Photo: Via Great Wave Tattoo; Image: Via Refinery29; Photo: Via Cream Vintage
Hold Fast Pop-Up Shop
Embrace your rock-and-roll self with an old-school tattoo courtesy of Sailor Jerry (who practically pioneered the anchor tattoo). Set up inside the Great Wave Tattoo Shop, this outpost is offering free tattoos (by appointment, so drop by to add your name to the list) made by the master himself. (Oh, last time this happened, Ryan Gosling stopped by. #JustSayin'.)
Where: Great Wave Tattoo, 908 East 5th Street (at I-35), 512-485-3020.
When: Thursday, March 15 to Saturday, March 17, 1 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Not the freshman year drink, guys, but the South Congress area of Austin, which perfectly captures the best retail Austin's got to offer. Vintage lovers might want to swing by Cream Vintage for upcycled frocks (and in-store alterations), while those in the mood for some major fashion must stop by By George for some Rag & Bone oxfords or Current/Elliot jeans. Quick and bright festival fashion is ready to go at Maya Star, and since you are in Texas, Allen Boots will get you an authentic pair of Justins.
Refinery29 Chic Shack
Expect it: You'll touch down in Austin, and the art collectives, rocker babes, and Southwest vibes will suddenly ignite serious style inspiration. No fear, R29 is here with our Style X lounge, chocked full of cool activities and giveaways. We'll teach you how to DIY your own hot-weather-ready turban, provide a refreshing SXSW makeover, showcase our favorite emerging brands (and local faves), and invite you to our photobooth to capture the moment. Oh, and R29 editors will be on hand for advice, love, style snaps, and more!
Where: Austin Convention Center, 500 East Cesar Chavez Street (between Trinity and Red River Streets).
When: Friday, March 16 to Saturday, March 17, 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Warby Parker's Citizen's Circus
Our favorite eyewear line with a generous soul is hosting this party with the Citizen's Circus (which features model-turned-amazing-singer Karen Elson) at the French Legation Museum. Local snacks, libations, and spontaneous theatrics by the Citizen's Band are on-hand (as is a mini Warby Parker pop-up).
Where: The French Legation Museum, 8th Street and Embassy Drive (one block East of I-35).
When: Tuesday, March 13 to Wednesday, March 14, 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. RSVP here.
Fader Fort Presented By Converse
Fader Fort is to South By as the Tents are to Fashion Week, the iPhone to an Apple press conference, a hot dog to a baseball game. In other words, it is a crucial part...perhaps even the main event. With a lineup touting the year's buzziest (like Santigold, Zola Jesus, and Nite Jewel), expect the event to be crowded with celebrities, journalists, and anyone who can get their hands on an invite.
Where: 101 East 5th Street (between San Marcos and Waller streets).
When: Wednesday, March 14 to Saturday, March 17, 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. RSVP here.
Booking agencies all tout their best bands at SXSW, but this BK-to-SF boutique agency has one of the finest day parties of the festival — without the heavy promotion of Brooklyn Vegan or Pitchfork parties. Catch Thee Oh Sees, Bleached, and Natural Child at their handful of parties (but Saturday's our favorite)!
Where: Spider House, 2908 Fruth Street (at West Drive), 512-480-9562.
When: Friday, March 16, 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. RSVP here.
Mess With Texas
Don't mess with Don't Mess With Texas, one of the most raucous, high-profile, and fun events in Austin each year. Hosted by Sailor Jerry, this outdoor festival always starts off like a polite event but when headliners A$AP Rocky, Tanlines, and Titus Andronicus hit the stage, expect a party, South Texas-style.
Where: Spider House, 1100 East 5th Street (between San Marcos and Waller streets).
When: Thursday, March 15 to Saturday, March 17, 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. RSVP here.
Photos (left to right): Courtesy of Warby Parker, The Fader, and Mess With Texas
Yellow Jacket Social Club
Whereas, to outsiders, a yellow jacket might be a bright spring accessory, to Texans, they're wasps with a bite. This laid-back lodge plays with both associations, with typical gastropub fare that's been given a spicy kick (think cheese plates with spice, or curried home fries). The drinks are not to be trifled with, either.
Yellow Jacket Social Club, 1704 East 5th Street (between Comal and Chicon streets), 512-480-9572 .
For the finer things in life, Austin-style, this centrally located hotel is a perfect spot for a shady afternoon cocktail and some serious celeb-spotting. If you aren't in the mood for the white tablecloth service, the excellent pastries and coffee at the cafe will ensure you see all the A-listers Austin's got to offer.
The Driskill, 604 Brazos Street (between East 6th and 7th streets), 512-474-5911.
An all-night diner with traditional Texas cooking gets a major upgrade with local produce and comfort food made for any diet type. Chef Andrew Curren made it to last season's Top Chef, and he's paired his chicken and waffles, brisket-laden menu with artisanal cocktails and gluten-free items.
24 Diner, 600 North Lamar Boulevard (at 6th Street), 512-472-5400.