The city of Austin has recently invested in some significant remodels on the playgrounds in Austin. Luckily, it’s warm nearly year-round in ATX, so you can enjoy these magnificent public parks during any month. This roundup includes parks all over the Austin area, from Round Rock all the way down to Circle C.
When you feel like you might be going crazy by visiting your local neighborhood park for the 84,000th time, pack up the car and drive to a new Austin park across town! Throw in a picnic lunch and it makes for a fun, free thing to do in Austin with the kiddos.
The Austin Parks department has shown that they’re prioritizing safe, inclusive (lookin’ at you, Pease Park!) green spaces for the Austin youth to enjoy. In the past few years, they’ve invested millions of dollars in renovating Pease Park, Walnut Creek Park, Circle C Park, and others, making these play structures bigger and better for the growing Austin population, safer for young children, and adding more shaded areas to protect against the summer sun.
There are dozens and dozens of pocket parks and neighborhood parks. You can find the entire list by looking at the parks department on the Austin government website. But for a quick peak into the best playgrounds in Austin, here are some fun ideas.
The Best Parks And Playgrounds In Austin
1. Alliance Children's Garden (top pick!)
The new crown jewel of Austin, this EPIC two-acre garden and playground area features climbing walls, cement slides, a water feature, a giant rope climbing gym, a “hill country” garden with tunnels and soft green turf, a sand pit, and more!
The Alliance Children's Garden is near downtown Austin with a gorgeous view of the skyline, making this the perfect place to play if you’re visiting Austin with kids.
PARKING INFO: paid parking is available in the lot at Douglas Art Center (100 Dawson Rd, Austin 78704.) However, that lot fills up quickly, especially on crowded weekends. Find additional paid parking in the Palmer Events Center garage (a short 5-minute walk from the Alliance Children’s Garden), or for a free option, look for street parking in the Bouldin Creek neighborhood on Dawson Rd.
1000 Barton Springs Rd, Austin, TX 78704
2. Peace District Park (Central Austin)
Probably the most instagrammed playground in Austin, the 84-acre Peace Park recently underwent a $15 million renovation. (It’s a 100-year-old park and needed it!)
The highlight is the “Treehouse,” a steel and rope structure that’s made to resemble a seed pod resting in the forest. It’s an inclusive design, including wheelchair access around the rim so that everyone can enjoy resting in the middle of the trees and feeling closer to the sky.
Peace Park is full of wooden climbing structures, a life-size chess board, walking paths, and a basketball court. The pavilion features a large picnic table area (great for a lunch stop) and the historic Tudor Cottage was renovated to be an event center that you can rent in advance.
PARKING INFO: honestly, your best bet is to go on a weekday to get one of the few free parking spots in the lot by Peace Park on Kingsbury Street. Free street parking extends all the way down Parkway (underneath the 15th Street bridge).
1100 Kingsbury St, Austin, TX 78703
3. Waterloo Park (Downtown Austin)
This SUPER cool park in downtown Austin is a brand new addition to the city! Waterloo Greenway is a massive 1.5-mile park system, and when it's finished (they're working on it in phases) it will be a 35 acre greenspace. There's a playground near the amphitheater, and it's a great place to bring the kids for a morning of climbing around, sliding on the HUGE (and fast!) cement slide, and then enjoying a picnic lunch in the grassy lawn of the adjacent amphitheater.
PARKING INFO:Waterloo Park guests can get 2 free hours of parking at the Capitol Visitors Parking garage located at 1201 San Jacinto Blvd. You can also find paid street parking on the streets surrounding the park.
500 E 12th St, Austin, TX 78701
4. Play For All Abilities Park (Round Rock)
An epic space that’s inclusive of all ages and abilities! Round Rock really went above and beyond on this fun space. It includes a mini “village” with buildings and stores, traffic lights, and roads, and a “speedway” for scooting or biking. There’s a sensory pod, playscapes and swings made for all abilities, and nearby picnic tables and restrooms. It’s a fun weekend destination!
PARKING INFO: Free parking in an adjacent lot
151 N A.W. Grimes Blvd, Round Rock, TX 78664
5. Walnut Creek Metro Park (north Austin)
The first thing your big kids will notice when you walk up to this Austin playground is the SKY HIGH SLIDE! It’s fast and so much fun! (Seriously, it looks like you’re walking up to a major water park from a distance - the slide is super high.) Walnut Creek Metro Park also features some magnificent trails if you want to do some Austin hiking.
This playground was originally developed in the 60s and 70s but was significantly updated in May 2021. Now it has a huge slide, a soft turf area for running, a playscape for littles, a fun treehouse area, and more!
PARKING INFO: free parking in an adjacent lot
12138 N. Lamar Blvd., Austin, TX 78753
6. Circle C Metro Park (south Austin)
Yet another amazing playground in Austin that got a recent renovation! Circle C Metro Park was designed with both the kids and the parents in mind. It has two separate playscapes: one designed for younger kids and one for older kids. The entire park is shaded by either large trees or additional shade structures (so it’s a good option for summer months,) and the ground is a slightly soft, squishy texture (great for toddler tumbles AND mom's knees...)
There’s a cute musical garden with a xylophone and drums to play, a gravel pit (most parents will say they prefer this over a messy sand pit..), swings, a merry-go-round that’s flush with the ground, and other climbing structures.
PARKING INFO: free parking in Circle C park lot.
6301 W Slaughter Ln, Austin, TX 78739
7. Ramsey Neighborhood Park (Central Austin)
Ramsey Park is a neighborhood gem! This playground is tucked into the Rosedale neighborhood in north/central Austin, bordered by houses and streets on all 4 sides. It’s a favorite for local residents, but it’s also a big/fun park and could certainly make a weekday destination if you need something fun to do with kids in Austin.
There's a wonderful play area with a giant turtle (!) and some slides, a great playscape, and lots of space to run around. But the real gem of Ramsey Park is the HUGE climbing structure for big kids. It’s made of ropes and steel and all sorts of funky-shaped pieces that fit together into a fun mish-mash climbing gym.
PARKING INFO: free street parking is available
4301 Rosedale Ave, Austin, TX 78756
8. Roy G Guerrero Park (Southeast Austin)
The first two words we’re going to mention about this Austin playground: FENCED IN. If you’ve ever cared for two toddlers at the same time, you know how valuable this is in playground world. (Whyyyyy do they always have to run off in opposite directions?)
Apart from the obvious fact that this is a phenomenal playground that’s FENCED IN and safe from cars, the Roy G Guerrero playground is fantastic for a few other reasons: it’s on a huge green space and secluded from noise and traffic, it features a few separate playscapes, and it’s typically not as crowded as some of the newer parks that we mentioned at the beginning of this list.
PARKING INFO: Free parking in the adjacent lot
400 Grove Blvd, Austin, TX 78741
9. Katherine Fleischer Park (Wells Branch)
Whether you live in Wells Branch or not, this is a fun playground for a weekday visit. It’s adjacent to the historic Gault Homestead; your little ones can run through and peek in the windows.
The playground area is heavily shaded and has an adorable green playhouse. It’s 3 stories tall (!!) and kids love it. There are swings, multi-level playscapes, a climbing structure, and a central shaded pavilion with benches where you can rest while watching the kids play.
PARKING INFO: Free parking on an adjacent lot
2106 Klattenhoff Dr, Austin, TX 78728
10. Zilker Park Playground (Central Austin)
The Zilker playground is an older one in Austin, but it’s still worth mentioning because it’s central to almost anything in the city. It’s right next to Barton Springs swimming pool, so keep in mind that the parking lot will be PACKED in the summer months. However, it’s a fun place to play in the winter.
The funny thing about this playground is the Zilker train track runs through the middle of it. The park was built on either side of the train (with a safety fence in the middle.) So it’s a great spot for older kids, but sometimes toddlers will climb up one side, go down a slide on the other, and then they’ll be confused as to why dad is now on the other side of the fence? Ha!
PARKING INFO: paid parking in Zilker Park
2201 William Barton Dr, Austin, TX 78746
11. City of Bee Cave Central Park (Bee Cave)
For a fun option near west Austin, check out the Bee Cave Central Park. It's a 50-acre space in the middle of Bee Cave with large and small climbing structures, restroom facilities, and a pavilion where you can enjoy your picnic lunch.
PARKING INFO: Free parking in an adjacent lot
13676 Bee Cave Pkwy, Bee Cave, TX 78738
12. Lost Creek Neighborhood Park (west Austin)
The lost creek neighborhood park is a FENCED-IN park in west Austin. (<- All the parents of toddlers just breathed a sigh of relief...if you have an 18-month-old who loves to run off in any direction, it's wonderful having a fence around the park!)
There are two big playscapes - one for younger kiddos and one for big kids - as well as plenty of shaded benches where the parents can sit and watch the children play. There's even an adorable little wooden playhouse; inside, you'll find all sorts of facts about the state of Texas, like the Texas State Bird, the Texas State Flower, and the Texas State Food!
PARKING INFO: Free parking in the neighborhood
1305 Quaker Ridge Dr, Austin, TX 78746