Where to take visiting friends and family for a fun time in Austin

7:43 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017 Things to Do
Jay Janner/Jay Janner/Austin American-State

A Lyft driver recently remarked to me that he once drove a college graduate and his mom downtown to celebrate his freshly earned degree in engineering — but hesitated to take them where they wanted to go, Sixth Street, and recommended they try the West Sixth area instead. He ultimately dropped them off at Z’Tejas and still wonders if they had a good time.

“I just can’t imagine they would’ve enjoyed Sixth Street. That’s just not a place to take your mom,” he said.

His musings got me wondering. As locals, we have favorite places we like to frequent, but they might not be the best place to take Mom and Dad. Conversely, we can take an upcoming visit from a childhood friend as an opportunity to show them a side of Austin both of us haven’t seen before. It can be enlightening, as a local, to walk the city in tourist shoes — albeit knowledgeable ones that know which direction to go.

Here, we offer this guide about where to take your visiting loved ones in Austin.

HANDOUT/Contributed by Esther's
Laugh away your night with some sketch comedy and musical theater at Esther's Follies, which has all-new performances mixed in with staple skits each month.

For entertainment

MORE: 7 Austin comedy clubs and venues

For food and drink

MORE: Where to eat fried chicken in Austin

Ralph Barrera/Austin American-Statesman
Mattie's at Green Pastures, recently renovated and renamed, offers a majestic setting under live oaks where peacocks room freely.

For recreation:

MORE: The best swimming holes in Central Texas

Jay Janner/Jay Janner
This buckeye butterfly is just one of the beautiful natural sights you'll see walking among the plants along the center's many trails.

Have small kids in tow? We’ve got recommendations for where to take the whole family, too.