A First-Timer’s Guide to SXSW

South By Southwest (SXSW) is a renowned annual 10-day festival that brings together a diverse global community of thought leaders and innovators in the vibrant city of Austin, Texas. Attendees immerse themselves in the latest digital, creative, and cutting-edge ideas, with a wide array of conference sessions, film and TV screenings, music showcases, exhibitions, and much more.

As a first-time attendee, navigating this extensive festival might seem overwhelming. To help you make the most of your SXSW experience, we've compiled a list of practical tips and tricks:

Choose the Right Badge

To attend SXSW, you must register for a badge. Color-coded by industry type, each badge grants you primary access to specific events. While you can attend events outside your chosen industry, entry isn't guaranteed once an event reaches capacity. Explore SXSW badge options to find the perfect fit for your interests.


Secure Your SXSW Stay Early

With events taking place across various venues in Austin, your accommodation's location is crucial for ensuring you don't miss out on any SXSW adventures. As the festival attracts hundreds of thousands of attendees, it's essential to book your stay immediately after registering. SXSW registrants can access the lowest hotel rates during the festival dates by booking through SXSW Housing & Travel, as opposed to online and direct bookings.

Create a Personalized Event Itinerary

Maximizing your first-time SXSW experience requires thorough preparation. Start planning as soon as the event schedule is released and identify the events that intrigue you the most. Create a detailed, hour-by-hour plan for each day to ensure you don't miss a beat. As the festival approaches, SXSW offers an hourly breakdown of events to help you fine-tune your daily itinerary.


Step Outside Your Comfort Zone

SXSW hosts an abundance of options, making it tempting to narrow your focus. However, to truly capitalize on your experience, expand your horizons and attend events that may not immediately catch your eye. By stepping outside your comfort zone, you'll encounter thought-provoking ideas and groundbreaking innovators that could inspire and surprise you.

By following these tips, you'll be well-prepared to dive into the vast world of SXSW, creating memories and connections that will last a lifetime.