If your kiddos are curious and love to explore, Austin is a great choice for a family vacation!
The area boasts a huge range of kid-friendly attractions and things to see and do, and is a magnet for musicians and artists, making it a great place to enjoy live music. It’s also considered a foodie’s paradise, with world-famous barbeque, TexMex cuisine, and abundant food trucks.
There’s plenty of fun to be had for the whole family at this Texas capital!
- The climate in Austin is often unpredictable. The best times to travel to Austin are March through May and September through November, when temps are just about perfect.
- Austin-Bergstrom International Airport serves most domestic airlines. Upon arrival, call for a Lyft, Uber, or RideAustin driver, instead of a pricier taxi.
- Austin is known for its heavy traffic and limited parking. Traveling by bus or rail are the easiest and most affordable ways to get around, so only rent a car if you must.
What to Pack
- Summertime temps average around 100 degrees Fahrenheit, making it hot and sticky. So make sure to pack clothing that is light and breathable.
- From Fall to Spring, temperatures can vary anywhere from 40-90 degrees Fahrenheit, so you want to be prepared by packing layers of clothing.
- Pack an umbrella or raincoat just in case, especially in the winter months when it rains frequently.
- Swimwear is a must-pack since there are so many different water-focused activities.
- Don’t forget to pack comfortable shoes and sandals since you’ll be doing a lot of walking.
- Sun gear such as hats, sunglasses, and plenty of sunscreen.
- High temperatures can equal dehydration, so consider bringing refillable water bottles.
- Summer in Austin means bugs – lots of bugs – so be sure to pack bug repellent.
- A backpack will help keep everything handy during a day of exploration.
3 Must-Stay Austin Hotels
- Kimpton Hotel Van Zandt – Close to downtown and all the fun Austin has to offer, this hotel is perfect for families. Kids will receive a welcome gift and fresh chocolate chip cookies upon arrival. They can splash in the pool or hula hoop in the fitness room. Parents will love the family-friendly dining, amenities like bunk rooms and kids’ happy hour, as well as child safety equipment and rentals.
- Embassy Suites Austin Downtown South Congress – This hotel is close to many popular attractions and has sweeping views of the Austin city skyline. Enjoy family-friendly suites and a full, hot breakfast every day during your stay. Beat the heat at their indoor pool or grab a quick meal at their on-site restaurant.
- Four Seasons Hotel Austin – Located in downtown Austin, this hotel offers rooms that overlook Lady Bird Lake. The whole family can enjoy lawn games, retro boat rides and the saltwater pool. Adults will love the complimentary rose tastings and the on-site spa.
9 Kid-Pleasing Dining Options
Austin means really good food. Forget hotel dining and your typical chain restaurants, you can’t leave Austin without exploring their food scene. Take a look at 9 of our favorite options:
- Torchy’s Tacos – Torchy’s is all about delicious food cooked-to-order – don’t forget to try the queso! They even offer gluten free options. There can be a wait, but it’s definitely worth it.
- Hat Creek Burger Company – Your kids will love the delicious food, fun play area, and the build-your-own milkshakes. Parents will love the reasonably-priced kids menu and the relaxed family atmosphere.
- Hey Cupcake! – These delicious cupcakes are served from inside a vintage Airstream trailer. The cupcakes come in a variety of flavors and each one is piled high with buttercream.
- Chuy’s – Your family will love this TexMex restaurant. The free chips and salsa are a must-eat and you can’t go wrong with the enchiladas. Parents and kids will love the vibrant velvet paintings as well as the hubcaps hanging from the ceiling. You can also order family meal kits ahead of time to take with you and enjoy during a day of exploring.
- Home Slice – This place offers massive New-York-style pizza slices! You can eat outside while the kids enjoy the play area. Waiters will bring your little ones dough to play with and keep them busy until your food arrives.
- Hopdoddy Burger Bar – There always seems to be a line down the street at this popular food spot. Everything is made fresh, and the Doddy Mayo is a must try. The kids menu appeals to the masses and the milkshakes are a favorite.
- Gourdoughs – It’s all about the big, fat, doughnuts. And when we say big, we mean it – one can be big enough to share! Visit their brick-and-mortar location or their popular food truck.
- Amy’s Ice Cream – This creamy, dreamy ice cream makes the perfect cone! Grab one while you peruse the shops on South Congress. The Mexican Vanilla is always a favorite.
- The Food Trucks! – No matter what you’re craving, there’s a food truck for it. Grab a meal or a snack from one of Austin’s famous food trucks any time of the day.
15 Things To Do with Kids in Austin
The fun truly never ends! Choose from picturesque parks, world-class museums, swimming holes, nature centers, and more. And make sure to check out each location’s website for hours, pricing, and up-to-date attraction info before you visit.
- Texas State Capitol – A trip to the capitol is a must for any visitor. The building itself is taller than the capitol building in Washington D.C.! You can go on a free tour, or walk the grounds and take tons of photos of the beautiful architecture.
- The Thinkery – Learn all about STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) at this hands-on children’s museum. Kids can explore food chemistry, aerodynamics, the Light Lab, or Our Backyard, a three-story play area.
- Zilker Park – This park is right in the heart of Austin. There’s plenty to do and you can find activities year-round, like the holiday favorite, Trail of Lights. Enjoy the botanical garden or rent a boat and explore the park by water. And kids will love the Zilker Zephyr, the park’s miniature train.
- Barton Springs Pool – Located within Zilker Park, this pool is an attraction on its own. At over 3 acres in size, this natural pool is fed by underground springs. Jump off the diving board or just relax in the sparkling water.
- Blue Hole at Wimberley – This lush park offers a natural spring-fed swimming hole surrounded by Cypress trees. Swing on the rope swings, sunbathe on the lawn, or swim in the crystal-clear water.
- McKinney Falls State Park – This park offers rugged beauty just 13 miles from Austin. Hike, bike, geocache, fish, splash in the water, or enjoy a picnic. You can also explore the remains of an early Texas homestead.
- South Congress Avenue – Take a stroll and do some shopping for the perfect souvenir at popular spots like Big Top Candy Shop , Allens Boots, and Lucy in Disguise With Diamonds, or grab some lunch and do a little people watching!
- Mount Bonnell – This place offers some of the best views of Austin and the surrounding areas. Plus, it’s only a 10 minute walk to the top. Bring a picnic dinner and watch the sun set.
- Austin Zoo – The whole family can get wild with over 300 animals including monkeys, big cats, and some native Texas wildlife. Ride the train or have your own capybara encounter.
- The Bullock Texas State History Museum – History buffs young and old will love learning about the story of Texas. Enjoy the museum’s collection of photos and artifacts as well as the interactive exhibits. You can also relax in the IMAX theater or explore the La Belle shipwreck exhibition.
- Austin Duck Adventures – Take a ride through Austin on an amphibious vehicle. You’ll go down historic Sixth Street and past the Capitol Building, ending in a splash down in Lake Austin!
- Austin Nature and Science Center – Kids will love the hands-on nature exhibits, and year-round activities. Take a walk on the Forest Trail or visit native animals who are in rehabilitative care. You’ll leave with a bigger appreciation of the natural world.
- Museum of the Weird – This museum is a truly unique experience. Explore the Cabinet of Curiosities, the Creature in Ice, and plenty of other quirky oddities including Texas Bigfoot and shrunken heads!
- Watching the Bats – If you’re visiting Austin in the Spring, you may want to check out the more than one million bats that live underneath the South Congress Bridge. At dusk, the sky is filled with bats searching for a meal of bugs. It’s quite a sight to see, but watch out for falling guano!
- Texas Trail Rides – Have a true Texas experience at Lone Star Ranch. Take a privately guided trail ride on horseback or ATV at this working ranch. They also offer skeet shooting, axe throwing, and archery.
Ok y’all, now that you have a list of 15 things to do with kids in Austin, it’s time to get packing!