Our tips for not just sur­viv­ing but thriv­ing at SXSW

Austin American-Statesman - - FRONT PAGE - By Sa­man­tha Re­ich­stein Spe­cial to the Amer­i­can-States­man

Each March, the city of Austin grows just a bit more crowded dur­ing the South by South­west Con­fer­ence and Fes­ti­vals. Whether it’s first-timers nav­i­gat­ing through crowds of fel­low at­ten­dees or Aus­tinites em­brac­ing home­town perks, the 10-day event can be ex­haust­ing and even over­whelm­ing for any fes­ti­val­goer. That’s where we come in. All it takes is min­i­mal plan­ning in or­der to max­i­mize ev­ery­thing SXSW has to of­fer. Con­sider this your cheat sheet on how to get there, what to wear, es­sen­tials to bring along and key ad­vice eas­ily mis­placed be­tween the hus­tle and bus­tle of long lines and crowded venues.

Get­ting there

Last year, Uber and Lyft did big busi­ness dur­ing the fest, but both com­pa­nies left Austin in May. Smaller, less well-known ser­vices such as Fare, RideAustin and Wingz are now available.

SXSW chose Fas­ten as its of­fi­cial ride-hail­ing part­ner; at­ten­dees can use a promo code for $5 off a first ride. On a page with trans­porta­tion op­tions, SXSW also says Mazda will give free rides down­town to those who reg­is­ter with Mazda for a wrist­band.

Plan ahead with short-term car rental ser­vice Car2go and avoid the pos­si­bil­ity of surg­ing prices or can­celed re­quests. Once at your des­ti­na­tion, elim­i­nate the stress of find­ing Austin’s hid­den gold mines — aka an empty park­ing spot — by uti­liz­ing Car2go’s drop zones: four lo­ca­tions staffed each day of SXSW in the heart of the fes­ti­val area to drop off or pick up any of their ve­hi­cles.

If crav­ing a more scenic route, look into Austin B-Cy­cle. The of­fi­cial bike-rent­ing ser­vice of SXSW al­lows for ex­tended use, day or night, by sim­ply swip­ing a credit card.

The most cost-ef­fec­tive means of trans­porta­tion? Your own two feet! Ac­cept the fact that walk­ing


If you’re go­ing to South by South­west, you’ll prob­a­bly be stand­ing in a line at some point. Wear com­fort­able shoes, and take ad­van­tage of the time by talk­ing with those around you — you never know what hot tips you might get from fel­low fest­go­ers.


South by South­west hosts free con­certs at Au­di­to­rium Shores the last week­end of the fes­ti­val.

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