Lana’s Southby Interactive Picks: Content, Parties, Eats, Drinks, Hotels, Fitness Fixes, Shopping, Arts & Culture
Last year, SxSW Interactive, aka “Southby”, seemed to reach new heights with plenty of sell-outs, the content across interactive, film and music blurringmore than ever (a good thing), visitors that couldn’t secure hotel rooms sleeping in their rental cars and at least one digital marketing compadre camping out in an Austin hotel for over two weeks! But, yes, it’s that good!
There seems little reason that this year will be much different, if only for a slight increase in hotel capacity. Positively, the plethora of social media tools and a few years of navigation have taught us how to truly enjoy the Southby experience. Simply, blend the content with local culture.
Use this guide to do just that.
CONTENT & PARTIES
- Below are the content sessions and digital industry parties that are generating a lot of buzz and interest.
- The one exception is the evening parties. I’ve listed the more popular ones that you may enjoy if you want to network and party with hundreds. Most of the digital executives that I’ve been interacting with are setting up smaller dinners and music outings with clients at a variety of the restaurants, bars and hotels I’ve included after the content listings.
- I’ll be updating the blog to reflect incoming recommendations. So, please send me yours!
FRIDAY, MARCH 9th
- 3-4:30pm, Fireside Chat with Guy Kawasaki and Vic Gundotra on Google + , Austin Convention Center, Ball room D
- 5-6pm, MIT Media Lab: Making Connections featuring Andy Bardagiy, Catherine Havasi, Joi Ito, Yadid Ayzenberg and Yves-Alexandre de Montjoye , Hilton Austin Downtown Salon FG
- 7pm-9pm, Altimeter Group Private Cocktails, Brown Bar, 201 West 8th Street
- 7pm-? Do512 and Aircover Present : Epic Interactive! Featuring Delta Spirit, Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr , The Belmont, 305 West 6th Street
- 8pm TechKaraoke SXSW 2012 – Presented by Blog World & New Media , The Stage on 6th, 508 East 6th Street
SATURDAY, MARCH 10th
- 9:30am-11:30am SxSW Oldtimers and Friends Brunch with Darden Smith, Personal Wine! 306 East 3rd Street. (private: email me for an invite)
- 9:30-10:30am, A Penny Press for the Digital Age , Sheraton Austin Capitol ABCD,
- 3:30-4:30pm, Does Your Product Have a Plot? featuring David Womack , Austin Convention Center Ballroom BC
- 3:30-4:30pm , The Curators and the Curated , Sheraton Austin Capitol ABCD
- 7-9pm, Razorfish Happy Hour, Roial, 120 W. 5th Street
- 8pm #SocEnt = The Good Capitalist LOUNGE 2012!, St. David’s Historic Sanctuary, 301 East 8th Street
SUNDAY, MARCH 11th
- 11am – 3pm, AustinVentures’, HomeAway & WhaleShark’s Hometown Hangover Cure Party, The Rattle Inn, 610 Nueces Street
- Noon-4pm, PulsePoint’s Annual Digital Rooftop Party featuring Jazz by Ephraim Owens, Parkside, 301 East 6th Street (private: email me for an invite)
- 5-6pm, Shaping Future Cities with Mobile Data, Hilton Austin Downtown Salon H
- 6-9pm HCB Health Happy Hour, 701 Brazos Street, Omni Hotel Business Tower
- 9pm CNET Presents Delta Spirit at Maggie Mae’s, Maggie Mae’s, 323 East 6th Street
MONDAY, MARCH 11th
- 12:30pm-1:30pm, Future of US Cities: Technology in Public Service, AT&T Conference Hotel, Salon C
- 6-8pm, eConsultancy’s Digital Vision Grant Awards Party , Malverde, 400-B West 2nd Street,
- 7:20 – 9:20pm Pecha Kucha!!!!! Pecha Kucha Austin Meets SxSW – For the first time ever, Global and Austin-based Pecha Kucha fans will be able to experience an official Pecha Kucha event timed to take advantage of a global interactive, music and film festival. McGarrah Jessee, 121 West 6th Street
EATS & DRINKS
Austin is very well known for its Tex-Mex and Bar-B-Q. But, recently, we’ve experienced a culinary explosion. Here’s a list to favorites to choose from…
Old-School – Polvos – Great Mexican with a true Austin vibe that can be best realized with a Mexican “Martini” or margarita. (South Austin)
New School – La Condesa – Fancy Mexican in the heart of the new, hip ‘Second Street’ district. Fabulous open air bar with a bar that is easy to book for events just up the stairs.
New School – Lamberts – The best late-night bar-b-q with great bands upstairs (factoid – It’s in the old historic venue once occupied by the much beloved and now gone Liberty Lunch music venue)
DOWNTOWN BY TYPE
(FYI – For Brunch – Trio, Lamberts and Moonshine are typically great options)
- Bess – eclectic bistro owned by Sandra Bullock
- Second – A fabulous restaurant and bar with great food and indoor, outdoor space on Congress Avenue at the bottom of the Austonion building . Immediately next door, is one of the best fine dining restaurants in the country, Congress. In the middle is a tiny, hip bar, Bar Congress.
- Trio – restaurant at the Four Seasons hotel (drinks in their lobby is much more fun)
- Parkside – eclectic, hip, fun
- Malaga – Spanish tapas
- Haddington’s – Hip, British
- La Condesa – upscale Mexican
- Lamberts – Upscale BarBQ
- Eddie Vs – Seafood
- The Roaring Fork at the Stephen F. Austin (Downtown)- Steak
- Maiko – Japanese
- Moonshine – Eclectic, Higher-end comfort food served within one of the oldest and most historic buildings in Austin. Very close to the convention center with outdoor/indoor seating.
- The restaurants at the Driskill hotel and Stephen F. Austin are great too…
- Bar Congress & Second (Congress Street- the small bar adjoining the Congress Restaurant and 2nd – its other restaurant)
- The bar at La Condesa
- Malverde – The club/bar above La Condesa
- Annie’s on Congress
- The Lounge at the Four Seasons aka “Austin’s Living Room”
- The five or so bars in the new W Hotel. Lots of people go right now but they are much like the W bars in any other city. There’s not really anything Austin about them.
EASTSIDE COCKTAILS (the late night scene side of town)
SOUTH CONGRESS/SOUTH FIRST EATS & DRINKS
- Perla’s Seafood (If you are going to the “Continental Club” for live music or staying at the San Jose and/or the St. Cecilia, you don’t even need to go downtown.
- Vespaio (Italian) or its sister café next-door Enoteca (more casual) See rationale above.
- Uchi (South Austin) or Uchiko (North Austin) two of the finest Japanese restaurants in the country
- The bar at St. Cecilia (itch – you must be with a hotel guest)
- Lucy’s Fried Chicken (new) – It’s amazing.
- Olivia – Amazing eclectic fare from the farm to the table
- The Elizabeth Street Café (new) – Vietnamese
- Lenoir – (new) French
THE BEST HOTELS
- Hotel St. Cecilia (Amazing)
- San Jose
- Four Seasons
- Kimber Modern
- The W
- Austin Motel (you are on a budget and want Austin funk)
- Stephen F. Austin
*If you are bringing in clients and a round of golf is in order, book rooms at the Barton Creek Resort & Spa and set up your tee times.
Stubbs – Big shows ranging from Spoon to Wilco to Patti Smith. Great gospel brunch on Sundays
The Mohawk – The “it” club for alternative
The Historic Victory Grill – Off the beaten path but as a speak easy back room that attracts great soul and jazz
The Elephant Room – So Austin. Such great jazz.
Antones – Home of the Blues
The Continental Club – The granddaddy of local music venues. Go!
Saxon Pub – Great shows.
Emos – The name describes the music!
Check Out the Austin Chronicle Music Listings – our free weekly for great recommendations. There are over hundreds of live music shows each week. The editors’ picks are usually spot on as well. And, unlike other cities, there is usually NOT a door or capacity issue, until SxSW music begins. It’s still a good idea to call ahead and/or reserve a seat if you can.
Austin is a wonderland for fitness enthusiasts, especially in March when the weather is usually at its best.
Outdoors + Yoga
Visit Zilker Park if you have children or just want to hang out, wander around and/or go for a run. They have a large park and train that transports children around part of the famous Lady Bird Lake hiking trail. It’s very safe and just next door to Barton Springs. There are restaurants within walking distance. It’s a great hour or half-day adventure hot or cold. It’s often hot. For $3 you can swim at Barton Springs, our natural swimming hole – year round.
Run around Lady Bird Lake “Hike and Bike” trail which separates “North” Austin from “South Austin” and is central to most hotels. You can run 3-13 miles around the lake. It’s beautiful. You’ll see the city and there are multiple watering holes and restrooms along the way.
Hiking, Mountain Biking, Climbing
Hike our Greenbelt while you are here. There are 13 miles (or maybe even more) of creek side trails “underneath” the city and tons of hiking, biking, climbing spots throughout. If you don’t have equipment, REI (located near the flagship Whole Foods) rents it!
Hike or Bike Mt. Bonnell Road!
This is a bike city but not so easy to bike. It’s a little easier due to the installment of the Lance Armstrong Bikeway. But, you need to know where to go to be safe. I would suggest you call Mellow Johnny’s (Lance’s bike shop) and sign up for a morning ride with dozens. You’ll enjoy it. Jack & Adam’s Bicycles also has group rides and is owned by two of the nicest guys in town.
Daily kayaking or paddle boating
The docks down at Ladybird Lake . There is also another private boat rental on the shore of the Hyatt Regency which is very convenient and accessible.
Austin has dozens of natural swimming holes and lap swimming pools that are available for many hours (some year round and heated) Some pools are available to use for free. Others are accessible for $3.
Also, Yoga Yoga is everywhere…
Other – The Town Lake YMCA also has a pool, hundreds of classes and day passes. It may also be reciprocal. It’s equivalent to high-price clubs in many other cities.
The Best – Books (Tie) BookPeople and Domy Books Music (Waterloo Records) Men’s Clothing (Tie) Stag or Service Menswear (both on South Congress) Women’s Clothing for the Serious Collector Blackmail (South Congress: Ring and do not take photos without asking) and By George (The N. Lamar location – don’t be fooled) Women’s Clothing for the Whimsical Shopper (Think “I just need a cute dress for the day or this evening” Stella Blue or Maya Star (both on South Congress) Cowboy Boots Allen’s Boots. Hair Salon Ron King Salon and Wet Salon Make-Up Rae Cosmetics
ARTS & CULTURE - Visit Culture Map Austin for the most expansive and current arts and entertainment listings