How to Enjoy Austin like a Local – SXSW Edition

It’s SXSW time!!!  First off, let me welcome you all to Austin, the live music capital of the world!

Secondly, I am sure you have heard a lot of people ask you to not move here.  It’s kind of a paradox we suffer.  We welcome people into our city, bestow them with kindness and friendly smiles, and then amazingly people fall in love with Austin and want to move here…hence the reason traffic is terrible (really, it’s more the fact we only have two main highways) and our rents are sky-high.  Actually, I am not a native Austinite either, but we moved here in the early 80s, so I am going to pretend that I am for the sake of this blog.

While you are checking out all the free swag and amazing pop-up venues that are taking over the downtown area, I invite you to venture beyond the conference confines and experience Austin, as it was meant to be explored.


  1. Go see the bats!  No seriously, Austin is home to the world’s largest urban bat colony, every evening at dusk you can gather along the Congress Avenue bridge and watch as they can even rent a kayak and see it from the water level.
  2. Get a bird’s eye view of Austin.  Take a tour of the University of Texas tower, which now allows for visitors to go to the top. While on campus, visit the Ransom center, which houses one of the rare copies of the Gutenberg Bible.
  3. Into Art?  Visit the Umlauf Sculpture Garden home to the largest collection of American sculptor Charles Umlauf’s work.The Umlauf Sculpture Garden is an amazing collection that’s sort of a hidden gem, located off Barton Spring Road (605 Robert E Lee Rd, Austin, TX 78704)
  4. Take a hike!  No, I mean literally.  Take a hike up to Mount Bonnell, the highest point in the city, l for some of the most amazing views of the Colorado River and the Pennybacker Bridge.  Mount Bonnell is located at 3800 Mt Bonnell Rd, Austin, TX 78731
  5. Rent a Standup Paddleboard. SUP (and Kayaks for those less inclined to want to fall into the lake) rentals along Lady Bird Lake offers not only a good workout but a great way to see Austin from a different angle.   Since there is no swimming allowed on Lady Bird Lake, this is your chance to enjoy the water downtown.

You will see there is so much more to Austin than hotels and convention centers.  Take a day out of your conference schedule and experience Austin at it’s finest.