The only SXSW itinerary you need

Digiday is at SXSW giving you the latest industry news out of the festival at Austin, Texas. More from the series →

Dstillery_edit_sponsoredThis is the first installment in Digiday’s coverage of SXSWi, which runs from March 7-14 in Austin, Texas.  The series is sponsored by Dstillery, the pioneer in audience targeting for brands.

SXSW can be overwhelming. There are over 30,000 attendees, 900 official content sessions and hundreds of parties. The tyranny of choice is in full effect.

Digiday has combed through the agenda and the happenings to craft itineraries for various personality types.

The Tech Nerd
You’re not here just for the parties and barbecue. You’re into what’s next.


  • Mid-day (Austin Music Hall): HBO will have a virtual reality experience that will allow visitors to “visit” Westeros, the setting of its hit show “Game of Thrones.” The experience — created in part by visual production company Framestore — uses the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, which has been a staple at tech conferences lately.
  • Evening (Austin Music Hall): HBO will follow up the “Game of Thrones” installation with a party. Kristian Nairn, better known as Hodor from the series, will be DJing the event (seriously). Well-connected nerds only, though; you’ll need an invite to get in.


  • Mid-day (Downtown Austin): You might see Valleywag writer and Silicon Valley enfant terrible Sam Biddle walking the streets of Downtown Austin, looking for his next startup to skewer. Here’s your chance to beg him to take it easy on your fledging social platform.
  • Afternoon (R/GA Austin): For those lucky enough to be invited, startups from the R/GA-TechStars connected device accelerator will finally pitch their products. The program was designed to help startups brand their prototypes, so come see how agency expertise can help turn your idea into something consumers actually care about.
  • Evening: Call your VC backers and see if they can get into one of their most successful portfolio company’s parties.


Grownup in a Blazer
You’re a vendor exec here to do some actual business. You have a place at the Driskill and a corporate credit card handy for schmoozing clients. 





Party Animal
You’ve somehow convinced your employer that you’re going to Austin to do business, but you’re really just there to drink free booze and swipe through Tinder.


  • Evening: Get away from the amateurs on Sixth Street and do as the locals do; go to Rainey Street and drink at bars that were once homes. Start at Lustre Pearl Bar and make your way south, remembering to stop at The Blackheart.
  • Late-night (Cheer up Charlie’s): This dance club changed locations since last SXSW, but if its new locale is any like its last, Charlie’s will be playing into the wee hours.


  • Mid-day (One World Theatre): See your role model Mark Cuban speak about entrepreneurship and ask how you can fulfill your dream of becoming a sports team owner.
  • Evening (Haven): Begrudgingly agree to bring your older, blazer-wearing co-worker with you to MRY’s party featuring Rev. Run.


  • Late-night: Venture east to visit the collection of dives and lounges on East Sixth Street including Shangri-La, Violet Crown Social Club and East Side Showroom among others. If it weren’t for the food trailers nearby, you’d feel like you were back home in Brooklyn.

And if you ever feel overwhelmed, just heed this sage advice:

Image via Alfie Photography, Shutterstock

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