Let's face it, SXSW can be too much. I've got the 10 places you won't find on other top 10 South by lists where the clientele won't be worrying about badges and wristbands. Check them out below for when you need a break from the madness.
The Top 10 Places To Find Serinity During SXSW
10. Nicholas Dawson Park
Nestled in the heart of Bouldin, Nicholas Dawson Park is a quiet sanctuary most life-long Austinites don't even know about. A beautiful limestone creek bed runs through the park including a 10 foot waterfall into a small reservoir filled with small bluegill and 8-inch Large-mouth Bass. Even during the busiest festivals you'll find yourself mostly alone at Nicholas Dawson. You'll be able read, sunbathe, or take the dog for an adventure all within a 5 minute walk of South 1st's restaurants and businesses.
Closest B-Station: Palmer Events Center
9. Open Room Austin at Sand Beach Park
A permanent art instillation at Sand Beach Park in the downtown Seaholm District is one of the best places to have a brunch, lunch or dinner with friends. Designed by Rosario Marquardt and Roberto Behar, this outdoor dining room table helps bring people together like family. Get with a couple dozen individuals, walk over to Trader Joe's to pick out some munchies and drinks then hang out at the Open Room for hours and watch the dogs play, joggers run by and bikes cruise around.
Closest B-Station: Sand Beach Park at the Pfluger Pedestrian Bridge.
8. Texas Chili Parlor & The Cloak Room
Looking to get away from SXSW's start-up bros and musicians who need a shower? Rub shoulders with Texas' state representatives at these two gems:
The Texas Chili Parlor boasts no draft beer, but a huge selection of liquor. Not to mention homemade chili, tex-mex, burger, tacos, and just about everything central to Austin eats - oh, besides vegan and gluten free....
The Cloak Room is a tiny basement bar located right next to the Texas State Capital. The customer isn't always right at the Cloak Room. Their bartenders are on their own time, and sorry if you've been waiting, the regular who just walked up gets priority. Keep an eye out for Texas Senators having some hair-of-the-dog during session to keep em' on their toes.
7. Alta's Cafe
As one of the only lakefront restaurants in Austin, it is surprising most locals don't know of it. Recent construction of the Austin Rowing Club's HQ on Lady Bird Lake hosts the Alta Cafe on the top floor. Beautiful views of Town Lake and pours of local craft beer are waiting for you.
Closest B-station: 2nd & Congress, Rainey & Davis
6. Texas State Cemetery
With Texas Independence day only a few days before SXSW 2017, a visit to the Texas State Cemetary is due. You can honor fallen soldiers as well as some of Texas's most notorious inhabitants. The TX ST Cemetery also has a hill where you can catch a beautiful sunset, an angel that captures the Austin skyline perfectly looking West.
Closest B-Station: East 11th @ Victory Grill
5. Flat Track Coffee & Cycleast
Set up inside of a bicycle shop, Flat Track has some of the best coffee in town. Oogle the new and custom bikes, or the crew working on them while sipping on an Americano. Regulars will be heads down in their books or laptops, but don't be afraid to strike up a conversation. Everyone needs a break every now and then.
Closest B-Station: 4th and Chicon
4. Rio Rita
Recently pushed out of their East 6th location due to rent hikes, the new Rio Rita sits at the corner of 12th and Chicon. Rio Rita will be busy during SXSW, but usually not with live music. They have the most comfortable couches in town and the sweetest bartenders you can find. If you're looking for a craft cocktail that doesn't cost $12 you're at the right place.
Closest B-Station: 11th St at Victory Grill
3. 30.247090, -97.724886
Looking to make out with your new SXSO (South by Significant Other)? Have no fear. Grab some cold beverages, a blanket and some snacks for a romantic picnic on the lake. Located at Festival Beach this hidden look-out is a great place for chilling alone, or smoochin' your bestie.
Closest B-station: 2nd & Pedernales
2. Drinks Lounge
With only a few years under their belt, Drinks Lounge has become a hot spot in the Holly neighborhood. Drinks will be hustling and bustling during SXSW, but fear not - they won't have any shows, private parties or lines. Show up to people watch, get a fantastic cocktail and eat some delicious grub. Don't be surprised if there are message therapists willing to help you de-stress between billiards games.
1. Driskill Bathroom
Located in the historic Driskill Hotel, this is the BEST restroom you can find right in the heart of downtown Austin. Located at 6th and Brazos you can find the bathroom around the corner from the hotel bar. Beautifully crafted wooden walls, perfectly clean porcelain toilets and sinks coupled with golden accents on the fixtures makes you feel like you're in Trump's penthouse. Forget about bathroom stalls, each toilet has its own full room fit with a full-sized door. Talk about privacy. Keep the Driskill bathroom in your back pocket for those days you need a little time to yourself in the midst of South By craziness.