Zilker is known to many as Austin's most-loved park, but it can also be the most crowded. Why not try something a little closer to home?
Over the past decade or so, a number of neighborhood parks have popped up or received a face-lift as part of the city's ongoing effort to provide more accessible green space. Trek down to a pocket park in your neighborhood for a little summer fun in the sun. Don't see your 'hood here? Find a full listing of city parks here.
Bouldin Creek: Ricky Guerrero Park and Splash Pad
Few things captivate a child like a creek bed. Whether it's bone dry from years of drought or a lush home to tadpoles, dragonflies, and turtles after heavy rains, this natural wonder is a great place for kids to commune with nature. Ricky Guerrero Park gets a gold star for being so darn kid-friendly. With 2 acres of space to roam, a shaded splash pad, a playscape, and even a fake cannon, this South Austin park is firing on all cylinders for kiddie fun.
1157 W. Mary St.
Central East Austin: Lott Park
Named for a prominent member of the African-American community, this park is steeped in Austin's rich history. Harry Lott was one of Austin's first postal carriers and is forever honored by this green space a block or so off of I-35. Previously the site of a school for African-American children (way back in 1887), this space was renovated into a park in 1953. Head to this historical gem to chill in the gazebo, frolic in the splash pad, play a game of basketball with neighbors, or use the grill space for an impromptu cookout.
1180 Curve St.
Cherrywood: Cherrywood Green
This gem situated in the vibrant Cherrywood community is a beautiful respite from the day-to-day hustle and bustle. Colorful picnic tables play host to a number of neighborhood events like Easter egg hunts and St. Patrick's Day celebrations. Take the stairs down to the creek bed to wade in the water and explore a little slice of nature. Venture a few blocks up the same street for even more flora at Willowbrook Reach. A walk around the block in the Reach feels more like a designated hiking trail than a residential neighborhood. A creek runs through the space and large trees provide shade as you follow the trail. Be sure to stop for a swing.
1600 W. 34th St.
Hancock/Hyde Park: Sparky Park
This park is the site of a former electrical substation, named so for the resulting sparks visible at night back in 1930s Austin. Rather than tear down the art deco-style building on the property, it's been renovated into a creative space rumored to have a future as a yoga studio. Check out the grotto wall, a funky mishmash of stone, petrified wood, seashells, and found objects arranged into trees and landscapes by local artist Berthold Haas.
3701 Grooms St.
Metric: North Star Greenbelt
With the spectacular Walnut Creek Metropolitan Park nearby, it's easy to overlook this hidden neighborhood gem. Certainly more manicured than your average greenbelt, this space is perfect for walkers, joggers, or casual cyclists. A paved path is broken up by neighborhood streets and culminates in a turnaround like a needle's eye. The power lines give the peaceful space an industrial vibe. Stop by for a run, calisthenics (all the equipment for body-weight workouts is there), or to photograph the delicate relationship between nature and industry.
11701 Tallow Field Way
Shoal Creek: Ramsey Park
A possible contender for most-loved pocket park, Ramsey Park is cherished by its community and it shows. Recent updates include resurfaced tennis courts, a kids climbing area to keep even the most restless child busy, and a miniature zip line. Take a dip in the pool when it gets too hot, or stop by the baseball fields on the weekends for a pickup game.
4301 Rosedale Ave.