From March 10-19 when South by Southwest (SXSW) takes over Austin, the town is overrun with tech wizards and enthusiasts, musicians and filmmakers looking to promote their work, learn, network and play.
Although most of the 10-day festival’s events aren’t really family friendly, parents and kids will enjoy the energy SXSW brings to town. Music pours out of nearly every doorway and though much of it takes place in clubs for the 21-and-over crowd, there are some venues — churches, hotels, theaters, bandshells — with no age restrictions, with plenty of activities for families. And with a SXSW Guest Pass, you and your family can gain access to many of these along with kid friendly showcases, screenings and other exhibitions that are absolutely free! Here are just a few:
Though the full lineup has yet to be announced, a 3-day benefit concert on March 17 at SXSW’s largest music venue, Outdoor Stage at Lady Bird Lake is sure to be a major draw. Crowds will be sizable, so get there early to secure your family’s spot. Doors open at 3 pm, and the concert begins at 5 pm.
Create, the festival’s annual gathering of hardware hackers and makers, showcases the coolest gadgets to roll off 3-D printers in the past year along with other next-level technologies—think drones and whizbang biohacking innovations. The whole family will have fun seeing what's new. And, who knows—all that hands-on creative fun may give your kids a a whole new lease on science and math! (Your kids can join the gadget-fun if they are wearing their Fitbit-style for kids bracelets!
$25 per adult is all a family with kids 12-and-under needs to get into the Gaming Expo to see — and, in some cases, try out — what’s new in the world of “all things geek, nerd, and gaming” (March 16– 18).
For pure unadulterated kid entertainment, the SXSW guest pass also guarantees free admission to the Cartoon Network’s March 13 screening (8pm–9pm) of new content from The Amazing World of Gumball, We Bare Bears, Ben 10 and Teen Titans Go! If you go, make sure to stay the whole hour to find out about "the big surprise" the organizers have in store!