Best Picnic Spots in Austin
Spring days in Austin can’t be beat. Blue skies, temperatures in the 70s, light breezes, birds singing Willie Nelson tunes. Ok, maybe the birds are a bit much, but seriously, we have some awesome spring days. So during the next one grab a basket, fill it with some grapes, cheese and prosciutto and head out to a nearby park to enjoy the gorgeous weather before the city turns into a blazing summertime sauna.
1. Zilker Park
Sorry Auditorium Shores and Pease Park, Zilker is Austin’s “Most Loved Park”. The 368-acre park just southwest of downtown has plenty of freshly cut grass to spread out the biggest of blankets. If you go on a weekday, you pretty much have the whole park with its gorgeous view of the downtown Austin’s skyline all to yourself. Weekends are a little tricker as humans and their canine companions love to play frisbee.
2100 Barton Springs Road
2. Mount Bonnell
The iconic view of Lake Austin from the top of Mount Bonnell has visitors willing to huff and puff up a pretty steep stairway just to see it. The 775-foot-high outcrop along the eastern shore of Lake Austin offers a perfect view of the grand homes lining the lake. Several picnic tables sit at the top of the five-acre linear park allowing you and your loved one to chow down on your sandwiches while fantasizing about what you would do if you owned one of the beautiful houses along the lake. Possibly put in a privacy fence so creepers at the top of Mount Bonnell wouldn’t spy into your backyard? As an added bonus, after climbing the 106 steps to get up there you will not have to feel guilty about all the cheese you eat during your picnic.
3800 Mount Bonnell Road
3. Laguna Gloria
Want to feel like you have stepped back into early 20th century Europe without leaving Austin? Grab your honey and head to west Austin to eat lunch on the grounds of a 1916 Italianesque mansion. Clara Driscoll was a world-traveling Austinite who especially loved Italy. She styled her socialite’s paradise after the Italian villas she so adored overseas. Today the community art museum on the shores of Lake Austin welcomes visitors to enjoy a picnic on its 14-acre grounds. You have several romantic spots to choose from for lunch including the Four Seasons Garden, The Temple of Love or The Sunken Garden.
3809 West 35th Street
4. Barton Springs
Right smack-dab heart of Austin, Barton Springs has been the crowned jewel of the ATX since 1891. Technically a part of Zilker’s 368 acres, the spring-fed pool is three acres. The water is notoriously a chilly 68 degrees year round refreshing swimmers from the hottest of summer days. Even if you do not want to shock your system with a dip, bring a picnic to eat under a tree in the grass shores of the springs. The coveted tree-shaded spaces fill up fast on weekends and remember the park is closed every Thursday for maintenance
2201 Barton Springs Road
5. McKinney State Park
Close to Easton Park, McKinney Falls State Park on is 744 acres of rugged beauty. Walk off your picnic basket with a 2.8-mile hike through the Hill Country woods. Along the walk you will encounter the remains of an early Texas homesettler. The park has a total of nine miles of hike and bike trails for some added exercise, or bring a swimsuit to go swimming in Onion Creek. The state park has more than enough activities to skip work altogether and spend the afternoon at the park.
5808 McKinney Falls Parkway
6. Texas State Capitol
While it might not be the first place that comes to mind when thinking relaxing picnic spots, the Texas State Capitol grounds provide plenty of lawn space to spread out and plenty of trees to block the midday sun. Located in the heart of the city, enjoy a spring day in the shadow of the 1880s architectural gem. The north side of the capitol is the quieter, less crowded space. And if it strikes your fancy, while you are down there take a tour of the capitol and see what those lawmakers are doing in there. Maybe make a few suggestions. Is it too much to ask for an official Free Breakfast Taco Day?
1100 Congress Avenue