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How To Get Around SXSW

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon

Well. It's here. Again. 

The music, film, education and tech-minded masses have descended on Austin. Here's a rundown of how to avoid traffic and get around during the festival – without wanting to claw your eyeballs out, unless you're looking for a parking spot. 

Avoid these streets

As always, the surge of sponsored activations during the festival's Interactive portion mean streets around the convention center will be cordoned off. Across the river, the streets adjacent to Auditorium Shores will be closed for the free concerts during Music. 

Here's a PDF of street closures from the city.

Take the bus

Cap Metro is extending its service hours into the wee hours during the festival, with its MetroRapid lines running until 2:30 a.m. Thursday through Sunday during SXSW weekends. It'll also expand its Night Owl capacity. Buses from Austin-Bergstrom International Airport will be running every half hour, as well. 

Routes 4, 17, 21, 22, 100, 122 and 484 will be detoured because of the festival. 

Find out more about Cap Metro's SXSW service here.

Take a pedicab

Pedicabbers will be snaking through downtown over Interactive, with stands set up near the convention center, along Sixth Street at Red River and Sabine streets and another near Rainey Street. 

Find out more about pedicab stands and routes over SXSW.

Hail a ride

Last year's absence of Uber and Lyft did not go unnoticed by out-of-town SXSW attendees. ("We ended up having to stand on the street like it was 1995 to get a frickin’ cab.") While outfits like Fasten and RideAustin picked up the slack, both company's servers buckled under the weight of demand, which angered an army of tech-bros. With Fasten's recent departure from the city, RideAustin is the only local option in town. And, after the Texas Legislature passed statewide ride-hailing regulations last year, Uber and Lyft are back this year for SXSW.

Snag a bike

Austin B-Cycle has dozens of kiosks across the city. You can rent on an hourly basis or pay a flat rate for 24-hour access to bikes across Austin. 

Find more about B-Cycle rentals here.

Rent a car

Car2Go has four drop-off stations during SXSW and is offering a $10 credit for festival attendees. Rent a four-person Mercedes-Benz for $19. 

Find out more about Car2Go rentals here.

Take your car and (maybe) find parking

If, for whatever reason, you decide to take your car downtown, there are (in theory) some parking spots available. Check out the map below for a real-time look at available parking spots downtown.

Andrew Weber is a general assignment reporter for KUT, focusing on criminal justice, policing, courts and homelessness in Austin and Travis County. Got a tip? You can email him at Follow him on Twitter @England_Weber.
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