Playgrounds in Austin near you – Best parks for kids & toddlers play in and around ATX

Mt Playmore

Playgrounds in Austin – Image Credit: Mt Playmore Facebook Page

Austin offers a multitude of great parks with fantastic playgrounds, ideal for some lovely free family fun. There are many locations for children to play and explore in Austin. There is certainly a place for every season, want, mood, and whim when it comes to local and family-friendly attractions to check out. However, when looking for a particular spot to play, the options might be a little daunting.

This is our list of the best Austin playgrounds (indoor and outdoor) and parks for kids to explore.


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Image 1: Pogo Pass to 35 Things to Do in Austin, San Antonio and Waco
Deleted: The Standard South Central Texas Pogo Pass (San Antonio/Austin/Waco) provides admissions to 35 different entertainment venues in the Austin, San Antonio, and Waco area.
Deleted: Perfect for families, the Pogo Pass gives both adult and child pass-holders 50+ visits to some of the best things to do that Austin, San Antonio, and Waco have to offer. The Pogo Pass nearly pays for itself with a visit to one or two venues alone!!!

Pass features the following attractions in Austin

  • One visit to Wonder World Park
  • One visit to Typhoon Texas Waterpark
  • One Visit to the Thinkery Museum
  • Two Texas Stars hockey games
  • Two Austin Spurs basketball games
  • One visit per month to Austin’s Park
  • One visit to the Austin Aquarium
  • One visit to Quest ATX Wakeboard Park
  • One visit to Pioneer Farms
  • One visit to Monster Mini Golf
  • One Visit per Quarter to D-Bat
  • One Visit to Mt. Playmore
  • Two visits to Rock Sports Arena
  • Two visits to Pump It Up
  • One visit to Neill-Cochran House Museum

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Playground in Austin – Indoor Play Areas

Indigo Play

Playgrounds in Austin - Indigo Play

Image Credit: Indigo Play Facebook Page

Looking for, “playground near me”. This is the right place for your child. The kids can always spend hours playing here happily and independently, and they offers a decent assortment of snacks and beverages, including delicious coffee. There are several work/eating tables and comfortable couches.

Timings: Monday – Thursday: 9 am – 7 pm | Friday & Saturday: 9 am – 6 pm | Sunday: 11 am – 6 pm


Catch Air Austin

It has a great layout. This is among the top indoor playgrounds Austin Tx is. The obstacles, slides, and climbs are all a lot of fun. There are play spaces designated just for toddlers and younger kids. Overall, a great location to visit with kids that is air-conditioned.

Hours of Operation: Sunday – Friday: 10 am – 7 pm | Saturday: 10 am – 8 pm
Located at: 13450 N Highway US183, STE107, Austin, TX 78750, United States


Mt. Playmore

Mt Playmore

Image Credit: Mt Playmore Facebook Page

For people of all ages, this place is fantastic. The play equipment and playgrounds are kept up and tidy. For the grownups, there are plenty comfy chairs available. It’s simple to watch your children while sitting down and unwinding.

When: Sunday, Monday, Wednesday & Thursday: 10 am – 7 pm | Friday & Saturday: 10 am – 8 pm | Tuesday: Closed
Where: 13609 N Interstate Hwy 35, Austin, TX 78753, United States


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Kids and adults romp around trampoline park that features numerous onsite attractions such as foam pits, ropes course, cardio wall, and more.

Get more information and book your Altitude Trampoline Park fun TODAY!!!


Jungle Island Family Entertainment Center

This is a reasonable way to let a young child to run around. The design and flow of the jungle area are excellent. The walls are decorated with lovely jungle artwork.
Additionally, the food is great.

When: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday: 2 pm – 9 pm | Saturday & Sunday: 12 pm – 9 m | Wednesday: Closed
Where: 2410 E Riverside Dr Ste. E100, Austin, TX 78741, United States


Urban Air Trampoline and Adventure Park

You’ll discover why Urban Air Adventure Park is the ideal location for jumping, climbing, riding, playing, and fun for all ages when you take your child’s birthday party to the next level or spend a fun-filled day with the family.

Timings: Monday – Thursday: 4 pm – 8 pm | Friday: 4 pm – 10 pm | Saturday: 10 am – 10 pm | Sunday: 11 am – 8 pm
Location: 4500 S Pleasant Valley Rd Bldg. 1 Suite #106, Austin, TX 78744, United States


Playgrounds in Austin – Outdoor Play Areas

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Alliance Children’s Garden

This is a great, spacious location with amazing views of the downtown buildings, located on the Barton Springs toad. a wonderful playground with alternatives for every age group. Larger swings for lounging are available, along with bathrooms, picnic tables, and other amenities.

Timings: Open 24 hours
Location: 1000 Barton Springs Rd, Austin, TX 78704, United States


Joanne Land Playground

Playgrounds in Austin - Joanne Park playground near Austin

Image Credit – Joanne Park Playground Facebook Page

It’s nice that the playground is so big when there are plenty of youngsters playing there. For little children, there is also a playground that is somewhat smaller and more segregated, so you won’t have to worry as much about older children becoming rough.

When: Monday – Saturday: 8 am – 7 pm | Sunday: 12 pm – 7 pm
Where: 2003 Harrell Pkwy, Round Rock, TX 78665, United States


Liz Carpenter Splash Pad

Different playscapes than you often find in a lovely spot. A large playground close by helps to keep the kids occupied. It is a terrific spot for summer because of the sprinklers. A good playground Austin for kids to get wet while seeing ducks in the lake.

Hours of Operation: Monday – Sunday: 9 am – 10 pm
Located at: 1000 Barton Springs Rd, Austin, TX 78704, United States


Lost Creek Neighborhood Park

Playgrounds in Austin - Lost Creek Neighborhood Association

Image Credit: Lost Creek Neighborhood Association Facebook Page

This is a really great playground for your kids and toddlers. Spend your day here for once and your child will love the play equipment and the log cabin for sure. Some even celebrated their children’s birthday here.

Timings: Open 24 hours
Location: 0111250701, 1305 Quaker Ridge Dr, Austin, TX 78746, United States


Walnut Creek Metropolitan Playground

Among the best Austin Playgrounds. You enter nature after a two-minute drive. There is a basketball court nearby, along with restrooms. A swing is available for both adults and children to use. It features a sizable slide like those at amusement parks.

When: Open 24 hours
Where: 12138 N Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78758, United States


Springwoods Park

There are two play structures, two tennis courts, a soccer field, and a walking path inside the park. Additionally, the park offers covered shelters for party rental. Because it is completely covered by the huge oak trees, it is an excellent spot to play when the weather in Austin gets too hot.

Timings: Monday – Sunday: 5 am – 10 pm
Location: 9117 Anderson Mill Rd, Austin, TX 78729, United States


Neighborhood Parks in Austin

Ramsey Neighborhood Park

This park evokes such a welcoming atmosphere. I t offers activities for kids of all ages, including a large rope climbing structure. It’s got several benches and a plenty of shade. The majority of toddlers children enjoy themselves here, and there is plenty of room for other sports.

When: Monday – Sunday: 5 am – 10 pm
Where: 4301 Rosedale Ave, Austin, TX 78756, United States


Ricky Guerrero Park

This will grow to be one of your favorite locations since it has a great park for children, a party pavilion, lots of open space, and is close to a trail and a course for playing disc golf. All in all, great for little children and enjoyable for adults that enjoy fountains.

Hours of Operation: Monday – Sunday: 5 am – 10 pm
Located at: 2006 S 6th St, Austin, TX 78704, United States


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Little Stacy Neighborhood Park

Woodsy 6-acre park with kid-friendly facilities from a wading pool to a playground & picnics. Fantastic small park with slides and paths in the area. Missing start refers to the pool, which has been shut down for more than a year owing to a lack of staff.

Timings: Monday – Sunday: 5 am – 10 pm
Location: 1500 Alameda Dr, Austin, TX 78704, United States


Katherine Fleischer Park

Best Playgrounds in Austin - Katherine Fleischer Park

Image Credit – Katherine Fleischer Park Facebook Page

This park has a historic homestead museum in addition to its playground, swimming pool, and sporting grounds. A walk side is nearby, and there is a playground with several alternatives for children. It’s a really lovely location.

Hours of Operation: Monday – Sunday: 5 am – 10 pm


Butler Metro Park

A winding park with views of the city, strolling trails, a pond, and other amenities. A fantastic playground that has given interaction a lot of consideration. It has a lovely view of the city’s buildings as well.

Hours of Operation: Monday – Sunday: 5 am – 10 pm


That was our list of some of the best playgrounds in Austin Tx. Let us know which one do you like the most in the comments section below.


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Classic Game Fest 2022 in Austin: A Can’t Miss Celebration of Retro Videogames

 

Classic Game Fest 2022 in Austin

Classic Game Fest | Image Credit: Classic Game Fest Facebook Page

Remember the good old days of videogames? You and your friends huddled around a tiny CRT TV kicking each other in Street Fighter, battling Bowser in Super Mario Bros, or blasting demons in Doom. Modern videogames offer best in class visuals and expansive experiences. But there’s nothing quite like blowing into a cartridge, slamming it into a console, and enjoying the simple games of time gone by. If that description triggered even the smallest twang of nostalgia, dive deep into the feels at Classic Game Fest 2022 at the Palmer Events Center. Whether you’re an NES junkie or an Atari nerd, there’s something for everyone to remember and enjoy.

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Memorial Day 2022 Events in Austin – Things to do on the weekend include bbq, concerts, ceremonies & more!

Memorial Day 2022 Events in Austin - Crosswater Yacht Club Cookout

Memorial Day 2022 Events in Austin – Crosswater Yacht Club Cookout Benefiting Folds of Honor | Image Credit – Crosswater Yacht Club FB Page

The first long weekend of the summer of 2022 is almost here. Kids will be out of school and now is the perfect time to enjoy a long weekend with your family while commemorating the sacrifices of the men and women that have kept our country safe.

There are plenty of Memorial Day celebrations around Austin and if you are asking ‘What are some memorial day events near me?’ we have you covered.

Whether you are looking forward to Memorial day ceremonies, live music, or bbq parties, there are a number of things to do on Memorial Day weekend in Austin. Here are some fun Memorial Day events to help you make the most of your long weekend!


Memorial Day 2022 Events in Austin – Friday, May 27, 2022

Austin Greek Festival on Memorial Day Weekend

Family Posing at Austin Greek Festival.jpg

Image Credit: Austin Greek Festival FB Page

Await you just around the corner at the Annual Austin Greek Festival on Memorial Day Weekend, May 27, 28 and 29, 2022. Mark your calendars now for an exciting three days of Livin’ the Greek Life! If you have never experienced true Greek hospitality, you’re in for a treat.
When: Friday – Sunday, May 27-29, 2022
Where: 414 St Stephens School Rd S, Austin, TX 78746
How Much: Free

SUEDE performs at Vincent’s on the Lake Memorial Day Weekend!

Suede Live on Memorial Day!

Image Credit: laketravis.com

What’s better than a night of SUEDE? How about a 3-day weekend of SUEDE! Join this Memorial Friday, Saturday, and Sunday for the one, the only, SUEDE! Show is ALL AGES and is free to attend. Plenty of FREE PARKING.
When: Friday – Sunday, May 27-29
Where: Vincent’s On the Lake, 5973 Hiline Road, Austin, TX 78734
How Much: Free


Memorial Day 2022 Events in Austin – Saturday, May 28, 2022

Memorial Day Weekend Cookout for Folds of Honor at Crosswater Yacht Club

Memorial Day Event at Crosswater Yacht Club in Austin

Image Credit – Crosswater Yacht Club FB Page

Come by the event tents on the main walkway at CYC Saturday, May 28th from 12-3 pm for some custom-crafted hamburgers and sausage wraps.

Donations will be accepted for Folds of Honor, a foundation that provides educational scholarships to spouses and children of America’s fallen and disabled service members. Folds of Honor is CYC’s and HHM’s primary beneficiary to our fundraising efforts throughout the year because they are a wonderful organization with a great mission– And their motto says it best…
Honor Their Sacrifice. Educate Their Legacy.

When: Saturday, May 28, from 12 pm. to 3 pm
Where: 1505 Hurst Creek Rd Austin, TX 78734
How Much: Free

Close Assault 1968 at The Texas Military Force Museum

The Close Assault program this spring will honor our nation’s Vietnam Veterans… many of whom joined the Guard after their regular Army service.
When: Saturday, May 28, 2022 at 11 am – 2 pm
Where: 2200 West 35th St Austin, TX 78703 United States
How Much: Free

Dink to Freedom Memorial Day Tournament

Come play Pickleball in Fredericksburg! Fredericksburg Pickleball is hosting a Dink For Freedom Pickleball Tournament on Saturday, May 28!
When: Saturday, May 28
Where: Lady Bird Tennis Courts, Fredericksburg, TX
How Much: $40/person (member), $50/person (non-member)


Memorial Day 2022 Events in Austin – Sunday, May 29, 2022

Central Texas Young Republicans- Memorial Day Weekend Party & BBQ

Austin, Williamson County, and Bell County – Young Republicans will be joint hosting. They’ll be grilling for memorial day weekend as an honor to those who gave their lives. Alcohol will be provided for those 21+
**Code Ranch is a private property & guests and non-guests can be removed at anytime.
When: Sunday, May 29, from 12:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Where: Code Ranch, 12013 Fitzhugh Road, Austin, Texas
How Much: $15


Memorial Day 2022 Events in Austin – Memorial Day Monday, May 30, 2022

Pickleball 4 Life – Memorial Day Challenge

Austin Tennis Center Memorial Day

Image Credit: Austin Tennis Center FB Page

The Pickleball 4 Life Challenge is designed for intermediate players who love the sport of Pickleball and want to play as much as possible while meeting new people and having tons of fun. This Event supports Mental Health Awareness Month in partnership with NAMI Central Texas.
When: Monday, May 30, from 10:00 am – 3:00 pm
Where: Austin Tennis Center, 7800 Johnny Morris Road, Austin, TX 78724
How Much: $50

Memorial Day at the Rescue Family Day

Memorial Day at Rescue Family Day

Image Credit: www.safeinaustin.org

Get a chance to tour the property and learn about our mission of rescue animals, rescuing children!

Meet the rescue dogs, hug on some turkeys, play with the chickens, snuggle with the rescue cats, hug on the bay calf, feed the goats, love on the horses, and give a pig a belly rub.

Discover friendship and love beyond what you can imagine!! You can hike up to the top of the property for a breathtaking hill country view, take lots of pictures and support our mission of “saving lives, and healing hearts”! Come be a part of the fun!
When: Monday, May 30, from 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Where: Safe in Austin, 14601 Honeycomb Dr, Leander, TX 78641, USA
How Much: A minimum $35 donation per family

Memorial Day: Remember and Honor Event

The Round Rock Veteran’s Coalition and City of Round Rock invite the entire community to honor and remember those who sacrificed all for our country at a Memorial Day Ceremony taking place at the new Yonders Point Plaza.
When: Monday, May 30, starting at 10:00 am
Where: Old Settlers Park at 3101 Aten Loop, Round Rock, Texas 78665 United States

Mermaid Day on Memorial Day

Mermaid Day at Memorial Day

Image Credit: www.lakeway-tx.gov

Mermaids, Mermen, Mermoms, and Merdads, and Merpeople, bring your tails!  Join Lakeway Parks & Recreation at The Lakeway Swim Center for a mer-mazing experience. Come swim with the REAL Lake Travis mermaids! Take a photo with Princess Ariel! Enjoy glitter tattoos with On The Spot Body Art! Drop in admission applies. Activities inside are free of charge.
When: Monday, May 30, from 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Where: The Lakeway Swim Center, 3103 Lakeway Blvd, Austin, TX 78734, United States 
How Much: Free admission with Summer membership


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Volunteering at SXSW 2022 – A Beginner’s Guide

Conference Tech Crew posing at SXSW
Volunteering at SXSW – Image Credit: Conference Tech Crew Facebook Page

Thinking of volunteering for SXSW but not sure what to expect? Read on to find out!

Love or hate it, embrace it or avoid it, it’s no secret the SXSW Conference and Festival is a tentpole event in the Austin calendar. Me? I love it! Any chance to dive deep into a sea of discovery inspires and energizes my creative juices. Tech, music, film, art. It’s all available in a ten day barrage of experiences.

But there’s a catch – it’s costly. Savvy festival goers can find fun galore on the cheap, but the meat of the experience remains pricey. There is, however, a better way in – volunteering! Like every year, SXSW organizers are looking to recruit an army of people to be the gears that work in unison to move this event forward. And the perks of service are beyond awesome as well.

Who Can Sign Up for Volunteering at SXSW 2022?

Conference Tech Crew at SXSW
Image Credit: Conference Tech Crew Facebook Page

Nearly anybody! To start the process, head over volunteer.sxsw.com/register. From there, you’ll find the online signup form along with a link to the hour requirements and the cool stuff you get for them. The requirements for joining the SXSW volunteer team are as follows:

  • Must be at least 16 years of age. Underage volunteers require legal guardian consent.
  • Proof of COVID-19 vaccination, primary only. Boosters are highly recommended but not required.
  • Adherence to the SXSW COVID-19 masking policy.
  • Must undergo required online training and venue walkthroughs (if applicable).
  • Total time commitment can be 24 to 64 hours depending on festival and position.

The amount of time required for the perks depends on what you’re doing and the badge you’re looking for. For regular SXSW volunteers, the perks break down like this:

  • SXSW EDU Badge – 24+ hours
  • Volunteer Interactive Badge – 48+ hours
  • Volunteer Film Badge – 48+ hours
  • Volunteer Music Badge – 48+ hours
  • Volunteer Platinum Badge – 64+ hours

If you’re volunteers at the SXSW Music Festival, the requirements are slightly different due to the nature of the work. A volunteer Music badge requires at least 24 hours, not 48 and a Platinum badge requires a minimum of 32 hours instead of 64.

Volunteering at SXSW 2022 – What can you expect to do?

SXSW Volunteers Image Credit: Michael Caufield

Nearly anything! This year, SXSW is allowing potential volunteers to pick their area of interest to serve at. From artist parking operations to festival ambassadors to line management, there are over twenty different crews to choose from. Once you’ve done the initial signup online and completed the registration process, the SXSW team will reach out and get you assigned to a crew.

And while it’s amazing volunteers get to pick their area of assistance, access comes on a first come, first serve basis. Spots fill up fast, so be sure to register today to secure the job of your choice.

What do you get for volunteering at SXSW 2022?

Internships at SXSW
SXSW Volunteers. Credit: Michael Caufield

Badges! Access! in case you’re not sure how SXSW badges work, here’s a quick primer:

There are four types of badges, one per track and a fourth “golden key”:

  • Interactive (technology, innovation)
  • Music (self explanatory)
  • Film (equally self explanatory)
  • Platinum

Every event at SXSW has two lines, primary and secondary. Your badge tells you which line to stand in. People in the primary line go in first, those in the secondary must wait until the primary line is empty. This is important! If you’re two from getting in via the secondary line and ten people enter the primary, you need to wait until they all get in.

The three track badges get you primary access to that track and secondary access to everything else. For example, if you have a Film badge, you stand in the primary access line for a screening and you stand in the secondary line for Interactive and Music. That’s why it’s important to pick your volunteer badge wisely. Pick them based on what you want to experience the most.

The Platinum badge is the aforementioned golden key. The Platinum badge gets you primary access to everything. Every music showcase, every track, every film. Naturally, access is ultimately determined by venue capacity, but a Platinum badge is your best chance to get the most out of your SXSW experience.

Giving Back and Rocking Out at SXSW 2022

SXSW Volunteers Outside the Paramount. credit: Adam Kissick

Call me old school, but I believe attending at least one SXSW is required to truly understand the power and culture of Austin’s tech, music, and film community. It’s a rite of passage. And what better way to check that box on your ATX bucket list than volunteering. Not only are getting some sweet perks for a small time investment, you’re helping this fantastic festival run like clockwork. Hoping to see you at SXSW 2022!

Stay up to date on SXSW and all other fun events going on in Austin throughout the year. Check our our Things to do in Austin this Week, Things to do in Austin this Weekend and Things to do in Austin with Kids this Weekend guides

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Best Arcades in Austin – Top 10 Places For Games, Fun and Entertainment Near You

arcades austin pinballz
Best Arcades in Austin – Image Credit: Pinballz Arcade

There’s probably no place better than an arcade for totally amazing family-friendly fun, any day of the week. Austin has a ton of such gaming spaces that you can visit with the kids and play some of the classics like Pac-Man or the new Spiderman game or even dunk a basketball. Get-set-go and check out below some of the best Austin arcades that promise nothing but fun games and interactive activities!

Best Arcades in Austin

Bishop Cidercade Austin

arcades austin Bishop Cidercade Austin

The Bishop Cidercade in Austin has a mega fun variety of more than 150 arcade games including Guerilla War, Super Mario Bros., Tetris, Star Trek: Return of the Jedi, Galaga and lots more all for an entry fee of $10. Coupled with some good food and signature cocktails and coolers, this is one of the best arcades in the city for birthday parties and celebrations.
Where: 600 East Riverside Drive, Austin, TX 78704

Pinstack

Video games, rock climbing, bumper cars, bowling and delicious food await you at Pinstack, one of the finest family-friendly gaming zones in Austin. The arcade tends to get crowded on the weekends so plan accordingly so that you can find free lanes to bowl. You can also hit the bowling alleys on weekdays and take advantage of Early Bird Bowling.
Where: 500 W Canyon Ridge Dr, Austin, TX 78753

Tom Foolerys Adventure Park

This interactive arcade has state-of-the-art thrill rides, games and an 80,000 sq ft adventure park which has thrilling activities like a ropes course, a climbing wall challenge, an indoor zip line, bowling, laser tag and 250 of some of the very best arcade games!
Where: 3001 Kalahari Blvd, Round Rock, TX 78665

Dave & Buster’s

arcades austin dave & busters

This classic arcade spot has food, drink and virtual reality zombie kills! Head on over to Dave & Buster’s for happy hours and fun evenings with your family or your colleagues, play on extravagantly big TVs and get a chance to win some exciting prizes.
Where: 9333 Research Blvd Ste A600, Austin, TX 78759

Pinballz Arcade

There are as many as 125 pinball machines at this arcade along with newer video arcade games and some of the old, unforgettable classics. Relive the nostalgia of playing and winning at Pinball, on your computer or in an arcade from your childhood at this 13,000 square foot space which claims to have a selection of pins that is unmatched in the Southwest.
Where: 8940 Research Blvd Ste 100, Austin, TX 78758

Originator VR Arcade

This new arcade in Austin is perfect for your group of office colleagues to just blow off steam outside of the workplace. Explore so many cool and different worlds in VR games at this arcade which is among the first in Austin that has a full virtual reality gaming experience for multiple players.
Where: 718 Northwestern Ave, Austin, TX 78702

Monster Mini Golf and Laser Tag

arcades austin monster mini golf

If you like Laser-T and a good amount of VR games, this is your spot. Add to that mini golf on a glow in the dark turf with tunnels and ramps for some non-stop fun. The arcade has a monster theme done up in dark lights with a villain lurking in every corner to add to the family-friendly adventure.
Where: 3916 Gattis School Rd Ste 112, Round Rock, TX 78664

Arcade UFO

This kid friendly space has a digital set-up in a Japanese-styled arcade format. This means a ton of rhythm-based games and other challenges like driving and DDR or fighting and racing, with all the titles imported from Japan and Korea. The place has kept up with Austin’s tradition of community-based video arcades, mixing it with some competitive Asian games.
Where: 3101 Speedway, Austin, TX 78705

Recess Arcade Bar

Jenga, ski balls, ninja turtles, pinball and some NBA dunking await you at this family-friendly arcade which also offers cheap drinks and tasty binge bites. Enjoy drink specials and numerous classic games at the Austin arcade which are always on free play! Recess also offers $3 all liquor and $2 Zeigenbock drafts on Tap Day Tuesdays and one of the best grilled cheese paninis in all of Austin.
Where: 222 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78701

Kung Fu Saloon

arcades austin Kung Fu Saloon

Along with old school arcade games, you can enjoy foosball, cheap drinks and also claim full-on Jenga domination at this arcade. At Kung Fu Saloon, there are late night dance parties too along with your usual Checkers and Connect 4. It’s the ideal spot to wind down after a hard week’s work.
Where: 716 West 6th St, Austin, TX 78701

All images courtesy: Yelp

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Day Trip in Austin: 10 Places To Visit Like a Tourist

Day Trip in Austin: Even if you’ve been living in Austin your whole life, you can pretend to be a tourist for one day and discover the city with fresh eyes (Credit: Justin Snider/Rock Studios)

Let me start by stating the obvious: we live in one of the greatest cities in the world. Austin has so much to offer that my list of must-see places and must-do things keeps growing, even though I’m constantly exploring.

While I try to keep up with the latest restaurants and music festivals, there are a number of places in Austin I’ve been neglecting. You know, the kind of places at the top of TripAdvisor, where the tourists go.

So many times, I’ve thought of visiting these places, only to tell myself, “Oh, I live here. I can always go later.” For many people, years go by and they never make the time. But there are so many things that you could do just on a one day trip in Austin.

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Austin Trail of Lights 2021 – Main Attractions, Tickets, & More

The ending tunnel of the Austin Trail of Lights 2021 (credit: Bill Tucker)

The holidays are upon us! With a year of general craziness in the rear view mirror, we need a little December cheer. If you’re in the same boat, look no further than the 57th annual Austin Trail of Lights at Zilker Park. While the event is drive thru instead of walk about, it’s still a wonderful opportunity to bask in the glow of holiday magic. Here’s everything you need to know to experience the trail right.

Austin Trail of Lights Is A Feast for the Eyes

One of 90 illuminated trees along the Trail of Lights (credit: Bill Tucker)

Like last year, the Trail of Lights is 100% drive thru. While there’s no opportunity to spin under the Zilker tree, I respect their desire to keep people safe during the ongoing pandemic. Luckily, driving the trail doesn’t hurt the experience. The display is nothing short of spectacular.

Over two million lights illuminate the Zilker Park path. Old school favorites like the Jackalope, Santasaurus and Cartoon Land make an appearance once again. Seeing these classics brought back memories of my first Austin Christmas nearly 8 years ago and it was heartwarming listening to my son laugh at the sights.

One of the trails highlights are the multiple light tunnels that section off the trail. Driving underneath these massive structures was a blast. All in all, the trip, from the opening gate to end, took around 20 minutes which was perfect for the two kiddos in the van.

Trail of Lights in Austin – Tickets & More

The holiday jackalope makes another appearance at the 2021 Trail of Lights. (credit: Bill Tucker)
  • Passes to the trail are available right now but tend to sell out quickly, especially for peak evenings and weekends.
  • Passes will cost you $30 – $40 per vehicle depending on when you choose to go.
  • Dash Passes are available for $65. These allow you early entry between 5:45 and 7:00 PM and include holiday cookies and bottled water.
  • Entry is one pass per vehicle containing up to nine passengers. Vehicles that hold 10+ require two passes. And all vehicles need to be street legal.
  • While it’ll take about 20 minutes to experience the trail, leave ample time for queuing up and crowds. This year will be a busy one!
  • 90% of the lights and all of the attractions are on the passenger side of the vehicle. This helps the driver stay focused on the road, so if you have two kids, make them rock-paper-scissors for who gets to sit on the right.

Austin Trail Of Lights 2021 – Important Dates and Special Nights

Some of the beautiful sights along the 2021 Trail of Lights. (credit: Bill Tucker)
  • 11/28 – Opening Night
  • Virtual Fun Run: The 10th annual Trail of Lights Fun Run goes virtual this year. Rather than jogging through the trail, you can pick a route, any route. Trail of Lights has a lovely route around Austin’s finest landmarks, or you can jog in your own neighborhood. Just make sure it’s fun and festive! Entrants receive a Fun Run t-short, a 2021 race bib, a rad swag bag and festive route recommendations.
  • 12/12 – UT Night
  • 12/28 to 12/29 – STARS at the Trail Night: The Trail of Lights team provides free entry to over 30 nonprofit partners in the Austin community. A great way to give back to organizations who give so much throughout the year. They also give thousands of passes to eligible families in the Austin Independent School District (AISD).
  • 12/31 – New Years Eve and the last night of the trail.

Trail of Lights – An Enduring Tradition

2021 Trail of Lights (credit: Bill Tucker)

Whether it’s your first or 30th year, the Austin Trail of Lights is an enduring experience. While driving the park may not be same as walking it, cruising beneath a blanket of 2 million lights still captures the imagination and inspires holiday cheer. Come by yourself, as a couple, with friends, or a van full of kids. Everyone’s guaranteed to be delighted at this year’s Trail of Lights.

Want more Christmas Lights? Check out Best Christmas Lights in the Hill Country area, just a short drive away!

For similar updates on fun things going on in the Austin area, bookmark our homepage at The Austinot

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8 Indoor Activities to Enjoy When Austin Weather Forces You Inside

The marvelous architecture on full display at the library
Best Indoor Activities in Austin – The marvelous architecture on full display at Austin Central Library (Credit: Amanda Gagnon)

Looking for indoor activities in Austin? You are in the right place!

As we know, Austin is built for outdoor hanging. There are outdoor and rooftop bars, restaurant patios, as well as all the bike and water activities you could possibly want. But sometimes outside just isn’t in the cards.

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