As far as hidden gems go, Mayfield Park is a whopping 10 carat diamond, tucked away at 3505 W 35th Street just a short drive from downtown. If you’re looking for a peaceful retreat where you can escape the city bustle and surround yourself with nature, this is the place to head. The park was bequeathed to the city by Mary Mayfield Gutsch in 1971 and is now managed by those great folks at the Austin Parks and Recreation Department, see: http://mayfieldpark.org
The park covers over 20 acres and includes a delightful cottage garden, several ornamental ponds stocked with fish, turtles and water lilies, abundant flowers, plants and huge palm trees. It also has a network of walking trails that lead around the grounds and down to nearby Lake Austin. The stars of the show, however, are the park’s resident peacocks. These amazing birds confidently strut their stuff and regularly display their elegant plumage to visitors. Photo opportunities are just about guaranteed if you can stick around for 10 minutes or so.
The park runs volunteer workdays on the second Saturday morning of each month, and has an annual “Trowel and Error” fundraiser to help pay for restoration work, see: http://mayfieldpark.org/workdays-and-events/ . The cottage and grounds are also available for rent for parties and special events. You can explore the park and grounds, including a leisurely hike to Lake Austin, in around an hour, and there are shaded picnic tables if you want to bring a meal or refreshments. The park is great for kids, although you’ll need to watch toddlers around the peacocks and pools. Entry is free and we think the best time to visit is early morning.
Mayfield Park is one of Austin’s true hidden gems and should definitely be on your Austin bucket list if you love tranquil escapes. Take a book, find a shady spot and take yourself far away!