Austin, Texas is a wonderful city to visit with kids in tow. From movies under the stars to concerts in the park, there is always something happening in the Live Music Capital of the World, much of it free. Be sure to check out FreeFuninAustin.com to discover the very best family fun Austin has to offer!
10 Things to do in Austin with Kids
- Zilker Park – You could spend days exploring Austin without ever leaving the city’s beloved Zilker Park. Take a dip in the spring-fed Barton Springs Pool, ride the Zilker Zephyr train, play on the playground, and see a free show at Zilker Hillside Theater. Plus, enjoy a stroll through Zilker Botanical Garden, dig for dino bones at the free Austin Nature & Science Center, and touch the art at Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum. In summer months, be sure to catch the incredible free live music series Blues on the Green, hosted by local radio station KGSR.
- Thinkery – Austin’s new children’s museum is sure to be a hit with kids of all ages. Younger children will have a blast getting drenched by the indoor and outdoor water features (you may want to bring a change of clothes), while older tinkerers will be drawn to the STEAM activities. Visit during Community Night–every Wednesday from 4-8 p.m.–when admission is by donation (suggested $1). When finished, kids can burn off extra steam at the Mueller Lake Park playground across the street.
- Texas State Capitol – Join a free tour to learn about the history of government in Texas. Then, head over to the nearby Capitol Visitors Center, which has free interactive exhibits on the second floor.
- Explore by Boat – Escape the crowds and see Austin from the water. Canoes and kayaks are available for rent in Zilker Park, swan pedal boats make for fun photo ops, and several local companies offer Stand Up Paddle rentals. Bat cruises at dusk are another exciting way to learn a little about Austin, as you wait for the nighttime emergence of 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats.
- Austin Boardwalk – Austin’s brand new boardwalk, which completes the city’s Hike and Bike Trail, provides a scenic route for a stroll along Lady Bird Lake. Don’t forget your camera as the boardwalk offers picture-perfect views of the Austin skyline.
- HOPE Outdoor Gallery – No visit to Austin is complete without a stop at this unique graffiti park. If you love what you see, head off on your very own mural scavenger hunt! Austin boasts street art around nearly every corner.
- Historic Walking Tours – If you’re interested in learning about the history of Austin, this is the way to go. These $10 guided walking tours are a great way to see downtown at a relaxed pace.
- South Congress – Follow Congress Avenue south of the Texas State Capitol to eat, and shop, and then eat some more! You will find quirky antiques, vintage clothing, locally owned restaurants, live music, candy shops, a cupcake trailer, cowboy boots, coffee shops, murals, and more. Bring your camera, and your appetite!
- Take a Hike – When you’ve had your fill of culture and cuisine, head out into nature to see why locals love living in Austin. Follow a trail, cool of in a creek, and keep an eye out for Texas wildlife. You can find great kid-friendly hike recommendations here.
- Mayfield Park – Picnic among the peacocks at this free preserve. Peafowl strut their stuff, lounge on the roof, and call down from the treetops. An added bonus, the park is located near the picturesque grounds of Laguna Gloria (free on Tuesdays), the free scenic overlook at Mt. Bonnell, and the free Texas Military Forces Museum at Camp Mabry.