Family-Friendly Austin: Where to Stay and Where to Play with Young Kids [Austin, TX]

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Family-friendly ideas of where to stay and where to play during your visit to Austin, TX with young kids.

We recently made our second trip to Austin, TX with the kids.  Our first visit was two years ago for a conference I attended.  The whole family came and we had a great time venturing our way to different restaurants in the area.  We couldn’t wait to return some day!  That day arrived in November – a weekend trip.  Our kids are young (1 year and 5 years) so we knew we’d have to make the trip kid-friendly.

Kid-Friendly Place to Stay

Family-Friendly Austin, TX: Omni Hotel Downtown Austin, TXSince we now have a minivan, road trips are much easier for us.  We drove the 8+ hours to Austin and arrived late at night to our hotel, the Omni Downtown Austin.  We chose this hotel because of it’s reputation for being kid-friendly, yet elegant.

Family-Friendly Austin, TX: Omni Hotel Downtown Austin, TX - Kids Sensational ProgramThe Omni Hotels offer a complimentary Sensational Kids program where your kids receive a backpack of activities upon arrival.  Then, the first night of your stay, cookies and milk are delivered to your room for your tots!  You can also request more toys to borrow during your stay.

Family-Friendly Austin, TX: Omni Hotel Downtown Austin, TX - Kids Sensational ProgramDid you know there are select Omni Hotels that offer kid suites with an attached bedroom for the kids that includes children’s bedding, bean bag chairs, an art tables, books, games, etc.??  This isn’t offered at the downtown Austin location, but I next time we visit Austin, we might try to book the Southpark Omni location and test it out!  😉

Family-Friendly Austin, TX: Omni Hotel Downtown Austin, TXOmni is also kid-friendly for the views.  Judah and Simon were both thrilled with the view from our room, staring at the architecture that decorated the outside entrance through to the inside lobby area.

Family-Friendly Austin, TX: Omni Hotel Downtown Austin, TXThey were also entertained with the elevator rides… being able to look out through the clear elevator wall as we traveled up and down.  Watching the elevators from the lobby was one of Simon’s favorite past times that weekend, too!  HA!

Kid-Friendly Places to Play

Family-Friendly Austin, TX: Mt. Playmore Indoor PlaygroundBefore leaving for Austin, I researched a few recreational ideas for the kids, but we ended up finding other unexpected activities, instead!  It was unusually cold for Austin, and a little rainy, so the gold mine we found for our kids was an indoor playground called Mt. Playmore.

Family-Friendly Austin, TX: Mt. Playmore Indoor PlaygroundWe took our kids to Mt. Playmore TWICE during our weekend visit because we loved it that much.  They both could run wild in the huge, screened-in playscape.  Even though Simon is just 1 1/2 years old, he was able to crawl through on his own.  Parents can comfortably fit through and follow their kids, too!  But, when we tired out, we were able to grab a table in the center of the room, still see our kids, and just RELAX.  Happy kids, happy parents.

There are also arcade games, a toddler center and a restaurant in Mt. Playmore.  Fun for all!  The above video is an example of one of the floor video games that Judah and Simon both loved.  Soccer, at that!  I didn’t get it filmed, but the floor game also included Hungry Hippos played with your feet.  Really fun!

The price at Mt. Playmore was right.  Simon was free since he’s under 2 years, Judah was about $10, but parents are only charged $1.00 each.  I strongly dislike when places charge parents the same price as kids (like Children’s Museums) so this was a pleasant surprise!

Family-Friendly Austin, TX:  IKEAAnother fun place for us was shopping at IKEA.  We were dying to go to IKEA and pick up some toy storage baskets and shelves we had been wanting since last summer.  Plus, IKEA is simply FUN!  Not only do kids love to play in the numerous playhouses throughout the store and the toys in the toy department, but the food court is a great place for kid-friendly meals.  It even has a separate area in there for kids to sit at a table and watch a movie!

Family-Friendly Austin, TX:  IKEA Småland - children's supervised playground while parents shop!We didn’t eat at IKEA this time, but we did take advantage of Småland, a free supervised children’s playground for kids who are potty trained.  Judah wanted to play there while we shopped.  Simon had to stay with us, since he is still in diapers.  But, it was nice to just have one kid while shopping!  Plus, since we are member of IKEA FAMILY, we were granted an extra 30 minutes of playtime.

Family-Friendly Austin, TX - Terra ToysAnother idea for entertaining your young children during a weekend trip is to find a toy store.  We came across Terra Toys, a local toy store.  Simon was sleeping when we arrived, so instead of waking him, Ben took Judah inside the store while I stayed in the van with Simon and took a quick power nap of my own.  So, I didn’t get to see the inside of the toy store, but Ben and Judah were able to go in and play with a few toys for a quick break.  They bought a little table-top football game that was perfect for playing in the hotel room later that evening and the next day.

Family-Friendly Austin, TX: Where to Play - Amy's Ice CreamsThis next place to take your kids is also somewhere I’d recommend for a good ice cream treat, so it’ll appear in the next post about “where to eat”, too.  It’s Amy’s Ice Cream…I think the one on Guadalupe, if I remember correctly.  It has this pretty cool outdoor playground which automatically makes it kid-friendly.  We didn’t play on it because it was dark and cold by the time we arrived, but I noted it for next time when the weather is right!

Speaking of weather, this trip was all about indoor activities since it was unusually cold in Austin that weekend.  When researching ahead of time, I found many ideas for kid-friendly outdoor activities, like the farmers market, bat bridge, children’s museum, outdoor parks, etc. but they all will all have to wait for next time when the weather is better!

Austin FamilyDo you travel with your kids?  We love having them along and think it’s a great way to educate them!  At this young age, though, it’s imperative you make your trip kid-friendly and not force them to do all adult/boring things!  😉  Be on the look-out for my next post about family-friendly places to eat in Austin.  Because, we all know we’re not going to wait in line 3 hours with young kids for Franklin Barbecue.  Not.gonna.happen.  BUT, there are other delicious and worthy barbecue joints in Austin with little or no waits and VERY kid-friendly.

Have you been to Austin with your kids?  What are your favorite kid-friendly things to do?

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  1. I couldn’t agree with you more on the importance of traveling with small kids. It’s such a great way to educate them and show them the world! PS: Love that it was “too chilly” in Austin – haha.

  2. Looks like such a fun place to take a family! Will have to consider this for a vacation in the future. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Heather Gladd says:

    I am always needing kid-friendly places to go, especially when the whether is not working out. All the indoor play areas looked amazing, and I would totally go to one if we were passing through. So important to teach our children how to behave in our adult world, but just important to let them be kids and have fun in kid-friendly situations.

  4. We have never been to Austin but would love to visit! We were in Houston, Texas for the first time last summer and enjoyed it. Looks like y’all had a great trip!

  5. Always looking for places to take my grandkids. They would love it here and gramps would too 🙂

  6. We have always wanted to visit Austin but know I realllly want to go! The kids would be in heaven 🙂 Looks like a great time!!

  7. I have not been to Austin with my kids, but would love to bring them! I think it’s awesome you road trip with your family. Great memory making 😉

  8. I’m loving this idea of “kid friendly” hotels. Next road trip with my 1yr old and 3yr old I will definitely be looking for the Omni Hotels to visit. I love the idea of having a separate kid room and toys to play with! Awesome! Thanks for sharing!

  9. Looks like a great time! Gotta love memories made on road trips! 🙂

  10. Looks like a lot of fun. When I think of Austin, I think of all the things to do outside, so it is good to have some places to take the kids when the weather goes sour. Definitely going to book mark this post. By the way everyone knows its all about Rudy’s BBQ. Just sayin…

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