Ok, for those of you who don’t know me, you don’t know my love/borderline obsession with the city of Austin, TX. Seriously, I love it, but for some reason it hates me (let me take you back to the first year I visited when I tripped on a branch while on a run with my best friend and flew through the woods and scraped all of the skin off of my knees. Sorry for that image.)
Anyways, if you ever get the chance to go to Austin, please do yourself a favor and go. Austin’s city slogan is “Keep Austin Weird,” which I also love. Only in Austin will you see a man jogging in a g-string thong underwear, and think it’s completely normal. Yes, we’ve seen that. It’s beautiful, it’s clean, it’s warm, and unlike any major city, there’s actually SPACE everywhere. One of my favorite things about Austin would be the South By Southwest Music Festival, but I’ll get to that later.
My best friend Becca and her boyfriend Walt (shout out time…hey Y’ALL!) moved to Austin a few years ago, and to be honest, I love them for that (although not being near your best friend is hard, I love to visit.) I went to Texas for the first time in March of 2011 and had the best time ever. Becca and I spent our days lounging by the pool because the weather was, of course, spectacular (we’re both in graduate school, guys, don’t worry, we’re not real housewives,) and of course hit up different shows during the evenings.
Before I get to the madness that is SXSW (that’s the abbreviation for South by Southwest so you can all learn the lingo,) I’ll share a few of my favorite things about Austin. First of all, the building where Becca and Walt live in is clutch. It’s called the Triangle, has multiple swimming pools, a croquet and little fountain/water park where adorable dogs and babies play in (sorry I sound like a creep now,) and a giant backyard area to just chill in. Not only that, but, like their website boasts, good things come in threes: you can eat, shop, and live here, because of the retail stores and restaurants all located onsite! My personal favorite restaurants would be Which Wich and Mama Fu’s. YUM.
Another favorite Austin specific thing to do is the running/hiking trails at Town Lake. Despite my major accident here, I was still in awe of it since it takes you through wooded areas, sides of cliffs, funky houses, and then opens up to show you Austin’s beautiful downtown skyline. If you’re looking for some great food and drinks (I’d highly recommend the Sangria Margarita/Slushie Alcoholic Concoction Thingy) from Trudy’s, a delicious Tex-Mex Restaurant.
Now, let’s get into the good stuff: SXSW. I wait for this week in March like a 4-year-old waits up for Santa Claus on Christmas Eve. I have a running countdown starting from the last day of the festival, which is also when major depression sets in. I went to my first SXSW recovering from a bad breakup, and I had the best time and can actually say that’s when I started to pick myself back up again. Gross. Whatever. Not only was being able to spend five days with my best friend in an incredibly warm and beautiful city great therapy, but we got to see all of our favorite artists and bands night after night, thanks to her awesome boyfriend, Walt, for hooking us up with the coveted wristbands and badges! (He works for SXSW, don’t worry we didn’t steal them.)
For those of you who haven’t been to SXSW before, it’s like nothing you’ve ever experienced and just so much fun. It’s hard for me to describe it fully to you, but just picture all of the downtown Austin streets closed off, thousands of people milling around the streets, grabbing a breakfast burrito on their way to the next show (not that I’ve done that before or anything,) and having an overall good time. All of the bars close down and host different shows every night, and I’m not just talking one show, I’m talking about 20 shows per night, per bar. The SXSW app by Xomo (hey guys, thanks for following me on Twitter!) will be your bible and you literally won’t be able to function without it. Since there are so many shows, some get their times or venues changed, but if you’re using this app, it will give you live updates so you know exactly where, when, and how to get to Hanson’s show.
Yes, I did say Hanson, as in MMMBOP Hanson (watch that vid, you know you want to.) Our last night of my first year in Austin we decided to see Hanson play. I’ll be honest, I was like cool, we’ll see them play MMMBOP and it will be great. WELL, that started my obsession that rivals my SXSW obsession because those bros were seriously AWESOME. Did you know that they’ve actually come out with seven in-studio albums that are all incredibly good and not MMMBOPish at all? It’s true, I’d go check them out if I were you. Literally every single show I have seen the past two years have been amazing. From Hanson, to Charlie Mars (and being able to meet him…drool,) to Matt Nathanson, A Fine Frenzy, Train (Becca got a guitar pic from them!), BACKSTAGE at the Counting Crows and the Cult (where we were schmoozing with Matthew McConaughey and his wife, Camila,) Wiz Khalifa, B.o.B., Donnis, XY, The Calm Blue Sea, Jeffrey Joslin, Rooney, The Spinto Band (they’re from Syracuse, NY!), Ingrid Michaelson (who is hilarious,) 1,2,3, Cage the Elephant, The Sword, and LoveDrug, each one was incredible. Yes, I did just name all of the shows we’ve seen there, I couldn’t stop myself.
Anyways, I don’t know how much more I can gush about Austin before you all vomit (which I have also done in Austin, thanks to some random stomach bug that made me violently ill. Sorry again for that.) I also can’t fully explain the SXSW fest fully for everyone to grasp it’s awesome-ness. But, I tried! I hope ya’ll can go to Austin one day, even if it’s not during the most wonderful time of the year, they have amazing live shows year-round, as well as pretty great weather at all times! So what are you waiting for?! Use my flight resources and book yourself a cheap flight and have a good time!