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How to Survive SXSW (Updated for 2017)

Posted by Brad Pauly on Tuesday, March 7th, 2017 at 10:34pm.

SXSW 2016Image Credit: quintanomedia


South by Southwest (SXSW) is happening again in Austin, TX. For people new to the area, it's an exciting time where amazing music, celebrities, parties, and a variety of fun activities descend on the city. For longtime residents of Austin, it can be a dreadful time. Bringing in over 400,000 attendees for different events annually makes navigating the Austin highways and downtown area difficult.

That's why the Pauly Presley Realty team has put together this foolproof survival guide for Austin, TX residents and visitors to help y'all navigate Austin during SXSW 2017. Be a champion and a survivor. And have fun!

Which Social Media Accounts to Follow During SXSW

If you're going to do SXSW, you have to do it right. You should create a Twitter, Instagram, or SnapChat account and follow all the bands, artists, or events you're interested in to stay up-to-date. Plus, there might be surprise giveaways for tickets to SXSW events or shows for followers of those accounts. Follow any band that you might have any interest in seeing because, chances are, they're going to show up somewhere last minute and you need to get there. You don't want to miss out on giveaways, secret shows, and more. Get ready to have your phone glued to your hand. Here's a list of some great Twitter accounts to follow during SXSW 2017:

When to Drive in Austin During SXSW

If you have a home in Austin, you have to start going to your regular events early. This doesn't apply to just events at SXSW. SXSW is a nationally acclaimed event, so the already bad Austin traffic is going to get even worse. If you have to get to downtown, leave before 7 AM if you want an easy commute. If you have to drive after 7 AM, do everything you can to avoid driving north and south through downtown, on I-35, and on Mopac unless you're ready to wait.

Roads that will Be Closed During SXSW 2017

There will be a lot of streets closed during the festival. The city of Austin has declared from Friday, March 10, 2017 at 8:00 AM, to Sunday, March 19, 2017 at 6:00 PM, the following roads will be closed:

  • E 6th Street
  • Red River
  • Trinity Street
  • E 2nd Street
  • E 3rd Street
  • San Jacinto
  • Sabine
  • Neches
  • Rainey Street
  • Driskill Street
  • Davis Street

Here's a map to help you visually navigate road closures during SXSW 2017:

SXSW 2017 Austin Street Closures Source: City of Austin

Ride Share Apps You Can Use to Get Around Austin During SXSW

If you're visiting Austin for SXSW, you should know that Uber and Lyft are no longer options for getting around the city. But we do have other ridesharing apps available. Here's a list of ride share apps you can download and use during SXSW:

Sign up for Do512.com to Learn About Austin Things to Do

Do512.com is sincerely one of the best sources for events in Austin. When SXSW happens, there is a standing tab in the top left-hand corner for every event. Know what you want to do and where to go by visiting this website and following events. You can also sign up to win tickets on a lot of events. Signing up is free and quick.

Register for RSVPster to Learn About Austin Parties

Yes, it's another website, but this one's a killer. There are hundreds of parties at SXSW, so it's impossible to get to all of them, right? RSVPster makes it much easier by RSVP-ing you to every party. Every open or unofficial party will now have your name on there. Not only this, but RSVPster will send you an e-mail reminding you of which parties are when. You'll never be left out of the loop again.

Other Tips for Surviving SXSW

Make Sure You Have Water

Going to festivals is like Man vs. Wild. Make sure you have lots of food and water. You don't know when you'll be close to resources again. It sounds silly but, when you're surrounded by hundreds of people on a warm Austin day, you're going to need water. Lots of water.

Try to Plan SXSW Events Beforehand

The thing about SXSW is that it's so big, you will get overwhelmed. The only way to prevent that is to give yourself a map of where you need to be and when. Give yourself plenty of time to get to things so you don't miss a moment.

Try a Bit of Everything at SXSW

Above all, do what you want. At SXSW, you'll have film, music, gaming, comedy, literature, and more available for you to consume. This is the perfect time to follow your instincts and find your inspiration. Find, explore, and discover weird, crazy, and outrageously lovely things here in Austin.

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