Escape the crowds at SXSW: 8 Austin-area hangs, parties, and activities
South by Southwest (SXSW) is here, and maybe you’re not too thrilled about it. You’ve bid your friends good luck going downtown for the next week, and you’ve resigned yourself to stay inside until it’s safe to return to the inner city. What do you do now?
We’ve got several ideas on how to escape the crowds and craziness of SXSW. From visiting a local Renaissance faire to crawfish boils, here are eight non-SXSW events to look forward to for the next week.
If you happen to be downtown…
Swift Fit Events' Texas Wellness Ecosystem and Zero Proof Bar
If you are at SXSW this year and need to take a break from the madness, or you’re already downtown for unrelated reasons, this Congress Avenue wellness oasis is the place to be. On March 13 from 12 to 5 pm, they will have several free amenities for locals and visitors such as yoga, tarot readings, make-your-own essential oils, and giveaways. While you’re there, they’ll also provide IV drips and vitamin shots for the dehydrated or those needing a boost of energy. Austin’s first sober bar, Sans Bar, will be sharing zero-proof cocktails at the oasis.
In town, but avoiding downtown?
Museum of Illusions Austin
One of the world's largest privately held museums is opening a new location at The Domain on March 11. Guests will have an opportunity to explore more than 70 exhibits, including optical illusions, 3D holograms, and more. A unique feature at the Austin museum is a collaboration with Amy Cook, the local artist renowned for her downtown “I love you so much” mural. A life-size “Building Illusion” with the signature mural will be unveiled on one of the largest mirrors in the country. Tickets ($20-24) can be purchased at moiaustin.com.
Who doesn't love rodeos? Livestock shows, the city's largest carnival, an array of food trucks and beverages: there's something for everyone to enjoy. The rodeo runs daily from March 10-25, with featured performances by Aaron Watson, Flo Rida, Carly Pearce, and more. Tickets can be found at rodeoaustin.com.
Armadillo Den's "Jam in the Van" music and comedy shows
Austinites looking for a spacious indoor and outdoor bar to relish the city’s music scene (without the crowds) should not pass up Armadillo Den in South Austin. The Den’s "Jam in the Van" music and comedy shows will take place all week from March 10-19, with free shows scheduled for March 15-19. With an array of food trucks to choose from, this place has it all. And if you love crawfish, they’ve got you covered with weekly crawfish boils on Saturdays and Sundays beginning at 2 pm, with a special crawfish boil for St. Patrick’s Day on March 17.
Saturdays at the Stuffed Animal Rescue Foundation (SARF)
A uniquely Austin experience – visitors at the SARF can meet and adopt stuffed animals that need loving homes. The endeavor is led by Wendy Mitchell, who names, repairs, and cleans every stuffed animal. Swing by their headquarters on Hancock Drive anytime from 12-4 pm on March 11 or 18 to see for yourself what makes The SARF a staple of Austin weirdness.
This is your invitation to explore the ‘burbs and beyond
Sherwood Forest Faire
This Renaissance faire in McDade, Texas, with all its secluded little pockets of bites, shops, games, and shows, will be open March 11-12 and March 17-19. Like any faire, Sherwood Forest is packed with opportunities to buy costumes and accessories, whether that’s hand fans and corsets, kilts, or something more fantasy-inspired. Tickets are available now at sherwoodforestfaire.com.
"South By Spare Birdie"
From March 16-19, entertainment hub Spare Birdie will have its own celebration of comedy and music performances alongside the usual bowling, darts, and more. Laugh your way through its first-ever Comedy Night on March 16 from 7-9 pm with performances by Steven Farmer, Kandace Medina, Arielle Isaac Norman, and Genivive. Find your new fave local band by listening to Moon Tide live on March 17 or The Tina Jackson Band on March 18. The final day of "South By Spare Birdie" will include a crawfish boil in collab with Hoodoo Crawfish.
Catch a play at the Georgetown Palace Theatre
The Georgetown Palace Theatre is putting together two impressive shows: classic murder-mystery The Play That Goes Wrong, and Silent Sky, a true story based on astronomer Henrietta Leavitt. The Play That Goes Wrong will have showings on March 10-11 at 7:30 pm, with their final matinee on March 12 at 2 pm. Silent Sky will have showings March 10-11 and 17-18 at 7:30 pm, and March 12 and 19 at 2 pm. Tickets ($17-$36) can be purchased at georgetownpalace.com.