If there is one thing many of us parents require first thing in the morning, it’s caffeine. But the last thing we want to do is walk into a coffee shop and be met with icy stares from fellow patrons upon seeing you enter an establishment’s serene confines with your kids in tow. What are the best places to get a good cup of coffee in Austin which also have a family-friendly vibe? Read on to find out!
Alta’s Cafe – 74 Trinity Street
Perfect spot for renting a canoe east of the “bat bridge”, taking a break after a walk on the Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail and taking in the view of the water on the large wooden deck. Keep in mind that, similar to many spots downtown, parking is scarce.
Parents like: Healthy, locally-sourced fare and espresso bar.
Kids love: Feeding the ducks off the boat dock and climbing on Orly Genger’s larger-than-life sized rope sculpture, Hurlyburly (there until February 2017).
Caffé Medici – 1100 South Lamar, 1101 West Lynn, 2222B Guadalupe, 200 Congress Avenue, #2B
Medici owners Alison and Michael Vaclav have five kids, so it’s no wonder that their coffee shops are family-friendly. The Clarksville location is so popular you may have a hard time finding a table inside the house-turned-refueling station.
Parents like: Cuvee coffee and a serious dedication to crafting the perfect cup.
Kids love: Milk and cookies and arguably the best hot chocolate in town.
Cenote – 1010 East Cesar Chavez
On those days the sunshine is begging you to get out of the house, Cenote is a great place just a stone’s throw from downtown, Cenote is a great place to sit and enjoy one of Austin’s many beautiful days.
Parents like: A (mostly) fenced in outdoor area, the laid-back vibe and impressive breakfast menu.
Kids love: The outdoor space and the octopus bike rack.
Cherrywood Coffeehouse – 1400 E. 38th ½ Street
Part coffee shop, part live music venue, part meeting place, families flock from across town to Cherrywood. The parking lot is often full, but there is also some street parking.
Parents like: Free, kid-friendly bands on Sundays at 10am….and brunch!
Kids love: Breakfast tacos, smoothies and plenty of space to roam outdoors.
Halcyon – 218 West 4th Street (plus, a new location to open in Mueller in 2016)
A mainstay of the warehouse district, Halcyon’s outdoor tables have been enticing passersby for decades to stop and sit a while. Needless to say, parking can be difficult at times, since Halcyon is in the heart of downtown.
Parents like: Excellent people watching and nice stop in between downtown excursions.
Kids love: S’mores and Nutella crepes.
Jo’s Coffee – 1300 South Congress, 242 West 2nd Street
Most people know Jo’s because of its iconic “I love you so much” wall, one of the most Instagrammed locations on South Congress.
Parents like: High chairs at Jo’s Downtown and fun events like the Easter pet parade at the South Congress location.
Kids love: The gluten-free donut holes and vegan chocolate muffins.
Monkey Nest Coffee – 5353 Burnet Road
No matter how early your risers are up and at ‘em, you can take them to Monkey Nest, since it’s open 24/7. The coffee shop is bigger than it appears from the outside and has a very relaxed environment.
Parents like: Lots of food options and friendly staff.
Kids love: Playing board games.
Mozart’s Coffee Roasters – 3825 Lake Austin Boulevard
You may visit this idyllic lakeside spot during the holidays for their famous light display, but it’s also a great place to go during other times of the year to enjoy coffee and a sweet treat for the rest of your crew. You may need to park in Oyster Landing and walk across the street.
Parents like: The great scenery and huge outdoor, two-level deck shaded by large oak trees.
Kids love: Boat and duck watching.
Quack’s – 411 East 43rd Street
Quack’s has been around since 1983, partly because families keep coming back to enjoy the bakery’s trademark decorated shortbread cookies.
Parents like: Ample parking, fair trade coffee and friendly neighborhood vibe.
Kids love: Pumpkin bread and several cases chock full of other sweets.
Radio Coffee & Beer – 4204 Manchaca
You would never guess that there is a tranquil yet vibrant meeting spot behind the intersection of Manchaca and Ben White, but Radio Coffee & Beer has already become quite a hot spot since its opening in 2014.
Parents like: Mostly covered outside picnic tables and Veracruz food truck onsite.
Kids love: Playing in the large, mostly-fenced in yard.
Sweetish Hill – 1120 West 6th Street
Tucked into a non-assuming strip center close to downtown is this bakery, which has been a fixture in Austin for over 40 years.
Parents like: Central location and convenience of grabbing a baguette for later in the day.
Kids love: Outdoor seating and cinnamon rolls.
Note: Although these establishments are family-friendly, some do not have high chairs, so plan accordingly.
About the author: A native Austinite and soccer-playing mom, Nicole Basham uses her 10-year-old son as an excuse to rediscover her hometown through his eyes. In Thoreau’s words, her mission is to “suck out all the marrow of life”, or in her son’s words, to cultivate in him a love of adventures.