The last time I hit SXSW, I was following Hanson from showcase to showcase. I also stopped to hold a kangaroo in the street.

This year looks a little different. While I’m swapping joeys for my own kids, the return of SXSW feels bigger and better than ever. If you’re wondering if you could still experience the festival with your littles in tow…the answer is HECK YES!

Here is  your Austin Moms guide to freebies and fun during SXSW 2022

Disney+ Presents- March 12: Free to the public, Disney+ is holding an outdoor screening event at the Long Center. No SXSW badges required! Starting at 11:30am, catch Disney’s Jungle Cruise, Cruella, and Marvel Studios’ Shang-Chi and The Legend of Ten Rings. Pack lots of snacks and water, a cozy blanket or chairs and enjoy hours of fun, giveaways, photo ops, and more fun surprises throughout the day!

SXSW Wellness expo- March 12 & 13: Two days of healthy living for the whole family at the Palmer Events Center. Think wellness discussions, panels and a free fitness stage to get everyone moving (shake the sillies out)!

Outdoor Stage at Lady Bird Lake-March 17-19: This has been THE biggest stage to check out free shows for over 25 years of SXSW. This years lineup includes Houndmouth, Mt. Joy and Sammy Hagar & the Circle! Some area public parking garages are available including the Palmer Garage and 505 Barton Springs. When possible, avoid driving. ADA parking is available at the Palmer Garage.

Flatstock 77- March 17-19:  Come to the Austin Convention Center to check out up and coming artists as well as the BEST of the BEST of fine art concert posters. 

South x San José- March 16-20: Returning for the 21st year, check out live music, local vendors, and good times. Check out the lineup here! Music kicks off each day at noon, and this is an all-ages event. Pro Tip: Carriers > strollers ALWAYS! 

SoCo: Full of surprises on any given day, South Congress always serves up fab and fun! More family-friendly than its wild little sister, 6th Street, you can enjoy SXSW vibes with a tamer crowd. Oh! We hear Kendra Scott is hosting (all ages) celebrations on both weekends. Fill the kids up on Amy’s Ice Cream while mama gets to sip drinks, check out gifts, and listen to live music!

The real magic of SXSW is stumbling into something you didn’t plan (eh hem, holding a kangaroo?) If you’re feeling up to it, get out there and see what unfolds!

For more free events (if you’re heading out solo or with the kids) click here!




Ali Tierney
Ali is a lover of boybands, cheese, and a good leather jacket (not always in that order). Born and raised on the Jersey Shore, she left her career as a radio personality to move to Texas with the love of her life, Ed. Since moving to Austin, she became a wife, mama to two sweet little boys, and author of "B is for Boy Bands." She loves salsa dancing, nail salons that serve champagne, and has an Mmmbop tattoo. You can check out her book on Instagram @bisforboybands


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