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Our guide to Austin during SXSW 2019

Erika Kalar

By Erika Kalar

Posted on: February 12, 2019

Heading to Austin for SXSW 2019? Good news! You’ve got some nerdy friends here with some tips so you get the most out of your time while visiting our amazing city. Even if you’ve been to Austin a thousand times before, I’m betting there are a few things on our list that you haven’t seen or done yet. (Heck, I’ve lived here eight years and learned some things…)

atx startup crawlDo the SXSW Startup Crawl!
March 8, 4-8pm

Get swag for days and t-shirts for the year. It all kicks off with the SXSW Startup Crawl. This event is always a good time. Years past have featured dancing robots, pig roasts, bouncy houses, and awesome bands. Most stops offer free food, drinks, and fun swag. ObjectRocket is participating this year so be sure to stop by our office during the crawl.

Food

You gotta eat and Austin does not disappoint when it comes to food options. Here are some of ObjectRocket’s favorites.

Tacos
Yeah, you’ve heard about Torchy’s. (And it’s great. There’s even a new Torchy’s downtown.) But there are too many other awesome tacos in town to wait forever at one place.

Here are some of our faves:

BBQ
If you’ve never had brisket in central Texas, you haven’t had real brisket. Here’s our list of must-eat BBQ, other than the obvious Franklin BBQ. Our team can’t agree on the best one so we put them in alphabetical order:

Vegetarian and Vegan
We’ve got a lot of vegans at ObjectRocket. Here are their recommendations for great food (crowdsourced from Slack):

Mother's Cafe Slack Review

Pizza
All the styles.

 

Transportation

There are so many ways to get around Austin. First, we need to talk about electric (aka dockless) scooters. There’s a lot to unpack with this topic.

scooters in austinFirst SXSW with Scooters
This is the first year where the scooters and Southby will meet. As a downtown Austinite worker, I know that this could be terrible. Scooters are fun. But they can be very dangerous and you could have a very bad time during SXSW if things go sideways. There have been a ton of
injuries and lawsuits already.

Austinites have mixed feelings about the scooters. (A local brewery has even dedicated a beer to scooter hate.) The haters hate scooters mostly because some people aren’t very aware or cool when riding them. Uncool people leave them all over the place, run into pedestrians, etc. I’ve even seen a guy riding on a scooter while holding a baby. This is not okay. Bottom line: be safe and don’t be a jerk.

Bikes
Austin also has a lot of electric bikes you can rent. The city has gotten better about installing bike lanes over the last several years. However, you’ll be reminded that bad things do happen with the ghost bikes around the city. Be safe!

Walking!
There’s no better way to take in the city than to walk around. Enjoy the weather. Mosey! Saunter. Duck into that cool shop that catches your eye. I promise you’ll see something cool that you never would have noticed unless you were walking.

Ride sharing apps
Yes, we have Uber and Lyft. But we also have a local ride sharing alternative we like to support. Try RideAustin. Bonus: Their data is open, which is awesome.

CapMetro and MetroRail
Nothing immerses you into the true vibe of a city like public transportation. Admittedly, our public transportation is not that great yet. It doesn’t hold a candle to most large cities. But it has gotten better. It’s also extremely important during big events like SX. Bonus: Capital Metro has one of my favorite Austin Easter eggs: PSAs from Matthew McConaughey.

 

How to get away from the hoards

SXSW can get a bit crazy and be complete sensory overload. We’ve got a lot of introverts who need some downtime. Here are their suggestions for recharging:

Go hiking!
Or just hang out at a park. Some of our favorites:

Walking and running trails
Because you need to work off all that Austin food.

 

Other fun things to do

The best tip we have for you is to get in touch with your inner McConaughey. Just be cool and be yourself and you’ll be alright, alright, alright.

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