What to Do With Your Parents When They Come to Visit? Here are 5 Great Ideas

Back in the day, when the kids were little, my parents and grandmother would come visit our family and end up working pretty hard.

They did everything from clean the baseboards to babysit the kids!

Now, when my parents come for a visit, I like to throw out the welcome mat, show them around the city and have fun just being together.  Of course, there are some limitations.

It’s hard to accept that our hardworking parents are getting older. But, hey, Jack? So what if we have to plan around restroom accessibility and the proper taking of daily meds? We can still have loads of fun with our parents when they come to visit.

Here are 5 great ideas for showing your parents a really good time when they come to Austin to visit.

Get Them Out on the Water

Many of our parents once owned a boat and enjoyed being in it. Maybe they still have one.  For others, an afternoon on the water might mean too much planning and driving. Yet, almost everyone loves being on the water, and they miss the opportunity.

Austin Duck Adventures is a good way to toodle your parents around on Lake Austin. The tour is interactive and fun, and the view from the water is really unique to Austin. Tours run seven days a week year round, so planning ahead and finding a spot is pretty simple, and with a ticket price of $28.95, it’s affordable.  Call the number on the website here for more info.

Photo courtesy Austin Duck Adventures

Have Lunch at Hula Hut

Hula Hut Austin is such a fun place to enjoy the fabulous climate we have all year in Austin, but especially in the spring. Hula Hut is known for it’s “Tex-Mex with a Polynesian twist” and it all tastes fabulous when sitting on the dock under a shady umbrella. The service is good, the food is great, the drinks are fruity, and the scenery is relaxing. If your parents visit during the summer, you can avoid the midday heat by being among the first groups seated for lunch or arrive later for more of a sunset dining experience.  There’s plenty of parking, but, because most of it is up a steep hill across the street, plan to drop off your parents near the entrance while you park the car. Hula Hut is an extremely popular spot, so also plan for a wait if you go at peak times.

Photo courtesy Hula Hut

Take a Bat Cruise 

Photo courtesy Capital Cruises

Most of our parents would probably not enjoy the long walk to the bridge where the bats fly, and they might have a pretty hard time standing and waiting for the big moment when the flight takes place anyway. If that’s the case with your parents, take them on a bat cruise instead. What better way to show your parents something so unique to Austin?

Take Them to a Movie

The Violet Crown is always my pick for moviegoing. It’s so relaxing. You can purchase your tickets online, park free for four hours, stroll the 2nd Street District, and then settle in with a bag of popcorn and a ginger ale (my latest fave). There’s nothing about the Violet Crown not to like.

The popcorn is just right at the Violet Crown. Not too buttery. Not too salty. Mmmm. Just right.

Visit a Winery

So many wineries, so little time. Even if your parents don’t drink wine, Texas wineries are worth the experience. Make reservations to tour the facility and see how it’s all done at Grape Creek Vineyards, and you’ll have loads to talk about afterward. The expert tour guides will transport you in a small group all around the vineyard in an over-sized golf cart, explaining things along the way. It really is so interesting to learn about Texas wines and all that goes into making them so delicious – especially when you can visualize the process.

Tour the Capitol Building

Oh, how I love the Texas Capitol Building! By day or by night, in the dead of winter, or the freshness of spring, it’s a sight to behold. There are tours every weekday, and your parents will gladly enjoy hearing about Texas history from the experts. When you’re finished, and if they’re up to it, walk down Congress Avenue, noticing some of the historic buildings that have stood there since the 1800’s. Maybe you’ll spot a food truck you want to try, or make it all they way down to 2nd Street for some refreshing froyo at Berry Austin.

Go to a Ballgame

Do your parents like baseball? We’ve got it. Football? Hook ’em Horns! Basketball? Absolutely. Take your parents to a UT game of any kind, and you’ll have entertained their burnt orange socks off.

Speaking of burnt orange, if you need something cute to wear to the game, check out all the good stuff here, here and here.

If it’s baseball season when Mom and Dad come to town, you might want to take them to see a Round Rock Express game at Dell Diamond.  Games are played through most of the summer with plenty of home game dates, so you should easily be able to snag tickets for a game with your parents. Be sure to secure July 4th tickets well in advance, however,  so you can enjoy the huge fireworks show after the game. (Parking is $10, unless you drive a Lexus, in which event, it is FREE!)

One Bonus Idea – Take Them to Church

If your parents are like mine and really enjoy gathering the whole family onto one pew, take them to church in Austin.  There are so many amazing churches in the Capital City! If your parents are up to trying somewhere new, you may want to take them to a church that’s new for you as well. Warning: We did this very thing at Christmas. We walked to a downtown church, seeking a new experience, a little more high-church than what we’re accustomed to.  We got it – but I’m afraid you could tell we were visitors.  Just sayin’.

If you would like to visit a church in the most scenic location in Austin, try Riverbend. It’s beautiful, it’s big, and there’s nothing you really need to know ahead of time.

Photo courtesy Riverbend Church

Well, after a few days chasing around the great city of Austin, either your parents will be ready to go home and rest or they’ll be ready to move to the hill country themselves!

Either way, you’ll have had a fabulous time laughing, sharing stories and enjoying some sweet times with the people who have always loved you the very most. Your parents.

Encouraging intentional adventure and some memory-making time with Mom and Dad,

What  fun things have you done with your parents when they’ve come to visit?















Hi, there! My name is Brenda McDearmon, and I love to encourage people! I created this blog to help overfiftyers to look beyond the transitions into a future of everyday adventure so they can focus on themselves a little, and on every other good thing in life a lot. I'm so glad you're here!

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  • Christi Beth Fisher
    May 5, 2017 at 11:43 pm

    When my mom would come and visit me,(she is 85 years old and has Alzheimers now) we usually went to the grocery store! Really! She lives in a very small town in the Texas Panhandle and it has only one grocery store. She loved looking at all the different kinds of produce, cheeses, and fresh baked breads. We would buy a little bit of everything!

    • brenda
      Brenda McDearmon
      May 16, 2017 at 10:31 am

      Christi Beth, truly a big city grocery store is a delightful place to experience when you’re from a small town! Thanks for sharing this sweet memory.

  • Valerie Howard
    May 6, 2017 at 1:33 pm

    These are great ideas! I will certainly be doing some or all of these next time I visit Austin. You are doing a fabulous job with your blog. I LOVE reading them.

    • brenda
      Brenda McDearmon
      May 16, 2017 at 10:29 am

      Valerie, thank you for reading my blog! It means so much to me. Next time you’re in Austin, let me know. I can take pictures while you enjoy something fun!

  • Phuc Phan
    May 7, 2017 at 2:28 pm

    Mozart’s on Lake Austin is a fun and relaxing place to take one’s parents. It’s next to Hula Hut. Great place to relax, chat, and enjoy a nice cup of joe.

    • brenda
      Brenda McDearmon
      May 16, 2017 at 10:27 am

      Thanks, Phuc! I do love Mozart’s. Our son works there when he’s home from college, and we love to take visitors there. It’s such a beautiful spot on the water, isn’t it?