It’s getting warmer and on the days it’s not oppressively hot (which we all know it will be sooner rather than later), 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 trees) 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?
3. The French Legation Museum (802 San Marcos St.)
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.
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 vehicle Friday through Sunday, and Holidays.
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.
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 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.
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.