Settled along the San Gabriel River in central Texas lies a town with enough funky charm and history to make you forget about that other funky college town that lies a mere 25 miles south (ahem, Austin). Welcome to Georgetown, a city offering its own food scene, refreshing swimming holes and plenty of family-friendly entertainment. We spent some time exploring the nooks and crannies of this hidden gem town and have plenty to report. Keep reading to discover everything you need to do with kids in Georgetown, TX.
Hang Out in the Historic Square
Founded in 1848, the city of Georgetown sits on the historic Chisholm Trail, which was a major cattle drive trail from Texas up to Kansas and beyond. It’s also the Williamson county seat, and the historic courthouse building presides over what is dubbed “the most beautiful town square” in Texas and sets an impressive scene for family fun. Here are our top spots on the square.
Explore the Williamson Museum
This is a must-see spot for families. Walk in and find a replica chest filled with dolls, wooden toys and other playthings from the late-19th century (sorry, no iPads!). Head towards the back of the museum for Willie’s Kids Corral, where your little cowpokes will find a chuckbox set up just like it would have been on the Chisolm trail: kids can make a meal, rope a cow and more! Also, don’t miss Kidz Korner, a day-long (10 a.m.-5 p.m.) free event on the second Saturday of every month—attendees can make a craft and learn about the history of the region.
Take a class at Sip & Stain
Pop in to this adorable eco-friendly woodworking studio right on the square for a kids workshop, which occur once a week during the summer, or one of the regular workshops (ages 7 & up, pre-registration is required), or to grab baked goodies from the new 18 Carrots bakery that shares the space (we recommend the vegan pumpkin chocolate chip cookies).
Stop In at All Things Kids
This family-owned toy/ice cream/candy shop is every kid’s dream. From the toys set out for play to the bins of candy and ice-cold scoops, we recommend stopping here after lunch! From a wide array of Melissa & Doug toys to Playmobil blind bags, you’ll be jotting down items for their holiday wish list now.
Discover the Brand-New All-Women Owned Bookstore
Lark & Owl Booksellers is a brand-new bookstore, owned by 10 women who, between them, have 27 kids in all! From the cozy reading nook and the weekly storytime and author readings just for kids to the bistro offering wine, beer and music, there’s truly something for everyone at this charming spot. It’s right off the main square, behind the popular Monument Cafe.
Look for the Splashpad Right Off the Square
Near the Art Center on Main Street is the downtown splashpad (there are several others in Georgetown as well). It’s the perfect way to cool off after wandering in and out of the stores on the square.
Spend an Afternoon at the Blue Hole
This scenic lagoon is located on the south fork of the San Gabriel River. Surrounded by limestone bluffs, there are small waterfalls and large, shallow pools. You'll find public bathrooms, walking trails, picnic tables, and it’s only five blocks from downtown. It does get crowded, so be prepared to share the space with others. Open from the early morning until dusk, you’ll find the entrance at W. Second St. and Rock St. There is free public parking at the corner of 3rd and Rock, and there’s a parking garage nearby if you can’t find a spot.
Wander Around the Inner Space Cavern
There’s no heat like the summer heat in Texas. A perfect solution? Spending an hour or so in a cave! The Inner Space Cavern is one of the best-protected caves in the state, and since it’s considering a “living cave,” kids will be able to see stalagmites and stalactites that are still forming and growing. There are pools of pure mineral water, mammoth fossils and even bats that call the caves home. The guided tour lasts just over an hour, and although the path is paved, it can be wet in some spots, so it’s best to wear sneakers or closed-toe shoes. At one point, the lights will be turned off, so prep your tiniest kids who might have an issue with the dark.
Check out the Georgetown Food Scene
From the three year-round farmer’s markets to the bustling restaurants with sidewalk seating, the food scene in Georgetown does not disappoint.
600 Degrees Pizzeria and Drafthouse
This spot is usually pretty busy, but the pizza, garlic knots, salads and impressive beer list make it worth the wait. The basic cheese will keep little ones happy, while parents can sample the fancier options like the white clam, the royale with cheese or the fresh basil pesto. They even have gluten-free and buy-by-the-slice options.
One of the best restaurants in Georgetown, Wildfire has been serving up Texas-inspired cuisine for over 20 years. From menu items like the Texas Pecan Encrusted Chicken Salad to hearty fare like the Chuck Wagon Chicken & Dumplings and an impressive list of steak options, plus a diverse kids’ menu that offers more than just chicken strips (think popcorn shrimp, fettuccine alfredo served with green beans or garlic mashed potatoes), you’ll want to come back to try something new each time you visit. The vibe is upscale, but the friendly staff welcomes families with a smile.
Any time you see people spilling out on the pavement in front of a restaurant, it’s a best bet that the food will be awesome. Located in a ‘40s-style diner, this local favorite serves up homestyle fare, homemade pies and plenty of daily specials that are “get ‘em before they’re gone” good.
Stay at a Hotel Perfect for Kids
The Sheraton Georgetown Hotel & Conference Center is just a short distance away from downtown, and it has trail access that’ll take you to the Blue Hole, San Gabriel Park and other great outdoor spaces in Georgetown. You can rent bikes for the whole family, kayak, or opt to hang out by the pool or play lawn games like Jenga. There’s also a great restaurant, Brix and Ale, that serves up dishes like cheese plates, Brussel sprouts, french onion soup, crab and beet salad and even a red fish and oyster Po-Boy. There is an ample kids menu including tomato soup, cheeseburgers, PB & J, and more.
Other Fun Things to Do
Georgetown also has a ton of seasonal events that add to the fun. There is the summer Music on the Square series, Market Days on the second Saturday of the month, Mar.-Nov., First Fridays, live theater at the Palace Theater and more.
Portions of this trip were paid for by Visit Georgetown, but all opinions here belong to the writer.