50 Things To Know About Austin Before SXSW


I love Austin. It’s simultaneously wonderful and totally infuriating. The city meets every cliché about it almost effortlessly, to the point where the onslaught of weirdness can be almost numbing. I once saw a unicycle brigade spin down the street, and it honestly took like 15 minutes until I realized the profound absurdity of what had happened. SXSW only accentuates those gloriously bizarre thrills, and that’s why it’s one of my favorite times of the year. So I’ve taken the time to compile a list of 50 things you ought to know about my home town before the big week. Use it to better blend in with the locals.

See also: Why We’ll All Try to See Justin Timberlake at SXSW, and Why That’s Completely Wrong

1. Austin has banned single-use plastic bags throughout the whole city, so bring a tote.

2. The waterways and sewers of Austin have been entirely replaced with locally-brewed kombucha.

3. Every Jimmy Johns delivery driver is secretly a drug dealer in disguise.

4. The sausage/beer/side lunch combo at Bangers is low-key one of the best deals in the city.

5. Kerbey Lane is actually not that good outside of the pancakes. Stay away from the gourmet stuff.

6. The sound in the Mohawk is severely watered-down on the upper balcony. Make sure to stay on the ground level if you can.

7. Every Austin resident is governmentally obliged to play you in four-square if you offer a four-square challenge.

8. Austin is the first city in Texas to elect a bowl of quinoa to city council.

9. The Whole Foods Headquarters is more majestic and intimidating than Augustan Rome and the Death Star combined.

10. The East Side is being rapidly gentrified and you are part of the overwhelming economic subjugation when you go to shows there.

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11. Our service-industry jobs are entirely occupied by white girls with tattoos. It is estimated that 56.8 million cups of coffee are sold by white girls with tattoos every year in Austin.

12. People who have nostalgia for Austin in the ’70s and ’80s have been scientifically proven to be the crankiest demographic in the known universe.

13. Hoboken Pie is the superior choice for 1 am pizza in the downtown area.

14. The city bird of Austin is Toucan Sam.

15. Davy Crocket hated Austin, Texas, because he left his jacket there once and it was like his favorite jacket, and plus it had maybe 20 dollars or so in the front pocket which is totally weak.

16. Austin is the most segregated city in the state of Texas. Seriously.

17. The mayor of Austin is in an ELO cover band.

18. People who live in Austin are categorically terrified of living in a real city.

19. Instead of the traditional mint chocolate, Austin hotels have a small tab of LSD under every pillow.

20. Red 7 is usually a shithole; you’re just seeing it on its pretty week.

21. Austin is based on a moneyless barter-economy, centralized on high-fives, weed, and brightly colored sunglasses.

22. Birds Barbershop is basically like Chuck. E. Cheese for desperate adults.

23. The Urban Outfitters by the University actually puts on some of the best day shows.

24. Austin has the lowest automobile fatality rates in the country, but has the highest zeppelin collision rate in the entire world.

25. If someone inside city limits tweets “I hate SXSW” from a location providing free music, beer, and food, it is legally acceptable to hunt them down and beat them with sticks.

26. Queen Nubian Lola’s is actually the best food in the city. Just make sure to bring cash and an open-mind.

27. Austin is the capital of the free United States of America.

28. SXSW is undergoing pre-planning to officially change its name to “a bunch of stressed-out white people running around.”

29. Nobody in Austin has a job.

30. Besides music, Austin’s biggest export is postponed aspirations.

31. Hey Cupcake is not that big of a deal and there are plenty of other serviceable dessert-based businesses around town that have not been on the Food Network.

32. Falling in love with a scruffy transient girl playing a banjo is normal if you’re 19; if not then you really need to grow up.

33. We have a company here that picks up your compost by bike, and we understand if that makes you hate us.

34. The Fader Fort is actually sovereign New York territory while it exists.

35. In Austin you can purchase your coffee by playing a Mountain Goats cover on a harmonica.

36. The Clay Pit does a lunch buffet on the weekdays that will seriously blow your mind for about $8.

37. Nobody knows where Daniel Johnston is, sorry.

38. Every girl in Austin under the age of 5 is named Ella.

39. Grown men and women identify with hula-hoop culture in Austin TX. I know.

40. Bill Murray is not performing a DJ set, that’s just a rumor every year.

See also: The Worst Moments From SXSW 2012

41. Austin will be the site of the 2032 Second Coming of Jesus Christ, despite ongoing protests of many Austin citizens.

42. It is rumored that the concentrated smugness of SXSW is causing profound damage to the human condition.

43. Plato’s The Republic was about Austin.

44. Slacklining is a thing here.

45. The air in Austin causes all hair to dreadlock within 30 minutes of exposure.

46. If you think skateboarding is cool and you are a father of three, Austin is the city for you.

47. The preferred language of Austin is “Lesbian,” but English is spoken as well.

48. The University of Texas at Austin is the only university in the nation to offer a major in
Collecting Pinecones.

49. The streets of Austin are paved with discarded promo CDs.

50. Austin is in Texas.

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