Austin's already terrible traffic will be worse than usual as SXSW rolls into town. Whether you're looking to get to the fest or avoid it all, here are the transportation tips and street closures you need to know about.
Getting to SXSW
Catching a bus or train will be easy (even easier if you buy tickets ahead of time). Cap Metro is expanding service during SXSW, with later hours for the MetroRail and MetroRapid — and don't forget about the E-bus and Night Owl options. Download the free Cap Metro app to access bus schedules and route detours from your phone. Not sure how to get where you're going? Use the Trip Planner.
Uber and Lyft no longer operate in Austin, but there are tons of ridesharing services available in Austin. The official choice of the festival is Fasten.
If you're a car2go member, don't worry about finding parking downtown. Simply drive to one of the four designated drop-off zones downtown and be on your way. If you're not a car2go member, now's the time to sign up — the transportation service is offering new member registration deals for SXSW.
The competition for cabs will be fierce, so we suggest calling an hour before you need to be picked up. Your options are Yellow Cab Austin (512-452-9999), Lone Star Cab (512-836-4900), Austin Cab Company (512-478-2222), and the Hail a Cab app.
Getting around the fest
SXSW offers a free shuttle service between the Austin Convention Center, Auditorium Shores, and several other venues. Scope out the shuttle locations ahead of time here; schedules and routes can also be accessed via the official SXSW app. Bumble or BumbleBFF users can snag a free ride on one of the app's bright yellow shuttles servicing downtown, South Congress, Rainey Street, and West Campus.
These human chariots will be everywhere downtown, but most congregate at the Austin Convention Center. Be sure to work out the price with your pedicab driver ahead of time, and tip well — these folks are literally working their butts off to help you get around.
Snag a bike from Austin B-cycle and zip around downtown. All you need to do is insert a credit card at the station, and you're good to go for 24 hours — just return the bike to any station when you're done. Find a full list of stations here.
Closed March 10-18, from 7 am-7 pm daily:
- Trinity Street between Cesar Chavez Street and Fourth Street
- East Second Street between San Jacinto Boulevard and Trinity Street
- East Third Street between San Jacinto Boulevard and Trinity Street
- Red River Street between East Fourth Street and Cesar Chavez Street (daily from midnight to 3 am)
Closed March 10-19:
- San Jacinto Boulevard between Fifth Street and Seventh Street
- Trinity Street between Fifth Street and Seventh Street
- Sabine Street between Fifth Street and Seventh Street
- Neches Street between Fifth Street and Seventh Street
Closed March 10-19, from midnight to 3 am daily:
- East Sixth Street between Brazos Street and I-35 (may close longer as needed)
- Red River between Fifth Street and 10th Street (may close longer as needed)
- Red River Street between Davis Street and Cesar Chavez Street
- Rainey Street between Driskill Street and Red River Street
- Driskill Street between I-35 and Red River Street
- Davis Street between Red River Street and Rainey Street