Blast Off: Our take on the big decisions affecting our world.

2017-02-23
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Best of SXSW 2017: Blast PR’s Marketer Guide to The CMO Club, Digital Media Women, IAB Events, Austin Music Awards, Parties, Panels and Much More

With SXSW 2017 upon us, Blast is again gearing up for a busy few weeks. Visit this guide as the festival approaches for updates from Blast and our partners.

This year, Blast is excited to be supporting over a dozen clients and partners hosting events and programs across SXSW including: IAB, The CMO Club in conjunction with MediaLink, the Cojones Awards @ The CMO Clubhouse @ SXSW, Austin Music Awards, CNN and New York Times parties via our wonderful partners at Giant Noise, fantastic official SXSW sessions led by clients Mood Media and MAX (Music Audience Exchange), the Digital Media Women event and much more. If you’d like more information or to get in touch with any of the brands or organizations we are supporting, please contact me directly at lana@blastpr.com or call/text: 512-970-8310.

Check out all the details here if you want more info leading up to the festival!

2016-03-08
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Blast’s Annual CMO and Marketer Guide to SXSW 2016 #SXSW2016

Blast’s SXSW Interactive Marketer Survival Guide

The 18th SXSW Interactive takes over much of downtown Friday, March 11 – Tuesday, March 15 and boasts the expected strong roster of both “official” and “unofficial” sessions, networking and special events. For marketers, this year, the range of options is more fine-tuned yet diverse than ever. Read on to find out who will be there, were they will hang out and which official sessions and evening events to attend.

Who’s at SXSW and Where?

In addition to Day 1’s keynote interview of sitting President Barack Obama by Texan Tribune CEO and Editor-in-Chief, Evan Smith, this year, thousands of great marketers will also be at SXSW including leaders from: 360i, Aflac, Amazon, Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls, Arby’s, At Home, BBVA Compass, Bernie Sanders 2016, Blast PR, Brand Innovators, Bravo and Oxygen, Cadillac, The CMO Club, CNBC, Cricket Wireless, Discover Financial, Dunkin Brands, eConsultancy, eMarketer, Facebook, Flow Nonfiction, Gatorade, GE, Google, Grey, The Heat Group, Heineken, The Hershey Company, The Home Depot, IBM, Indeed, Interactive Advertising Bureau, Keds, Kind, LiveIntent, L’Oreal, Mastercard, Mazda, Mary Kay, MLB, Medialink, MEC Global, Mercury Mambo, Moet Hennessy, Mondelez, Navy Exchange, NBCUniversal, nFusion, Nordstrom, Office Depot, Ole Miss Athletics, OneSpot, Opera Mediaworks, NBTV Studios, Neiman Marcus, Norton by Symantec, NRG Energy, Oracle, Patron Spirits International, PostUp, Rag & Bone, The Recording Academy, REI, Seventh Generation, SheKnows Media, SportsMedia Challenge, SSB, Taco Bell, Transamerica Brokerage, TD Ameritrade, United Airlines, University of Texas, UnsubCentral, Viacom, Vimeo, Vox Media, Western Union, Xero, Yeti Coolers, Yext, Zenoss, Zumba Fitness and many more.

For invite only events, email me with SXSW event RSVP requests and we’ll do our best to get you into events that haven’t exceeded capacity (in other words – please contact us asap)!

This year’s opening night music party at Austin City Limit’s Moody Theater will draw a large Friday crowd again and is worth attendance if you are on the VIP versus general attendance. If not, don’t worry. Much more intimate dinners and entertainment events will take place that night and the following nights, including surprise A-List performances at The CMO Clubhouse and GSD&M’s Annual music party to name a few. Email us to find out more.

Journalists and bloggers also have quite a bit to choose from. Email Blast SXSW directly and we’ll also provide you with special passes to closed events we are managing and do our best to schedule interviews with any of the brands or experts appearing.

Read more, including the day-by-day guide and all of the hot spots to eat, drink, meet, exercise and more, here!

 

 

2015-03-30
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The Blast SXSW Experience

South-by-Southwest 2015 came and went in a flurry of events, panels, Ubers, meet-ups and charging stations. Our Austin office was at the forefront of this controlled chaos, hosting several of our clients during Interactive. We kicked things off with Opening Night party sponsor Opera Mediaworks at the Moody Theatre and listened to local favorite SpoonIMG_0108

 

A welcome oasis from the busy streets on Saturday and Sunday, The CMO Clubhouse welcomed CMOs from all over the country to an intimate lounge hosted on the picturesque 24th floor of the Bank of America Tower. The space was generously offered by the team at OneSpot, who we enjoyed catching up with alongside G/O Digital Saturday at the salon-style sessions on content marketing at The Contently House on Austin’s east side.

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We ended the weekend co-sponsoring Interactive Advertising Bureau’s #IABacon Brunch at a downtown favorite, Annie’s Café, with our friends at SmartBrief and eMarketer. The morning was filled with delicious food, meaningful conversation, unbeatable networking and some very clever bacon bracelets. IMG_0104

Representatives from companies like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pandora were in attendance as well as familiar faces from SheKnows, Dstillery, and G/O Digital.

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Sunday also included a guest speaking session from our very own Lana McGilvray.

 

Not to be overshadowed by the weekend, Monday was filled with meaningful insights and engagement at the Dancing on the Ceiling: Women Leading and Mentoring in panel at GDS&M. The panel featured Dstillery’s Chief Data Scientist, Claudia Perlich,

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GSD&M President Marianne Malina, Sanders/Wingo President/CEO Leslie Wingo, OMD Midwest President Trish Chuipek, IBM  ‘Health Insights’ VP Marketing Gina Sandon and BeeSweet Lemonade’s D’Andra Ulmer (CMO) and Mikaila Ulmer (Founder).

Throughout the session, we heard recurring themes from our panelists that women should take ownership of their success, and it’s important for those who have worked their way into leadership positions to do more to create opportunities for others. And while statements from all the panelists resonated deeply, it was unique to hear from Mikaila Ulmer, the 10-year-old founder of BeeSweet Lemonade. Particularly, her take on “dancing on the ceiling,” as she had never heard of the glass ceiling before. Her success speaks for itself and we’re not the only ones noticing. Daymond Johnson of ABC’s Shark Tank agreed to a partnership with her on the show’s March 20th episode and we can’t wait to see what’s next for Mikaila.

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Closing things down on Monday evening, the team enjoyed Popeye’s Chicken at GSD&M’s annual party that featured an array of musicians including surprise guest and Austin native, Gary Clark Jr.

While we tidy RSVP lists, draft thank you notes to old friends and introductions to new, we raise our glasses to another successful SXSW. We look forward to seeing y’all again next year!

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2015-03-12
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“Dancing on the Ceiling” @SXSW: Panel Hosted By Blast Public Relations, The CMO Club, and Women Advancing

On Monday, March 16, at SXSW Interactive from 11-12:30 p.m. at GSD&M’s 6th Street Headquarters, Blast Public Relations, The CMO Club, and Women Advancing will present an incredible panel of female tech and media stars who haven’t just broken through the ceiling, they’re dancing on it!

The event in the Alpha Conference Room will be followed by a short reception to provide attendees and panelists with an opportunity to network and learn from one another. To support the hosts’ shared commitment to reciprocal mentoring between women of all ages in the workplace, participants in Austin STEAM based programs at local universities, schools, and non-for-profits including Girl Start have been invited.

Following brief introductions by Blast Principal Lana McGilvray, The CMO Club Founder Pete Krainik, and Women Advancing Executive Director Nancy Gallanty, KUT Senior Producer and Radio Host Rebecca McInroy will moderate the panel, which includes:

 See you in Austin, everybody! And don’t forget to Tweet about it…

Hashtags and Twitter Handles: @TheCMOClub @BlastPR @WomenAdvancing @Dstillery @IBM @UTAustin  @KUT @SandersWingo  @LoveBeeSweet @OMD@Beckasmack @MarianneMalina @GSandon @CPerlich @LesWingo @taylor_atx @PeteKrainik @LanaMcGilvray @NancyGalanty @DandraUlm @Chuips

 SXSW-Dancing on Ceiling-Logo

2015-03-05
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Blast’s Annual SXSW Survival Guide!

SXSW Interactive 2015:
The Marketers Survival Guide

I. Who Will Be at SXSW?

  • Keynote Speakers and Performers
  • Brands and CMOs
  • Media Tech Companies
  • Journalists and Bloggers
  • Women Leading the Way

II. Where Will They Be?

  • Calendar* with RSVP Information (Including: Top parties and Events)
    * Wired and Neiman Marcus parties to be added soon

III. Where to Eat, Drink, Meet, Exercise and More

The SXSW Interactive Festival provides five days of keynote presentations, panel sessions, book readings, meetups, workshops, and core conversations that provide hands-on training, big-picture analyses, a Trade Show, an array of awards/events and hands-on gaming fun at the Gaming Expo. The event producers also make it easy for badge holders to create their own official schedule as well as tap into the social networking site to try and connect with the best the week has to offer.

What’s not so easy is taking the time to do this. This guide is a “cheat sheet” to help marketers make the most of the festival across official and unofficial events.

Who Will Be at SXSW?

For marketers interested in hearing and interacting with the best keynotes, brands and peers, the keynote sessions, The CMO Clubhouse activation, Brand Innovators and IAB Brunch, major sponsor activations and The New York Times Magazine, Wired, Gannett and Neiman Marcus events are top of list.

This year’s opening night music party at the Moody Theater features Spoon, a surprise A-List performance at The CMO Clubhouse and GSD&M’s Annual Monday night music party — the big performance draws.

Check out this list of “5 Women to Know at SXSW” featuring our own Lana McGilvray.

To learn more about any of these events, send us an email or take a look at which brands will be at which activations in the day-by-day calendar below.

A short break down of some of the top brands, media tech companies and agencies attending:

  • Brands: Alex and Ani, At Home, BeeSweet Lemonade, Belkin International, Bosch NA,  Coca-Cola, Crowdtap, Dell, eSurance, IBM, Kellogg’s, Kimberly-Clark, King’s Hawaiian, Mondelez, Office Depot, Omni Hotel and Resorts, Opera Mediaworks, Oracle, Patron, SAP, Verizon, Visa and Walgreens (more brands and speakers: Russell Wager, VP of Marketing, Mazada, Ken Bracht, Communication Manager, Jaguar/Land Rover, Michael Deitz, Sr. Group Manager Connect Car and Owner Marketing, Hyundai NA, Tom Bick, Sr. Director Marketing, Kraft, Logan Green, Lyft, Hayley Barna, Co-Founder & Co-CEO, Birchbox, Ganesh Bell, Chief Digital Officer and GM, General Electric, Corey Bergman, GM Breaking News, MSNBC, Mikala Bierma, Assoc Creative Dir, BuzzFeed, Art Briles, Head Football Coach, Baylor University, Linda Boff, Global Exec, GE Corporate, Julie Bornstein, Chief Marketing Officer, Sephora, Ken Bracht, Communication Mgr, Jaguar, Erika Brookes, VP of Oracle Social Cloud, Paul Brunson, TV Personality/Life Coach/Matchmaker, Chris Bruzzo, CMO, EA, Jamie Carlin, Dir of Mktg, TX Motor Speedway, Marie Donoghue, SVP, Global Strategy & Business Dev, ESPN, Pat Donahue, Dir Digital Media, LA Kings Hockey Club, Kalia Garrison, Sr Product Marketer, Oracle Marketing Cloud, Kimberly Gnatt, Global Group Dir Digital Mktg, The Coca-Cola Company, Phil Gomes, SR VP, Edelman, Traug Keller, SCP, Production, Business Divisions, ESPN, Alex Kisch, EVP Biz Dev & Affiars, VEVO, Amanda Kludt, EIC, Eater, Scott Lange, Creative Dir Midwest, Google, Danika Laszuk, VP of Marketing, Jawbone, Rob Laycock,VP of Mktg, Indiana Pacers, Meredith Kopit Levien, EVP of Advertising, The NY Times, , Michelle Lapierre, Sr. Dir Customer Experience, Marriott Rewards, Brandon Little, CCO, Fossil, Sandra Lopez,, Director of Wearables, Intel Corporation, William Mao, Head of College Sports Partnership, YouTube, Christian Martinez, Head of US Multicultural Sales, Facebook, Perkins Miller, Chief Digital Officer, NFL Media, William Mao, Head of College Sports Partnerships, YouTube, David Min, VP Strategic Biz Innovation, The Walt Disney Co., Erik Natzke, Principal Designer, Adobe Systems Inc., Kyle Nel, VP Head of Innovation Labs, Lowe, Dao Ngugyen, Publisher, BuzzFeed, Hai Nguyen, Creative Tech Lead, Google, Shana Opperman, Producer, Google, Jude Ower, Founder/CEO, PlayMob , Haile Owusu, Chief Data Scientist, Mashable, Ryan Panchadsaram, US Deputy CTO, The White House, Greg Pharo, Dir. Market Research & Analysis, AT&T Mobility, David Polinchock, Director of Marketing, AT&T, Ari Popper, CEO & Founder, SciFutures, Jane Randel, NO MORE, Mike Raspatello, Digital Innovation Mgr, Anheuser-Busch, Michael Rocha, Dir. of Content Services, Panasonic, Beth Rockwood, SVP Market Resources, Discovery Comm, Jay B Rogers Jr, CEO & Co-Founder, Local Motors Inc., Scott Rosenberg, VP Biz Dev, Roku, Andrew Rosenthal, Group Mgr, Jawbone, Peter Roybal, Head of Mobile Product, ABC News, David Rubin, Head of Brand, Pinterest, Meghan Ryan, Social Media Mgr, Boston Red Sox, Deion Sanders, National Football League, Peter Scott, VP of Emerging Media, Turner, Lisa Pike Sheehy, Dir. of Global Envir. Initiatives, Patagonia, Morgan Sword, VP League Economics/Strategy, MLB, Mike Thelin, Feast Portland, John Thomas, Creative Director, Groupon, Jason Verrett, NFL Player, San Diego Chargers, Ajay Waghray, Mobile Prod Mgr, HomeAway, Eric Weinberger, Exec Producer, NFL Network, Edward Wild, Sr. Dir. Analytics, PepsiCo)
  • Agencies: Blast Public Relations, GSD&M, OMD, Sanders Wingo
  • Media Tech Companies: Dstillery, Contently, CPXi,  G/O Digital, Hipchat, Multiview, OneSpot, Opera Mediaworks, PostUp, RealMassive
  • Membership Organizations: Interactive Advertising Bureau, The CMO Club
  • Journalists and Bloggers: Ad Age, AdWeek, Gannett, Re/code, USA Today, New York Times Magazine, SheKnows, Wired, WSJ – CMO Today (more: Corey Bergman, GM Breaking News, MSNBC, Nellie Bowles, Reporter, Re/code, Eric Carvin, Social Media Editor, AP, Michelle Castillo, Adweek, Chris Heine, AdWeek, Eva Chen, Lucky/Conde Nast, Leah Chernikoff, Editor, Elle.com, Elizabeth Caudle, East Coast Regional Dir, Girls Who Code, Carmel DeAmicis, GigaOm, Susan Etlinger, Altimeter, Leigh Gallagher, Asst. Managing Editor, Fortune, Bob Garfield, Columnist/NPR Hots, MediaPost, Michael Gorman, EIC, Engadget, Anthony Ha, Writer, TechCrunch, Joi Ito, Director, MIT Media Lab, Peter Kafka, Senior Editor, Re/code, Allison Lichter, Social Media Editor, WSJ, Linda Lacina, Special Reports Editor, Entrepreneur, Jessica Lawrence, NY Tech MeetUps, Angela Matusik, Exec. Editor, InStyle Magazine, Haile Owusu, Chief Data Scientist, Mashable, David Robson, Feature Writer, BBC Future, Michael Roston, Staff Editor Social Media, NYT, Peter Roybal, Head of Mobile Product, ABC News, David Rubin, Head of Brand, Pinterest, Meghan Ryan, Social Media Mgr., Boston Red Sox, Mia Saini, TV Reporter, Bloomberg TV, Keith Sharman, Producer, CBS News, Mike Shields, WSJ, Owen Thomas, EIC, ReadWriteWeb)

Where Will They Be?

For many, SXSW begins during Capital Factory’s famed Pre-SXSW Startup Crawl on Thursday, March 12, and wraps on Monday night when GSD&M’s Annual Music party bids everyone farewell with a song. The meatiest “marketing” days are in between when The CMO Clubhouse moves in for a three day lounge activation, ensuring that brand CMOs have a private area to meet, network with one another, get custom content and experience the best entertainment.

SXSW-CMO Clubhouse

Thursday, March 12, 5-10pm

Capital Factory’s Pre-SXSW Startup Crawl Presented by HipChat*
Join over 50 companies and 24,000 crawlers as they take to the best venues for innovation and entrepreneurial networking.

This year’s must-attend is RealMassive’s Parkside Rooftop party at Parkside. Don’t forget to stop by!

Friday, March 13 Highlights and Recommendations

  • SXSW Keynote: Paola Antonelli, MoMA
  • 10am: Gigya Grill, El Sol y La Luna, 600 E. 6th Street
  • 11am: PayPal Social Media Lounge, Austin Convention Center
  • 10:45am-6pm: Brand Innovators & Mondelez How to Be a Change Agent Activation at Lambert’s Barbeque — This event is a must stop for serious marketers and features an amazing array of speakers on Friday, including top digital marketers from Alex and Ani, Altimeter, Bosch NA, Coca-Cola, Crowdtap, Dstillery, IBM Social Business, Kellogg’s, King’s Hawaiian, Mondelez, Opera Mediaworks, Verizon, Visa and Walgreens.
  • Opening Night Music Concert Featuring Spoon (Invite Only: Contact lana@blastpr.com for more information)
  • 5:30-8:30pm: OneSpot’s SXSW Kickoff Happy Hour, Maggie Mae’s, 323 6th Street
  • New York Times Magazine Design Launch Party! (Invite only: Contact lana@blastpr.com) at the Mohawk in Austin, TX. There will be a music performances by The Suffers and Dan Deacon and food by Shake Shack.

Spoon SXSW

Saturday, March 14 Highlights and Recommendations

  • SXSW Keynote: Princess Reema Bint Bandar Al-Saud, Alfa Intl
  • Noon – 7pm: The CMO Clubhouse Opens! — A two day oasis for CMOS and heads of marketing to improve their SXSW experience, build real relationships with peers, host their own meetings and be part of some incredible CMO moments. Saturday highlights include:
    • CMO Club TV Tapings: Top CMOs and Experts Share “CMO Worthy” Go To Tips and Lessons Learned
    • CMOs Unplugged: “Multi-Device Intelligence – What’s Real” with Dstillery and Kimberly-Clark
    • Startup Pitch Contest Judged by Eliza Esquivel, Head of Global Brand Strategy, Mondelez, Kieran Hannon, CMO, Belkin International, Jennifer Warren, CMO, At Home, Karen Quintos, CMO, Dell
    • CMOs Unplugged: “Innovation in Payment Ecosystems” conversation with Visa
    • CMO Club Cocktail Reception and CMO Innovation Labs
      Surprise Musical Performance
  • 3:30pm: Contently House — Featuring G/O Digital CMO Jeff Fagel
  • 5:00pm – 6:00pm: She’s a C-Word featuring Re/Code, BlogHer, Pandora and Lyft, JW Marriott, 110 E. 2nd St.

Sunday, March 15 Highlights and Recommendations

  • SXSW Keynote: Martine Rothblatt, United Therapeutics
  • 9am-1pm: Interactive Advertising Bureau Sunday Brunch, at Annies on Congress Avenue (Invite only: For more information contact sxsw@iab.net)
  • 9am-4pm: Gannett USA Today RoundUp at Searsucker, Colorado Street
  • Noon – 7pm: The CMO Clubhouse — A two day oasis for CMOS and heads of marketing to improve their SXSW experience, build real relationships with peers, host their own meetings and be part of some incredible CMO moments. Sunday highlights include:
    • CMO Club TV Tapings: Top CMOs and Experts Share “CMO Worthy” Go To Tips and Lessons Learned
    • CMOs Unplugged: “Innovation in PR”
    • Startup Pitch Contest Judged by: Lee Applbaum, CMO, Patron Spirits, Allan Gellman, CMO, eSurance, Megan Lueders, CMO, Lifesize, Tom Santora, CMO, Omni Hotels and Resorts,
      CMOs Unplugged: “Creation – Check, Distribution – Check, What’s Next for Content” with SAP and OneSpot
    • CMO Club Cocktail Reception and CMO Innovation Labs
    • Surprise Musical Performance
  • 3-7pm: PostUp and ReturnPath Email & Interactive Happy Hour at Pesce

Monday, March 16 Highlights and Recommendations

Tuesday, March 17 Highlights and Recommendations

  • 12:30pm – 1:30 pm: How We Shop: The Customization of Curation @JW Marriott: Featuring eBay, Ideo, StyleCaster — From storefronts, to desktops, to the smartphone in your pocket, the future of shopping will offer endless possibilities to discover, browse and buy. With shoppers able to indulge anywhere and anytime, the challenge is to curate an experience that is personalized, engaging and intuitive. This panel brings together a select group of commerce experts – from one of Fast Company’s 2014 Most Creative People in Business to eBay’s VP of Design and former Creative Director for the Apple Online Store – to break down the art and science of curation. Learn how to engage consumers through storytelling and the keys to creating personalized experiences across devices and platforms.
    • Dave Lippman, VP Design/Exec Creative Dir, eBay
    • Michael Phillips Moskowitz, Chief Curator & Editorial Dir, eBay Inc
    • Fred Dust, Partner, Ideo
    • Laurel Pinson, Editor in Chief, StyleCaster

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Where to Eat, Drink, Meet, Exercise and More

Eats and Drinks

Austin is well known for its Tex-Mex and Bar-B-Q. But recently, we’ve experienced a culinary explosion. Here’s a list of favorites to choose from…

Mexican

New School – La Condesa – Fancy Mexican in the heart of the hip ‘Second Street’ district, which is also referred to as “Little Dallas.” Great open-air bar with a corresponding upstairs bar that is easy to book for events..

Old-School – Polvos – Great Mexican with a true Austin vibe that can be best realized with a Mexican “Martini” or Margarita (South Austin)

Bar-B-Q

  • New School – Lambert’s – The best late-night bar-b-q with great bands upstairs (factoid – It’s in the old historic venue once occupied by the much beloved Liberty Lunch music venue)
  • Old School – The Green Mesquite on Barton Springs, Stubbs On Red River or Iron Works (right next door to the convention center)

Downtown by Type

(FYI – For Brunch – Trio, Lamberts’ and Moonshine are typically great options)

  • Bess – eclectic bistro owned by Sandra Bullock
  • Second – A fabulous restaurant and bar with great food and indoor, outdoor space on Congress Avenue at the bottom of the Austonion building. Directly next door is one of the best fine dining restaurants in the country, Congress, and in the middle a tiny, hip bar- Bar Congress.
  • Trio (near the convention center) – restaurant at the Four Seasons hotel (drinks in their lobby is much more fun)
  • Parkside (near the convention center)- eclectic, hip, fun
  • Malaga – Spanish tapas (close to the W Hotel)
  • La Condesa – upscale Mexican
  • Chez Nous – French
  • Lambert’s – Upscale Bar-B-Q
  • Eddie Vs – Seafood
  • The Roaring Fork at the Stephen F. Austin (Downtown) – Steak
  • Maiko – Japanese
  • Moonshine (near the convention center) – Eclectic, higher-end comfort food served within one of the oldest and most historic buildings in Austin. Very close to the convention center with outdoor/indoor seating.

The restaurants at the Driskill hotel, The W, The Four Seasons (above) and Stephen F. Austin are great too…

Downtown Cocktails

  • Anywhere on Rainey Street
  • Bar Congress & Second (Congress Street- the small bar adjoining the Congress Restaurant and 2nd – its other restaurant)
  • La Condesa
  • Midnight Cowboy (requires reservation)
  • The Lounge at the Four Seasons (near the convention center) aka “Austin’s Living Room”
  • W Hotel (numerous bars) Popular but much like the W bars in any other city. There’s not really anything “Austin” about them.

Eastside Cocktails (the late night scene side of town)

  • East Side Showroom
  • Justine’s (it’s a hike but worth it)

South Congress/South First Eats and Drinks

  • Perla’s Seafood (If you are going to the “Continental Club” for live music or staying at the San Jose and/or the St. Cecilia, you don’t even need to go downtown)
  • Vespaio (Italian) or its sister café next-door, Enoteca (more casual) See rationale above
  • Uchi (South Austin) or Uchiko, (North Austin) two of the finest Japanese restaurants in the country
  • The bar at St. Cecilia (itch – you must be with a hotel guest)
  • Lucy’s Fried Chicken – It’s amazing
  • Olivia – Amazing eclectic fare from the farm to the table
  • The Elizabeth Street Café  – Vietnamese
  • Lenoir  – French

Top Hotels

  • Hotel St. Cecilia (Amazing)
  • San Jose
  • Four Seasons
  • Kimber Modern
  • The W
  • Austin Motel (you are on a budget and want Austin funk)
  • Stephen F. Austin
  • Driskill

*If you are bringing in clients and a round of golf is in order, book rooms at the Barton Creek Resort & Spa and set up your tee times.

**As Austin is still 1400 or so hotel rooms short of capacity, AirBNB and HomeAway are very popular housing options during this busy time of year.

Music Clubs

  • Stubbs – Big shows ranging from Spoon to Gary Clark Jr. to Wilco to Patti Smith. Great gospel brunch on Sundays
  • The Mohawk – The “it” club for alternative
  • The Historic Victory Grill – Off the beaten path, but has a speakeasy back room that attracts great soul and jazz
  • The Elephant Room – So Austin- such great jazz.
  • The Continental Club – The granddaddy of local music venues. Go!
  • Saxon Pub – Great shows.

Check out the Austin Chronicle Music Listings – our free weekly for great recommendations. There are hundreds of live music shows each week. The editors’ picks are usually spot on as well. And, unlike other cities, there is usually NOT a door or capacity issue, until SXSW music begins. It’s still a good idea to call ahead and/or reserve a seat if you can.

Fitness Fixes

Austin is a wonderland for fitness enthusiasts, especially in March when the weather is usually at its best.

Parks

Visit Zilker Park if you have children or just want to hang out, wander around and/or go for a run. They have a large park and train that transports children around part of the famous Lady Bird Lake hiking trail. It’s very safe and just next door to Barton Springs. There are restaurants within walking distance. It’s a great hour or half-day adventure, hot or cold (it’s often hot). For $3 you can swim at Barton Springs, our natural swimming hole, year round.

Running

Run around Lady Bird Lake “Hike and Bike” trail which separates “North” Austin from “South” Austin and is central to most hotels. You can run 3-13 miles around the lake. It’s beautiful- you’ll see the city and there are multiple watering holes and restrooms along the way.

Hiking, Mountain Biking, Climbing

Hike our Greenbelt while you are here. There are 13 miles (or maybe even more) of creekside trails “underneath” the city and tons of hiking, biking and climbing spots throughout. If you don’t have equipment, REI (located near the flagship Whole Foods) rents it!

Hike or Bike Mt. Bonnell Road!

Road Biking

This is a bike city but not so easy to bike. It’s a little easier due to the installment of new bikeways. But, you need to know where to go to be safe. I would suggest you call…

Mellow Johnny’s And sign up for a morning ride with dozens. You’ll enjoy it.

Jack & Adam’s Bicycles Also has group rides and is owned by two of the nicest guys in town.

Daily Kayaking or Paddle Boating

The docks down at Ladybird Lake. There is also another private boat rental on the shore of the Hyatt Regency, which is very convenient and accessible.

Swimming

Austin has dozens of natural swimming holes and lap swimming pools that are available for many hours (some year round and heated). Certain pools are available to use for free. Others are accessible for $3.

Yoga

  • Black Swan Yoga
  • East Side Yoga
  • Wanderlust…also
  • Yoga Yoga

Retail Therapy

The Norm

  • Whole Foods
  • REI
  • Anthropologie …all located next to one another

The Best

  • Books: BookPeople
  • Music: Waterloo Records
  • Men’s Clothing: (Tie) Stag or Service Menswear (both on South Congress)
  • Women’s Clothing for the Serious Collector: Blackmail (South Congress: Ring and do not take photos without asking) and By George (The N. Lamar location – don’t be fooled)
  • Women’s Clothing for the Whimsical Shopper: (Think “I just need a cute dress for the day or this evening”) Maya Star (on South Congress)

Cowboy Boots: Allen’s Boots
Hair Salon: Pink
Make-Up: Rae Cosmetics

2014-03-26
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Blast’s SXSW 2014 Redux

Southwest (SXSW) 2014 was, yet again, a busy and exciting time for Blast clients and partners. In support, the team worked around the clock to ensure that everyone was where they needed to be at all times;making the most of the festival.

Lana-CMO Club-SXSW

In hindsight, we have many to thank, including SXSW itself as well as our partners at Altimeter Group, IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau) and The CMO Club.

SXSW-iab-Blast

Without the support of our partners, it would have been impossible to bring innovative leaders together from as far away as Cape Town, South Africa. Nor would it have been possible to attract over 9,000 registrants to the opening party at Austin City Limits Live or the array of journalists from Dow Jones, Fast Company, AdWeek, The New York Times, NBC and many more that met with our clients throughout the week.

Here are a few photos and memories from SXSW:
Astronauts-SXSW

Blast-AdCol-SXSW

iab sxsw

Blast-AdColony-SXSW

We hope more of you will join us next year!

Blast client AdColony teamed up with Vox Media, AT&T and Umbel to host the opening night party at Austin City Limits’ Live Moody Theatre. The guest list was maxed out at 3,800 guests, and rumor has it that twice as many tried to get in. The event showcased a live performance from Local Natives.

In the spirit of the well-known catch phrase, “Keep Austin Weird,” AdColony fit right in by releasing a troop of its own astronauts while leveraging SXSW as the platform for its new In-Feed launch. AdWeek took pre-event interest in AdColony’s mission, featuring the company in a great teaser article.

AdColony-Astronaut

Once the festival began, AdColony’s astronauts rocked out and made their way through the opening night party. The following day, they took to the streets of downtown Austin again, on a new mission to deliver pizza to inhabitants of Austin’s leading incubator, Capital Factory. During their voyage, astronauts offered those they met a chance to win a free mobile video ad campaign worth $10K! Recently, AdColony announced the winner: iM5.

AdColony-Astronaut-SXSW

After the start-up initiatives were ignited, Blast then worked closely with The CMO Club to welcome and host over 100 senior brand marketers and CMOs for 5 days. The CMO Club House stood out as a private CMO lounge, offering marketers content, presentations, events, parties and a chance to vote for their favorite startup. OneSpot CEO Steve Sachs was the lucky winner.

As always, SXSW was an amazing, memorable and exhausting experience.

Mission accomplished – Until next year!

2014-02-06
Permalink

Blast’s Annual SXSW Survival Guide!

The Best of SXSW for CMOs and Senior Marketing Executives
Badge Discounts, Invite-Only Event, Party Access and Free Uber Rides!

As always, cutting through the chaff of SXSW’s “official” and “unofficial” content sessions and never-ending parties while managing crowds and simply trying to get around, exercise or, goodness forbid have a little fun while exploring Austin, is always challenging.

This year, Blast coordinated with Altimeter Group, Capital Factory, Interactive Advertising Bureau, SXSW, The CMO Club and Uber to develop our Survival Guide recommendations. This strengthens the content and also allows us to offer qualified CMOs and senior marketing executives with:

SXSW Badge Discounts
The CMO Club House Access
Day 1 After-Party Access
VIP Uber Service
Capital Factory Office Space
SXSW Session and Event Recommendations
Invite-Only Party Access
Local Restaurant, Bar, Lifestyle, Transportation and Entertainment Listings

SXSW Badge Discounts and The CMO Club House Access
First things first, if you are a CMO or Senior Marketing Executive and plan to be at SXSW, please contact us right away if you are interested in a SXSW badge discount or registering to participate in any of The CMO Club House breakfasts, content, networking and/or happy hour events. A full matrix of events will soon be added to this guide. The CMO Club House is in a private location just blocks away from the Austin Convention center and in the heart of the festival. It’s the perfect place for CMOs and senior marketing executives to network and lounge while they travel to and from meetings and official SXSW content sessions and workshops. This year, Altimeter Group, Blast, Capital Factory, IBM, Kicking Cow, MediaMath, PlaceIQ and Oracle have all partnered with The CMO Club to ensure that the attendee experience is outstanding.

Day 1 After-Party Access and VIP Uber Service
Several Blast clients including AdColony and Umbel have also partnered with each other and Uber to help all SXSW Interactive attendees to unwind at a Day 1 after-party at Austin City Limits. Event co-sponsors include Warner Bros. and Vox Media. VIPs will be treated to free Uber car service to and from the venue c/o several underwriting sponsors. AdColony also has a few unique surprises that festival attendees will surely take note of as the wander the already wonderfully “weird” streets of Austin.

Capital Factory Office Space
Los Angeles headquartered AdColony is one of many companies that is “moving to Austin” from March 7-11, where they will temporarily office at Capital Factory, Austin’s well known technology incubator. CMOs will also get exposed to Capital Factory when 5-10 start-ups that CMOs choose to pitch to head over to The CMO Club House to give it their best shot! Winners will receive CMO Choice recognition!

SXSW SESSION AND EVENT RECOMMENDATIONS
This year’s Interactive portion of the Festival takes place over five days, beginning on Friday, March 7th and wrapping up on the11th. While everything may sound exciting upon first read, our suggestion is to mix it up by weaving in official and unofficial sessions and a little R&R with your peers and new friends.

Below are the content sessions and digital industry parties that are currently generating the most buzz. We’ve called out those we deem senior marketing executive worthy each day as well as those that Blast is helping produce, including Uber’s opening night party at Austin City Limits, The CMO Club House and the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s Networking Brunch.

Friday, March 7
The CMO Club House officially opens on Saturday, March 8th with a brunch where visiting CMOs will be provided with a personal lay of the land and tips to ensure their experience is amazing.

However, for those arriving early, The CMO Club partnered with Blast and Umbel to provide CMOs with VIP access to Umbel’s opening night party at Austin City Limits! During the event, CMOs will be able to enjoy the show in a private, catered area with bar service and more.

On Friday, we also recommend the following sessions, events and parties. Carve out the program that works best for you. Visit the SXSW Interactive calendar for precise venue and badge information.

11:00am, AT&T Conference Center
OMMA: Should Brands Be Part of the Real-Time Convo?
Since that famous “Oreo Moment” that turned a Super Bowl blackout into a dubious marketing trend…

Presenters: Bryan Jones, VP Marketing North America, Dell and Natanya Anderson
Director Social Media & Integrated Marketing, Whole Foods Market

3:30pm, AT&T Conference Center
Why Content + Scale = A Win for Game Advertising
Gaming is an advertising medium which is driven by engaging content and cross-platform solutions, and increasingly, brands are taking notice with higher advertising spend across console, social and mobile. During this informative and fun session, you will learn the latest statistics from newly released, updated Nielsen research including trends on who is playing, where they’re playing and when they’re playing. You will also see video case studies and insights into two IAB MIXX Award winning examples of advertising on games…

Presenters: David Berkowitz, CMO, MRY, Jack Koch, Director, Global Marketing Insights, Electronic Arts (EA), Michael Flamberg, VP/General Manager – Nielsen Games and Susan Borst, Director, Industry Initiatives for Social Media, Content Marketing, Native Advertising, Games & B2B, IAB

5:00pm, AT&T Conference Center
OMMA: The Best Mobile Ad Campaigns You Haven’t Seen
It is not just app ads and direct marketing come ons. Mobile has already generated some wildly creative uses of the small screen and mobile technology’s unique attributes. We ask senior mobile ad execs to show us campaigns for a rival agency they wish they had done…

Presenters: Rob Griffin, EVP, Global Director of Product Development, Havas Media and Webster Lewin, SVP, Director of Mobility, Starcom MediaVest Group

5:00pm, Driskill Hotel
Brands Can Champion the Power of Sport
Brands want to be loved. Sport enhances the lives of individuals, communities, countries and the entire world. From a brand perspective, the passion that consumers have for sport represents one of the most underutilized raw materials in marketing…

Presenter: Simon Wardle, Chief Strategy Officer, Octagon Inc.

7:00pm, Austin City Limits!
Umbel’s Opening Night Party
On Friday evening, Umbel will help SXSW Interactive attendees and CMOs celebrate their first successful day of the festival. The event is open to all SXSW badge holders. There is also a special VIP area for CMOS, supported by Umbel’s partnership with Blast and The CMO Club. For more information, please send us an email.

Other Friday Parties
8:00pm, Empire Control Room
Do512’s Epic Interactive SXSW Party

Saturday, March 8
The CMO Club House officially opens this morning with a brunch where visiting CMOs will be provided with a personal lay of the land and tips to ensure their experience is amazing.

From Saturday-Wednesday, The CMO Club has worked hard to ensure that CMOs that spend time at The CMO Club have access to a rich calendar of content, networking and entertainment. While CMOs could literally spend all day at The CMO Club house, we realize that SXSW also offers sessions and events of interest. On Saturday, our top picks are below. We will review all this with you when you attend the morning brunch. In fact, we’ll have copies of this for you to bring with you as you create your own SXSW experience!

9:30-10:30am, Hilton Downtown
How to Monetize the 2nd Screen Evolution
Watching TV with a 2nd screen has become a way of life for the avid media consumer. Find out how TV networks, brands and 3rd party apps are profiting from this evolving consumer experience. What impact does 2nd screen have across subscription-based businesses, advertising, virtual currency, sponsorships and e-commerce? Where are the players in this space seeing the ROI? Learn from second screen case studies…

Presenters: Gregory Consiglio, President and COO at Viggle and Jesse Redniss, Chief Strategy Officer, Mass Relevance

12:30pm, Austin Convention Center
Media & The Personal Brand – ESPN, Grantland & 538
ESPN launched Grantland based on the writings and vision of Bill Simmons. The company recently hired Nate Silver and acquired his site, FiveThirtyEight. As a company known for sports, Simmons and Silver will discuss their personal brands and how ESPN cultivates independent voices under its broader umbrella brand…

Presenters: Bill Simmons, Editor-in-Chief, Grantland and Nate Silver, Editor-in-Chief, fivethirtyeight.com

12:30pm, Wanderlust
Location Based Marketing: Beyond Advertising
Harness the power of mobile location without causing your customers to scream, “Don’t advertaze me bro!” Hear how leaders are using location data to move beyond the geofence…

Presenters: Asif Khan, Founder & President, The LBMA, James Keller, Mobile User Experience, WalmartLabs and Michael Richardson, Team Lead, Urban Airship

3:30pm, Holiday Inn Town Lake
Trustparency Study: How to Build Natural Brands
In an increasingly collaborative world, consumers are not only more powerful, but increasingly skeptical and demanding – continually questioning and rethinking their relationships with brands. In order to investigate such an emotional subject, DRAFTFCB has developed a neuroscience-based study to understand how to encourage a more real and open dialogue between brands and consumers. Find out more…

Presenters: Lia Bertoni, Strategic Planner, Giovanni+Draftfcb and Pedro Cruz, COO, Giovanni Draftfcb Brazil

4:00pm, CMO Happy Hour at The CMO Club House and More
Members of The CMO Club will receive full details about all programming to support their onsite experience.

Other Saturday Night Parties
6:00-8:00pm, Wanderlust
Urban Airship’s Best of Mobile Brands Party
Bringing together a full day of award-winning speakers from the worlds biggest brands to share their winning mobile strategies. Hosted by Urban Airship

8:00pm, The Hangar Lounge-318 Colorado St.
Deloitte SXSW Party
About: Create new party possibilities with Deloitte at the Hangar Lounge in downtown Austin. It’s a night of free drinks, bands and more. Space is extremely limited so RSVP now: #DeloitteSXSW

12:00-2:00am Intercontinental Stephen F. Austin Hotel-Stephen F’s Bar
SXSW Late Night Saloon
Wanting to unwind after hitting the nightly parties or spending the day in the theaters? Swing back by the InterContinental Bar to check in on the action.

SWSX

Sunday, March 9
The CMO Club House’s second full day of programming will begin with another brunch and end with an official Taste of Austin happy hour featuring entertainment from Austin musician Erin Ivey and more! Beyond our official programming, you may also be interested in:

9:00am-12:00pm, Brazos Hall Upstairs Deck
IAB’s Annual SXSW Networking Brunch
This is an invite-only event for IAB members and industry friends. Good people, good food and plenty of coffee! Pre-registration is required. If interested in attending, please email sxsw@iab.net.

9:30am, Hilton Austin Downtown
The Future of Marketing: Advocacy
Research from Forrester and Edelman’s trust barometer has shown that customers will trust peers or a company’s employees for advice on their next purchases far more than advertisements or direct marketing. Learn the strategies behind developing a successful employee & customer advocacy program and hear real world examples of how advocacy can play a vital role in your marketing plan…

Presenters: Jim Larrison, GM Corporate Development, Dynamic Signal

12:30pm, Radisson Town Lake
Sharknado & Twitter: The Perfect Social Storm
It was the social media event of the summer, at one point generating 5k tweets per minute, but how the hell did that happen? For the first time Syfy and Twitter come together to present how, through the power of Twitter, Sharknado went from campy film to cultural phenomenon…

Presenters: Dana Ortiz, Vice President of Brand Marketing, NBC Universal/Syfy and , Fred Graver, Head of TV, Twitter

4:00pm, The CMO Club House
Happy Hour + Altimeter Group One-on-One Interviews with Top Executives

5:00pm, The CMO Club House
Taste of Austin Happy Hour and Performance by Erin Ivey

Other Sunday Parties
7:00-10:00pm, Palm Door
SXSW Film + Interactive Fusion Party presented by the Associated Press

8:00-11:00pm, Buffalo Billiards
SXsports Overtime Party presented by Fox Sports

9:00-11:00pm, The Parish
SapientNitro Party

Monday, March 10
The CMO Club House’s third full day of programming will begin with another brunch and end with another happy hour. Each day, attendees will also enjoy the opportunity to listen to Altimeter expert interviews, participate in peer roundtables and participate in CMO Club TV interviews. Beyond our official programming, you may also be interested in:

12:30pm, Hyatt Regency
Wearables: The New Marketers’ Challenge
Wearable tech is a $3-$5 bil market, but in the next 2 years it may reach $30-$50 bil. All the leading players are racing to the finish line, but will wearables live up to expectations? With this new audience comes opportunities for marketers to engage and reach connected consumers. Join us as we debate how wearables will change lives or if this fad will quickly fade…

Presenters: David Rosales, Co Founder & CTO, MetaWatch, VP of Business Development, Distimo, Krishna Subramanian, Co-Founder, Mobclix and Soulaiman Itani, CEO & Founder, Atheer

5:00pm, Sheraton Austin
Using Consumer-Generated Content to Fuel Campaigns
Finding unique ways to leverage these consumer conversations into marketing strategies is essential, and integrating user-generated content is an important component of brand building…

Presenters: Justin Garrity, Senior Vice President of Product and Marketing for TigerLogic, and Kendra Bracken-Ferguson, Co-Founder & Chief Operating Officer, Digital Brand Architects

4:00pm, The CMO Club House
Happy Hour + Altimeter Group One-on-One Interviews with Top Executives

Other Monday Parties

12:00-2:00pm, Intercontinental Stephen F. Austin Hotel-Stephen F’s Bar
SXSW Late Night Saloon

12:00-6:00pm, Pelons & Tequila 508
LA TECH CONNECT @ SXSW INTERACTIVE

12:00pm-2:00am, The Bungalow
MediaCamp with Turner/Warner Bros.
Schedule
12:00 – 2:00 PM Women in Technology Luncheon
2:00 – 4:30 PM Media Camp Networking / Alumni Demos
5:00 – 7:00 PM Closed for Private Event
8:00 PM – 2:00 AM Party with Live Music

Tuesday, March 11
The CMO Club House’s fourth and final full day of programming begins with another brunch and ends with another happy hour. Each day, attendees will also enjoy the opportunity to listen to Altimeter expert interviews, participate in peer roundtables and participate in CMO Club TV interviews. Beyond our official programming, you may also be interested in:

9:30am, Omni Downtown
Ads, Passion & Party Crashing with Bob Thacker
“All advertising is party crashing, so if you’re going to crash the party, bring a bottle of wine.”
In an interview with Dan Khabie, cofounder and CEO of WPP agency Digitaria, Bob Thacker speaks on the industry, good ads, passion, people and reinvention…

Presenters: Bob Thacker, Executive Director of AdoptAClassroom.org and Dan Khabie, CEO, Digitaria Interactive

11:00am, Hilton Austin Downtown
Faster than Real-Time: Predictive Marketing
This panel brings together top marketers and digital strategists to discuss the next big revolution in marketing: predictive technology. Panelists will share their most effective tools and approaches to predictive marketing as well as case studies and examples from leading brands…

Presenters: Bill Ingram, VP of Adobe Analytics & Adobe Social, Nihal Mehta, CEO, LocalResponse
Nihal Mehta is a Founding General Partner at ENIAC Ventures, Nova Spivack, CEO, Bottlenose Inc. and Selcuk Atli, Co-founder & CEO, SocialWire

12:30pm, Hilton Austin Downtown
Getting to Why: Great Brands Create Great Experiences
Every technology company — large or small — is looking to create a lasting brand. The question is how? The key is understanding what makes you relevant, what delights your users and why they should come back. Then you’re not just creating a product, but an experience that can be replicated many times over…

Presenter: Kathy Savitt, CMO, Yahoo

4:00pm, The CMO Club House
Happy Hour + Altimeter Group One-on-One Interviews with Top Executives
Members of The CMO Club will receive full details about all programming to support their onsite experience.

Other Tuesday Parties

12:00-2:00am, Intercontinental Stephen F. Austin Hotel-Stephen F’s Bar
SXSW Late Night Saloon

LOCAL RESTAURANT, BAR, LIFESTYLE, TRANSPORTATION & ENTERTAINMENT LISTINGS

Eats and Drinks
Austin is well known for its Tex-Mex and Bar-B-Q. But, recently, we’ve experienced a culinary explosion. Here’s a list of favorites to choose from…

Mexican
Old-School – Polvos – Great Mexican with a true Austin vibe that can be best realized with a Mexican “Martini” or Margarita (South Austin)
New School – La Condesa – Fancy Mexican in the heart of the hip ‘Second Street’ district, which is also referred to as “Little Dallas.” Great open-air bar with a corresponding upstairs bar that is easy to book for events.>

Bar-B-Q
Old School – The Green Mesquite on Barton Springs, Stubbs on Red River or Iron Works (right next door to the convention center)
New School – Lambert’s – The best late-night bar-b-q with great bands upstairs (factoid – It’s in the old historic venue once occupied by the much beloved Liberty Lunch music venue)

Downtown by Type
(FYI – For Brunch – Trio, Lamberts and Moonshine are typically great options)
Bess
– eclectic bistro owned by Sandra Bullock
Second
– A fabulous restaurant and bar with great food and indoor, outdoor space on Congress Avenue at the bottom of the Austonion building. Directly next door is one of the best fine dining restaurants in the country, Congress, and in the middle a tiny, hip bar- Bar Congress.
Trio
-(near the convention center) – restaurant at the Four Seasons hotel (drinks in their lobby is much more fun)
Parkside
-(near the convention center)- eclectic, hip, fun
Malaga
– Spanish tapas (close to the W Hotel)
La Condesa
– upscale Mexican
Chez Nous – French
Lambert’s
– Upscale Bar-B-Q
Eddie Vs
– Seafood
The Roaring Fork at the Stephen F. Austin (Downtown) – Steak
Maiko
– Japanese
Moonshine (near the convention center)
– Eclectic, higher-end comfort food served within one of the oldest and most historic buildings in Austin. Very close to the convention center with outdoor/indoor seating.

The restaurants at the Driskill hotel, The W, The Four Seasons (above) and Stephen F. Austin are great too…

Downtown Cocktails
Bar Congress & Second (Congress Street- the small bar adjoining the Congress Restaurant and 2nd – its other restaurant)
La Condesa
Midnight Cowboy (requires reservation)
The Lounge at the Four Seasons (near the convention center) aka “Austin’s Living Room”
The five or so bars in the new W Hotel. Lots of people go right now but they are much like the W bars in any other city. There’s not really anything “Austin” about them.

Eastside Cocktails (the late night scene side of town)
East Side Show Room
Justine’s (it’s a hike but worth it)

South Congress/South First Eats and Drinks
Perla’s Seafood (If you are going to the “Continental Club” for live music or staying at the San Jose and/or the St. Cecilia, you don’t even need to go downtown)
Vespaio (Italian) or its sister café next-door, Enoteca (more casual) See rationale above
Uchi (South Austin) or Uchiko, (North Austin) two of the finest Japanese restaurants in the country
The bar at St. Cecilia (itch – you must be with a hotel guest)
Lucy’s Fried Chicken (new) – It’s amazing
Olivia – Amazing eclectic fare from the farm to the table
The Elizabeth Street Café (new) – Vietnamese
Lenoir (new) – French

Top Hotels
Hotel St. Cecilia (Amazing)
San Jose
Four Seasons
Kimber Modern
The W

Austin Motel (you are on a budget and want Austin funk)
Stephen F. Austin
Driskill
*If you are bringing in clients and a round of golf is in order, book rooms at the Barton Creek Resort & Spa and set up your tee times.

**As Austin is still 1400 or so hotel rooms short of capacity, AirBNB and HomeAway are very popular housing options during this busy time of year.

Music Clubs
Stubbs – Big shows ranging from Spoon to Gary Clark Jr. to Wilco to Patti Smith. Great gospel brunch on Sundays
The Mohawk – The “it” club for alternative
The Historic Victory Grill – Off the beaten path, but has a speakeasy back room that attracts great soul and jazz
The Elephant Room – So Austin- such great jazz.
The Continental Club – The granddaddy of local music venues. Go!
Saxon Pub – Great shows.
Check out the Austin Chronicle Music Listings – our free weekly for great recommendations. There are hundreds of live music shows each week. The editors’ picks are usually spot on as well. And, unlike other cities, there is usually NOT a door or capacity issue, until SXSW music begins. It’s still a good idea to call ahead and/or reserve a seat if you can.

Fitness Fixes
Austin is a wonderland for fitness enthusiasts, especially in March when the weather is usually at its best.

Outdoors + Yoga
Parks
Visit Zilker Park if you have children or just want to hang out, wander around and/or go for a run. They have a large park and train that transports children around part of the famous Lady Bird Lake hiking trail. It’s very safe and just next door to Barton Springs. There are restaurants within walking distance. It’s a great hour or half-day adventure, hot or cold (it’s often hot). For $3 you can swim at Barton Springs, our natural swimming hole, year round.

Running
Run around Lady Bird Lake “Hike and Bike” trail which separates “North” Austin from “South” Austin and is central to most hotels. You can run 3-13 miles around the lake. It’s beautiful- you’ll see the city and there are multiple watering holes and restrooms along the way.

Hiking, Mountain Biking, Climbing
Hike our Greenbelt while you are here. There are 13 miles (or maybe even more) of creek side trails “underneath” the city and tons of hiking, biking and climbing spots throughout. If you don’t have equipment, REI (located near the flagship Whole Foods) rents it!

Hike or Bike Mt. Bonnell Road!

Road Biking
This is a bike city but not so easy to bike. It’s a little easier due to the installment of new bikeways. But, you need to know where to go to be safe. I would suggest you call…
Mellow Johnny’s
And sign up for a morning ride with dozens. You’ll enjoy it.

Jack & Adam’s Bicycles
Also has group rides and is owned by two of the nicest guys in town.

Daily Kayaking or Paddle Boating
The docks down at Ladybird Lake. There is also another private boat rental on the shore of the Hyatt Regency, which is very convenient and accessible.

Swimming
Austin has dozens of natural swimming holes and lap swimming pools that are available for many hours (some year round and heated). Certain pools are available to use for free. Others are accessible for $3.

Yoga
Black Swan Yoga
East Side Yoga
…also,
Yoga Yoga
is everywhere…

Other
The Town Lake YMCA
Also has a pool, hundreds of classes and day passes. It may also be reciprocal. It’s equivalent to high-price clubs in many other cities (It may still be under renovation during SXSW)

Retail Therapy
The Norm
Whole Foods
REI
Anthropologie …all located next to one another
The Best
Books: BookPeople
Music: Waterloo Records
Men’s Clothing: (Tie) Stag or Service Menswear (both on South Congress)
Women’s Clothing for the Serious Collector: Blackmail (South Congress: Ring and do not take photos without asking) and By George (The N. Lamar location – don’t be fooled)
Women’s Clothing for the Whimsical Shopper: (Think “I just need a cute dress for the day or this evening”) Maya Star (on South Congress)
Cowboy Boots: Allen’s Boots
Hair Salon: Ron King Salon
Make-Up: Rae Cosmetics

Arts & Culture
Visit Culture Map Austin for the most expansive and current arts and entertainment listings or pick up our free weekly, The Austin Chronicle.
Enjoy! And remember- it’s Austin. Don’t forget to pack an empty water bottle, dancing boots and a healthy sense of humor. This list was carefully crafted by members of Blast’s Austin office and we promise you, most of the “We Know It’s Great But Don’t Move Here” shirts are being worn by tourists, not those of us who actually call this city our home.

About Blast
Blast is a full-service public relations firm committed to driving measurable results for our clients. With a smart, passionate team and offices in all major North American markets, we’ve got you covered.
Contact Us!

2013-04-05
Permalink

SXSW – You Know It’s a Blast! – Day Two

Day two at SXSW dawned early as we all jumped ahead into daylight savings time.

At 9am on Sunday, Blast PR joined the IAB and SmartBrief as a co-sponsor and co-host of the IAB’s first-ever SXSW Interactive member brunch. On the rooftop of the Parkside restaurant, the mimosas and migas (an amazing Mexican scrambled egg and corn tortilla dish) helped us all battle the loss of that extra hour of sleep. The brunch featureda live performance by renowned singer and songwriter, Darden Smith.

All told, the event attracted nearly 200 members and friends of the IAB including executives from a wide array of publishers, agencies, brands and technology companies. At one point, Wells Fargo SVP of Digital Channels Alan Gellman and The CMO Club founder Pete Krainik stole two microphones and jumped up on stage to belt out a tune with Darden!

Pete Krainik, CMO Club

Pete Krainik of The CMO Club belts out a tune with Wells Fargo SVP Alan Gellman.

Visit us on Facebook to check out the party photos and make sure to join us next year!

Finally, on Monday, several of digital’s finest “oldtimers” including Traction’s Adam Kleinberg, Altimeter Group’s Rebecca Lieb, eMarketer’s Crystal Gurin, Tagged’s Steve Sarner and Mack Capital’s Ralph Mack, “crashed” (by invitation) Austin’s official Pecha Kucha event at Pentagram Design. Inside the snug parking lot tent, they found 350 of Austin’s creative class standing ready to tune into their 16th event. The evening’s Pecha Kucha featured 20×20 presentations from Patches King (classical pianist), Graham Reynolds (composer and producer), Jan Heaton (water color painter), Lance Keltner (guitarist), Noel Waggener (poster artist), Ron Pippin (motion and animation designer), Richard Bagdonas (serial entrepreneur), Jon Dee Graham (song writer and musician) and Matt Sturtevant (photographer).

Reflecting on all the amazing people and events at this year’s SXSW, we saw a wonderfully diverse set of companies coming together in the spirit of learning, laughing and networking.

Blast, IAB, SmartBrief teams at SxSW

The Blast principals, joined by teams from the IAB and SmartBrief

The dust has hardly settled on this Texas town, and we are already looking forward to next year.

Special thanks to the IAB, SmartBrief, 360i, ABC, Ad Age, Ad Week, Adaptly, AddThis, Alloy Digital, Altimeter Group, AMD, Anchor Media, Baby Center, Bloomberg Capital, cmp.ly, Conde Nast, Cox, Crispin Porter, DataXu, Decoded, eConsultancy, Elizabeth Arden, eMarketer, Food Network, Forbes, GAP, General Mills, Google, HBR, HGTV, Hill Holliday, HyperTV, Janrain, JumpTap, Klout, Kontagent, LiveIntent, Mack Capital, Mashable, MediaLink, Media6Degrees, Mecury, Mesa Global, Metamarkets, Morpheus, Motrixi, Nestivity, Nielsen, Ninchat, Old Navy, OneSpot, PointRoll, Pubmatic, PWC, Razorfish, Real Transaction Partners, RGA, RGM, Salesforce.com, Sharethrough, Simplifi, Syncapse, Tagged, Technorati, The CMO Club, The Motley Fool, Thomvest, Time Warner, Tunezy, Univision, Weather.com, Wells Fargo, WOMMA and YuMe.

Cheers!

See our SXSW Survival Guide
See our pre-show coverage
See our Day One coverage

Permalink

SXSW – You Know It’s a Blast! Client and Agency Events in the Rear View Mirror

Well, yet another SXSW has now come and gone. For all the oooh-ing and a-hhhing and fanning and panning, a few things are indisputable: Once again, SXSW Interactive outsold its older siblings music and film. Once again, odd brand stunts stole the show, perhaps this year’s most notable being Mashable’s Grumpy Cat. And, as David Berkowitz at 360i sagely put it, if there was one winner on the app side, it was Eventbrite, collecting and sharing all the event and party registrations.

Mashable Grump Cat SxSW

The Blast PR team was also very busy. We have dedicated two blog posts to the events that really made a splash.

Prior to the kick-off, we were already in full pre-event preparation mode, which included the development of Huff Post and was shared well across social channels.)

See our Day One Coverage!

2013-03-05
Permalink

Lana’s SXSW Survival Guide

Content+Parties+Eats+Drinks+
Exercise+Fitness+Shopping+Arts+Culture

Cutting through the chaff of SXSW’s “official” and “unofficial” content sessions, the never-ending parties, managing crowds and simply trying to get around, exercise, or, goodness forbid have a little fun while exploring Austin is challenging.

Below is my updated annual list to help you do just that. Enjoy, and remember- it’s Austin. Don’t forget to pack an empty water bottle, dancing boots and a healthy sense of humor. I promise you, most of the “We Know It’s Great but Don’t Move Here” shirts are being worn by tourists.

Last but not least, if you are interested in attending the CMO Club, the Interactive Advertising Bureau, Adometry and Media6Degrees and Pecha Kucha events below, make sure to shoot me an email and I’ll get you more details.

Simply Getting Around

If you’re not within a mile of the convention center during your visit, you’ll need a vehicle. A rental car will work if you can get one, but the area near the convention center will be jam packed with traffic, and many roads will be blocked off. There aren’t a lot of great parking lots either, so if your hotel offers a shuttle, bike taxi or other transport, take advantage.

If you are lucky enough to be considered for Tagged’s annual “Limo” program, you can get a wristband and go in style. I also heard from an official source that UK based company eConsultancy will have a double-decker bus in service to court its crowd from place to place. Finally, as Matt Cohen (CEO of OneSpot) reminded me, there are conveniently located parking spots for Austin’s Zip Car and Car2Go programs. If you sign up in advance, they may be the most efficient way to get around. Visitors who are within a mile of the C-Center can hoof it and save the hassle, realizing boots or walking shoes versus heels will really come in handy.

CONTENT, NETWORKING EVENTS & PARTIES

This year’s Interactive is five days, beginning on March 8th (lightly attended) and wrapping up on the 12th.  While everything may sound exciting upon first read, my suggestion is to mix it up by weaving in official sessions, unofficials, and a little R&R with your peers and new friends.

Below are the content sessions and digital industry parties that are currently generating the most buzz. I’ve asterisked the ones in red that the agency or I have an affiliation with and may be be able to help you get access to.  Feel free to email me if you find these events appealing and I’ll do my best to help out.

Friday, March 8th

3:30-4:30PM Games: Anyone. Anywhere. Anytime.

Palmer Events Center, Room 4-5
Raise your hand if you agree with either of these statements:

  • Gamers are primarily by young or teen boys.
  • Games are usually played alone in the home on game consoles.
  • You may be surprised at how many people would have their hand raised…especially brand marketers and agencies who make decisions about promoting /advertising on games as part of their digital marketing mix. The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) Games Committee is here to dispel the myths about gamers based on current research that shows how games truly are played by anyone, anywhere, anytime.

    Join us and meet today’s game players.

    Presenters: Bill Hopkins, VP/GM-Nielsen GamesThe Nielsen Company, David Berkowitz, VP, Emerging Media, 360i, Susan Borst, Director, Industry Initiatives for Social Media, Content Marketing, Games & B2B, IAB

    5:00 – 9:00 PM UNofficial Mobile Meetup

    Sponsored by RadioShack, SubtleData, Health 2.0 and Wireless Industry Partnership

    Gingerman, 301 Lavaca St.

    Are you a mobile nut, mobile blogger,mobile developer, mobile entrepreneur?  Come commensurate with your fellow mobile nuts over a few beers (or ciders or whatever).

    We’ll be getting together at 5:00pm on March 8, the opening day of SXSW Interactive. We’ll be on the back patio.

    We don’t care if you carry an iPhone, Nokia, BlackBerry, Windows Phone or Android – come hang out and let’s talk mobile and get to know each other.

    We’ll gather at the Ginger Man Pub – a short 5 minute walk from the Convention Center.  They have like 50+ taps of some amazing beers and a large selection of cider as well.

     

    8:00PM – 9:00PM

    Descendants of Erdrick with a special announcement from Richard Garriott

    Palmer Events Center, Exhibit Hall 1, 900 Barton Springs Rd.

    Richard Garriott founded gaming company, Origin, and also went to space! This is totally weird and a great way to kick-off SXSW

    SXSW GEEK Stage – Descendants of Erdrick is a rock band dedicated to re-imagining the soundtracks of classic video games, specializing in covers of the “epic” role-playing/adventure genre of games. The band’s repertoire covers games ranging from The Legend of Zelda and Mega Man, to Dragon Warrior and Final Fantasy. Each instrumental “medley” of songs is aimed at engaging the listener and telling a story, often using sound effects and visuals alongside the music to establish a mood.

    Saturday, March 9th

    9:30AM-10:30AM, Sources in the Social Media Age

    Presented by Edmund Lee (Bloomberg News), Greg Galant (Shorty Awards & Muck Rack), Joe Ciarallo (Salesforce.com) and Peter Kafka (All Things Digital)

    Austin Convention Center, Room 12AB, 500 E Cesar Chavez St.

    As social media destroys previous conceptions (or perceptions?) of reporters, their sources and the “audience,” journalism is being re-defined by the minute. It’s also letting people on all sides of the equation get away with things they couldn’t have before. For example, sources can demand to review the quotes from their interview with the reporter, and the reporter is more willing to do so than ever, knowing that the source could just as easily take to Facebook or Twitter with the information. Sponsored by the Knight Foundation.

    11:00AM – 2:00PM Is Intuitive Marketing Dead? Featuring Nate Silver*

    Invite Only – Sponsored by Adometry, Media6Degrees, Neustar and ThinkVine

    Bungalow, Brew Spirits and Good Vibes, 92 Rainey St.

    11:00am-2:00pm: Brunch Served – Fine Interior Mexican Cuisine, Bloody Mary Tastings with Locally Distilled Austin Spirits

    12:00pm-1:00pm: Open Dialogue with Nate Silver, “Is Intuitive Marketing Dead?” Moderated by Steve Basile

    1:00pm-1:30pm: Book Signing, “The Signal and the Noise”

    1:30pm-2:00pm: MingleOpen dialogue with Nate Silver

    Nate will provide a few opening remarks and then we will have a question and answer period moderated by Steve Basile. Austin is a cultural and foodie mecca

    We will be featuring classic regional Mexican cuisine – not your usual Tex-Mex! Austin Vodkas? You bet. Sample Tito’s, Savy, and Deep Eddy Sweet Tea Vodkas. “The Signal and the Noise” book signing

    Nate Silver’s book is available for the first 100 guests and he will sign copies.

    11:00AM-12:00PM Brand Fans, the New Brand Marketers

    Presented by Jen Saenz (FritoLay), Kevin Knight (Facebook) and Shiv Singh (PepsiCo)

    Omni Downtown, Capital Ballroom, 700 San Jacinto St.

    Before Time’s Person of the Year was “You” – a corporate powerhouse was already putting “You” in control. Since 2006, PepsiCo has been at the forefront of crowdsourcing – letting fans produce the Doritos brand’s Super Bowl ads and create the next flavor of Mountain Dew, or, more recently, empowering consumers to help the Pepsi brand introduce the Super Bowl Halftime Show and inspiring fans to create the next Lay’s potato chips flavors. PepsiCo has proved that this DIY approach resonates with fans – and no one defines your brands like your fans. This panel, featuring Frito-Lay senior director of brand marketing Jen Saenz, PepsiCo Beverages global head of digital Shiv Singh and Facebook creative strategist Kevin Knight, is moderated by Mashable business editor Todd Wasserman and provides an opportunity to learn how to tap and inspire the “creative genius” among your DIY-inclined fans, how to control the risk of “letting go” and take fan engagement to the next level. Sponsored by PepsiCo.

    2:00PM-3:00PM, 2013 SXSW Newbies Meet Up (Requires Badge)

    Driskill Hotel, Driskill Ballroom, 604 Brazos St.

    If you are new to SXSW, aren’t in town with vets, and/or simply want to get a lay of the land and meet new people, this is the event to attend.

    3:30PM-4:30PM Al Gore on The Future

    Austin Convention Center, Exhibit Hall 5, 500 E. Cesar Chavez St.

    From the former vice president and #1 New York Times bestselling author comes An Inconvenient Truth for everything—a frank and clear-eyed assessment of the emerging forces that are reshaping our world and will continue to do so in the decades to come.

     

    5:30PM-11:00PM CMO Club Dinner, Reception and Surprise Musical Performance* CMOs and select members of the media only

    The Rattle Inn*, 610 Nueces St, Austin

    CMOs from around the country are in Austin for SXSW. If you are a member of the press or the CMO for a brand that would like to attend this event, please contact me by email.

    Sunday, March 10th

    9:00AM-1:00PM, Interactive Advertising Brunch*

    Sponsored by SmartBrief & TBD

    Featuring Live Music by Darden Smith

    Parkside Rooftop, 301 E. 6th St.

     

    This event is open to IAB members and guests. It’s a great way to catch up with industry peers and media partners. Brunch and mimosas on the house!  If you are a member of the press or the CMO for a brand that would like to attend this event, please contact me by email.

     

    11:00AM-12:00PM, Airbnb’s Brian Chesky Talks with Fortune’s Jessi Hempel

    Hilton Austin Downtown, Salon ABC, 500 E 4th St.

    A spirited conversation with Airbnb’s cofounder and CEO Brian Chesky in which we delve into the process of designing and building a platform for sharing homes, explore the company’s new push into the travel guide area with its Lonely Planet competitor, and talk about the challenges of scaling a truly disruptive business model.

     

    11:00AM-12:00PM, Consumer Data: Can I Get Satisfaction?

    Presented by Rick Orr

    Four Seasons, Four Seasons Ballroom, 98 San Jacinto Blvd.

    Since the dawn of spam and server hacks, there has been trepidation on the part of the consumer in sharing their personal data with the companies they interact with, for good reason. But, there is a way for consumers to leverage their data to his or her advantage. Many companies today are mining the data they capture about their customers, such as spending habits and purchase preferences – and chances are, whether they realize it or not, they are benefiting from it. Recent articles site that Fiat uses their customer data to find out how to target new customers and provide better service to the ones it already has. Wal-Mart uses purchasing habit data to deliver the right item to the right customer. American Express suggests products to its customers based on analysis of the customer’s monthly expenditures, and often provides deals on those items. This session will discuss how the consumer should re-evaluate the companies they interact with and how their data can benefit them.

    1:30PM-2:30PM Blast PR’s Client and Partner Happy Hour*

    Parkside Downstairs 301 E. 6th St.

     

    This happy hour event will bring together members of the Digital Oldtimers, Women in Media Mentoring, the Interactive Advertising Bureau and CMO Club on the agency.

    5:00PM-6:00PM Affinity, Intent & The War for Marketing Dollars

    Presented by Forrester Research analyst Nate Elliott

    The Four Seasons, San Jacinto Ballroom, 98 San Jacinto Blvd.

    Every day people conduct billions of searches on Google, and in the process they create what John Battelle famously called a ‘database of intentions:’ A massive record of the world’s desires that helps the company generate tens of billions of dollars in advertising revenue. But Facebook, perhaps the only other company that has collected as much data as Google, has had nowhere near the same luck turning its data into dollars. Why? Because unlike Google’s ‘database of intentions,’ Facebook has unwittingly built a ‘database of affinity:’ A massive record of what people like rather than what they intend to do.

    The database of affinity is potentially as valuable as the database of intentions — but neither Facebook nor marketers have managed to unlock or measure that value. The question is: Who can find the hidden value in this database of affinity, and how will this change marketing?

    Monday, March 11th

    11:00AM-12:00PM, The Mashable Variety Show

    Presented by Pete Cashmore, CEO and Founder, Mashable

    Long Center, Dell Hall, 701 W. Riverside Dr.

    The Internet has grown exponentially throughout the years. It has gone from a place that no one understood to a world that no one can take their eyes off of. The Internet has evolved from a place to get your news, pay your bills, go shopping or catch up with old friends to the greatest community that anyone has ever been a part of.

    Pete Cashmore, Founder and CEO of Mashable, will explore this revolution and what it means. He will explore how the world has grown and changed due to the constant re-invention of the Internet, covering how marketing strategies have evolved, how news delivery has moved from your doorstep to your newsfeed, and how the Internet itself has allowed the world to reconnect through images, stories and sometimes, cats! Have your cameras ready for surprises and special guests!

     

    3:30PM-4:30PM A Conversation with Steve Case

    Steve Case (Revolution) and Lance Ulanoff (Mashable)

    Austin Convention Center, Exhibit Hall 5, 500 E Cesar Chavez St.

    To keep America’s economic and innovation engine running, we must tap into the “secret sauce” that made the United States what it is today… our entrepreneurs. Reflecting on his experience building AOL into an online powerhouse, to (today) investing in disruptive, consumer-facing companies like Zipcar, LivingSocial and Exclusive Resorts among others, Steve Case will share his thoughts on what actions we must take to make sure America remains the world’s most entrepreneurial nation.

    In a conversation with Mashable editor Lance Ulanoff, Steve will explore the possibilities for a “Rise of the Rest” in US entrepreneurship, where new hotbeds of entrepreneurial activity will grow outside of Silicon Valley in cities like Washington D.C., Denver, Chicago, Atlanta, Raleigh, Cleveland, Detroit and many others.

    Steve will also share his thoughts on disruption – why it’s essential to innovation, and what industries are ripe to be disrupted by new tools and technologies.

     

    7:00PM – 10:30PM, Pecha Kucha Austin #16*

    Pentagram Design, 1508 W. 5th St.

    Open to the public, this event will feature official Pecha Kucha 20 image x 20 second per image “chit-chat” presentations by many of Austin’s finest. #16 will be the first Pecha Kucha Austin held outdoors.  Presenters include artist Jan Heaton, music producer Noel Waggener, digital data visionary Richard Bagdonas, creative director Ron Pippin, photographer Mat Sturtevant and musicians Patches King, Graham Reynolds, Lance Keltner, Charlie Faye and Jon Dee Graham. For more information, email me or join the “Pecha Kucha Austin” group on Facebook and RSVP for the event.

    Tuesday, March 12

    11:00AM-12:00PM, Jane Pratt: Secrets of a Publishing Renegade

    Austin Convention Center, Exhibit Hall 5, 500 E Cesar Chavez St.

    Jane Pratt, founder of Jane and Sassy magazines, reveals what went on behind the scenes as she burnt bridges, said things she shouldn’t say out loud, and built a platform for women to express themselves honestly. Now, with xoJane.com, her first online publication, Jane is once again revolutionizing the way media talks to women.

    At SXSW Interactive, Jane will reveal (and later deny) truths about why the current print model doesn’t work, the myths traditional media has been feeding you, and the outrageous anecdotes from 25 years in media she only shares with her closest friends.

    Standing at the helm of a group of digital properties, Jane proves you can make a success out of doing whatever you want as long as you stay committed to your vision … and are willing to go up against everyone from Si Newhouse to the Moral Majority.

    3:30PM -4:30PM Change the Ratio: Conversations with Rachel Sklar

    Austin Convention Center, Ballroom D, 500 E Cesar Chavez St.

    Writer and disrupter Rachel Sklar talks to assorted high-profile tech leaders about the interplay between diversity, meritocracy, privilege and innovation, and how the tech industry is transforming as it goes mainstream (and why that’s a good thing). Lots of special guests and Vine-able moments! (Is that a word yet? It is now.)

    EATS & DRINKS

    Austin is well known for its Tex-Mex and Bar-B-Q. But, recently, we’ve experienced a culinary explosion.  Here’s a list to favorites to choose from…

    MEXICAN

    Old-SchoolPolvos – Great Mexican with a true Austin vibe that can be best realized with a Mexican “Martini” or margarita. (South Austin)

    New SchoolLa Condesa – Fancy Mexican in the heart of the hip ‘Second Street’ district, which is also referred to as “Little Dallas”. Great open-air bar with a corresponding upstairs bar that is easy to book for events.

    BAR-B-Q

    Old School – Bar-B-Q – The Green Mesquite on Barton Springs, Stubbs on Red River or Iron Works (right next door to the convention center)

    New SchoolLamberts – The best late-night bar-b-q with great bands upstairs (factoid – It’s in the old historic venue once occupied by the much beloved Liberty Lunch music venue)

    DOWNTOWN BY TYPE

    (FYI – For Brunch – Trio, Lamberts and Moonshine are typically great options)

  • Bess – eclectic bistro owned by Sandra Bullock
  • Second – A fabulous restaurant and bar with great food and indoor, outdoor space on Congress Avenue at the bottom of the Austonion building. Directly next door is one of the best fine dining restaurants in the country, Congress, and in the middle a tiny, hip bar- Bar Congress.
  • Trio (near the convention center) – restaurant at the Four Seasons hotel (drinks in their lobby is much more fun)
  • Parkside (near the convention center)– eclectic, hip, fun
  • Malaga – Spanish tapas
  • Haddington’s – Hip, British
  • La Condesa – upscale Mexican
  • Lamberts – Upscale Bar-B-Q
  • Eddie Vs – Seafood
  • The Roaring Fork at the Stephen F. Austin (Downtown)- Steak
  • Maiko – Japanese
  • Moonshine(near the convention center) – Eclectic, higher-end comfort food served within one of the oldest and most historic buildings in Austin. Very close to the convention center with outdoor/indoor seating.
  • The restaurants at the Driskill hotel and Stephen F. Austin are great too…
  •  

    DOWNTOWN COCKTAILS

  • Bar Congress & Second (Congress Street- the small bar adjoining the Congress Restaurant and 2nd – its other restaurant)
  • The bar at La Condesa
  • Malverde – The club/bar above La Condesa
  • Annie’s on Congress
  • The Lounge at the Four Seasons (near the convention center) aka “Austin’s Living Room”
  • The five or so bars in the new W Hotel. Lots of people go right now but they are much like the W bars in any other city. There’s not really anything “Austin” about them.
  •  

    EASTSIDE COCKTAILS (the late night scene side of town)

  • East Side Show Room
  • Justine’s (it’s a hike but worth it)
  •  

    SOUTH CONGRESS/SOUTH FIRST EATS & DRINKS

  • Perla’s Seafood (If you are going to the “Continental Club” for live music or staying at the San Jose and/or the St. Cecilia, you don’t even need to go downtown.)
  • Vespaio (Italian) or its sister café next-door, Enoteca (more casual) See rationale above.
  • Uchi (South Austin) or Uchiko, (North Austin) two of the finest Japanese restaurants in the country
  • The bar at St. Cecilia (itch – you must be with a hotel guest)
  • Lucy’s Fried Chicken (new) – It’s amazing.
  • Olivia – Amazing eclectic fare from the farm to the table
  • The Elizabeth Street Café (new)  – Vietnamese
  • Lenoir – (new) French
  •  

    THE BEST HOTELS

  • Hotel St. Cecilia (Amazing)
  • San Jose
  • Four Seasons
  • Kimber Modern
  • The W
  • Austin Motel  (you are on a budget and want Austin funk)
  • Stephen F. Austin
  • Driskill
  • *If you are bringing in clients and a round of golf is in order, book rooms at the Barton Creek Resort & Spa and set up your tee times.
  • MUSIC CLUBS

  • StubbsBig shows ranging from Spoon to Wilco to Patti Smith. Great gospel brunch on Sundays
  • The Mohawk The “it” club for alternative
  • The Historic Victory Grill Off the beaten path, but has a speakeasy back room that attracts great soul and jazz
  • The Elephant Room So Austin- such great jazz.
  • The Continental Club The granddaddy of local music venues. Go!
  • Saxon Pub Great shows.

  • Emos The name describes the music!
  • Check out the Austin Chronicle Music Listings our free weekly for great recommendations. There are hundreds of live music shows each week.  The editors’ picks are usually spot on as well. And, unlike other cities, there is usually NOT a door or capacity issue, until SXSW music begins.  It’s still a good idea to call ahead and/or reserve a seat if you can.
  • FITNESS FIXES

    Austin is a wonderland for fitness enthusiasts, especially in March when the weather is usually at its best.

    Outdoors + Yoga                                                                     

    Parks

  • Visit Zilker Park if you have children or just want to hang out, wander around and/or go for a run. They have a large park and train that transports children around part of the famous Lady Bird Lake hiking trail. It’s very safe and just next door to Barton Springs.  There are restaurants within walking distance. It’s a great hour or half-day adventure, hot or cold (It’s often hot). For $3 you can swim at Barton Springs, our natural swimming hole, year round.
  • Running

  • Run around Lady Bird Lake “Hike and Bike” trail which separates “North” Austin from  “South” Austin  and is central to most hotels. You can run 3-13 miles around the lake. It’s beautiful- you’ll see the city and there are multiple watering holes and restrooms along the way.
  • Hiking, Mountain Biking, Climbing

  • Hike our Greenbelt while you are here.  There are 13 miles (or maybe even more) of creek side trails “underneath” the city and tons of hiking, biking, climbing spots throughout.  If you don’t have equipment, REI (located near the flagship Whole Foods) rents it!
  • Hike or Bike Mt. Bonnell Road!
  • Road Biking

  • This is a bike city but not so easy to bike. It’s a little easier due to the installment of new bikeways. But, you need to know where to go to be safe. I would suggest you call Mellow Johnny’s and sign up for a morning ride with dozens. You’ll enjoy it. Jack & Adam’s Bicycles also has group rides and is owned by two of the nicest guys in town.
  • Daily kayaking or paddle boating

  • The docks down at Ladybird Lake . There is also another private boat rental on the shore of the Hyatt Regency, which is very convenient and accessible.
  • Swimming

  • Austin has dozens of natural swimming holes and lap swimming pools that are available for many hours (some year round and heated). Certain pools are available to use for free. Others are accessible for $3.
  • Yoga

  • Black Swan Yoga
  • East Side Yoga
  • Also, Yoga Yoga is everywhere…
  • Other

  • The Town Lake YMCA also has a pool,  hundreds of classes and day passes. It may also be reciprocal.  It’s equivalent to high-price clubs in many other cities.
  • SHOPPING

    The Norm

  • Whole Foods
  • REI
  • Anthropologie
  • …all located next to one another

    The Best

  • Books: BookPeople
  • Music: Waterloo Records
  • Men’s Clothing: (Tie) Stag or Service Menswear (both on South Congress)
  • Women’s Clothing for the Serious Collector: Blackmail (South Congress: Ring and do not take photos without asking) and By George (The N. Lamar location – don’t be fooled)
  • Women’s Clothing for the Whimsical Shopper:  (Think “I just need a cute dress for the day or this evening” Stella Blue or Maya Star (both on South Congress)
  • Cowboy Boots: Allen’s Boots
  • Hair Salon: Ron King Salon and Wet Salon
  • Make-Up: Rae Cosmetics
  • ARTS & CULTURE

  • Visit Culture Map Austin for the most expansive and current arts and entertainment listings.