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The Thinkery in Austin

Visit Austin As a Family

the best spots to visit in Austin with the fam

If your child is a YouTube fanatic, chances are they know all about the Izzys. The longtime Austin residents—known to viewers as Stridor (mom), Eddie (dad) and Bubs (their 6-year-old son)—started making videos in 2016, showcasing their elaborate train-track builds. Fast forward to 2020, and they’ve reached a billion (yes, billion with a B) views on their main channel, youtube.com/theizzys.

Today their videos range from creating a LEGO obstacle course for Happy the Hamster to playing video games to opening fan mail. We tapped the bona fide YouTube stars to give us their recommendations for a trip to the state capital with kids.

Editor’s Note: Make sure to check each location’s operating hours and COVID-19 protocols before your visit. 

OUT(SIDE) & ABOUT

Spring is a wonderful time to visit Zilker Park. Dubbed “Austin’s most-loved park,” it stretches across 351 acres in the heart of the city—and Stridor says it doesn’t disappoint. There’s also a huge playground, the Barton Springs pool, stand-up paddleboarding, canoeing, Barking Springs for your family pup and more. The Izzys like to start their Zilker Park outings with a picnic—P. Terry’s Burger Stand is their choice.

P. Terry's burgers in Austin

Later, enjoy the city by land and water with Austin Duck Adventures. “They tell you lots of interesting facts I never knew about Austin, and you get to boat on the lake and quack at people along the way,” Stridor says, adding that you should check Groupon for discounts.

Austin Duck Adventures bus

INDOOR FUN

The Texas heat can creep up at anytime, so it’s good to have some indoor spots on your itinerary. Stridor recommends The Thinkery, Austin’s children’s museum. “We love it here,” she smiles. “We shot a show on it awhile back; you can check it out to get a better feel of it.” As of now, The Thinkery is only open Friday–Sunday.

When the kids have worn you out there, make your way to downtown to visit the Central Library. “This place is a work of art,” says Stridor. “I usually bring kids here just to walk through, and I drink a cup of coffee at the top.” The Children’s Area is on the third floor.

SUSTENANCE

After a full day, both you and the kids are no doubt hungry. According to Stridor, Phil’s Icehouse on South Lamar is a great choice for the family. “Hello, playground!” she says. “They have ‘parent recess’ prices on beer and wine, and there is also an Amy’s Ice Cream.”

For your pizza fix, Stridor’s fave is Home Slice. “Go to the location on South Congress Avenue for the unique shops or the Home Slice on East 53rd Street for the playground.”

When the Izzys have guests in town, they always take them to The Oasis on Lake Travis. “No playgrounds here, but there’s music and tons to see,” says Stridor. “It is known for its sunsets. Get there early if you want to sit right on the rail, closest to the water.” She adds that the drive through the Hill Country alone is worth the trip.

THE BATS

When you’ve wrapped up dinner, there’s one more outdoor outing that’s an Austin must. “We have bats!” Stridor exclaims. “They leave their spot under the Congress Avenue bridge every night and it is amazing. And a little stinky.” But worth it to see North America’s largest urban bat population (we’re talking hundreds of thousands of bats) start their night flight around sunset. The bats are active from late March through early fall and begin to move between 7:30 and 9:45pm.

Bats at Congress Ave bridge in Austin

SLEEP IT OFF

For a cool hotel pick, Stridor suggests the Austin Motel on South Congress. “It’s weird. I like weird,” she explains. “It’s also walking distance to everything on South Congress.” There’s also The Driskill, the iconic property on Sixth Street. “This is my husband’s pick. Because it’s haunted,” Stridor says. “He’ll be staying there alone.”


Photos courtesy of Kirk Tuck, P. Terry’s, Austin Duck Adventures and iStock.