We moved to Austin 4 years ago and one thing I love about living here is that lots of people come to visit! We’ve gotten to see so many friends who were in town for one reason or another, or who had always wanted to come to Austin and seized the chance to visit.
Today I wanted to share some of my favorite baby-friendly places here that will still give you that Austin vibe if you’re in town. I’ve always lived in central or south Austin, so that’s where these are focused.
Located in South Austin, this is a great place to go if you’re visiting with small children, but still want to see some live music. This is a mostly outdoor venue with tons of shade from live oak trees and water misters and fans to keep everyone cool. Every sunday afternoon, they have live music (usually at 4 PM) and you’re allowed to bring children on Sundays. This place has a great, very “Austin” atmosphere. We’ve been going almost every week and love it!
This has been one of my favorite places since way before we had James, but it is also very family friendly. It is a pizza place on a farm just outside of Austin and there is also a great little brewery that shares the location.
Seating is all outside and very spread out under a pavilion and in a field. There are also lawn games set up and they sometimes have live music. This may be my favorite pizza ever, it is SO good!
I briefly mentioned this place last week, but it is a really nice pool right on the Colorado River. I believe it’s spring fed and it is zero entry, so great for kids. I had actually never been here until recently because we used to live right next to Barton Springs, so always went there, but I think I may like Deep Eddy even better.
Unlike Barton Springs, the pool is paved, and because it has a big shallow end, parts of it are not as cold (Barton Springs is spring fed and SO cold). It is super family friendly with lots of kids around. The parking lot here fills up on the weekend, but there is plenty of parking around in the neighborhood. If you go here, I definitely recommend hitting up Juiceland on your way out, I love their juices and smoothies!
In addition to being a huge park with plenty of space for picnics / playing catch / crawling around, Zilker has some hidden gems. It has a really cute little free zoo with rescue animals. This is by no means your typical zoo as it only has native Texas animals, but it’s free, so definitely worth stopping by.
Zilker also has a train that goes through the park (we haven’t done this yet, but are thinking of doing it for James’s first birthday) and it has some great short hiking trails over by the zoo. I’ve never seen these trails crowded and there are some pretty nice views.
Austin is so casual and so many places have outside seating, that almost any restaurant here is somewhat baby / kid-friendly. I love Kerbey Lane though because as soon as baby is eating finger foods, you will be able to order them something. They have lots of breakfast sides, so you can easily order one scrambled egg, or toast, or fruit for a little one. They also have a kids menu and we just discovered kids eat free on Tuesdays! This was also one of my favorite restaurants before having a baby. They have breakfast all day (as in 24 hours) and $2 mimosas. Everything on the menu is good. It does get really crowded at brunch time on the weekend though, so I recommend checking it out for dinner or during the week. There are several locations now. The original (not surprisingly, the one on Kerbey Lane) is the cutest and has the best vibe, but they all have delicious food.
This is somewhere I didn’t discover until we moved further south last summer, but I love it! This place has beautiful trails and a really great kids’ space where children can water the flowers, build structures out of bamboo, etc. I also love the Arboretum trail, which leads to a big space full of wooden swings under oak trees. There is an admissions fee, but it is worth it! It is especially beautiful in the spring when the wildflowers are in bloom, but this is also when it’s the most crowded.
Clarksville Splash Pad – This is a really nice park and splash pad in a cute neighborhood that is worth checking out. At least during the week, this is surprisingly not very crowded.
Phil’s Burgers – At least the South Lamar location has a nice playground and is attached to an Amy’s Ice Cream (delicious).
Book People – This is a great bookstore right next to the flagship Whole Foods near downtown.
McKinney Falls – This is a small, but really great, state park within the Austin city limits. It has some trails, but most people go for the swimming holes.
Austin Greenbelt – This is a trail running all throughout Austin with many different entrances. At times, there are great natural swimming holes along the trail, but they dry up when it doesn’t rain.
Lady Bird Lake / Town Lake Trail – This is a nice trail for running, walking, or biking. It does get crowded on the weekends, but has some nice views of the skyline. You can also rent canoes or kayaks at several points along the trail.