March 7th, 2018 by

South By Southwest (SXSW) is an annual conference and festival that we welcome every year to Austin. Thousands of people attend the weeklong festivities that celebrate film, interactive media, and music. Austin can expect nearly 200,000 people to fill the downtown streets of Austin to participate in SXSW. If you’re a local, you know that the traffic and street closures are to be expected. Are you new to town or just visiting? You can expect heavier traffic and more detours than usual. We’ve put together a helpful guide for getting around Austin and driving safely during South By Southwest.

If you’re flying in from out-of-town and don’t plan on renting a vehicle, Austin has great public transportation through Capitol Metro services. Extended services allow for late night options and there are more running routes available. MetroRail even has free Wi-Fi, for when you just can’t disconnect, and their downtown station is located right next to the Convention Center at 4th and Trinity.

From cabs to ride-sharing apps, Austin definitely has you covered. If you haven’t downloaded Lyft or RideAustin, we recommend it for those times when you don’t want to drive and park your personal vehicle downtown. (Or if you plan on drinking, never drive yourself!). You can also find reliable transportation through Yellow Cab or Austin Cab services. There are always plenty of cabs at the airport that can take you into downtown if you are an out-of-towner.

Feel like showing off your new Chevy or just can’t bear to have someone else drive you? We don’t blame you one bit! Despite the closed roads and detours, there are plenty of parking options available for festivalgoers. Plan accordingly, and look up parking lots before you head into downtown. It is better to be prepared ahead of time when you are driving yourself so you can find parking and then walk to your final destination.

With heavier traffic and a lot of people filling the streets, we encourage safe driving! And not just during the festival, but every day you should practice these tips.

SXSW Driving Tips:

Obey all posted speed limits
Never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs
Do not text and drive
Yield to pedestrians at all times
Watch out for bicyclists
Drive defensively
Leave plenty of distance between you and other drivers
Pay attention to all signs, especially detours or road closures
Keep your eyes on the road at all times
Leave early so you don’t feel rushed or inclined to speed

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