SXSW is about more than just the music; it’s about the city of Austin as well. Here are a few great things we found.
Best dining experience
Shady Grove - A short cab ride from 6th Street, Shady Grove is an essential, inexpensive Austin experience that was recommended to us by the locals. While there, we sat on an expansive outdoor patio and feasted on Texas specialties like Frito pie and catfish breaded in tortilla chips and served on a puddle of queso. Make sure you catch this if you’re in Austin, but get there before you’re starving; a seat on the patio (which is what you want) typically requires an hour wait on the weekend. (Web site)
Best way to waste $3
Austin’s Museum of the Weird - Located in the back of the Lucky Lizard gift shop on 6th Street, the Museum of the Weird conjures up the old school freak show. While I wouldn’t deem it right to spoil any of the surprises to be found within the museum’s interior, it’s fun, and for $3, it’s a great way to kill 20 minutes. (Web site)
Worst Service (combined with some of the best drinks)
The Cedar Door - Just off of 6th Street is the Cedar Door, a SXSW venue and home of the Mexican Martini. Pop in for a drink on the deck, but don’t expect it to be quick. Service is consistently slow (it has been for us the past three years now), and this year we even had a server tell us she needed us to leave our table to make room for a reserved party. Twice. Both times we had to tell her she had yet to bring us our bill. (Web site)
Best Place to Get Advice on Austin
The locals - Austin residents are friendly as a rule and very proud to offer up the best of their town. If you’re not sure where to get dinner or drinks at any given moment, ask a local or a cab driver. They all have opinions -- and they’re always good ones.
As always, I need to extend a big thank you to SXSW and the City of Austin as a whole. SXSW is a singular, amazing entity, and really should serve as an example to the rest of the country (and to the rest of the world) of how amazing a music festival can be.