4 Tips for Surviving Austin During SXSW
It’s that time of year again—another round of South By Southwest is about to hit the streets of Austin, hard. If you’re unfamiliar with the ordeal, just know that it’s a 10-day festival for music, film, art and tech. And it’s all happening right here, partially because of Austin’s phenomenal reputation for live music, but mostly because tourists just love infiltrating our space and pissing off the locals.
For some of you who are lucky enough to have a pass allowing you access the festival, this is just another chance for you to show off your ink as you dive headfirst into the world of art. For others, this is just another roadblock that will prolong your morning commute and make leaving your home a massive headache. For those who are dreading the sudden surge of visitors, we’ve concocted a list of tips to help you survive the upcoming 10 days of chaos.
Ditch your car, because parking sucks.
Do not, I repeat, DO NOT attempt to drive downtown. You’re going to be stuck in traffic for hours, possibly years. And if you make it to your destination without dying of old age, there will be zero parking available. If you’re close enough to walk, do it. If you’re too lazy to walk, rent a bike (or borrow from a forgiving friend). Rideshares are also a viable option if you’re far from the city, but be prepared to spend big on surge pricing.
Consider an alternate route.
If your daily commute takes you through the city, you’re going to need to reroute that shit. Last year’s festival saw enough people to pump an additional $325.3 million into Austin’s economy. Great for Austin. Bad for Austinites trying to get to work on time. See if Waze has some other possible directions that can help you get around faster. Or just quit your job because our city is about to become absolute mayhem and it’s just not worth it to escape the safety of your home.
Find somewhere off the beaten path.
In 2015, SXSW saw a total attendance of 84,385 registered participants. During 2016’s SXSW, music venue and restaurant revenues increased an average of 45% compared to their next highest month. The city will be absolutely packed. This means that if you wake up hungover on Sunday and decide that you have to get back up on the horse, you need do so at a hidden gem that’s outside of the city. Don’t try to get a table for two at a mainstream restaurant that’s already pretty packed on any given weekend; they will be swamped, and you’ll die of dehydration before being seated. Same goes for your Friday night bar situation. Find a hole in the wall and count yourself lucky if you get served in less than fifteen minutes.
Seek refuge from massive crowds in nature.
If you’re trying to stay away from the chaos but you don’t want to be cooped up inside all day, you should hit up one of Austin’s many parks. The Barton Creek Greenbelt, Red Bud Aisle, the Shoal Creek Greenbelt, and Mary Moore Searight Metropolitan Park are just a few favorites that have enough trails and shores to keep you occupied outside of the city. Slap on some sunscreen, bring your dog for some off-leash action, and set up shop in a shallow creek bed with a beer or two. You’ll forget all about the massive crowds forcing you to take a two-week break from Hopdoddy and Sixth Street.