Since our days in Killeen are numbered, I have been pushing for us to take advantage of our location and visit Austin! We were able to get away the first weekend in July to make this trip–which worked out great because my siblings were in Austin celebrating my sister’s birthday so we got to see and hang out with them! Since we have lived in Killeen (almost 3 years) we have only been to Austin a handful of times. None of those times involved exploring and being tourists of the city!
**Note to self– I am going to plan on exploring somewhere new and touristy each month while we are in Portland– so when the two years past and we are preparing to leave I don’t find myself in the place I’m in now– sounds good, right?!
Since we only live an hour away from Austin we opted out on staying at a hotel. We drove down Saturday morning, came back home that night and went back Sunday after church. It worked well for us. Sleeping at home is so much easier with kids plus we got to save money by not getting a hotel room. Win, win!
Places we went:
1. State Capitol Visiting Center
Click Here to view the hours of the visiting center.
I can’t say enough great things about this Visiting Center. It was the highlight of our trip to Austin. If you have children it is a MUST DO! The visiting center has fun, interactive, educational exhibits that brought entertainment and enjoyment for my family. They have many different areas to explore. The areas that my children enjoyed the most were getting to dress up like a cowboy, looking out a telescople set up where you can view the top of the Capitol, and playing on the computers where you get to learn about the state of Texas!
2. State Capitol
We cheated and didn’t go inside the Capitol building. There was a line out the door of people waiting and we opted out. We did manage to get a family picture with our kids halfway smiling, score! The area was nice. We enjoyed walking the grassland looking and taking pictures in front of the different monuments.
Who doesn’t like a nice mural?! I love them! Here are the three we stopped by!
1. YOU’RE MY BUTTER HALF-
How sweet right?! When researching murals in Austin this is the first one that grabbed my eye as a MUST Do.
The address of the location is: 2000 E Martin Luther King Jr Blvd. Austin, TX 78702– It is located on the side of United Way for Greater Austin Building.
2. GREETINGS FROM AUSTIN CAPITOL OF TEXAS-
Location: 1720 S 1st St. Austin, TX 78704
3. I LOVE YOU SO MUCH-
Location: 1300 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704-2433
4. Gourdough’s Donuts
Yum, yum, yum!! If you’re watching your weight or counting your calories do not go here. I repeat, do not go here! But really who counts their calories on a trip?! These donuts are stuffed with deliciousness. Tip: Make sure you have some ice water (cold drink preference) on hand because you will want to guzzle it down after a couple of bites. I shared the SIN-A-BOMB (cream cheese icing, cinnamon sugar butter) with my daughter and sister. It was sooooooo00 good! My husband and son shared a PB&J (house made peanut butter icing, grape jell filling with peanut butter morsels) and my brother and Mason had Naughty and Nice (cinnamon and sugar served with honey butter).
5. Grafiti Park– Castle Hill
This was my second time going here. It is nice and a must do if visiting Austin. If you choose to brave it out and climb to the top (it isn’t a long climb, but it isn’t paved well) then you will be able to get a good view of Austin. I recommend wearing some type of tennis shoes! Also, parents bringing small children should know there is vulgar language written in some spots. Thankfully it isn’t everywhere and we were able to easily avoid it with our kids. This guy in the picture below was so sweet to my family. I forgot his name but he was there selling those picture arts my kids have and let them pick one each free of charge! He also gave us some bottled water!! Make sure if it is a hot day you bring some cold water to stay hydrated!!
6. Polvo’s Mexican Restaurant
This restaurant is just average. I do love the salsa they have. Do know if you choose to go to this restaurant they do not split tickets! The main reason we chose this restraurant was because it was by a vegan restaurant my husband wanted to eat at– Bouldin Creek Cafe!! He loved loved loved this restaurant. So much that he went back the next day on Sunday AND the weekend after that when we were driving home from San Antonio!
7. Barton Springs
Click Here <– Click on the link to see hours and cost!
Barton Springs was fun! The water was cold at first but like any pool once you get use to it you’re fine. It was very slippery! I would highly suggest swim shoes for children who are able to stand on their own. My two older kids (ages 6 and 5) were able to stand in some parts of the pool and walk around, but they both lost balance multiple times because of the slimy bottom. There are two separate entrance’s to enter which depends on if you’re paying with a card or cash. Visit the link above for more information.
I loved their shaved ice here. I’m a connoisseur when it comes to shaved ice. Nope, no one has deemed me notable of this title except me. Sno-beach’s ice was perfect! The flavor wasn’t as strong as what I’m used to–meaning I felt like by the end of my snow cone I was just eating wet ice. The overall experience was still good and the lady working there let us sample some of their unique flavors which was nice!
One thing that I was super bummed about was not getting to go to Hamilton Pool. All the pictures I’ve seen of this place are beautiful. You have to make a reservation which we failed to do. The further out in advance the better luck of you getting it, especially if you are planning a trip in the summer!
Have you ever been to Austin? What things do you and your friends or family like to do? I would love to know so I could add it to my list next time.
Happy exploring! 😊