After an unusually cold Texas winter, the sun’s out and SXSW is back in-person for the first time since 2019! Pull-on your cowboy boots and hit the ground running! At SXSW you can attend conferences on everything tech, film, music, and culture. It’s a staple of Austin’s social calendar, running for 10 days of the best of art, entertainment, and innovation. We’ve rounded up some of the best spots to party like a local in-between panels and sessions. You won’t want to miss these local Austin gems.
Veracruz All Natural
Before you head out to SXSW, start the morning off with the all-authentic, all-natural, and all delicious tacos from Veracruz All Natural. Sisters Reyna and Maritza Vazquez started their taco empire out of a humble trailer, but word spread quickly that their tacos were simply the best. You can’t go wrong with the migas tacos or chilaquiles, and an aqua fresca to gear up for the day ahead!
Fareground Austin is the place to be if you’re looking to hang with your new buddies from the SXSW panels! There’s an abundance of food stalls, shops, and plenty of shady trees to stave off the Texas heat. Come over any time of the day to enjoy something new, from morning brunch to an afternoon of happy hour.
Upstairs at Caroline
The fun really begins once you hit up Upstairs at Caroline. This open-air rooftop bar serves up the usual suspects of tacos, cocktails, and other snacks to whet your whistle, but they also boast firepits and games to provide a fun and relaxing atmosphere away from the busy city street!
SXSW is all about embracing innovation, and this goes for food as well! This interior Mexican food restaurant incorporates modern techniques on classic dishes like sipes and tacos, with an attention to masa (the dough used to make corn tortillas) as the heart of their menu. What’s more, they only use the freshest seafood, meat, and vegetables at this gluten-free haven.
The sky’s the limit for your favorite tipple in the form of agave spirits, with over 400 labels to choose from. The festive bar, adorned with warm lights, wooden interiors, includes a patio that’s perfect for laid-back conversations. The best part? Las Perlas Mezcaleria also hosts Fridays and Saturdays of non-stop live music where you can sing along with your friends to reggaeton, cumbia, Latin dub, and chicha beats for a smaller crowd during the festival.
Casino el Camino
If you need some food to stave off your impending morning hangover, Casino el Camino is the best place to cap your night. Open until 2AM, it’s arguably Austin’s best kept secret. This no-frills dive bar serves one of the best burgers in town, loaded with fun toppings like beer-braised onions, jalapeño jack cheese, and baconnaise. Everything on the menu from chicken wings to French fries is cooked to order, so put down that preheated pizza slice you drunkenly grabbed on 6th Street, and head here to eat like a true gourmand before bed!