I was looking for free things to do with the kids near me. I had looked at pictures of the Austin Central Library in awe over the past few years, but we held off on visiting due to the pandemic.
Where is this place anyway?
The Austin Central Library is located at 710 W Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX 78701. Right in the heart of the city of Austin!
When can we go?
The hours of operation (at the time of writing this blog post, August 2022) for the Austin Central Library are listed below. They offer a wide variety of hours. So no matter what the time of year, this is the perfect spot if you are looking for things to do in Austin with kids.
Monday: 9:00 am-8:00 pm
Tuesday: 9:00 am-8:00 pm
Wednesday: 9:00 am-8:00 pm
Thursday: 9:00 am-8:00 pm
Friday: 9:00 am-5:00 pm
Saturday: 10:00 am-5:00 pm
Free? Are you Sure?
Visiting the library is 100% free, but there are some things you might want to bring a little money for. Let’s talk about them:
The library has 2 floors of underground parking. The rates for parking here at the time of writing this blog post are as follows:
- Up to 1 hour – Free
- Over 1 hour to 2 hours – $5
- Over 2 hours to 4 hours – $9
- Over 4 hours to 7 hours – $11
- Over 7 hours to 10 hours – $13
- Over 10 hours to 12 hours – $15
- Over 12 hours – $30
2. The Cookbook Bar & Cafe
When you are looking for things to do in Austin with kids, it is great to have easy access to food! The Austin Central Library has a cafe located on the second floor facing 2nd Street! They offer pastries and sandwiches. They also try to incorporate farm-to-table ingredients whenever possible!
3. Austin Public Library Shop
This is an adorable little gift shop located on the second floor of the library. They have books, bags, t-shirts, and almost any souvenir you might want!
4. Library Card (Only applies to non-Travis County residents or non-Travis County Students)
The cost of a library card for Non-resident Library Cards is $120 annually or $30 quarterly. They also offer a free limited access library card if you have a current TexShare card from a participating library system.
Where is the Children’s Section?
If you are headed to the library because you are looking for things to do in Austin with kids, then you probably want to know where the Children’s section is located! Head on up to the 3rd floor. The library showcases beautiful staircases that go all the way up to the 6th floor as their central focal point. However, luckily they have three elevators as well, which is great if you have toddlers in tow.
The third floor has both a section for teens as well as a section for children located across from one another. Each section is behind a set of glass doors. In the central area, there are plenty of spots to sit and read, including tables, small couches, and upholstered chairs.
Want to know what is located on each floor?
- 1 : Special Event Center
- 2 : Main Floor/ Entrance, APL Shop, Cookbook Bar & Cafe
- 3 : Administration, Children, Teens
- 4 : Administration, Fiction, Periodicals, Reading Room, Special Collections
- 5 : Innovation Lab, Media, Non-Fiction, Reference, Technology Petting Zoo, World Languages
Don’t forget to check out the Rooftop Garden!
All the way up on the sixth floor, you will find a beautiful rooftop garden. There is an amazing view of the Colorado River and the city. This is a great spot for a family photo op or if you just want to get a nice shot of the kids!
What are your favorite free things to do in Austin with kids?
Let me know in the comments! Are you looking for more fun things to do in Austin with kids? Click HERE to read about the GetOutPass!
Good post. I learn something totally new and challenging on blogs I stumbleupon on a daily basis. Its always useful…
Great content, really detailed info.
Hi love, what an amazingly detailed blog! I’m not a mom, but I can see how knowing all these details…