SOUTH LAMAR BLVD. AREA:
We used to drive way up north to the original Phil's Ice House/Amy's Ice Cream. Thankfully South Austin now has its very own location. While Phil's has amazing burgers (great veggie burgers, too!), sweet potato fries, and the best homemade buns around, the real attraction is the playground. Phil's colorful playground is fenced in, allowing parents to relax with a draft beer while their kids tear it up and make room for a post-burger dessert from Amy's. Across the street, you'll find kids' boutique GaGa. GaGa features wonderful natural parenting toys and gear from brands you trust, as well as lots of offerings from Austin designers.
Open 24 hours, Kerbey Lane Cafe is a great, kid-friendly diner. Plus, kid's eat free every Tuesday! They serve plenty of local produce and have an extensive selection of vegan/veggie options. They also cater well to those with food sensitivities. Our five-year-old loves the French Toast; we love the Migas!
Anna's Toy Depot is a great place to swing by after a brunch at Kerbey Lane. It's right next door and is filled with the best selection of used toys in town. Your kids will have fun digging through bins of PlayMobil, Lego, and random action figures and you'll get nostalgic when you come across that exact same PlaySkool farm house or record player you had when you were small!
Looking for totally low key, all Vegetarian/Vegan fare? Check out Mr. Natural. What it lacks in ambiance,it more than makes up for in tasty foods your body will thank you for.
While the Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar is known for its fun pre-show entertainment, food service, beer, film fests and more, it's also known and loved for its strict throw-you-out-on-your-butt-
they sleep, you get a nice break, and if they cry, no one is going to make you feel bad about it. This screening is for you, not the grumpy, childless guy in the back who can come whenever he wants. See whatever you want; it's glorious!
SOUTH 1ST ST. AREA:
100% vegetarian Bouldin Creek Coffee House recently moved from an old house to a sleek, new building a block away. While the new location lacks a lot of the charm of the original, it's decidedly more child-friendly. We love the soy lattes, lemonade, eggs, and breakfast tacos.
Sugar Mama's Bakeshop has the best cupcakes in town, hands down. Do yourself a favor and go eat one. "Jack's Lemon" is divine.
Fabric and craft lovers, meet your new favorite place: Stitch Lab! Situated on S. 1st, just south of Barton Springs Rd., in a sweet converted house, sits the best local resource for sewers. Everyday something new is happening at the lab; from classes, to sales, to open troubleshooting sewing help. The shelves are teeming with gorgeous fabrics, expertly selected by the uber-talented gals of Stitch Lab. Bringing your kid while you shop? No problem; they've got you covered with coloring books and puzzles to keep the kiddo busy while you swoon over textiles.
If it's a nice day or evening, you'll definitely want to pull into the South Austin Trailer Park and Eatery - home to the trailers of Torchy's Tacos, Man Bites Dog, and Holy Cacao. You'll also find plenty of outdoor seating and a rad gameroom. Once it gets dark, the fire pit gets lit and the twinkly lights go on. Rainy day? Try the brick-and-mortar Torchy's Taco's a few miles further south on S. 1st. So good. Try the fried avocado - yum!
(SOUTH) SOUTH CONGRESS AVE.:
Further south, past the main strip of South Congress Ave., there are a few family-friendly spots worth checking out.
Austin is full of Public Parks and Playgrounds. Our personal favorite? Little Stacy Playground, it's shaded, small and just right for the under 7 crowd. It's just a bit east of South Congress, at 1400 Alameda Dr. For the killer summers, there's also a wading pool.
Ruta Maya is an Austin institution. A community-focused coffeehouse with locally-roasted, ethically farmed beans, they also host live music, workshops, and classes. Most importantly, they host the weekly Ruta Maya Kids Show every Sunday at 10:30 AM. Bring the kiddos for a rotating lineup of music, puppet shows, circus acts, and usually a little weirdness. While they watch and play, you can caffeinate.