For those of you eager to visit the Lone Star State, and more specifically, Austin, rest assured it is absolutely kid-friendly. We recently took a family trip with our 18 month old and were blown away by the incredible city.
While we were only there for three days, here is a list of the top 10 places we strongly recommend – and of course, all kid friendly!
The Thinkery – a museum all for kids! There was an incredible amount of things to do, we could have kept busy for hours! From science to arts and crafts to exhibits, it was incredible. On Saturday mornings from 9-10 am they have “Baby Bloomers” time just for the little ones ages 0-3. A must see! https://thinkeryaustin.org/
The South Congress Bridge Bats – between 5-7 pm every night (from March to November) hundreds of bats emerge from under the South Congress bridge and black out the sky with a visual show for all to see. It’s an incredible sight that lasts about an hour, and all of the kiddos in attendance were in awe. http://www.batsinaustin.com/
The Oasis – This is a great restaurant for moms, dads and kiddos! Known as the “Sunset Capital of Texas” this restaurant sits atop Lake Travis and boasts incredible 180 degree views. Whether you come for lunch or dinner, plan to relax and take in the sights. We went about an hour before sunset and saw one of the most beautiful sunsets we had seen in a long time! It’s about 45 minutes west of Downtown Austin, but well worth the drive, and a beautiful one at that through Hill Country. http://oasis-austin.com/
Austin Aquarium – An easy few hours for kiddos and parents, the Austin Aquarium was beautiful and had everything to keep us busy. The experience was quite unique as they encourage kids to interact – touching and sometimes feeding sharks, rays, birds and fish. While our kid was soo young, the older kids there were having a grand ole time! They have a number of events as well so be sure to check out their calendar. https://www.austinaquarium.com/
Salt Lick BBQ – For a true Texas experience, this can’t be missed! About a 45 minute drive south-west of downtown, the Salt Lick is a famous family-style BBQ ranch in the middle of the Hill Country, with plenty of place for the kids to run around. We met friends there and let me tell you – the food is absolutely delicious. We ate every single bite. Just a heads up it’s BYOB and cash only! https://saltlickbbq.com/
JW Marriott Hotel – A beautiful and relatively new hotel, the JW had everything we needed and was within walking distance of bars, restaurants, and shopping downtown. The rooms were nice, and while on the smaller side, we slept well and comfortably, even with a crib in the room. The staff was incredible and catered to our every need. It was one of the most enjoyable hotel stays we have had in a while! http://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/ausjw-jw-marriott-austin/
Food, food and more food! We were never short of options for dining out in Downtown Austin. In fact, our trip seemed to center around eating as the food was incredible. If you’re looking for a nicer evening out, we strongly recommend Red Ash (Italian –http://www.redashgrill.com/) or Swifty’s Attic (American small plates https://swiftsattic.com/) – but make reservations ahead! For brunch, head over to Rainey Street http://www.raineystreetbars.com/ – there are a bunch of options and more kid-friendly during the day (as opposed to the evening when it becomes a bar-scene).
Austin Zoo – Everyone loves the zoo! We were amazed to learn more about the rescued animals that live at the Austin zoo and my son was in heaven as we walked around. On the southwest edge of Austin, it’s a bit of a drive but well worth it (and you can head over to Salt Lick after!) http://www.austinzoo.org/
Lady Bird Lake – In the heart of Austin, and generally a short walk from any hotels downtown, is the Ann and Roy Butler (named for Austin’s former mayor and his wife) Hike-and-Bike trail at Lady Bird Lake. It’s a beautiful 10 mile urban path along the water’s edge where you can see the city with parks, outdoor recreation and all in all, just a wonderful walk. https://www.austintexas.gov/department/ann-and-roy-butler-hike-and-bike-trail
Zilker Park & Barton Springs Pool – One of Austin’s most famous parks, Zilker is a great place for a picnic and to relax with the family in a wide, open beautiful setting. Just minutes from downtown (a short taxi ride or a bit longer walk), there is plenty to do including the Austin Nature & Science Center, Zilker Botanical Gardens, and the Barton Springs pool – a natural spring-fed pool with a year round temperature of 68 degrees – this is a must and open for year round swimming! Oh, and it’s home to the endangered Barton Springs Salamander! http://austintexas.gov/department/zilker-metropolitan-park