Are you getting excited for the whirlwind that is South By Southwest, aka the greatest festival in Austin Texas? I’m working on updating for 2015. Man, so much changes!!!
If you are new to the fest it can be kind of overwhelming so welcome to my smaller but more focused guide to spots that are convenient to the fest so you can figure out where to eat. The whole thing can be overwhelming and it just keeps getting bigger every year. Here are also links to my full Austin Vegan Guide which is divided by parts of town and my top ten favorites.
Breakfast. They say the breakfast taco is the most important taco of the day and I couldn’t agree more. My favorite spots are the Vegan Nom Whole Foods, Bouldin Creek, Mr. Natural, Taco Deli, La Flor, and the Cherrywood Coffeehouse. Tacos are probably the most bang for your buck food item as well. Of course I also have a vegan taco guide. Perhaps while you are in town you will even consider going on a taco cleanse?
Movies at The Alamo Drafthouse. If you are going to be at the film portion of SXSW you are going to spend a lot of time at the different Alamo movie theaters. The vegan situation has evolved over the years and currently you can get a vegan burger on any of the sandwiches, tofu in any of the wraps, popcorn with no butter, pizza with no cheese, a hummus plate, and none of it is very exciting. For 2015 they have added a “Skinny Menu” which has a return of the beloved spaghetti squash pomodoro and some other salad like bowls with tofu. Still, I try and fill up beforehand and just drink beer at the theater but don’t come in hungry because your neighbor will inevitably get french fries that you will have to smell them through the whole film. The popcorn comes with free refills and you can always sneak in a bit of nooch…
Lunch within walking distance of the Convention Center. If you have a badge you are going to spend a lot of time in and around the convention center. There are some vegan options inside but lines are long. And don’t even bother with that Starbucks across the street unless you want to wait in line for an hour. Within walking distance you can check out Shhmaltz for vegan reubens, Koriente for Korean, Frank for field roast hot dogs and waffle fries, Daruma Ramen for ramen, Banger’s Sausage, for house made vegan sausage, Daily Juice for smoothies and salads, Easy Tiger coffee, Mai Thai for Thai, P.F. Chang’s for expensive Chinese, Blenders and Bowls for acai bowls, and El Sol y La Luna for Mexican. Food trailers usually have something vegan too.
Best spots to pick up food or drinks to stick in your bag Honestly in a lot of situations this is going to be your best bet because shit is so crowded. Speaking of crowded don’t miss the downtown Whole Foods, it is the flagship store and there are a million different things to eat besides it being a good place to get prepared food. Even better eating then WF is Wheatsville Co-op which has an array of wonderful things like popcorn tofu po’boys, frito pie, and vegan mac and cheese. They also have lots of take away. If you are south of the river check out Thom’s Market, if you are in Hyde Park the Flag Store has some take-away and lots of different beers. If you are going to lots of day parties with free drinks I recommend bringing a flask because lines will be long. Also, ear plugs, sunscreen, sunglasses, cliff bars, and a charger for your phone will all be helpful.
Late Night Options- Kerbey Lane is a 24 hour diner that has locations all over town but there is often a long wait during the festival. Bouldin Creek & Counter Culture are two all veg places that will be open until midnight and it’s usually pretty easy to get a table at night. A bunch of trailers downtown & on the east side will be open really late, everyone’s favorite is Arlo’s which has the world’s best veggie burger. It’s at the bar Cheer Up Charlie’s on Red River and they also have a vegan friendly trailer called The East Side King. I often head to Chi’lantro for Korean tacos or Via 313 for crazy good Detroit style pizza. Of course I also have a late night guide.
My last tip is take the bus! It is so much easier than trying to get a cab or finding parking. There are also spiffy rental bikes all over downtown now.
If you have any questions tweet me @veganLazySmurf or in the comments here