SXSW is an exciting time in Austin, but it can be overwhelming. That’s why we came up with a detailed guide so that you can experience the city to the fullest! There are so many sights, sounds and eats in the Capitol of Texas, but we’ve narrowed it down to our top picks in this guide on how to spend your day in Austin. Soak it all in and spend your day experiencing the best that Austin and SXSW has to offer!
Starting your morning off with coffee is a must as your day will be action packed and you’ll need the energy! Austin is full of amazing coffee shops so your destination should depend on the area of town you’re staying. If downtown, we suggest Alta’s Cafe for its supply of Sightglass Coffee, Ladybird Lake views, and convenient location (across the street from the Austin Convention Center). If you find yourself farther south, Patika is a must! They have a great selection of unique baked goods, and their iced latte is one of the best in town. Manana Coffee & Juice is a fabulous coffee shop tucked within the South Congress Hotel. Everything from their coffee to the atmosphere is perfection! The east side also has plenty to offer, but our favorite is Wright Bros. Brew and Brew. They have plenty of seating, Flat Track beans, and baristas who are more of coffee scientists. Finally, if you’re further north, Houndstooth is no brainer! Their cappuccino is a must-try!
You won’t want to skip breakfast because you’ll need to fuel up, and there are so many options to try. We suggest Bouldin Creek Cafe for a very Austin-y vibe, and a great assortment of hearty vegan and vegetarian options. Snooze, which originally started in Colorado, is another fabulous choice. Tacos are practically a food group in Austin so you can’t go wrong with breakfast tacos! Our favorites are Tacodeli, Torchy’s Tacos and Veracruz.
SXSW focuses on film and interactive, but it started out solely as a music festival –checking out some of the live music is a must! If you have a badge or wristband, you can get into any showcase depending on the capacity. However, don’t fret if you don’t have a badge, there are still plenty of options for you to see some amazing shows. We suggest checking out the Unofficial SXSW Guide to see all of the events and happenings. This Music Bloggers Guide to SXSW is also very insightful!
Austin has some spectacular shops, so if you need a break from the festival, we would recommend checking out the fashion scene. Discover some great local shops such as Adelante, Kettle & Brine, Dylan Wylde and more! South Congress is also a highly sought out destination for a vast selection of stores.
There is an immense restaurant scene in this city, and it can be difficult to keep track of all of the new spots opening up. Check out The Beer Plant for vegan comfort food and their impressive brew list. Try Red Ash for mouthwatering Italian food, EastSide Tavern for BBQ and cocktails, or Eberly for impressive food with a snazzy atmosphere. Don’t miss out on the amazing Mexican food scene as well — Grizzelda’s is an upscale and modern take on mexican food.
This aspect of SXSW has grown immensely over the years, and you won’t want to miss that part of the festival. You can attend sessions with different speakers; last year President Obama was the keynote speaker! There’s also an expo you can attend and check out all of the newest tech gadgets and companies. For the film side, attend various screenings and premieres and maybe even catch a celebrity sighting or two.
The cocktail and mixology scene in Austin and is not to be missed! Check out Kitty Cohen’s on the east side, Seller’s on Rainey Street, Garage located downtown or Backbeat on South Lamar. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg as there are so many incredible bars scattered throughout the city!