Free Stuff to Do at SXSW: Week Two

No badge, no wristband, no problem

Free Stuff to Do at SXSW: Week Two

Even if you didn't want or didn't manage to snag a badge or wristband this year, that doesn't mean you can't have fun during SXSW. After all, Hurricane South by Southwest will disrupt your normal routine no matter what, so why not try to wring some enjoyment out of it sans credentials?

Thankfully, there's quite a bit going on during South By that's free and open to the public. All you need to do is sign up on SXSW's website to have a free Guest Pass emailed to you, which you can then import into Google Wallet or Android Pay. You can also create a personal schedule and more with the official SXSW GO mobile app if you want to rob the Fest blind in the most organized way possible.

Your Guest Pass grants you access to a bevy of events ranging from outdoor concerts and screenings, and a job fair, to an exhibition of poster art. One thing it won't get you, however, is entry into SXSW Gaming. Starting this year, the gaming portion of the Festival will not be open to the general public, but will instead require a new gaming wristband or any other official SXSW access.

However you decide to spend the week, keep in mind that the parking situation Downtown is sure to reach Mad Max levels of chaos and despair, so avoid driving. Walking, biking, and busing are always good options, and the MetroRail line has a stop conveniently located right in front of the Convention Center. And remember, everything's more fun when it's free.

Austin by Austin

Through Sunday, March 19
The Austin Chronicle and Austin Independent Business Alliance have teamed up to get folks away from the crowded Downtown area and out to the various shopping districts around our town. Check out three different, walkable areas to help you get something a little more unique than a "Keep Austin Weird" T-shirt. Stores up and down the various strips will host bands, offer libations, and generally keep you in the SXSW mood without the crush of humanity.

Flatstock 59

Thursday-Saturday, March 16-18, 11am-6pm
Austin Convention Center, Exhibit Hall 4
The good folks at the American Poster Institute are once again putting some of the best poster art in the country on display, open to the public. Free live musical performances round out the viewing experience.

SXSW Marketplace

Thursday-Saturday, March 16-18
Austin Convention Center, Exhibit Hall 4
If you need to take a break from posters, the SXSW Marketplace just next door has a wide variety of clothes, jewelry, and accessories for sale. You've gotta look your freshest for the Festival, right?

SXSW Outdoor Stage at Lady Bird Lake

Thursday-Saturday, March 16-18
Vic Mathias Shores (aka Auditorium Shores)
SXSW's biggest stage is free and open to the public (with a Guest Pass, of course). Ozomatli headlines on Thursday with a tribute to Prince (featuring Wyclef Jean among others) on Friday. Bitter Pills, Residente, and others fill out the lineup as they rock an audience of more than 50,000 attendees over the course of three days. Watch the weather!

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

Unleashing the <i>Hounds of Love</i>
Unleashing the Hounds of Love
Director Ben Young on his serial-killer couple drama

Richard Whittaker, May 12, 2017

Ben Wheatley  Catches <i>Free Fire</i>
Ben Wheatley Catches Free Fire
Director on making his U.S. action debut

Richard Whittaker, April 21, 2017

More by Tucker Whatley
SXSW Panel Recap: Diversity in Video Games: Hard Talk for Change
SXSW Panel Recap: Diversity in Video Games: Hard Talk for Change
YouTube exec dodges direct questions about tackling online extremism

March 20, 2019

SXSW Recap: Bozoma Saint John
Recap: Bozoma Saint John
The marketing trailblazer's keynote on authenticity in branding

March 20, 2019


SXSW 2017, SXSW 2017, free, Flatstock 59, Austin by Austin, SXSW Marketplace, SXSW Outdoor Stage at Lady Bird Lake

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Behind the scenes at The Austin Chronicle

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle