10 Austin locations for a perfect summer picnic

2:27 p.m Thursday, July 6, 2017 Things to Do
Men play soccer under the setting sun at Zilker Park on Tuesday, June 20, 2017. DEBORAH CANNON / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

It’s summer and on the days it’s not oppressively hot, Austin is a fantastic place to eat outdoors. Here are 10 terrific picnic spots in Austin.

1. Zilker Park (2100 Barton Springs Rd.)

There’s a dog park. There are volleyball courts. There is a train for kids. The crown jewel of Austin’s park system is a great place to thrown down and blanket and chow down. Just make sure there isn’t a music festival going on -- that happens sometimes. 

2. The Texas State Capitol (1100 Congress Ave)

Don’t laugh, it’s actually a terrific picnic spot (decent shade tress) and close to planet of downtown restaurants at which one can grab food (if you don’t feel like making stuff at home). And hey, who doesn’t enjoy a good Capitol tour after eating?


Nice gardens, plenty of immaculate lawns and hey, maybe you can crash a wedding! (Note: don’t actually do that.) Contact them for public hours. 

Jay Janner/Jay Janner/Austin American-State
Kyle Cole lies down on a rock while enjoying the sunset with his friend Robin Miley, left, at Mount Bonnell overlooking Lake Austin in 2013. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMANFOR May 9: Mount Bonnell provides a great view of Lake Travis, but Pam LeBlanc prefers to look up after water skiing.

4. Mount Bonnell (3800 Mount Bonnell Rd.) 

The view is stunning -- iconic, in fact. Just don't toss a super 8 camera over the side like in "Slacker." It's much more populated now than it was in the late 1980s. ("Slacker" was shot in 1989.)

5. Emma Long Metropolitan Park (1600 City Park Rd.)

More than 150 picnic tables! Nearly 70 barbecue pits! There is a $5 per vehicle entry fee Monday through Thursday and $10 per verhicle Friday through Sunday, and Holidays.

Jessalyn Tamez/Jessalyn Tamez
Austin resident, Benjamin Bilbrey, 1, frowns at a peacock who didn't want to be touched at Mayfield Park in 2016. Jessalyn Tamez / AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN

6 and 7. Laguna Gloria/ Mayfield Park & Preserve(3809 West 35th St.) 

Cool gardens and ponds, plenty of hiking trails little kids love and as many peacocks as you can possibly stand. And no, they are not shy.

RELATED: Check out our summer fun guide.

8. Krause Springs (404 Krause Spring Road, Spicewood, TX 78669)

Out in Spicewood, 30 miles or so away, Krause Springs has 32 springs that feed into various pools along with  has 115 acres of camping sites and swimming holes. An outstanding location.

9. Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center (4801 LaCrosse Ave.)

Sitting on 284 acres, the Wildflower Center is one of Central Texas’ iconic nature spots and makes for a spectacular picnic area, especially considering the massive arboretum, the nine acres gardens and various interactive features. There are also plenty of kids programs around which to plan a picnic. 

A group of people begin taking their seats at the Open Room on Cesar Chavez in 2012. Alberto Martinez AMERICAN-STATESMAN

10. The Open Room Austin Table (200 Sandra Muraida Way)

You know what we’re talking about: The massive picnic table near the Seaholm Power Plant as part of  Open Room Austin at Sand Beach Park. Now THAT is a baller spot for a picnic. 

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Strike out into Zilker Park to find its secret treasures.