What To Do in Austin Between SXSW Events

Your badge has been ordered. Your RSVPs are set. Your panels are lined up. But, how are you planning on filling your time in between all of the SXSW madness this year?

South By Southwest is set to take off in Austin, Texas, where nearly 100,000 people are expected to attend this 10-day festival of original music, independent films, and emerging technologies. For over 30 years, this massive festival has been a platform for discovering creativity. But between listening to the next big band, and introducing yourself to the latest App, you’ll need to explore the vibrant city that this festival calls home. Austin has an abundance of sunshine, restaurants, natural beauty, and trendy people. So, here’s your must-do list between SXSW events:

Lady Bird Lake Hike & Bike Trail
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Step right outside of the Radisson Hotel & Suites Austin Downtown, and right onto this stunning 10-mile walking trail around downtown. Grab a buddy or co-worker to walk, run, or bike the city trail with. Don’t let the length of this trail intimidate you, though – there are plenty of fun stops along the way. From dog-watching at Auditorium Shores, reading in the middle of Zilker Park, or stopping for a bite at one of the many food trailers at The Picnic, this trail is a breezy and beautiful way to spend your downtime.

Eat like the locals

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You won’t want to leave the city without sampling the local flavors. There are delicious restaurants at every turn in Austin, which is home to the world’s best BBQ and Tex-Mex. Head just a bit south of downtown to Polvos, where the salsa is hot and the margaritas are ice cold. This bustling interior Mexican restaurant on S. First has a huge patio and delicious Mexican, which is the recipe for an authentic Austin dining experience. To get a true taste of Texas, you’ll need some BBQ – stop by La Barbecue, the food trailer that smokes delicious meats all night long. Be sure to get there early, though – they’re only open until they sell out!

Soak up the sun 

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If luck is on your side, there will be plenty of warmth and sunshine in Austin mid-March. You may be spending most of your SXSW inside of venues – listening to panels, watching movies, or catching a show, so be sure to add some Vitamin D to your schedule. Rent a kayak or paddleboard at Texas Rowing Center to catch the best views of the city on Lady Bird Lake. You can also stroll over to Barton Springs Pool to take the plunge into the ever-chilly natural springs, where the temperature is a cool 68 degrees year round. Both the water and stunning natural beauty are sure to take your breath away!

Of course, if you need a break from traveling around the crowds, just take a dip in the pool at Country Inn & Suites By Carlson, Austin-University, TX!

Bat Viewing on Congress Bridge

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Photo by Flickr user Eric Borja

Austin is home to more than 1.5 million Mexican Free-Tailed Bats, which emerge from underneath Congress Bridge at dusk every evening. These can be viewed on Congress Bridge, or right from the Radisson Hotel & Suites Austin Downtown! Be sure to bring your camera to capture this unique spectacle.

Shop Local on South Congress

Photo by Flickr user Justin Jenson

Photo by Flickr user Justin Jenson

Take a short stroll or a quick ride down South Congress to check out the quirky, local shops and restaurants lining the street. It’s the perfect activity between events, as you can spend as much or as little time looking around as you’d like. From getting your very own pair of cowboy boots at Allens Boots, to adding some unique Austin art to your collection, there’s something for everyone on this iconic street.

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