A Family Resource Guide to Visiting Austin

Whether you are visiting Austin for the first time or are still getting acquainted with the area, a bucket list is always a great place to start for making the most out of exploring a new city.

We’ve broken it down for you…from the best eats in town, to experiencing Austin culture, to our vast water activities around town…Austin has it all!

Austin Bucket List Image

Eats & Drinks

With Kids:

  • Amy’s Ice Cream – Better than Bluebell.  Yeah, we said it.  Get the Belgian Chocolate or Dreamsicle (if in season).
  • South Congress Food Trailers – Some of the best trailers in town!
  • Whole Foods – Austin’s flagship store (6th and Lamar) is a straight-up paradise for any Whole Foods fan.  The desserts and homemade caramels are divine…well, go ahead and get one of everything!
  • Farmer’s Markets… try them all! {Hill Country Galleria, Barton Creek Mall, the Triangle}
  • Freddie’s Place – Let the kids play, listen to live music, and play washers while waiting for (and eating) your food.  They price everything in cents!
  • Gourdough’s – Both the Public House and the trailer are great! An extravagant spin on the traditional donut…yum!
  • Nutty Brown Cafe – Check out their Free Concert Series…live country music!
  • Phil’s Ice House – Great burgers and family atmosphere.  They offer a “parent recess”…they GET us moms.
  • Shady Grove – If you’ve been to Austin, you’ve probably been here…a classic must-visit.  Music/Drinks/Austin  Period.
  • The Oasis – Kill two birds with one stone by getting one of the best views of Lake Travis while experiencing an iconic Austin restaurant.
  • Jack Allen’s – Uses all local ingredients and creates a menu to cater to seasonal specialties.  Any and everything on their menu is a party in your mouth.

Great for Date Night:

  • Moonshine – A classic Austin spot…hometown comfort food, hip and family-friendly atmosphere (love the patio), and occasional celeb sightings.  An Austin favorite for brunch and dinner!Green-Chile-Mac_9949-1000x575





  • Driskill Grill – Upscale, delish, historic downtown restaurant
  • Uchi – Best sushi in town…hands down.
  • Paggi House – Check out the courtyard inside…unexpected perk of the whole ambiance.  Great service to boot!
  • Eastside Cafe – Ingredients from their backyard (and chickens too) make for original, fresh, and eclectic dishes perfect for the Austin palate.


Stay Cool {Indoor Fun}

  • Alamo Draft House – Get waited on restaurant-style while watching the newest box office releases, old classics, or check the website to see which sing-a-longs are coming up (think Wizard of Oz and Grease)!
  • Hoppin’ House – One of the great jumpy houses around.
  • iPlay Austin – South Austin jumpy house with a full candy and concession bar.  Great for parties or just relief from the heat.
  • Austin Aquarium – Sharks, Stingrays, Octopuses, OH MY!
  • Shop and let the kids play at IKEA!
  • Millie and Mox – Darling children’s boutique specializing in clothes, toys, and books from around the world.
  • JumpoLine Park – Trampolines…need we say more?  Show your family that double back flip you used to do!


Get Wet

  • Hawaiian Fall Water Park – A family-centered water park in Pflugerville…brand new and exciting new addition to central Texas!
  • Schlitterbahn in New Braunfels – The Hottest, Coolest Time in Texas!  A must-do/must-see if you’re in the area.  They even have Christmas-themed events, so the fun extends year-round!
  • Volente Marina and Beach – Lake shore fun, pools for the little ones, volleyball courts, waterpark, and more!
  • Lake Travis-Just For Fun Watercraft Rentals – Best place to rent jet skis and party boats…right next to Carlos’N Charlie’s.
  • Lakeway Resort & Spa – A great getaway spot for the weekend.  Water sporting and activities, world-class spa, yoga, and being one with nature!
  • Barton Springs – Spring-fed pool in Zilker Park, the chilly water is ideal for those scorching summer days!  Another iconic Austin must-do!
  • Deep Eddy Pool – Oldest swimming pool in Texas built during the Depression, let the kids enjoy the toddler area/splash pads, and movie nights!
  • Lady Bird Lake Boardwalk (newly opened) – Amazing views of downtown Austin.  Run/walk/bike the entire 10 mile trail if you want to exercise like a local Austinite.
  • Congress Avenue Kayaks –


Kayaking and Standup Paddleboards at it’s finest.  Rent at the boathouse next to the Congress bridge.  Experience beautiful Austin from the water!




Culture, Music, & Arts


Become One With Nature

  • Wildflower Center – Family adventure exploring nature, animals, caves, waterfalls, and more.  Beautiful in the spring!
  • Pace Bend Park – Plan your family camping trip at this lakefront park, complete with cliffs, coves, hiking trails, and the best views of Lake Travis.
  • Austin Zoo & Sanctuary – Explore your wild side and open your heart to animal conservation, as all the Austin Zoo animals are rescues.  Our favorites are the tigers…such personality!
  • Cabela’s – People come from states away to visit this outdoor mecca. The children especially love seeing the aquarium hall and the safari animals.  Make sure to sample some fudge, too!
  • Krause SpringsPrimitive camping (RV’s welcome) and swimming just west of Austin.  Try to discover all the 32 springs on the property and watch the kids frolic in the butterfly garden.
  • McKinney Falls State Park – A state park virtually within the city.  Just minutes east of I-35, check out the upper and lower falls of the park, and make sure to pack a lunch, as the kids won’t want to leave. Great photo ops here!
  • Botanical Gardens – Another popular photo op location because of its beauty and diverse botanical species.  The kids will love the Dinosaur habitat!


Exploring Beyond Austin


Austin Bucket List Image



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One Response to A Family Resource Guide to Visiting Austin

  1. Lisa July 6, 2014 at 1:02 pm #

    Hawaiian Falls is in Pflugerville — not Cedar Park.

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