Bird in a park


Kids playing dodgeball

The Austin Parks and Recreation Department offers after school programs for the community that foster youth development in a safe and caring environment. Our goal is to create opportunities for Kindergarten (5 years old) -12 years old to engage in critical thinking and exercise decision-making skills. The four core components of our after school programs include a healthy snack, active play, enrichment and homework help.

Discover local art and artists.  Watch a play under the stars or in a vibrant community theater. Visit a serene and natural setting from the work of a 20th century American sculptor.

Actors giving speeches, and dancers dancing. Apply To The FY2023 Artist Access Program

The City of Austin is currently accepting applications for the 2023 Artist Access Program.

Applications Open- October 15, 2021
Deadline to Apply- December 15, 2021

Athletics organizes adult recreational leagues for men, women and co-ed teams. Athletics reserves the Krieg and Havins softball complexes. Athletics partners with non-profit Youth Sport Organizations to provide recreational opportunities to Austin youth. Athletics collaborates with Recreation Centers to set standards for Youth Sports leagues.

Information               Details               Calendar

The City of Austin Cemetery Operations is a division of the Parks and Recreation Department and operates five municipal cemeteries and maintains two family cemeteries: Austin Memorial Park Cemetery, Evergreen Cemetery, Oakwood Cemetery, Oakwood Annex Cemetery, and Plummers Cemetery. The family cemeteries include the cemetery at Longview Park and the Stanley-Nolen Cemetery at Garrison Park.

Austin’s Community Gardens are currently producing an estimated 100,000 pounds of fresh local, organic produce for Austin residents every year!  They are also places where both adults and children learn, fostering community and good-neighbor relationships.

The Department has a permit process, fees, and requirements for regularly scheduled activities that enhance the park experience at select sites.  Permits are required for all trainers/activities regardless if per fee classes are charged or not to a consumer.

Activities covered allowed under this process include:

  • health and fitness consultants,
  • dog trainers, yoga instructors,
  • bicycle tour groups (non-motorized), and
  • other outdoor professional service providers.

Parks and Recreation Department (PARD) is excited to launch the new and improved Community Activated Park Projects Program (formally Community Initiated Project). PARD’s goal for the Community Activated Park Projects program (CAPP) is to streamline the proposal process for our nonprofit partners and community member’s seeking to initiate improvements on parkland.  CAPP proposals will be reviewed on a quarterly basis by the PARD Review Committee (some exceptions apply – please read the proposal form for details). The proposal encompasses all phases of project inception.

Community PARKnerships

Austin is a vibrant, unique, and passionate community. Our city is known for its 300 plus parks and the amazing community members, nonprofits, civic groups, and business partners who help to build and maintain them. The Parks and Recreation Department (PARD) is dedicated to creating diverse programs and experiences in sustainable natural spaces and public places, and we value your interest in helping us achieve those goals.

The Parks and Recreation Department offers a wide variety of programs for youth and teens, adults and 50+ seniors at our Community Recreation Centers. Youth programs include camps, sports, art clubs, teen events, toddler sports, and youth sports hosted year round.  Adult and senior classes include anything from arts and crafts and aerobics to pickleball, citywide events, and field trips. Recreation Centers provide a comprehensive menu of activities and events for all ages and abilities to come together, connect with each other and create community through various experiences.

Information on the Austin Parks and Recreation Department concession services and program.

  1. Permanent Concessions (existing or new requests)
  2. Special Event Concessions
  3. Temporary (seasonal) Concessions
  4. Commercial Use of Dedicated Parkland (fitness/yoga groups, professional trainers, non-motorized tour group services, or similar)

The arts school provides a variety of classes and camps for adults and youth. Call 512-974-4040 or select one of the following links to view additional information:

Register Online

National Golf Foundation Study

Austin Parks & Recreation contracted the National Golf Foundation to conduct a study of the City of Austin’s Golf System. The NGF was charged with the following 1) review the City’s golf operations 2) submit recommendations to improve efficiency of operations, and 3) make a determination on the future market potential of its golf facilities. The NGF report has now been completed and the full report will be posted shortly, please check back.



The Health Promotions Unit is committed to providing lifelong recreational, cultural and educational opportunities to promote healthy lifestyles and environments which create a sustainable and livable community. 

The Health Promotions Unit supports active, healthy living by offering free programs to the Austin community.

PARD’s Historic Preservation and Tourism Program (HPT) leads the restoration, stewardship, interpretation and promotion of the irreplaceable historic and cultural resources of Austin’s park system allowing visitors and residents to discover and experience an authentic connection to the city’s diverse history.

The Austin Parks and Recreation Department provides opportunities wherein all individuals are accepted, included and welcomed to participate, play and recreate together. Individuals interested in additional services are encouraged to request modifications to participate in our programs.

Austin Parks and Recreation Department internships provide that critical link between the academic setting and the work environment.  They enable students to explore areas of interest and apply their knowledge to determine the appropriate work environments that best match their skills and abilities.

Memorial benches allow your loved one’s memory to live on in an act of service to our city parks. Your contribution will be a great enhancement to many people’s quality of life.

Austin PARD contracted the NGF to conduct a study of the City of Austin’s Golf System. The NGF was charged with the following 1) review the City’s golf operations 2) submit recommendations to improve efficiency of operations, and 3) make a determination on the future market potential of its golf facilities. The NGF report has been completed is now available, please click here for the report.

Austin’s preserve system began in 1935 with the creation of Zilker Nature Preserve.  Over the years, the City of Austin has acquired over 2513 acres of preserve land.  Preserve land is a unique type of park land that is set aside because it provides essential endangered species habitat, includes a unique natural feature such as a cave or stream, or provides a prime example of a specific type of ecosystem.  Preserve land is set aside by either purchasing property from private or commercial land owners, if an area is designated as endangered species habitat or if it is deeded to the city.

The Chapel is a visitor center where we can, as an act of remembrance, learn about our cultural heritage through the people who were buried in the surrounding cemetery. Genealogy reveals our forebearers' influence on the past and future. We share and collect individual narratives to create a framework for the collective human story. 

Austin Parks and Recreation provides several off leash areas for you to enjoy with your dog. Generally, parks are open for public use each day from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. unless otherwise posted. Access can be limited or affected by events or maintenance issues.

The City of Austin Park Ranger are ambassadors Austin parks who promote responsible recreation.

Parkland Dedication

PARD has many committed nonprofit partners who assist with coordinating volunteer opportunities on parkland. Check out our partner’s websites below to find an opportunity that best fits what you’re looking for!

The Office of Special Events coordinates picnic and facility reservations, large special events/festivals, temporary concessions and commercial filming/photography requests within the Austin Parks and Recreation system.

Non-profit organizations, conservancies, community groups and businesses are invited and encouraged to partner with the Parks and Recreation Department (PARD) to enhance and improve parks, increase recreational and cultural opportunities and preserve natural areas in Austin.

What is Pickleball?

A paddle sport created for all ages and skill levels. The rules are simple and the game is easy for beginners to learn, but can develop into a quick, fast-paced, competitive game for experienced players. It's a game for everyone!

Global Grooves. Austin Moves.

Connect with culture & celebrate Austin's rich diversity of music and dance.

The Aquatic Division operates 45 public aquatic facilities, which includes 7 Regional pools, 3 Community pools, 22 Neighborhood pools, 1 Wading pool, Barton Springs Pool and 11 splash pads.  In addition to coordinating open water events and swim team competitions, we also offer instructional programs such as masters swimlifeguard and water safety training

Roving Leaders teach life skills and incorporate social-emotional learning to explore difficult topics teens encounter daily, such as violence, addiction and peer pressure. Youth are given a safe space to practice problem solving and encouraged to use critical thinking skills. The philosophy of the program is to aid and enhance the quality of life for the teens of Austin by providing a variety of quality recreation, education and cultural activities.

The Austin Parks and Recreation Department offers a variety of Varsity Generation programs and services for people 50 years of age and older. Activities include traveling, pursuing old hobbies and learning new ones, socializing with friends, meeting new people, increasing knowledge, becoming and staying physically fit, supplementing income, contributing to the community and much more!

Slacklining is the sport of walking a small, flat nylon rope between two anchor points.  The most common anchor points for slackline ropes are between two trees.  

Summer Playgrounds Program


The Summer Playgrounds Program seeks to foster healthy living, character building, and teamwork through collaborative and active play. With intentional programming developed specifically for youth ages 6 to 12, the Summer Playgrounds Program creates a space for youth to engage in activities that provides opportunities for youth to learn tools and develop skills that can help lead them to a higher quality of life.

The recreational Swim Team Program is organized to develop the potential and serve the recreational needs of boys and girls who are interested in learning about competitive swimming. See the Aquatics brochure for more information.

Teens in Leadership Training (TILT) is a 10 week  leadership and job readiness program for students 16-18 years of age. It gives teens the necessary skills and knowledge to be successful employees with the Austin Parks and Recreation Department.  

The Austin Parks and Recreation Department is looking for extraordinary, talented people to join our team of summer camp counselors!  Be a role model for kids and teens, lead activities, gain valuable experience and memories, have fun teaching and playing outside.  Must be 18+ to apply.  Pay starting at $15/hour. 

The purpose of the municipal tennis centers is to offer year-round tennis play and supervised tennis activities to the community through comprehensive programs for all ages.

Therapeutic Recreation Services

Totally Cool, Totally Art (TCTA) is a free after school art program that takes place in 12 recreation centers throughout Austin. While providing teens, grades 7th-12th, a chance to discover the wonders of self-expression through a multitude of mediums.

Austin’s urban forest provides millions of dollars annually in social, economic, and environmental benefits to the community and enhances the quality of life for Austin residents.  Our community's tree resource is an integral part of what makes Austin one of the most attractive cities in the country.  As the city continues to grow and develop the urban forest remains an integral part of the Austin landscape, quietly performing as one of our most invaluable community members and infrastructure components.

Wildlife Austin promotes the creation and conservation of wildlife habitats through community-wide collaboration and public education, and helps bridge existing city initiatives that encourage a well balanced and healthy urban environment for people and wildlife. Austin has a long track record of being dedicated to preserving and enhancing our environment. All of us have an important role to play! We all can make a profound contribution to keep Austin wild!