Well, it's here. The OTHER weekend of the year when longtime Austinites consider leaving town because of all of these dang tourists.
Sure, SXSW is insanely awesome and full of exciting one-of-a-kind events... if you're in to that sort of thing. It's not that you're necessarily AGAINST this amazing opportunity for other people. You just wish it wasn't happening in your city.
If you're NOT one of the 250,000 techie-loving, music-obsessed film geeks camping out in the vicinity of the state capitol, then you need to know how to avoid the swarming Convention Center and the rest of downtown like the plague.
Here are our suggestions to get far enough away from the insanity to actually enjoy a relaxing weekend with plenty of parking, sleep and fun. Riiiiiiight?
First and foremost, this is the first weekend of the Star of Texas State Fair and Rodeo over at the Travis Country Exposition Center. That's plenty far off from downtown. Real Texans love a good day at the rodeo complete with barbeque, beer and steer wrastlin'. And you'll get plenty of the buckin' broncos and tied hogs. But if you're more interested in the carnival rides, arts exhibitions, fried foods and live music of the fair, there's just as much for you to enjoy, too. The entire family will find plenty to keep them smiling all month long.
Not too far off from downtown but miles off of the convention mindset, the Muddy Buddy Boot Camp is kicking off at Zilker Park Saturday morning. Camp Gladiator is hosting this free event that guarantees to kick your ass and make you say thank you in your preparation for May's Muddy Buddy Bike & Run. The weather is expected to be just terrible this weekend, so there is sure to be plenty of mud for you and your buddy. So no prissy pants allowed.
Who needs bands at Auditorium Shores when you can enjoy live music at the brand new Rooftop Stage at Uncle Billy's on Lake Travis? The new 800-capacity concert venue is going to kick off with a bang this weekend with performances by Billy Gibbons on Saturday and Joe King Carrasco on Sunday. Great views and big Texas favorites continue throughout the following week, letting you know you've got plenty of options for local live music at this swingin' hotspot.
Over at Cap City Comedy Club, Austin comedy hero Matt Bearden is this weekend's headliner. A former Funniest Person in Austin winner, the current host of Punch! Comedy, and a DJ on KLBJ's morning show, Bearden is all over the city promoting, representing and advocating comedy for the next generation. See him in his element up on the Cap City stage with opener Chad Thornsberry, and see how good stand-up comedy can be here in our city.
The laughs keep coming with Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein: The Musical, which comes to shocking life over at the Long Center Saturday and Sunday. A fun re-imagining of the 1974 black and white cult classic, Brooks wrote the new Broadway version of the script and music to accompany the story of young Frederick Frankenstein, grandson of the infamous Victor Von Frankenstein. We're assured that this is a musical that even non-Brooks lovers and non-musical lovers will enjoy.
And if you just need to get out of Austin altogether, maybe it's time for a Spring Break spa weekend. Lakeway Resort & Spa is running a special deal for anyone needing to get away from it all. Specials are being run all week long, including sailing cruises along Lake Travis, beer and wine tastings, family themed activities and special chef-prepared menus. There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to put some miles between you and Austin during this all-access weekend and just catching some decent R&R.
So there you have it. Our key recommendations on how to spend your non-SXSW first weekend of SXSW. It's going to be a wet one, and you might experience from New York drivers on our roadways. Just remember to breathe calmly, recall how much good they do for our local economy, and let them swerve in front of three lanes of traffic. Everyone is welcome here this weekend.
Happy alternative activity-hunting!