ATX Spotlight: Mueller Lake Park

I want it to be a perfect park with a state-of-the-art swing set and basketball courts, and off to the side a lovely sitting area for kids with asthma to watch other kids play. – Leslie Knope

Wow. If I’d had a park like that when I was growing up, I probably wouldn’t have gone through such a prolonged mall-slut phase. – Tammy Swanson


What, ATXFoodies, are you drunk? Why are you posting something about a local park in a food blog? Well, maybe because as foodies, it is our duty to go out, be active, and make sure that we don’t become completely useless sacks of potatoes. We need to have sustainable lifestyles so that we can eat as much food as possible before we die. Besides, you need some suggestions for things to do in between your meals at nearby restaurants, so let’s kick it off with Mueller Lake Park!

Mueller Map

Mueller Lake Park, right off of 35, next to Airport Blvd and Manor. If you spot an old air traffic control tower, you’re in the right area. 

If you have never heard of this area, don’t fret; it’s actually relatively new. In fact, one of the main reasons I love this area so much is how little people who live outside of this part of town know about it (So shhhhh, it’s our little secret!) Austin’s airport used to be located here, and the development in this area didn’t start exploding until within the last three or four years. But my oh my, how beautiful it has become.

One of my favorite spots on the jogging trail leading to the park
One of my favorite spots on the jogging trail leading to the park

I’m not going to lie – I actually found this place by complete accident. I was shopping at the Mueller HEB on 51st St, and I tried to find a creative route back to the University of Texas by taking 51st, making a left on Mueller Blvd, and driving a few hundred yards past Dell’s Children hospital. Low and behold, I landed straight into the park. I vowed to myself that I would come back to explore the park, and I did just that a few weeks later.

It was a cold and misty morning when I went to jog, but as the morning progressed and the sun rose higher and higher, the park began to reveal it’s true beauty. Here are the top reasons why I love it and why you should check it out at least once:

I. Parking is a breeze. There are parking spots everywhere, and unless there’s an event going on, they are open all the time during weekdays. On weekends, you might have to park a little further away by venturing deeper into the adjacent neighborhoods, but I’ve never found it too difficult.

IMG_20141102_110939
One car on this entire curve. On a Saturday

II. The people. They smile at you when you walk past and greet you with a friendly wave or a “hello”. They are active. And they are pretty. Yes, you might argue that a lot of Austinites fit this last criteria, but I challenge you and a single girl/guy friend to take a jog through the park during a Saturday and not turn your heads at least one time to look back at someone that you thought was extremely attractive. … … I’m waiting.

III. The activities. There are always activities being hosted around this area, ranging from charity walks to children’s events. The park has a hangar that is host to the Texas Farmer’s Market on Sundays, and it also has it’s own amphitheater, where local bands and artists showcase their talent. There’s also a playground for kids to play at, some basic workout equipment, an outdoor basketball court, and a pretty sizable jogging trail. And then there’s the Thinkery, a children’s museum designed to cultivate creativity. They also host adult events every now and then.

Where kids go to exercise their brains... unless it's beer night
Where kids go to exercise their brains… unless it’s beer night

IV. The food. Located in the park is a food court that sports the following food trailers: Elixer Coffee, Fresh Off the Truck, Short Bus Subs, MMMPanadas, and Conscious Cravings. Drive 2 minutes down the road, and you’ll arrive at the Mueller HEB, which in my opinion, is the best HEB in all of Austin. Be sure to try eating at the Mueller Cafe, which has great happy hour specials. I highly recommend their prosciutto and arugula pizza. Also, it’s worth mentioning that there is also a new Torchy’s location that just opened up in front of HEB, and if you love tacos like I do, it’s never a mistake paying them a visit.

Looking over in the direction of the food trucks
Looking over in the direction of the food trucks

V. The park itself: It’s drop dead gorgeous. Beautiful, modern homes surround the park. There is so much open space that kids’ soccer leagues are able to hold games here from time to time. There is also a lot of biodiversity. Turn your head one way, and you’ll see the lake. Another way, and you’ll see flowers, trees, and tall, wavy grasses. Hike down a ways, and you’re at a small waterfall. Birds constantly whizz by over head, and the ducks and geese here do not care one bit how close you get to them.

Don't believe me? Just ask this fella
Don’t believe me? Just ask this fella

If you’re lucky, a giant horde of them might surround you. Just. Remain. Calm. Last but not least, I also passed by some folks fishing in the lake.

Still not convinced? Maybe these will change your mind:

Chic, modern houses
Chic, modern houses
Surrender to serenity
Surrender to serenity
These families of ducks gave it a shot. Can't you?
These families of ducks gave it a shot. Can’t you?
Beautiful music is created here
Beautiful music is created here

Okay, okay, I think you got it now.

So the next time you eat around this area, consider visiting Mueller Lake Park.

Actually, on second thought, don’t. I want to keep this place all to myself.

For more pictures and posts about food and places that you love in the ATX, make sure to keep your eyes on ATXFoodies.

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