Getting around South by Southwest is a complete nightmare. I have experienced it year after year after year. In the past Uber has been there as a free on-demand car riding service that has gotten SXSWers from Point A to Point B without any type of costs, but so far the rumor mill hasn’t come back around saying that Uber will be there again this year to do the exact same.
From experience here are some methods that I have used in the past to get around Austin both quickly and safely.
Tip #1: Free rides doesn’t mean fast service
If Uber is indeed back at South by Southwest this year plan plenty of time to get from Point A to Point B. If not, you’ll learn very quickly that waiting in lines and refreshing your phone a hundred times to get one uber is what must be done. It’s a nightmare. Pay attention to Tip #2 and you’ll be fine.
Tip #2: Stay as close to the convention center as possible
In years past we’ve stayed pretty far away from the convention center where the only way to get there was a taxi cab or Uber. If you can afford it the amount of money you’d spend is worth the headaches and easy of access to everything at South by Southwest.
Tip #3: Choose one thing you want to do and plan around
It’s going to be a madhouse. South by Southwest is going to be extremely crazy and before you know it a week of your life will have passed you by and you won’t know what happened. To ensure you get the most of your time pick one thing that you absolutely want to do and do it before anything else. This will make for the best experience at SXSW and will allow you to focus and not be pulled in 1,000 directions.
If you don’t check your email reguarly the producers of South by Southwest just put out the best guide to get around in Austin with promo codes and lots of information that will help maximize your visit to Austin. Here are four methods that will get you around in the most efficent manner possible according to South by Southwest.
South by Southwest Approved Transportation
The TMS pay-to-ride hotel shuttles will run every hour from early morning to late night between the Austin Convention Center and most official hotels outside the walkable downtown area (see hotel list and hours here). Pre purchase your passes online here or just $80 per person for 5 days or $120 per person for all of SXSW 2015. Single day passes can be pre-purchased online for $20. See more shuttle system info at sxsw.com/shuttles.
The Austin Convention Center is home base for most SXSW conference events, keynotes, and exhibitions. Screenings, showcases and additional conference content are easily accessible by foot, shuttle, bus or bicycle. Capital Metro provides extended hours and increased service throughout SXSW, find your next destination with the CapMetro App. From keynotes to screenings and everywhere in between, our Getting Around page will help you navigate Austin and get you where you need to go.
Enterprise is the preferred rent car vendor for SXSW, providing the best rates at convenient locations. Bookings: enterprise.com or 1-800-RENT-A-CAR. Use group code L65SXSW and 3-digit PIN: SXS.
Lyft is the official ridesharing partner of SXSW 2015. Download the Lyft mobile app for affordable and welcoming rides within minutes. New users, get $5 off each of your first 10 rides with the codeSXSW2015. (Code is redeemable in Austin only and must be redeemed by April 30, 2015 and used within 30 days after redeeming.)