Family friendly events in Austin, Texas are an ongoing occurrence. There are always great family friendly places and events to attend!
It’s actually chilly in Austin and that can only mean one thing—Christmas is right around the corner! And nothing says Christmas in ATX more than our favorite holiday tradition, the Trail of Lights at Zilker Park. For its 54th year of merriment, the trail will run from December 10 – 23, with the first look for those doing the Trail of Lights Fun Run on December 1. You gotta Instagram yourself under the giant rainbow tunnel of lights or it didn’t happen.
Since it began in 1965, the Austin Trail of Lights has grown into one of the city’s largest events, attracting an average of 400,000 people per year. There are over two million lights, 65 displays, 30 food trucks, three entertainment stages, 50 private holiday parties, and interactive experiences throughout the park. Calendars for ticket availability, special programming, and online ticket purchases are here. We highly recommend the ZIP pass, which lets you cut the line and go through the trail an hour before the masses. Worth every penny!
There are a bunch of special nights to keep in mind. Click here for the complete rundown.
Grab your bestie (the furry one) and come out to the UT campus for the fourth-annual Landmarks Dog Walk! Landmarks has partnered with Blue Dog Rescue to present a docent-led public art dog walk. Dogs and owners will take a leisurely one-hour stroll around The University of Texas at Austin to appreciate some of its most stunning works of outdoor sculpture.
Bring your dog, a leash, and plenty of waste bags to Mark di Suvero’s Clock Knot near Dean Keeton Street and Speedway at 11 a.m. Don’t have a four-legged friend? Meet and greet some of Blue Dog Rescue’s most eligible canines!
Please make sure your dog is well-behaved around people and other animals and up-to-date on vaccinations. There will be plenty of water stops along the tour route, and each guest will receive a special Landmarks frisbee!
When: Today, October 7th
Time: 11 a.m. – noon
Cost: Free and open to the public.
Landmarks, The Public Art Program of The University of Texas at Austin
1 University Sta
Austin, Texas 78712
The good people at Austin Animal Center are trying to avoid using pop crates this weekend by waiving adoption fees on medium and large doggies! They are super full right now and also looking for fosters.
If you’ve been thinking about bringing someone special into your family, THIS is the perfect time to find them.
When: Today, September 16th
Hours: 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
7201 Levander Loop Bldg. A
Austin, TX 78702
Tonight’s Hartman Foundation Concert in the Park will be the perfect way to wind down the weekend. These weekly concerts are one of Austin’s true summer treasures. The city at sunset is a beautiful backdrop to the music. Don’t forget to bring a picnic dinner and a blanket!
Each week features a different ensemble of the Austin Symphony. They will play a variety of music, everything from jazz and light classical to pop selections and film scores. Tonight’s theme is brass and next Sunday it’s big band!
When: Today, August 19th
Time: 7:30 – 9:30 p.m.
Austin Symphony At The Long Center
701 W Riverside Dr.
Austin, Texas 78704
Austinites don’t just love our pets—we live for them! And we want to give them the very best. Humans in this town are all about the juice cleanses, nature walks, and organic food, so it’s only right that our animals get in on the action, too.
Kriser’s Natural Pet, otherwise known as “the Whole Foods for pets,” has just opened a brand-spanking new South Lamar location and they are having a party to celebrate! They’ll have free nail trims, raffles, and more. They’ll also be giving away fun-filled gift bags with poop bag holders, can lids, and a bunch of samples from their vendors.
Kriser’s opened its first storefront in Chicago in 2006 and has since spread to 47 locations throughout the country. Their natural pet foods are free of corn, wheat, soy, and by-products and their grooming products are gentle and non-irritating. You can shop knowing that they stand behind the treats, supplements, and pet supplies they feature and feel good about recommending each brand.
“The Austin pet community is thriving and we’re thrilled to continue our mission of helping pets live happier, healthier lives, naturally, with this second location,” said Brad Kriser, founder and CEO. “We’re excited to help even more pet parents care for their pets with education, outstanding products, and grooming.”
Whether your beloved furry friends need toys, food, supplements or anything else under the sun—you’ll find a huge selection here. Come meet the animal lovers at Kriser’s at the location and share that healthy, happy Austin lifestyle with your best pal.
When: Saturday, August 18th
Time: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
2330 South Lamar Blvd
If you take a drive just 20-ish miles west on Highway 71 out of Austin, you’ll reach one of the most picturesque spots in the entire state: Hamilton Pool Preserve. The swimming hole has been a popular spot for Austin residents and tourists alike since the ’60s, but was actually formed thousands of years ago when the dome of an underground river collapsed.
Now part of the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve, the preserve is home to many rare and endangered species of plant and animals, including the golden-cheeked warbler bird and plants like canyon mock-orange and the chatter-box orchid. Visitors to the park are asked to be mindful of the efforts to preserve this natural wonder.
The natural pool and creek are natural, left untreated and pure for your swimming pleasure. The swimming area is surrounded by a tiny beach at one end and a massive, horseshoe-shaped limestone cliff around the rest. There’s even a waterfall opposite the beach, a much Instagrammed locale at the preserve. Because everything is natural, swimming at Hamilton Pool is sometimes off-limits due to high levels of bacteria. Updates are available every morning at 9 a.m. by calling 512-264-2740.
Unfortunately, as is customary, the “secret” of Hamilton Pool was unearthed in recent years, correlating with both the large growth in population and the influx of tourism as a result of the innumerable festivals and conferences inside city limits. Wait times to even enter the park reached into multiple-hours on weekends and particularly nice days, with a large majority of late-arrivers being turned away because the preserve had hit capacity.
To combat this, a couple of years ago the Travis County Parks Department implemented a reservation system for the busy season. A reservation is required if you want to visit the pool between now and October 31, 2018—and that goes for each and every day of the week.
To make your reservation, click here. But before you do, please note the following super important fine print:
“You make your reservation online by paying $11 with a credit card. You will also pay $15 per vehicle in cash for an entrance permit when you arrive at the preserve. Credit cards are not accepted when you arrive at the preserve. Bring cash.
You can bring only one vehicle with each reservation. You can bring no more than 8 people with each reservation.
Your reservation receipt will be emailed to you very shortly after you make the reservation.
Reservation Periods: 9 a.m. – 1 p.m., 2 p.m. – 6 p.m.
No entry after 12:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. All recreational activities end at 12:30 pm and 5:30 p.m.
All fees are non-refundable once you have paid them. The deadline to reschedule a reservation is midnight before your reservation. You cannot reschedule on the same date as your reservation.
Swimming is sometimes not allowed due to high bacteria. Swimming is NOT guaranteed with your reservation.”
Got all that? It may sound like a hassle, but we promise it’s all worth it! Get yourself a rezzy and make the most of this amazing spot.
Come explore one of Austin’s most beautiful treasures with your best friend! It’s Dog Day at Zilker Botanical Garden! The Garden is actually dog friendly every day, but this is an extra special day where the Garden is all about pups! Well-socialized, well-behaved dogs on leash are welcome, but they must remain on leash at all times. And, of course, dog owners are responsible for their dogs’ behavior… and for scooping up after them.
Here’s what you can expect:
• An adorable photo op with your dog,
• Learn about dog-friendly opportunities in Austin Parks and responsible pet etiquette that helps keep our Parks safe for all!
• Doggedly good amenities and things to dig into!
Dog bowls and cooling off stations will be available around the Garden and anyone with a dog will receive a doggie bag with a dog treat, pooper scooper bag, and a stylish bandana for your favorite canine!
When: Today, July 7th
Time: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Zilker Botanical Garden
Austin, Texas 78746
Dear cat people, we know dog people get a lot of attention in ATX, but let’s not worry about them today—because here’s an event that’s all about YOU! And your cat, of course. Because you really really love your cat. POP Cats is a two-day convention celebrating adorable felines, art, and pop culture and it’s heading our way Aug. 25 – 26. Mark your calendars, buy your tickets, tell your cat. Do what you need to do. POP Cats debuted last year at the Miami Airport Convention Center and the city was never the same.
After a successful inaugural event, the founders decided to expand the event to two days and explored the country for a perfect POP Cats 2018 location. They ultimately chose Austin because of the city’s adoration of its pet population and its vibrant creative community.
The meow-tastic press release describes the event as a “fun, immersive feline universe where humans can shop, learn, adopt, play, and connect with the spirited cat community.” What could possibly be better?
They’ll be music, entertainment, a play space for cats and their owners, and a curated line-up of feline experts and influencers. Plus cat-loving artists and vendors from Texas and around the world. They are all coming together to celebrate the splendor of cats and the humans that love them.
Austin Humane Society will be there with adorable kitties looking for their forever home. Austin’s own internet-famous tuxie cat, Turbo-Two Legs will be onsite with his mom, Chelsey Schmidt, to highlight the benefits of adopting disabled and special needs kitties.
Buy your tickets here!Onsite food, refreshments, and “cat-tails” will be available. Onsite parking is $8.
Adult $20 | Child $10 | 10+ Groups $16
2-Day Tickets: Adult $32 | Child $16 | 10+ Groups $25.60
Can I bring my cat?
Yes! Cats are totally welcome! They must be current on their vaccinations (bring their records!). The also have to be on a harness or in a crate while walking the event. Only one cat allowed per group. Dogs are not allowed for obvious reasons—no exceptions.
When: Sat., Aug. 25 – 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. & Sun., Aug. 26 – 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Palmer Events Center
900 Barton Springs Rd. Austin, TX 78704
Tonight at the glorious Central Library, the Austin Symphony quartet will perform pieces from or inspired by Latin America. If you haven’t visited this temple to books and civilized society, then this is a fabulous occasion to see it for yourself. The Austin Public Library and the Austin Symphony and will host two other quartet performances this year on September 6 and November 1.
Central Concerts bring musicians and the community together for free live performances at the Central Library.
Free and open to the public!
When: Today, June 11th
Time: 7 – 8 p.m.
Demonstration Area (1st floor)
710 W. César Chávez St.
Photos by Tony Secker
It had been several years since we’d been out to Horseshoe Bay Resort, and as soon as we turned in off the highway, we were both asking ourselves why it had taken us so long to come back. This golf and vacation destination, located about an hour west of Austin, has a somewhat tropical feel to it that at times feels a bit more like South Florida than Central Texas. Vacation vibes were immediately in full swing.
The landscaping definitely plays a huge part in the allure of this place. From the moment you enter the resort, it appears that every flower and every palm tree is part of a grand design. We were also fortunate enough to visit in late spring when everything was in full bloom.
For this trip, we decided to stay in one of the villas, rather than the main tower. We were still only a short walk to the front desk, restaurants, and other amenities, but with the luxury of having what felt like our own town home—complete with kitchen, family room, and a parking spot right by the front door. The villas are also pet-friendly, which was the main selling point for us because we wanted to bring the pup.
After settling in (and a trip to the bar), we headed straight for the real bermuda grass miniature golf course, which was one of our favorite memories from the previous trip. The 18-hole, par 72 course is complete with sand traps and other obstacles, and is surrounded by beautiful waterfalls, ponds, and rose gardens. We have a standing rule that the loser has to buy post-round drinks, which is a tradition that I highly recommend for anyone (over 21) that plays here.
To claim my free drink, we wandered into the Whitewater 360 Sports Club, which is conveniently located right next to the mini golf course. This place had been remodeled since the last time we were here, and now hosts a full bar with 360 degrees of flat-screen TVs. We decided to order a pizza and watch the NBA Western Conference Finals, which was a perfect way to end the evening.
In the morning we took the dog for a walk around the resort (have I mentioned the beautiful landscaping?) before heading over to the tower for breakfast at Lantana. They offer an extensive buffet that looked great, but we both opted for made-to-order options off the breakfast menu.
I asked for a cup of coffee for the road and we hopped on the resort shuttle for an early tee time at one of four golf courses at Horseshoe Bay. Today we were playing Slick Rock, possibly the median of the four courses from a difficulty perspective, depending on who you ask. It’s home to the “Million Dollar Hole,” which includes a waterfall feature that you drive your cart across.
And that was that. We were unfortunately only able to spend less than 24-hours at the resort this time around. Not nearly enough time to hit the pool, the impressive spa, the other two golf courses, or rent jet-skis on Lake LBJ like we did on our last trip! But, we hear they just opened a waterfront bar, which has our name all over it, and their Ram Rock course recently reopened after extensive remodels; as if we needed more reasons to visit again.
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