If you’re in town with kids, one of Austin’s best locales is the Mueller Neighborhood, home to food trucks, several amazing parks, the Austin Thinkery Museum, the Alamo Drafthouse, and restaurants galore. Centrally located, Mueller draws Austinites (and tourists) from all corners of our city. You will see families, hipsters, soccer games, ice cream vendors, food trucks, and ducks. Lots of ducks.
First Stop: The Thinkery
A first stop for visiting with kids is the Thinkery–Austin’s children and science museum which was the original development within Mueller for the surrounding restaurants that followed. The 40,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space boasts several perennial favorites including the Cooking Lab, the Light Lab and The Backyard climbing area, along with rotating exhibits every few months. There are several water features so if you have small children, bring a change of clothes.
The Light Lab exhibit is always a favorite where children can draw pictures with lasers and view them on a television screen. Other features include a “shadow” machine where you can freeze your shadow on a wall. Very creative, very fun. Browse the current and permanent Thinkery exhibit spaces here.
Top Trip Tip: Eat lunch before going to the Thinkery, or take lots of snacks. There is a snack area with vending machines but unfortunately, no restaurant within the museum. Not a bad idea to take a change of clothes for water exhibits.
Second Stop: J.T. Youngblood’s
To fill up after a trip to the museum, walk next door to J.T. Youngblood’s, a reimagined version of the classic Texas family restaurant. Check your diet at the door, because the fried chicken is the real deal here. For a full Southern experience, order the greens (well spiced) and the mashed potatoes as sides. There are chicken nuggets for kids and cocktails for weary parents. It’s a great spot to unwind following what will most likely be an exhausting trip to the sensory overload of the Thinkery. Check out the menu to get your taste buds going.
Top Trip Tip: Visit during Happy Hour for drink and snack deals Tuesday-Friday 3-6 p.m.
Final Stop: Mueller Park and Lick Honest Ice Creams
Run off some of that food before finishing your action-packed day by visiting the Mueller Lake Park across the street from the Thinkery. A giant mosaic dragon sculpture, “Nessy,” guards the gate. This park has plenty of climbing fun, swings, spinning platforms and is fenced in with benches to give parents a place to sit and watch kids go crazy. Take a breather, you’ve earned it.
Before you head back to the Thinkery parking garage, walk by Lick Honest Ice Cream for a final treat. The delicious handmade confections are an Austin favorite because of their inventive flavor options (try their “Dark Chocolate, Olive Oil & Seasalt” or their “Goat Cheese, Thyme & Honey) and locally-sourced ingredients.
Why you should go: To get a sense of the soul of Austin, check off all the boxes at Mueller Park. Food Trucks, check. Great new restaurant and bar district, check. Plenty of greenspace, check. A great science museum for kids, check.
Rainy Day Plan: If it’s raining on your day to Mueller, you can always substitute a matinee movie at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in lieu of the trip to the park. Alamo Drafthouse is an Austin original with locations now across the country showing first run movies as well as special screenings of classic and obscure movies. There is special programming for families with children.
Top Trip Tip: Stay close to all that Mueller has to offer by reserving our 4-bedroom home in University Hills just moments away by car. To plan your family getaway to Austin, check our website for availability.