Austin is such a fun place to show off to out-of-town guests. There’s plenty to appeal to anyone who’s here for a visit — grandparents, teen nieces & nephews, friends with new babies in tow. With so many options, we’ve tried to whittle this down to just a handful of top picks for playing tourist in Austin.

Beautiful views from Mount Bonnell. Photo by Nicole Basham.

Mount Bonnell: Nothing beats this great view of the city! One of the highest points in Austin, it’s a perfect spot for viewing the city and surrounding hills. Plus, if you’re in need of a little physical activity with the fam, you can choose to climb the steps for a great mini workout.


The Capitol grounds are a great place for the kids to run and play before or after your tour.

Texas State Capitol: A visit to the Texas State Capitol Building offers not only a great opportunity to learn a little bit about Texas politics and history, but it also sits on wonderful park-like grounds. Click here for info about free tours. While you’re there, definitely check out the Capitol Visitor Center (the white castle-like building on the grounds) that has some fun exhibits for kids to explore. Take note that during the week, parking in the Capitol Visitors Parking Garage is free for the first $2 hours (varies on weekends).


Enjoy a family stroll along the Boardwalk Trail. Photo by Roger Ho.

Lady Bird Lake: When you really want to feel connected to the community of Austin, a walk along Lady Bird Lake will have you soaking in the city’s happy vibes as you enjoy gorgeous lakeside views of downtown. Click here for plenty of info about walking the Hike & Bike Trail. And click here for info about renting watercraft on the lake.


The Zilker Park Playground is a fun place for kids of all ages. Photo by Roger Ho.

Zilker Park: Austinites adore Zilker Metropolitan Park — for good reason! Whether you’re out climbing on the rocks, heading to Barton Springs Pool, running around the playground, visiting the Botanical Garden, digging for dino bones at the Austin Nature & Science Center, Zilker has so many great spots to choose from. Check out our list of 100 Things To Do At Zilker Park.


An ever-changing art display. Photo by Roger Ho.

HOPE Outdoor Gallery: HOPE Outdoor Gallery provides a colorful, ever-changing landscape of graffiti art where you can get a true sense of Austin’s local artistic scene. Click here to learn more about this graffiti park.


A classic spot to snap a family pic. Photo by Roger Ho.

South Congress Ave.: Who can resist posing for a photo in front of the I love You So Much sign? SoCo is a vibrant area of the city that’s fun for window shopping as well as dining to suit a variety of interests, with a distinct Austin feel. Shop for cowboy boots and hats at Allen’s Boots, get some sweet treats at Big Top Candy Shop, hear live music at Guero’s, and get yourself a slice or two of pizza at Home Slice.


Fortlandia at the Wildflower Center. Photo by Roger Ho.

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center: Take your friends and family for a nature walk or a picnic surrounded by a beautiful landscape. The Family Garden includes many opportunities for the little ones to enjoy creative play with a giant bird’s nests, a grotto with caves and a waterfall, giant tree stumps and limbs for kids to climb on. The current exhibit, Fortlandia, offers 10 cool forts that you can also play in! Click here to read more.


Show of your pride of the Lone Star State at the Bullock Museum. Photo by Roger Ho.

Bullock Museum: History buffs will love exploring the Bullock’s three floors of interactive exhibits that tell the “Story of Texas”. Plus you can watch a movie in Austin’s premier IMAX Theatre. Click here to learn about current exhibits, special events and to view the movie schedule.


Treat your guests to some classic Tex Mex. Photo from the Taco Deli Facebook page.

BBQ, Breakfast Tacos & More: For any visitors coming from out of state, they are going to expect to be treated to a big, heaping plate of barbecue. Click here for some ideas on where to go for some delicious BBQ. You also can’t visit Austin without sampling some of our most delicious breakfast tacos and other Tex-Mex favorites.


MORE IDEAS:

Check out our Do512 Family Calendar for details about daily events.

What are your go-to spots for taking visitors? Tell us in the comments below.