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Covering 351 acres of trees and sprawling green parkland in the heart of Austin, Zilker Metropolitan Park is loved by locals and visitors alike. Favorite park activities include walking, biking, swimming, dog walking, and picnicking, and the park hosts various popular events throughout the year.
Adjacent to Lady Bird Lake, Zilker Metropolitan Park offers many opportunities for outdoor fun. Cycle or run the Lady Bird Hike and Bike Trail, spanning 10 miles around the lake. Take a ride on the Zilker Zephyr miniature train or cool off with a refreshing dip in the Barton Springs Pool, a 3-acre natural spring–fed pool that feeds into Lady Bird Lake. Guided options include bike tours around the lake and a digital scavenger hunt.
Zilker Metropolitan Park is a must for families with young kids.
Bikes, kayaks, and stand-up paddleboards are available for rent from local outfitters.
There is a small fee to swim at Barton Springs Pool and ride the Zilker Zephyr train.
Located off Barton Springs Road immediately southwest of downtown Austin, Zilker Metropolitan Park is accessible from state Highway 1 (Mopac Expressway) and is west of US 35. There is a fee for parking from March to September on weekends and holidays.
The park tends to fill up on weekends during the spring, summer, and fall, when the weather is ideal for enjoying a day outside. Weekdays are generally less crowded. Several festivals are held at Zilker Metropolitan Park throughout the year, including the ABC Kite Festival in March, the Blues on the Green summer concert series, Austin City Limits Music Festival in October, and the Trail of Lights at Christmas.
Because the city strives to “keep Austin weird,” Austinites often like to take a dip in the Barton Springs Pool during the full moon. These parties, which involve swimming in the chilly 68℉ (20℃) water and howling at the moon, have become so popular—and so wild—that the city has capped the number of attendees.