Austin: Make Your Dollar Go Further

You don’t need to spend a ton of cash to have a good time in Austin. Stretch your dollar by visiting some of these family-friendly hotspots.

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If you like live music, cool restaurants, and a funky yet family-friendly feel, head to Austin. The capital of the Lone Star State isn’t short on things to do and see, and you don’t need to spend a ton of cash to have a good time. Stretch your dollar a little further by visiting some of these wallet-friendly family spots.

Where to Eat

Ready for some big Texas eats? Pack your appetite and head to one of these Austin restaurants for some delish dining.

The Magnolia Cafe

If you’re looking for a hearty meal, good service, and everything from pancakes to tacos, hit up The Magnolia Café. Of course, just about everything’s good at this local favorite, but you definitely can’t go wrong with the Royal Toast. With two Austin locations and 24-hour service, you’ve got no excuse to miss out on this area staple.

Phil’s Icehouse

If you have a hankering for a good burger and cold ice cream, Phil’s Icehouse is the place to go. Icehouse or not, it’s an equally great spot for the kiddos, with menu items like mini-burgers and an outdoor playground for some kiddie fun. You just sit back and enjoy a gourmet Texas burger and let the magic happen.

Home Slice Pizza

You don’t have to travel to New York to get thin-crust pizza. Just head to Home Slice for a piece of classic pie, or try one of the funky flavors — eggplant, anyone? It just might be Austin’s favorite pizza place, and you can feed the whole fam with an authentic White Clam Pizza — if you’re feeling adventurous.

What to Do

Head outside and enjoy some of the city’s favorite activities at one of these thrifty — but fun — places.

Sunrise over rocks and water at McKinney Falls State Park in Austin, Texas.

McKinney Falls State Park

Limestone waterfalls in Austin? Yep. Just minutes from the big city, McKinney Falls State Park is kind of like its own oasis. Take a hike or pack a picnic at this beautiful park, where kids 12 and under enjoy free admission.

Zilker Park

A large metropolitan park in the heart of the city, Zilker Park offers fun for all, with a playscape, volleyball courts, disc golf course, and even a natural spring-fed pool. The park itself is free, but you need to take some cash if you want to hit up the botanical gardens with all the cool waterfalls, koi ponds, and flower gardens.

Free Family Fun

Prefer to keep your moolah completely in your wallet? That’s not a problem in Austin. Just pencil these attractions into your itinerary and call it a win.

Aerial view of the Texas State Capitol building in Austin on sunny day.

Texas State Capitol

Everything’s bigger in Texas — including the Capitol Building. Take a free guided tour to check out this impressive building renowned for its size, beauty, and history.

Two kayakers in Lady Bird Lake with the Austin, Texas, skyline behind them on a sunny day.

Lady Bird Lake

At Lady Bird Lake, you can explore on a kayak or try your luck on a stand-up paddle board, all without leaving the city limits. If you’re a land lover, look for critters on one of the wildlife trails, or try your hand at some fishing.

Graffiti Park

If you’ve ever felt the urge to take a can of spray paint to the side of a building, Graffiti Park is right up your alley. Not only can you see amazing street art here, but you can even add your own contribution to one of the painted walls. (You know you want to.)

Bee Cave Sculpture Park

A funky park that fits perfectly with Austin’s vibe, Bee Cave Sculpture Park is a free, seven-acre space with an assortment of public sculptures. Combine the beauty of art and nature as you take a stroll through the quirky grounds.

Austin is the perfect destination to make new family memories. Looking for more adventures in the capital of the Lone Star State? Check out this guide to the best bargain eats in Austin.

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