SXSW, one of the biggest and brightest tech-film-music gatherings in the world, takes over Austin, TX for a fun and crazy week each March. The event kicks off tomorrow, March 7 and runs through March 16, and since we're based in Austin we'd like to offer a little hospitality (and general good advice) for all you pet lovers who will be checking out the conference and festivities.
Enjoy this info, and have a great week, everyone!
Where to bring your dog
Austin is notoriously dog friendly, and there are a variety of parks, restaurants and hang-out spots that will welcome four-legged friends with open arms. Here are a few of our favorite places:
- Redbud Isle is one of the most popular off-leash dog parks in the city and makes a great escape from the hubbub of downtown
- Up north a bit, Walnut Creek Metropolitan Park is another great off-leash choice for adventurous pet families wanting to get some exercise and fresh air
- Closer to downtown, try Norwood Estate. It's not quite as scenic as some of the other parks, but it has a large off-leash area and is conveniently located in the Travis Heights neighborhood just off Town Lake Trail.
- After the park, it'll be time for a bite to eat and (maybe a cold local beer, too). Here's a great list of dog friendly restaurants in Austin (some of our top picks: Freddie's Place and Jo's Coffee on South Congress).
Where not to bring your dog
If you're attending any panels or shows during SXSW, it's best to leave pets at home. Downtown absorbs the impact of thousands of people, making it a loud and not-so-ideal place for even well-socialized dogs. Stick to the above-mentioned parks and restaurants and avoid the Convention Center area if you have a pup in tow.
Where to hang out with other pet lovers
Each year there are usually several official and unofficial pet lover meet-ups during SXSW. For example (!), this year we're excited to be hosting a #PuppyHour along with GoBank, Austin Pets Alive! and Barkbox, where we'll be adopting out puppies and discussing pets and pet relocations with anyone who wants to stop by. You're coming, right? RSVP here.
Official SXSW events to attend
If you're attending the Interactive conference and are interested in pets, the pet industry, internet trends or all of the above, there are a few panels worth checking out:
- Cat Cash: The Economy of Internet Cat Videos -- What makes cat videos so special (and shareable?) A panel of experts will discuss.
- A book signing with Will Braden, cat video creator and author of Henri, le Chat Noir: The Existential Musings of an Angst-Filled Cat (that's Henri pictured below).
- The LOLs of Nations: Understanding Global Memes -- Memes and pets go hand in hand, and this panel will examine worldwide trends in internet shenanigans.
- A book signing with Bob Mankoff, author of the The Big New Yorker Book of Cats and the The Big New Yorker Book of Dogs.
- Memes with Meaning: Why we Love Crazy Gifs and Videos -- People love cat videos and the like, but what does it mean about society? This panel takes an anthropological perspective.
Feel free to share any additional SXSW-oriented pet tips or Austin advice in general. We'll see you this weekend!