On the Road
Eat, drink, or boutique in the Hill Country's Leander
Just 30 miles north of downtown Austin, historic Leander is a go-to destination that’s part of the beautiful Texas Hill Country.
The charming Old Town district boasts a unique collection of shops along with local flavor in the form of dining destinations, distilleries, and more. You can even ride the rails when you’re in town — or you may even stumble across a hometown event or festival.
Here’s your short list of things to do.
Get in on these freebies
Leander is filled with free fun and adventures to explore, including Lakewood Park, the newest green space in town that boasts a skate park, kayak launch and rentals, basketball courts, a huge playground for all ages, fishing spots, and an extensive trail system.
The 16-acre Robin Bledsoe Park is another good place to get outside with outdoor activities, including a swimming pool, lighted sports courts, playscape, splash pad, and a walking trail.
Go on a scavenger hunt to spot all 13 painted cabooses that make up the Trail of Trains, including an iconic Whataburger one — in front of an actual Whataburger restaurant, naturally — with orange and white stripes, the “Just Like You Like It” slogan, and branding that mimics the look of the original Corpus Christi location.
The Leander Library has an impressive roster of daily activities for all ages, from their teen book club to adult workshops, LEGOs in the library, and more.
Leander also makes a great base camp for the Texas Hill Country Passport, if you want to explore more of the area. You can pick up your passport and your first stamp at the Leander Visitors Center, and then collect a stamp at every visitors center you go to in the Hill Country and mail your “passport” in for a prize.
Leander has cool shops you can’t find anywhere else, including Wildfire Artisans in a vintage Airstream. It’s an uncommon gathering place to talk, hang, and browse everything from bohemian-eclectic to ’70s pop items for decor and dress.
The coolest outdoor market comes by way of Smooth Village, which pops up every Saturday from 9 am to 1 pm and features a range of unique vendors and a farmers market. On Saturday evenings, you can often catch karaoke, live music, and other entertainment at the village, too.
For bridal and other formal wear, Lace & Grace Bridal Boutique has luxury looks at affordable price points along with all the veils, sashes, jewelry, and accessories to match.
Ride the rails
Sit back for a relaxing journey into the passenger railroad's glorious past onboard the Austin Steam Train Association’s Bertram Flyer. The vintage train cars are from the golden era of rail travel, built in the 1930s, '40s and '50s, and all fully restored.
The 44-mile journey spans the South San Gabriel River and stops for a 15-minute layover at the historic 1912 Bertram Depot. You’ll see views of Short Creek Canyon, the 300-foot-long wooden trestle bridge over the South San Gabriel, and the Duffy-Shamrock communications mast — one of the tallest structures in the world!
Find your perfect table among local restaurants, starting with Guaco Taco where they serve up frozen margs and fresh, homemade Mexican fare (and they have an outdoor patio, too).
For southern faves with Cajun flare, Mouton’s is your place. The “pit is lit” at Smokey Mo’s barbecue joint, and Blue Corn Harvest is a farm-to-table restaurant with a Southwestern spin and lots of delicious, creative cocktails.
Have dessert after (or before) your meal at The Sweet Cupfe, where they bake up endless sweet flavors and even have a top-shelf list, too — think red wine chocolate cupcakes, a Jack Daniel’s-infused chocolate creation, a vanilla Tennessee honey cake, and more.
Grab a drink
From Leander’s very own distillery — Leanderthal Distilling, makers of Leanderthal Vodka and more — to local bars and breweries, your favorite drink is waiting for you.
Make sure to swing by for a craft beer during Whitestone Brewery’s weekday happy hours; they also bring in live music almost every Saturday. Wine aficionados will also love the tasting room at Bent Oak Winery.
Cheer on the local teams
From Texas Stars hockey to the Leander Wolfpack on the football field and the Austin Spurs on the basketball court, catch a game when you’re in town.
Discover more ways to love Leander here.