Recently I talked to an old friend who will soon relocate to the Lake Travis area with her family. She’s excited about the move, because like most folks she knows what a great area this is.
It’s certainly no secret that Austin is a cool place.
Known for it’s live music, food trailers, outdoor activities, local shops, top festivals, technology and thriving economy — the list goes on and on.
But my friend did have one important question on her mind: “Is it a good place to raise kids, too?”
I was pleased to give an honest and emphatic answer: Absolutely.
Austin is a fabulous place to raise a family. It’s creative, inspiring and truly a fun place for all ages. There are plenty of reasons Austin is a great place for kids, and here are my top five:
1). Tons of Outdoor Activities – One of my favorite things about Austin is the numerous things for families to do outdoors.
From hiking the greenbelts to boating on Lake Travis, SUPing on Lady Bird Lake or visiting one of the many parks and gardens families can simply enjoy being together in nature.
The climate is great most of the year, and even during the hottest summer months families can keep cool with a dip in the Barton Springs or Deep Eddy pool.
2). Budget Friendly Family Events – Not only are there tons of things for families to do in Austin, but many of these things can be done for no or very little cost. It seems that every weekend there’s a free event.
Families can always take advantage of Zilker Park, which is spread over 350+ acres and has plenty of things to explore including the free Austin Nature and Science Center. Or hike Mt. Bonnell. Or watch the Congress Avenue bats do their thing.
No matter your kid’s passion — whether it’s art, sports, music, theater, photography, pets, whatever — if you look you can certainly find a way to get involved that won’t break the bank.
3). Community Minded – To me, one of the greatest things about Austin is its overwhelming sense of community, which starts at a young age. People here take pride in their city and work to make it a better place.
There are several non-profit organizations that encourage kids to get involved in volunteering and helping others such as Little Helping Hands. These places stress to children that community is everyone’s responsibility.
People in Austin support each other, whether it’s shopping local to support small businesses or volunteering for a cause that’s near and dear their hearts, and this mindset trickles down to even the smallest Austinites.
Recently a boy in our neighborhood had a birthday, but instead of presents he asked his friends to bring items to donate to the local animal shelter instead.
4). Creativity – Kids and creativity go hand-in-hand, and Austin provides countless ways for kids to explore their creative side.
From the many museums, theaters, music venues, and art showcases it town there are tons of opportunities and special events for kids.
There are cool and interesting murals all over town. Even some signs or artwork on shops and buildings make kids say, “Oh, cool! Look at that!”
Austin encourages kids to be curious, explore, ask questions and try new things. Kids dig that.
5). “Weird” is Good for Kids – Ok, so “weird” is a relative term. For years, the city has been known for the “Keep Austin Weird” slogan. But nowadays you hear that Austin’s not nearly so weird anymore.
Is it becoming too normal? I’m not sure, but either way I think it’s still weirder than your average city. And in my book that’s a good thing.
Isn’t it great for kids to grow up seeing firsthand that people don’t all look and act the same?
When they see a guy with dreadlocks and multiple tattoos volunteering at a nonprofit or girl with purple hair happily clapping with her toddler at Book People it helps reinforce a lesson so many parents try to instill in their kids:
It doesn’t matter what you look like on the outside, it’s what’s inside that counts.