Crossing t’s and dotting i’s
SXSW Interactive is just around the corner, and there is going to be a lot going on. Your flight and/or hotel are booked, and you have at least a vague idea of the events you want to attend.
Maybe you’re even going to squeeze in some fun, touristy Austin things, whether it’s taking a stroll down 6th Street or a hike in the Greenbelt. But how are you going to get around?
Bop around town during SXSW
Even if you have a car in Austin during the conference, most of the time it’s going to be less of a help, and more of a hassle. Parking can be nightmarish downtown, and driving after a few drinks is never a good idea.
Luckily Austin offers a number of transportation options for natives and conference interlopers alike. Here’s a quick breakdown of the offerings, and how to take advantage of them.
Ridesharing: If you’re thinking you have Uber and you’ll be fine, think again. Uber and Lyft were booted out of Austin last summer, but we’ve got plenty of alternatives: Fasten, Fare, RideAustin, InstaRyde, GetMe, and Wingz are all available for Apple and Android devices.
Overwhelmed? We recommend RideAustin. Not only is it user-friendly and simple, but it’s also a nonprofit! You can choose to automatically round up your fares and let local charities keep the change.
Download a rideshare app or two before you head to Austin, and you’ll have drivers at your disposal all week.
Taxis: Yep, taxis are still around, and a pretty common choice for airport-to-hotel transportation. There are always plenty of cabs hanging around the airport to take you where you need to go. Credit cards and cash still work, but no bartering, ya weirdos.
Pedicabs: You either find these charming or highly awkward, but we’ve got plenty of them in downtown Austin, so make your peace as needed. We recommend asking for your driver’s card so you can text them when you’re ready to head to your next destination. Pedicab drivers work on tips only, so be sure you have cash on hand if you go this route.
Bicycles: Austin is a super bike-friendly city, so feel free to bring your bike, longboard, or even throw it way back with some Heelys! There are also bike rental booths near the conference that accept credit cards for easy access.
MetroRail: This is Austin’s train system, and it consists of just one line. This is a great option if your hotel is further north, because it literally stops at the Austin Convention Center’s doorstep. You’ll find the schedule here, and a map here.Austin also has an extensive bus system, but it’s complicated and not super efficient. Conference-goers generally stay away from the bus. If your hotel is on the MetroRail line, you’ll buy tickets with your credit card at the stop. Pro tip: Don’t lose your ticket because you’ll want to go home at the end of the day and you won’t be allowed back on without it (or a new one).
SXSW Shuttles: These get you all over the place, and are especially convenient for the parties. Here’s a handy route map. They’re free.
If you want even more options, check out the SXSW suggestions here. Don’t waste precious conference time stressing about getting around. Bookmark this guide, or email it to yourself – you will need it. Enjoy the conference!