There are plenty of reasons to visit super-hip Austin, Texas at any time of the year. The small city is famous for its year-round, vibrant live music scene, wonderful, diverse restaurants (including but not limited to killer barbeque and world-famous tacos), a verdant park system blossoming with native Texas wildflowers, and perhaps most importantly of all: the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, an epically wonderful movie house that allows — nay, encourages — you to drink beer in your seat.
However, this is March, the time of year when people tend to gather in the Texas state capital for the biggest annual event in the small city. Last year, over 155,000 individuals flocked to Austin for South by Southwest — the progressive and star-studded music, film, and tech fest that has been gaining popularity steadily since its inception in 1987.
While plenty of locals have been known to rent out their apartments for the event (some fleeing as the city’s population swells), many will stick around to watch their city turn into an astonishing carnival.
This year, tech professionals and enthusiasts will be able to listen to Edward Snowden engage in a conversation about privacy issues and network their little hearts out, film makers and aficionados will get to hear from illustrious people in the moving picture industry such as The Amazing Spider-Man director Marc Webb, and Girls creator Lena Dunham — in addition to the chance to view a wide range of screenings, and those who came all the way to Texas for a gigantic music festival will have the opportunity to experience hundreds of up-and-coming and established bands.
Just as the musical acts offer a wide range of styles, so do the bars in our roundup. While we focused on quality, we also made sure that there was a little something for everyone in our list — from dusty (maybe a touch grimy?) dives that boast a terrific jukebox and dirt-cheap beers to ultra-hip spots decked out in vintage décor that serve gorgeously complex craft cocktails.
Check out our top 10 list — one for every day of the conference.