It seems like every weekend is an opportunity to head out with family and friends for another memorable time in the Texas capital city. One of the most exciting annual events is South by Southwest or SXSW. This is a massive gathering of creative types in movies, art, fashion, food, music and technology that is overwhelming in its number of free and paid events. SXSW is centered in the heart of downtown Austin, but radiates to a variety of sites throughout the city.
Taking on the adventure that is SXSW means you are willing to experience the ever-evolving atmosphere where all things are imaginable. A casual stroll in the city may lead to a once-in-a-lifetime encounter with a movie star as you walk side-by-side, wading through the sea of festival goers who crowd every inch of the sidewalks and streets. You may wander into the unannounced premier of the next cinema blockbuster, or dance the night away at the undisclosed premier of a superstar band’s newest album. Taking a break in the calm confines of an afternoon lecture, you may be mesmerized by the futuristic details of the next level technology that will revolutionize modern life. And there’s always the allure of 6th Street and its many dining options and watering holes, all mixed with electric music and eclectic characters wandering this famous downtown block. It all may sound surreal, but memories are made every year at this convergence of creativity that swarms the capitol streets.
One of the most amazing, and exhausting, aspects of South By is the number of booths, tents, sponsors and free venues. Granted, if you can purchase an all-access badge for SXSW it is recommended. But if you don’t have a movie-star budget, striking out on your own or with friends to discover the free and public wonders of SXSW is an adventure worth pursuing. Pace yourself with all the food offerings and indulge in all the options for Mexican food and barbecue. Make sure to taste the varieties of Texas wine and beer. People from all over the world will explore SXSW. Many are there to perform or present a lecture, but most arrive by the tens of thousands to experience more than a week of a unique collision of cultures and industries. One of the crazy experiences is pounding a brew at an open-air event sitting in the company of the wildest rock-and-roller carrying on a conversation with a keynote speaker for a physics symposium. The free flow of alcohol and ideas is never-ending at South By.
SXSW is a fantastic event destination for anyone young or old, single or the whole family. We do recommend that families do a little extra planning so as not to stumble into a more adult venue – day or night – and be cautious if you take the kiddos into the nighttime crowds as the clock ticks closer to midnight. There’s plenty of excitement throughout the day for all ages, and it’s a wonderful time to make family memories while enjoying the freedom and connection with creative souls. One thing to keep in mind, the weather can change in a minute in Austin – heating up or cooling down by 20-plus degrees. So, make sure to check the weather forecast in advance of heading out for the day or evening. You can also download the South By mobile app at the SXSW official site. You’ll always want to keep your ears open to catch word of any unannounced performances or special event access.