While Auditorium Shores is usually in the news as a concert or festival venue, it’s also a great spot for a family outing with a fantastic view of downtown.
There is a parking lot entrance for Auditorium Shores at 920 West Riverside Drive. If that lot is full, head west on Riverside Drive and look for street parking or a couple of small parking lots.
Under the South 1st Street Bridge (also called the Drake Bridge) is a beach-like area where children can explore among the rocks, shells, and knobby cypress knees (cypress tree roots seen to the right of the rock below).
The kids enjoyed wandering around the lakeshore.
Keep in mind that Auditorium Shores is a leash-free zone for dogs. You will see lots of happy canines playing, running, and jumping into the lake to fetch balls. Our dog had a great time!
This little pier went out over the lake. It was like a magnet for the boys!
We walked west along the trail to the Stevie Ray Vaughan statue.
There was a lot to look at along the shore!
We walked less than 1/4 mile on the trail and crossed Riverside Drive to get to Butler Park. The kids immediately ran straight up Doug Sahm Hill without bothering to follow the leisurely spiraling sidewalk.
At the top of the hill, you will find this stunning view as well as benches so you can rest and take it all in.
There also is a huge map of Texas.
Looking southeast from the top of the hill, you can see Palmer Events Center and this field ready for play time.
To the west is a pond, where you can stroll along and look for fish or turtles.
Directly south of the hill is the Liz Carpenter Fountain, with its jets of water in full force.
It looks like the appeal of the fountain was impossible to resist despite the December chill in the air!
Austin Active Kids Opinion: Unbeatable fun in the city!
Outing Time: 2 hours
Outing Distance: Less than one mile
Reminders: Auditorium Shores has restrooms and a water fountain. Brings snacks, drinks, and a picnic blanket if you plan to stay a while. If you want to check the Liz Carpenter Fountain schedule ahead of time (so you can pack towels and an extra change of clothes), call Austin 3-1-1.
In case your kids still have some energy left, you can take them on a short 1.5 mile loop on the Hike and Bike Trail. From Auditorium Shores, head west on the trail past the Stevie Ray Vaughan statue. Take the Pfluger Pedestrian Bridge over the lake and go right once you’re on the north side of the lake. The South 1st Street Bridge will then take you back to Auditorium Shores. If you want to try out some other routes, check out these maps for ideas.
You might want to look up a calendar like this one before you head to Auditorium Shores to make sure there are no major events booked the day you plan to go.