Bird in a park


After School Programs

The Austin Parks and Recreation Department offers after school programs for the community that foster youth development in a safe and caring environment. The four core components include a healthy snack, active play, enrichment and homework help. Hours of operation are Monday-Friday from 2:45-6:00pm, except on City of Austin or school holidays. 

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 swimlife

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.

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.

The Austin Civilian Conservation Corps (ACCC) helps Austinites who have been economically impacted by COVID-19 earn income, serve their community, and gain skills that can lead to strong new careers.

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.

Cemetery Operations is located at Austin Memorial Park and the staff manages the grounds, administrative operations, burials, and historic resources.

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.

Have an idea for an improvement for your neighborhood park but not sure where to start? The Community Activated Park Project (CAPP) program streamlines the proposal process for neighbors, community groups, and partners seeking to initiate improvements on city-owned parkland. Park improvement projects should reflect community and PARD priorities and can include anything from invasive species removal and signage to new benches and nature play features. Every CAPP proposal is different, and ideas do not need to be fully formed before submitting a proposal.

The Community Gardens Program helps groups start new gardens and provides support for existing community gardens on city owned land. Nonprofit program partners also provide vital support through grants, volunteer coordination, and liability insurance.

Community gardens are long term stewardship projects where people come together to care for land. They include gardens with individual plots, food forests, community orchards, teaching gardens, and gardens that are communally tended.

The Parks and Recreation Department (PARD) is dedicated to serving the individuals, community groups, and non-profits that make Austin such a vibrant city. Our city is renowned for its 300 plus parks, which are built and maintained in collaboration with the amazing community members who call Austin home. The goal of the Community PARKnerships Program is to assist members of the Austin community in creating their own visions of public space.  

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.

The City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department welcomes Meals on Wheels and More as our partner for the delivery of congregate meals to eight (8) recreation/neighborhood and senior activity centers through out Austin. The Senior Congregate Meals Program is open to anyone 60 years of age or older. The meals are at the suggested Client Share donation of $1.00 to $3.00 but no contribution is required.

Austin Parks and Recreation Department utilizes independent contract instructors to provide unique programming services at its recreational facilities.  A contract gives you the ability to have your programs/activities based on the needs and space availability at our Facilities or Parks. 

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 Dougherty Arts Center 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.


Family Fitness

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.

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.

The Memorial Bench Program is being redeveloped. Visit this page again in spring 2024 for updated information. Please send any questions to

The Museums and Cultural Programs Division provides safe and inclusive spaces where people explore creativity and identity through the arts, histories and cultures of Austin and the world. We promote civic engagement through festivals, performances, exhibitions, social practice, camps, workshops and classes.

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.

Audio Wild seeks to provide nature preserve visitors with compelling stories that provide a deeper sense of place through an auditory experience tailored to the site.  Audio Wild is a work in progress and new recordings will be added as they are completed.  Audio Wild recordings may provide the listener with a variety of experiences including unique insights into the natural history of the site, interesting facts about plants or animals in the area, or stories recounting the history of the site.

Looking for a job that's more than just a job? 

Our team creates diverse programs and experiences in sustainable natural spaces and public places and offers essential support and maintenance services.

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 forebears' influence on the past and future. We share and collect individual narratives to create a framework for the collective human story. 

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

Parkland Dedication is a local government requirement imposed on subdivision and site plan applications mandating the dedication of land for a park and/or the payment of a fee to be used by the governmental entity to acquire land and/or develop park facilities.

Groups and individuals can participate in environmental stewardship on their local parkland.  From creek clean-ups to mulching and invasive removal, there are opportunities for everyone. In fiscal year 2023, over 11,900 volunteers participated in parkland stewardship. Together, we planted 1,478 trees and removed 82,698 lbs of litter. Check out our partner’s websites to find an opportunity that best fits what you’re looking for! 

The Austin Parks and Recreation Department Parks Prescription Program aims to bridge the medical community with local parks and recreation opportunities by prescribing time in nature to prevent or treat health problems.

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, school parks, neighborhood associations, 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.

Pickleball is 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.

Trained staff monitoring prescribed fire

Trained staff monitoring a prescribed fire.

The Parks and Recreation Department (PARD) values sustainability and resiliency and works hard to maintain our park spaces clean and inviting for Austinites and our visitors.  We aim to minimize waste generation through source reduction, recycling or composting in order to both reduce the amount of waste sent to the landfill, as well as reduce costs for disposal of trash.  Our goal is to ensure that our parks and facilities are compliant with 

Empowering the Next Generation of Leaders! Our Roving Leaders program helps teenagers develop life and leadership skills as well as explore challenging topics they face every day. We give students the power to make a difference and improve their lives and communities by providing resources to help young people understand how their environment and habits are connected. We teach problem solving and critical thinking skills.

Senior Transportation Program operated by the City of Austin Parks and Recreation (PARD), Centralized Programs Division, Senior Programs. PARD has operated the Senior Transportation Program for over 30 years through the City of Austin general fund and grant funding provided by the Capital Area Council of Governments (CAPCOG). Goal: To provide a special system of transportation to enhance the quality of life and promote independence for persons 60 years or older residing within Austin city limits


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!

The Signage and Wayfinding Program aims to improve and enhance park access, navigation, and safety through static signage, digital wayfinding, and more. The program has emerged from a multi-year effort to assess park access through the lens of signage and wayfinding and chart a course for a comprehensive management strategy.

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.  

Austin Parks and Recreation has 25 soccer fields, 70 multipurpose fields and a growing number of mini-pitches. Adult and youth soccer leagues are available through community partner organizations. In the fall and spring, several Community Recreation Centers offer co-ed youth recreational soccer opportunities that teach the fundamentals of the game and encourage teamwork.

Austin Parks and Recreation provides accessible, diverse, and inclusive summer camps, and now offers early registration for community participants who qualify for financial aid, adaptive and inclusion support programs. There are camps for youth (ages 5 to 12) and for teens (ages 12 to 15) at select locations.  

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 5 to 12, the Summer Playgrounds Program creates a space for youth to engage in a variety of activities that provides opportunities for them to learn and develop skills that can help them be successful.

Image of teens having fun

The Austin Parks and Recreation Department is committed to offering programs for teens that encourage development through active play, outdoor exploration, the arts, critical thinking, and leadership activities. Teen Recreation programs offer participants a way to interact and create friendships with other teens around the city.

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 Program Participants

Austin Parks and Recreation Department (PARD) is proud to offer Therapeutic Recreation Services to provide safe, accessible, fun and supportive recreation environments for all persons no matter their abilities. PARD’s Therapeutic Recreation Services include both adaptive and inclusive programs which are facilitated and supported by Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialists (CTRS).


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.

The Community Recreation Centers are proud to offer year-round co-ed youth sports that teach fundamentals and stress sportspersonship. Our seasonal leagues provide a safe recreational setting structured for a beginner to intermediate player. Lead by volunteer coaches, games are noncompetitive in order to emphasize teamwork and physical fitness. Developmental skills are taught in an energetic, positive and safe environment where players learn to respect the sport.

The City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department (PARD) is fortunate to have volunteers who execute youth sports programs on behalf of the City.

The Zilker Holiday Tree stands 155 feet tall and is composed of 39 streamers, each holding 81 multicolored led bulbs - totaling 3,309 lights. A double star at the top of the tree measures 10 feet from point to point with 150 frosted bulbs. The unique spiral pattern of lights was created by City of Austin electricians. At its circumference, the tree measures 380 feet. The diameter is 120 feet. The base of the tree is made up of 19 utility poles, each 14 feet tall, arranged in a circle around the Moonlight Tower.