Where to stay in Austin Texas with family: 7 Best areas

Where to Stay in Austin with Family? In this post, I will help you to find the best areas and neighborhoods to stay in Austin with kids and best family-friendly hotels in Austin for all budgets and preferences.

Austin is the capital city of the state of Texas in the United States. It’s known for its vibrant music scene, cultural diversity, and tech industry.

Austin, Texas is a great place for a family vacation! It offers a mix of cultural attractions, outdoor activities, and family-friendly events that can cater to a variety of interests.  

Austin is known as the “Live Music Capital of the World,” so if your family enjoys music, you’ll find plenty of live performances and concerts to attend. You can explore various music venues, including family-friendly options.

Austin is surrounded by beautiful natural landscapes. You can explore Zilker Park, which offers hiking, picnicking, and the popular Barton Springs Pool for swimming. Lady Bird Lake offers opportunities for kayaking, paddleboarding, and hiking along the trails.

The city has numerous museums, including the Bullock Texas State History Museum, the Thinkery (a hands-on children’s museum), and the Austin Nature & Science Center.

Austin is known for its diverse and delicious food scene. You can try local Tex-Mex, barbecue, food trucks, and more. There are options to suit various tastes and dietary preferences.

Austin hosts various family-friendly events and festivals throughout the year. These can include music festivals, cultural celebrations, and holiday events.

In addition to Zilker Park, there are many other parks and playgrounds throughout the city where your family can enjoy outdoor activities and relaxation.

Austin has a unique and vibrant atmosphere that combines a relaxed Southern feel with a hip and creative energy. The city is known for its “Keep Austin Weird” motto, which encourages individuality and creativity.

For a more interactive experience, you can visit places like the Austin Zoo or the Austin Aquarium, where kids can get up close to animals and marine life.

Where to Stay in Austin with Family?

The best areas to stay in Austin with family are Downtown, Zilker, Rainey Street Historic District, Red River Cultural District, East Austin, South Congress, and University of Texas Area. Each area offers a unique experience for families.

For families with kids, Zilker stands out as strong contenders due to their mix of outdoor spaces, family-friendly attractions, and a relatively laid-back atmosphere. 

However, if you want to be closer to the downtown action, you could consider accommodations in Downtown or the Rainey Street Historic District.

Regardless of where you stay, Austin’s unique culture, live music, and great food will be accessible from any of these areas.

Overview of the best neighborhoods to stay in Austin for family

Downtown AustinStaying downtown offers easy access to Austin’s main attractions, restaurants, and nightlife. It’s great for families who want to be in the heart of the action. However, keep in mind that it can get noisy and busy, especially during festivals and events.
Zilkeris known for its beautiful Zilker park, Barton Springs Pool, and the Austin Nature and Science Center. If your family enjoys outdoor activities, picnics, and being close to nature, Zilker might be an excellent choice
Rainey Street Historic Districthas a more relaxed and quirky vibe, with bungalow-style houses turned into bars and eateries. It’s a bit quieter than downtown but still offers a variety of dining options. This area might be more suitable for families with older children or teenagers due to the nightlife scene.
Red River Cultural Districtis known for its music venues and art scene. While it might be more appealing to adults, families with older kids who are into music and art might find it interesting. However, it’s worth considering the noise level if you have younger children.
East Austinis known for its vibrant culture, diverse food scene, and artsy atmosphere. It’s a great choice for families who appreciate a more eclectic and local experience. 
South Congress (SoCo) is famous for its trendy shops, boutiques, and eateries. It offers a mix of modern amenities and Austin’s quirky charm. Families who enjoy shopping, dining, and people-watching will likely enjoy staying here.
University of Texas Areais near the University of Texas campus and can provide a vibrant and youthful atmosphere. It’s a good choice if you’re visiting the university or have older kids interested in college life.

Map of areas and neighborhoods in Austin with Family are:

Map of Where to stay in Austin with family: Best areas
Map of Where to stay in Austin with family: Best areas

7 Best areas to Stay in Austin with Family are:

1. Downtown Austin

Downtown Austin is one of the best areas to stay in Austin for a family vacation due to its vibrant atmosphere, convenient location, and a wide range of family-friendly activities.

Downtown is centrally located, making it easy to access many of the city’s top attractions, restaurants, and entertainment options. This saves you travel time and allows you to explore the city efficiently.

Downtown is pedestrian-friendly, with walkable streets and sidewalks that make it convenient for families to explore on foot. Additionally, it is well-connected with public buses and light rail, which can make it easier for families to get around without having to rely solely on a car.

Downtown Austin is home to numerous cultural attractions, such as museums, art galleries, and historical sites. Families can visit the Texas State Capitol, Bullock Texas State History Museum, the Contemporary Austin, and the Mexic-Arte Museum, among others.

Downtown’s location offers easy access to Zilker Park, a popular spot with walking trails, playgrounds, and the Barton Springs Pool, a natural spring-fed swimming pool that’s a hit with families, especially during hot weather.

The scenic Lady Bird Lake runs through downtown and offers opportunities for family-friendly activities like kayaking, canoeing, paddleboarding, and walking along the scenic Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail.

Austin is known as the “Live Music Capital of the World,” and downtown is where you’ll find numerous music venues and live entertainment options suitable for families. From street performers to family-friendly concerts, there’s always something to enjoy.

Downtown Austin boasts a diverse culinary scene with many restaurants offering family-friendly menus. Whether you’re in the mood for Texas barbecue, Tex-Mex cuisine, or international flavors, you’ll find something to suit every palate.

Downtown Austin offers a variety of accommodation options, including family-friendly hotels and vacation rentals. Many of these accommodations are within walking distance of the main attractions.

Best places to stay in Downtown Austin in with family:

Luxury ($$$): The Driskill, in The Unbound Collection by Hyatt, 5-star family-friendly hotel, one of the most famous and historic hotels in Austin. Located in the heart of downtown Austin, it is within a short walk from major attractions such as the Texas Capitol and Austin Music Hall, as well as the famous 6th Street, Mexic-Arte Museum, and the Museum of the Weird.

Mid-range ($$): The Stephen F Austin Royal Sonesta Hotel, 4-star hotel, one of the great places to stay in Austin for families with children of all ages. It is located in central Austin, within walking distance from major landmarks such as the Austin’s State Capitol building and  Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum. It has an indoor swimming pool and 24-hour security.

Budget ($): Hyatt Place Austin Downtown, 3-star kid-friendly hotel, one of the best places to stay in Austin with family on a budget. Children aged 18 years and above are considered adults at this hotel. It has family rooms, a swimming pool, and a fitness center. Within walking distance to Austin Convention Center, Capitol Building and Frank Erwin Center – University of Texas. 


2. Zilker

Zilker is one of the best areas to stay in Austin, especially for families with kids. Zilker is a popular neighborhood known for its family-friendly atmosphere and proximity to various attractions.  

Zilker is situated just south of downtown Austin and is bordered by the Colorado River (Lady Bird Lake) to the north and west. It’s roughly bounded by South Lamar Boulevard to the east and Barton Creek to the south. 

Zilker Metropolitan Park is one of Austin’s most beloved green spaces. It offers wide-open areas for picnics, playgrounds, hiking trails, and the famous Barton Springs Pool, a natural spring-fed pool that’s perfect for families to enjoy on hot days.

Zilker Botanical Garden is a beautiful garden featuring a wide variety of themed gardens, including a butterfly garden and a Japanese garden, providing an educational and visually pleasing experience for children.

Within Zilker Park, you can find Austin Nature and Science Center, offering hands-on exhibits and educational programs that are great for kids interested in nature and science.

Kids often love riding the Zilker Zephyr, a miniature train that takes a scenic route through Zilker Park.

South Lamar Boulevard runs through the neighborhood and is lined with a mix of restaurants, cafes, shops, and entertainment venues. It’s a hub of activity and a great place to experience Austin’s unique culture.

Zilker’s central location provides easy access to other popular areas like South Congress Avenue (SoCo) and downtown Austin, where you can find shops, restaurants, and entertainment options suitable for families.

Zilker Park hosts various events and festivals throughout the year, such as the Austin City Limits Music Festival and the Zilker Kite Festival, providing entertainment for the whole family.

Best places to stay in Austin in Zilker for family with kids:

Luxury ($$$): Hyatt Regency Austin, 4-star family-friendly hotel, located in Barton Springs Road, offering easy access to hiking and bicycle trails as well as stunning views of the lake and cityscape. It has a seasonal outdoor swimming pool, a modern fitness center during, and on-site business center.

Mid-range ($$): The Carpenter Hotel, great kid-friendly accommodation located near Zilker Park. It has an outdoor swimming pool, private parking, a terrace and a restaurant.  

Budget ($): Austin Motel, 3-star family-friendly hotel, featuring family rooms, free parking on-site, On-site laundry facilities, and a swimming pool. It is a short drive by car from Barton Springs Pool and Frank Erwin Center – University of Texas.


3. Rainey Street Historic District

Rainey Street is a trendy and vibrant neighborhood known for its bungalow-style houses converted into bars and restaurants. It’s suited for families with older kids or teenagers who want to experience Austin’s nightlife and unique dining scene.

Rainey Street is situated just south of downtown Austin near the Colorado River, making it convenient for families to access popular tourist attractions, museums, and parks in the city.

Rainey Street is known for its historic bungalow-style houses that have been converted into bars, restaurants, and shops. The area has a distinct and charming vibe that appeals to people of all ages.

While Rainey Street is often associated with nightlife, many of the establishments are family-friendly during the day. Some restaurants and cafes in the area cater to families and offer a range of dining options suitable for children.

The district is home to a diverse array of food trucks, eateries, and restaurants, offering a wide range of cuisines to suit different tastes and dietary preferences. This can be appealing to families with varying food preferences.

Some venues on Rainey Street offer outdoor seating areas, patios, and green spaces, providing families with the opportunity to enjoy the pleasant Austin weather.

One of the advantages of staying in the Rainey Street area is that many attractions, restaurants, and entertainment options are within walking distance, reducing the need for extensive transportation.

The preservation of the historic bungalows and the transformation of these houses into modern businesses give the district a distinct character that adds to the overall experience of staying there.

Best places to stay in Rainey Street Historic District with family:

Luxury ($$$): Fairmont Austin Gold Experience, 5-star children-friendly hotel, ideally situated in the Downtown Austin district. It has an outdoor swimming pool, 24-hour front desk, a fitness center, and Good American breakfast.

Mid-range ($$): Fairmont Austin, 4-star popular hotel in Downtown Austin, one of the best places to stay in Austin with kids, close to everything. It offers views of the lake, a sun terrace, a fitness center, an outdoor swimming pool and a 24-hour front desk.

Budget ($): Homewood Suites by Hilton Austin Downtown, 3-star family-friendly hotel, centrally located within easy walk from Rainey Street and the banks of Colorado River. It offers family rooms with a seating area, well equipped kitchenette , and a private bathroom.


4. Red River Cultural District

The Red River Cultural District is a popular area located in downtown Austin, known for its live music venues and eclectic nightlife. It might be better suited for families with older children or teenagers who have an interest in music and entertainment.

The district is renowned for its live music venues, offering a variety of genres and performances. Families can enjoy live music together, and some venues might have family-friendly events or early shows that cater to a broader audience.

The Red River Cultural District is a concentrated area that encompasses a stretch of Red River Street and its surrounding blocks. It is located east of Congress Avenue and west of Interstate 35. 

The district’s central location in downtown Austin makes it relatively walkable, allowing families to explore the area without needing to rely heavily on transportation.

Your families can easily access other popular Austin attractions, such as the Texas State Capitol, Lady Bird Lake, and the South Congress Avenue shopping district. 

The area is famous for its numerous music venues and bars, which can contribute to a lively and sometimes noisy atmosphere, especially during weekends and festivals. This might not be ideal for families with young children who require a quieter environment for sleep and relaxation.

Best places to stay in Red River Cultural District with children:

Luxury ($$$): Hyatt House Austin/Downtown, 4-star hotel, located within walking distance from Capitol Building and Austin Convention Center. Offering soundproofing rooms with a flat-screen TV, a coffee machine, and a wardrobe.

Mid-range ($$): Hotel Indigo Austin Downtown, an IHG Hotel, 3-star family-friendly hotel, ideally located in Austin, featuring air-conditioned rooms, an outdoor swimming pool, and a restaurant serving American cuisine. Private parking is available on site.

Budget ($): Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites, 3-star kid-friendly hotel, attractively set in Austin, offering an outdoor swimming pool, a 24-hour front desk and an ATM. 


5. East Austin

East Austin has undergone significant transformation in recent years, offering a blend of hipster culture, artistic influences, and a diverse culinary scene. It’s a good choice for families who appreciate artsy vibes and want to explore a mix of new and established eateries.

East Austin is located to the east of downtown Austin, Texas. It’s roughly bounded by Interstate 35 to the west, Highway 183 to the east, Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to the south, and Manor Road to the north. 

This area is known for its diverse cultural scene, historic neighborhoods, and a mix of residential, commercial, and creative spaces. 

East Austin is relatively close to downtown Austin, which is convenient if you want to access the city’s core attractions, entertainment, and business districts.

Best places to stay in East Austin with family:


6. South Congress (SOCO)

South Congress is a popular area with a mix of shops, boutiques, cafes, and food trucks. It has a lively and eclectic atmosphere, making it suitable for families who enjoy shopping, dining, and exploring unique stores. 

South Congress is located just south of downtown Austin and runs along South Congress Avenue, starting at the Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge and extending southward for several blocks.  

The neighborhood is pedestrian-friendly, especially the area between Riverside Drive and Oltorf Street, making it easy to walk around with kids. 

The area offers easy access to the iconic Congress Avenue Bridge where you can watch the famous bat colony take flight in the evenings.

The area boasts a diverse range of dining options, including food trucks, Tex-Mex restaurants, and classic BBQ joints. This can cater to different tastes within the family.

South Congress has a distinct and quirky vibe that captures the essence of Austin’s culture. Families can enjoy the colorful murals and interesting architecture that the area is known for.

Best places to stay in South Congress (SOCO) with kids:


7. University of Texas Area

This area is great for families who want to be close to the university campus and experience a college-town atmosphere. It offers access to cultural events, museums, and a youthful energy.

The UT area is near downtown Austin, which is known for its vibrant arts and music scene. Families can easily access theaters, live music venues, art galleries, and cultural events.

Best places to stay in University of Texas Area for family:

Mid-range ($$): AT&T Hotel & Conference Center, 5-star children-friendly hotel, located in central Austin, easy access to  Frank Erwin Center – University of Texas, Texas Memorial Stadium and Capitol Building.

Mid-range ($$): Hilton Garden Inn Austin University Capitol District, 4-star family-friendly hotel, situated close to Frank Erwin Center – University of Texas, Texas Memorial Stadium and University of Texas at Austin. It has a fitness center, private parking, a shared lounge and a terrace. 

Mid-range ($$): The Otis Hotel Austin, Autograph Collection, great 4-star hotel, located close to the UT, featuring air-conditioned rooms, free bikes, free WiFi and an outdoor swimming pool. 

Budget ($): Hampton Inn and Suites Austin University Capitol, popular family-friendly 3-star hotel that has a rooftop swimming pool and a daily hot breakfast buffet including fresh waffles, oatmeal, juice, and coffee.


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Summary – Where to Stay in Austin with kids?

In conclusion, Downtown Austin, Zilker, Raine, Red River Cultural District, East Austin, South Congress, and University of Texas Area are the best places to stay in Austin for families with kids. They offer plenty of things to do and see for children of all ages.

Each area has its own unique charm and appeal, but the best area for your family to stay in depends on your preferences and what you’re looking to experience during your trip. 

Downtown is the best area to stay in Austin with family visiting the city for the first time due to its central location and proximity to major attractions. Zilker is the best base for families who want outdoor activities, picnics, and access to nature.

About Author: Linda Smith

I'm Linda Smith, the Hotel Expert, an experienced travel blogger who passionate about traveling. I'm here to share with you all my travel experiences and tips. I cover a wide range of travel topics, specializing in sharing information about the best areas, neighborhoods, and hotels in each city. I hope all these things will make your travel easier.

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