Dining with the little ones in tow can be tough sometimes. We spend a lot of time trying to shape our kids into calm little humans, but sometimes, you just want to relax and let them run around and play. Lucky for us, Austin has a lot to offer when it comes to dining out with children.
Top Family Friendly Restaurants in Austin:
–> Hat Creek Burger Company is the ultimate family friendly burger joint with unique play yards at all of their four locations. (Westlake, Burnet Rd., Georgetown, and Round Rock). With great menu options such as burgers, chicken, sweet potato fries, milkshakes and even breakfast tacos and pancakes, there’s something appealing to taste buds of all ages. But the best part is letting the kids play in enclosed areas while you can sit back with a beer and relax with friends.
–> Ski Shores Cafe is a gem on Lake Austin. Down the long and windy City Park Rd. lies a cute little place with mostly outdoor seating. They have a gated playscape, a sandy zone, and kids spy turtles and fish in the water. THey also have a little indoor game room with air hockey and a few classic video games. Plus, on Fridays they have Family Movie Night where they show a kid friendly film, projector style, right by the picnic tables outside. (They show at dusk, check their Facebook page for details as the info is not on their site.) The menu includes burgers, wraps, fries & onion rings. Read our review we posted in June 2013 and see why it’s a hit for families!
–> Phil’s Ice House is another of Austin’s dreamy spots for burgers, playtime, and fun. It also helps that Phil’s is paired next to Amy’s Ice Creams at all three of their Austin locations (Burnet Rd., South Lamar, and North Austin on 183). The menu offers up kid-friendly basics like burgers & fries, corn dogs, chicken tenders, etc. But the playground areas at each location are the big draw for happy families. Kids can go nuts on their colorful playscapes while you enjoy some comfort food. Just don’t forget to save room for ice cream!
–> The Midway Food Park offers several local food trucks in a park-like setting, complete with picnic tables, a playscape for the kids, plenty of room to stretch out or play, restrooms and parking. And it’s BYOB! The Midway Food Park opens at 11 a.m. for lunch and stays open through the evenings, until the food trucks close up. You can purchase delicious bites from a variety of food trucks offering lobster rolls, tacos, cheesecake & much more. Click here to view the list of trucks. Also, The Midway often has live music on weekend, make it even more of a fun night out with the family.
–> Central Market North is a great choice when you want something besides burgers! A diverse menu with items from Asian salmon salad to pork vindaloo offers something good and good for you too. Yum! With live music, a playscape and a duck pond, your kids should have a great time while you relax and enjoy lunch or dinner with the whole family.
–> Twisted Root Burger on Burnet Rd. includes a nine hole mini-golf course for customers! How cool is that? Everyone will love the delicious and creative selection of burgers on the menu (even vegan ones), but you get to play free mini-golf with the purchase of one of their milkshakes, which makes a dinner out all the more exciting for the kids.
–> Contigo is pretty amazing. It’s gorgeous for one, and the menu is so much more than your basic kid’s burger norm, making it a great option for kids with a more adventurous palate. They don’t have a playscape, but they have a cool sand play area type of thing that kids are drawn to. The dining area is outdoors with large community-style picnic tables. You’ll find a menu that includes mussels, rabbit & dumplings, fancy grilled cheese and amazing lavender ice cream.
–> Waterloo Ice House has three locations where the kids can play outdoors (360/N. Capital of TX Hwy, Southpark Meadows, Slaughter Lane & Escarpment Blvd.). Playscape, sandpit, outdoor and indoor seating with cute decor and plenty of tables. Waterloo Ice House has been in Austin since 1976, and offers up a huge menu of salads, burgers, sandwiches, & Tex-Mex options.
–> Austin’s Pizza in Westlake offers a deck shaded by gorgeous old oak trees and a play area surrounded by a little fence that’s away from the street so your kids can play safely. Plus, pizza and a playscape equals children in restaurant heaven. Pesto-a-Go-Goat is a must try. Read our review to learn all about Austin’s Pizza’s dedication to quality ingredients and see why it’s a must-do with the family.
–> Maudies at the Triangle serves up your fill of Tex Mex favorites and sits adjacent to a public playground that’s perfect for little ones. The Triangle also offers kid-friendly restaurants such as Mandola’s and Galaxy Cafe where you could eat before or after enjoying playtime on the Triangle’s big lawn. Also, the Austin Farmers’ Market happens at the Triangle every Wednesday from 3 – 7 p.m. for more family fun in this location.
* This post was updated on Oct. 2016.