful capital of Texas.
By Lauren Wiatrek
Austin is booming! With some of America’s best culture, food and music, it’s no wonder so many people come for a visit and end up relocating to Texas’ capital city.
Like all Austinites, we are happy to be getting our city back after the pandemic. As the Live Music Capital of the World, locals and visitors can again hear live music every night of the week!
And if your family prefers a more serene experience, Austin’s got that, as well, with lots of dog-friendly, kid-friendly paddles or hikes in the Greenbelt.
The Best of Austin with Kids
There is so much to do, see and eat in Austin! Whether heading out with our kids or showing visitors around, here are 10 off-the-beaten-path ways we like to spend time in Austin for its great food, outdoor adventures, and modern art. Keep Austin weird y’all!
- Head on over to the Butler Park Pitch n Putt, a fun 8-hole golf course. If you have little ones go work up a sweat playing in Zilker Park before jumping into the invigorating waters of Barton Springs. Visit Thom’s Market for snacks, Chuy’s for food, and Sandy’s for chocolate malts.
- Hike up to this gorgeous photo opp on Mount Bonnell and scarf down some delicious BBQ from County Line, if it is hot out, wade in the rustic Barton Creek Greenbelt watering hole.
- Stop by a local Farmers Market for some fresh picnic fixings, then drive through the Hill Country stopping along the way for photo opps among the Blue Bonnets (if you are lucky), hike Enchanted Rock and circle back to Driftwood for the OG Salt Lick BBQ.
- Hike or bike the Greenbelt then stop for the famous Austin food – TACOS! Try Veracuz All Natural or Valentina’s Tex-Mex BBQ then skip on over to Gourdough’s for an outrageous dessert.
- If you have little ones, visit the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. Check out Via313 Pizza afterward with Hops & Grain beer!
- Head down Hamilton Pool Road and enjoy Hamilton Pool. Later, move to the local brewery Family Business Beer Company or whiskey bar Proof & Cooper – both serve delicious food with plenty of room for kids to run & play. For more outdoor fun, book a guided tour at the best-kept hiking secret in the Hill Country: Westcave Outdoor Discovery Center.
- Grab coffee by the lake at Mozart’s, rent a boat on Lake Austin, weave your way toward Ski Shores for dinner on the lake, and wrap up your evening with a fishbowl drink at Hula Hut.
- Rent a boat on Lake Travis for another fantastic day. Eat dinner on the lake (many options) and watching the sunset at the quintessential Oasis.
- Start your morning with breakfast at 1886 Café inside the historic Driskill Hotel. If you have older kids trying paddle-boarding on Lady Bird Lake. Younger kids will do better in a rental kayak or canoe. Don’t miss the chance to grab lunch at a drool-worthy food truck.
- Round out your trip to Austin by witnessing the black cloud of 1.5 million Mexican Free-Tailed Bats that pour out from underneath the South Congress Bridge. You can see the spectacle from the bridge or from a boat. Snag some Mexican Vanilla Ice Cream from Amy’s Ice Creams—and don’t forget to snap a picture by an infamous Austin Mural including the ATX sign!
Lauren has been traveling the world since she was a little girl. After bouncing from France to New York City to Austin to Colorado, Lauren and her husband are back in Austin, parents to two girls, and epic summer road trippers. After battling stage 3 breast cancer four years ago, Lauren believes in living simply with family amongst the beauty of creation. Follow their family adventures on her blog.
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