SXSW offers the opportunity to experience fresh ideas, innovative films and eclectic new music. It also offers the opportunity for great people watching — and even better celebrity spotting.
Ahead of the annual fest, we reached out to friends and SXSW veterans to find the best places to sit back and hob nob with famous folks. Now, since Austin has a reputation for being laid-back, let's all keep our collective cool and not actually bother anyone, and instead just momentarily relish being 15 feet from stardom.
The White Horse
Apparently famous people enjoy $5 Lone Star/whiskey combos as much as the rest of us. Swing by this east side honky-tonk and hob nob with the who's who of Hollywood. And who knows, maybe you can convince those California folks to take a turn on the dance floor with you.
Hotel San Jose/Jo's Coffee
Consider this a two-for-one. Don your darkest glasses and grab a seat on either the Hotel San Jose patio or in the Jo's parking lot. As you sip your drink, nonchalantly take in the eye candy around you.
This is one of the more delicious celebrity endeavors. Grab a seat at the bar and watch a parade of who's who wander into the famed East Austin restaurant.
Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail
In addition to seeing your hairdresser, mechanic and everyone else you know, the Hike and Bike Trail is a great place to jog past A-listers and music stars.
Hotel St. Cecilia
Good luck trying to score a room at the Saint Cecilia this close to SXSW. If you are among the chosen few, prepare for some truly great celebrity sightings. If you're not, there's always next year.
The Picnic on Barton Springs Road
Jimmy Kimmel is confirmed to return to SXSW, and there will likely be even more shows broadcasting from Austin during those 10 days. Since food trailers have become synonymous with Austin, you might as well grab a spot at The Picnic and scout for famous people. Who knows, maybe you'll even be in be in a shot of one of the late-night skits destined to be filmed here.
Franklin Barbecue, La Barbecue and Micklethwait Craft Meats
Celebs gotta eat, and if they're in Texas, they're probably eating barbecue.
Austin Convention Center
An obvious selection, yes, but an important one. As one friend recently pointed out, you haven't really experienced SXSW until you get the stink eye from a movie star who catches you reapplying deodorant in the bathroom. (Whatever, it needs to be done.)
Dirty Sixth Street
We know, but it's true. Stop into Iron Cactus or check out whatever party is at Buffalo Billiards and you're pretty much guaranteed to run into someone famous. Granted, you may only spot the newest cast members of the Real World, but they can't all be Meryl Streep sightings.
Any place that's good enough for Andy Cohen is good enough for us.