Best Parks in Austin

by: Jo Montgomery

To live in Austin is to love Austin. Life in this iconic city is one filled with diversity, culture, opportunity, and the kind of energy only cities can generate. But as much as we love city life, we sometimes yearn for open fields, babbling brooks, and the feel of grass under our feet. Well, Austin’s got you covered there too! Every kind of park you can imagine can be found within Austin’s well-thought-out urban design. It has green spaces, big and small, for everything from hiking and boating to taking your dog for a walk. But with so much to choose from, where do you start? We’ve put together a list of the best parks in Austin. Don’t get us wrong, we’ve enjoyed all of Austin’s parks, but these are our favs!

If you find yourself liking these parks as much as we do, why not expand your Austin parks horizon and check out the Austin Park Directory for even more. Heck, don’t stop there, take a drive and visit some of the many parks and recreation areas just outside Austin. Taking a break from the city, even for an afternoon, can recharge your battery, and possibly make you appreciate Austin, even more, when you return.

Best Parks in Austin

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Cropped portrait of cheerful little girl playing football with her family in the park on a sunny day. She is having fun while passing the ball. Family, kids and nature concept. Horizontal shot.

Lady Bird Lake Hike-and-Bike Trail 

At the Lady Bird Lake First Street Bridge at Lady Bird Lake, is a 10-mile uniquely scenic loop that winds you through lush green parks and around sparkling lakes. You can come for a leisurely stroll, but it’s also a perfect spot to bike, hike, and run. One of the cool things about this park’s trails is that they wind through downtown – which means there are access points and parking all along the route. Hop on and off whenever you like. On hot summer days, be sure to take a dip in either of the park’s spring-fed pools; Barton Springs or, Deep Eddy Pool. All in all, this is a wonderful family park!

Zilker Metropolitan Park 

At 2100 Barton Springs Road is a behemoth of a park! Here you’ll find Barton Springs Pool, the Zilker Eagle train, a large playscape, and over 350 acres of sports fields and woodlands. Annually, Zilker’s Great Lawn hosts the legendary Austin City Limits Music Festival. It’s also a very popular park around the holidays when all of Austin comes to see the Trail of Lights. We could go on and on about all that Zilker Park has to offer, but why don’t we let you discover it for yourself?

Mayfield Park & Mount Bonnell 

At 3800 Bonnell Drive, is in the heart of west Austin. This historic park will wow you with its exceptional views and famous wildlife, like their wild peacocks. Mayfield Park was once a 23-acre estate and was gifted to the city of Austin in 1971.  The original family’s historic cottage still stands on the grounds, along with striking gardens, koi ponds, and rambling stone walls. The Mount Bonnell portion of the park is believed to be situated on an actual Indian trail. The trail’s unique viewpoint overlooks Lake Austin and is believed to have served as a defense point for the city in the early 1800s. In 1939 the land was donated to the city and officially designated as Covert Park and given a place on the National Register of Historic Places.

Republic Square

Located at 422 Guadalupe Street, was once a parking lot! Fortunately for us, in 1976 the lot was returned to its original purpose – a green space for the people of Austin to enjoy. The name, Republic Square, was chosen by the city of Austin in tribute to the Republic of Texas. This green space, in the heart of downtown, is unlike any in Austin. It provides a venue for daily programming and featured events, has modern amenities, features beautiful art, and a café. It’s a distinctively Austin experience.

Mueller Lake Park 

Located at 4550 Mueller Blvd., is 30 acres of everything you could want in a park. On-site you’ll find a 6.5-acre lake, an open-air amphitheater and stage, open-air public art, and a picnic peninsula. If you’re looking to get some exercise, bring the little ones to the interactive playscape, take a walk or jog on the loop trail, and even stretch out before in the jogger stretching area. 

Norwood Estate Dog Park

Located at 1009 Edgecliff Terrace, is the place to take your four-legged family member if they love to run, play, and simply enjoy being a dog! Norwood has over five acres of off-leash area, surrounded by gates for safety. You’ll also find separate sections for large and small dogs. And for those inevitable hot Austin summer days, you can cool off in lovely shaded areas complete with water bowls for your pup. 

Auditorium Shores at Town Lake

Located at 900 W. Riverside Drive, is another park perfect for fun with your dog. It’s located right on the banks of Town Lake and has a fenced, leash-free area.  It’s also home to one of the best hike-and-bike trails in Austin. And for a little entertainment, come for one of the many popular summer outdoor concerts, or to Ooh and ahh at their fireworks on lazy summer evenings. 

As we said, these are just a few of Austin’s multitude of beautiful parks – our personal list of the best parks in Austin.  We’re not bragging, but we know our Austin parks. That’s why we designed Windsor Communities’ 9 luxury apartments throughout Austin within walking distance of many of them. We know that Austinites love their city, but they also love their green space.  Green on Austin!