Do512 Family Featured Babymaker, Quel from Homegirl Blog, is sharing her reasons for riding the Capital Metro Rail with her family. The train is an awesome way to skip out on all of the traffic and parking anxiety that is brought on by trying to attend a major event in Austin. It’s cheap (free for kids), it’s easy and kids love it! Here are reasons why it rules.
If you live anywhere between Leander and Downtown (especially if you’re closer to Leander than to downtown), it’s time to move beyond the excitement (or opposite) of seeing the train at traffic crossings and actually get on it. We already know Capital Metro Rail is useful for weekday commuters going to and from work and college, but did you kow it is so much fun for families to ride too?
I live nearest to the Lakeline Station, the second stop on the route, and have used the Metro Rail many times for reasons ranging from date nights and formal events at Hilton Austin downtown with my husband (I highly recommend riding the train dressed in formal wear), to major Austin fun with my whole family. Based on our experiences, here are the top three reasons you should ride too.
1. Your kid’s first train ride.
This one is kind of a no-brainer. Kids age 5 and under ride free, a single ride is $2.75 and Day Passes are just $5.50–half-priced for kids age 6-18. You’re all at home and bored and wondering what kind of fun to get into—get on the train. The train ride from Leander or Lakeline all the way downtown is about 45 minutes one way. Make sure everybody pees beforehand and get on the train and ride all the way downtown and back. Kids are easy. They will be thrilled.
2. Easy Access to annual Austin events.
The Capital Metro Rail Schedule gods usually extend and add hours of operation for festivals and large events downtown. They haven’t perfected it yet, but most of the time you can plan your day, roundtrip, on the rail.
The last stop in the city, the Downtown Stop, lets you off right across the street from Hilton Austin and right in front of the Austin Convention Center. Car Show. If you don’t do anything else we suggest in this post, ride the Metro Rail to the Car Show next year. Just do it. Speaking of cars, the F1 Race Weekend Fan Fest last year was kind of awesome. For this annual event several downtown blocks were blocked off and all kinds of car, music and food related festivities ensued, most importantly, the Kid Zone. You could try to drive downtown during F1 weekend to find parking for the event, but you could also just ride the train. Our trips to the ACL Fest, by far, has been the most important reason for us to ride Capital Metro Rail. It drops you off downtown, you walk a few blocks to the event shuttles and the rest is ACL awesomeness. Why waste any precious ACL rock-out time driving around downtown looking for parking when you can just ride the train?
3. Attractions on Metro Rail Stops.
So your kid has ridden a train before and there are no festivals or events to avoid parking at downtown and you’re still looking for ways to make your family outings more fun, ride the train. There are some pretty practical and yummy reasons to ride the metro rail for family fun. Here are some stops to plan for:
Aside from the annual events we talked about, some great restaurants are walking distance from the downtown metro station. For Family lunch or dinner, there’s Gus’s Fried Chicken, Iron Works and Moonshine Patio Bar & Grill. For Date Night Flemings Prime Steak House, PF Chang’s China Bistro, MAX’s Wine Dive, Fogo de Chao Churrascaria (yum) and Vince Young Steak House are all about a 5-7 minute walk from the Downtown Station.
This stop is right across the street from Highland Mall. Highland Mall has evolved into a unique collection of shops, like Aeropostal, Wet Seal, Avon and Kid’s Foot Locker, salons, barber services, fitness clubs, of course coffee spots and cafes, and even local, cultural enrichment at Ballet Afrique and seasonal theatre at Austin Playhouse. Walking distance from the Highland Mall stop, you’ll also find other local coffee houses and restaurants. If there are events happening at Highland Mall you want to attend, or if you just want to check it out, hop off the train here.
Homeschoolers and explorers might find this stop interesting. It’s tucked away, but If you’re up to walking just a few blocks through the city, it’s worth it for a train ride. Get off at this stop and walk a few blocks over to in.gredients. in.gredients is a neighborhood microgrocer selling local food with pure ingredients, package-free, yes, package-free. Shoppers have to bring their own containers for eggs, bread, produce, everything and shop local, fresh, quality ingredients. Bring your city cart and baggies for this trip and shop for a specific recipe to make it fun.
It’s very important to remember that children five and under with an accompanying adult, and emergency and military personnel in uniform ride Capital Metro bus and rail services free of charge. There’s also free wi-fi, but you’ll be riding with your family or significant other, so pack your phone away on the train, enjoy your family and save your battery life for navigating once you reach your destination.
Did I miss anything? Do you ride with your family? Do you feel inspired to give it a try? Let us kow!