Hope your SXSW is going well. My partner and I were in Austin recently - we had a great time. We had a car because we had to fly to and from Houston, but we found downtown Austin pretty easy to walk around. There was always a bar nearby if needed!
Found this forum really useful - so thanks.
Some thoughts, and things we got up to...
1. We rented a condo on 6th Street, just west of Lamar. Good location, convenient for Book People, Waterloo Records and Whole Foods - places we spent a lot of time. Some good local eateries too: Z Tejas, Corazon, 24 Hour Diner and Counter Cafe (our first ever 'Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives' venue).
2. Esther's Follies was very entertaining - highly recommended. I'm not usually a variety show kind of person, but they do a great job. It did help to know about Rick Perry and his foibles beforehand! We combined the outing with a wee pub crawl around Rainey Street, and ate at Bangers.
3. Everyone was really friendly. Our English and Scottish accents helped, but everyone just wanted to talk to you. I was asked if I loved the Queen - not a question I've had to deal with before!
5. The craft beer industry seems to be thriving. Lots of bars take pride in offering a big choice - quite overwhelming at times. And often you don't know how strong they are. Some of these beers are *really* strong (6%+). Watch out!
6. We spent two afternoons at the LBJ Presidential Library and the Bob Bullock museum. Filled in all those gaps in our knowledge of the history of Texas.
7. Had biscuits and gravy for the first time. Definitely not 'Rich Tea and Bisto', but equally interesting. Not in too much of a rush to replicate the experience at home!
8. Star spotting - we bumped into Louis from the David Pakman Show in a bar on E 6th Street. Thanks for sharing the Firehouse's bookcase secret with us.
9. We did an overnight trip to Fredericksburg. We didn't know before reading this forum that Texas had a wine industry. The 290 Wine Shuttle service worked really well - perhaps too well! Excellent meal and hospitality at Otto's that evening - nice chatting to the co-owner, who had lived in Glasgow for a bit. Be aware the town does close down quite early, even on a Saturday night.
10. We satisfied our outlet shopping needs near San Marcos. There was even a Gold Toe shop (we can't get Gold Toes in the UK, and here was a whole store).
11. Got to watch the Atheist Experience on the real Channel Austin.
Anyway, just some of the highlights. Thanks for having us, ATX.