SXSW 2015


The true way to explore Austin during SXSW is to explore showcases for new bands. Exploration and discovery go hand-in-hand during the festival. For some non-SXSW exploration and nature immersion, try these attractions below.

View Cultivora's Guide to SXSW 2014 in a larger map

  • Cathedral of Junk

    Vince Hannemann (aka the Junk King) transformed useless objects and trash into art in his backyard. The project, which began in 1988, is now one of the coolest attractions in Austin, definitely lends itself to the "Keep Austin Weird" slogan. The free space is now rumored to be by appointment only, so call ahead and bring a $10 donation per group.

  • Congress Avenue Bridge Bats

    It may not be Batman's secret lair, but it's the next best thing. Join hundreds of people on the Congress Avenue Bridge and witness 1.5 million bats soaring the skies at dusk. The world's largest urban bat colony is one of the most fascinating tourist attractions you will ever experience. Don't worry, the black mythic creatures don't come after gazers -- bats are gentle and intelligent animals, as long as you keep your hands to yourself.

  • Zilker Park Boat Rentals

    Care to see Lady Bird Lake from a different angle? How about spending a day canoeing and relaxing on the water? Zilker Park Boat Rentals makes this possible, with affordable rates that start at $12/hour and $40/day. Make sure to check their website for coupons like “241” (rent one boat and get a second hour free), perfect for a group getaway. Weather permitting, Zilker Park Boat Rentals is open 7 days a week, starting at 9am on the weekends and 10am weekdays, closing at dusk.

  • Barton Springs Pool

    Nestled within Zilker Park's 358 acres is the Barton Springs Pool, a natural, three-acre pool, fed by underground springs. The pool maintains a steady 68°F (20°C) temperature year-round. Pool access costs only $3/day for adults.

  • Texas Capitol Building

    If you want to delve into a bit of history during you Texas stay, check out the capitol building, designed in 1881 and completed in 1888. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1970 and recognized as a National Historic Landmark in 1986. The capital rotunda features portraits of every person who has served as president of the Republic of Texas or Governor of the state of Texas. This giant building is a masterful work of art, but so is the surrounding area. There are 22 acres of beautifully landscaped lawns, 17 monuments, and stunning historical buildings.