SXSW, or South by Southwest, is an annual conglomerate of film, interactive media, music festivals, and conferences that take place in Austin, Texas. Renowned globally, SXSW brings together creative minds, industry professionals, and enthusiasts to celebrate innovation, discover emerging talent, and engage in a diverse range of events spanning film screenings, technology showcases, music performances, and thought-provoking conferences. With a dynamic and inclusive atmosphere, SXSW is a melting pot of ideas, trends, and entertainment that continues to shape and inspire various creative industries.

Living in a place like Austin has so many perks. One of them is the accessibility to SXSW. I understand the challenges of balancing family fun with the dynamic energy of this iconic two week event. In this guide, I’ll share my experiences, offer advice, and provide a curated list of family-friendly events you can opt into attending with or without the kids. 

My SXSW Experience

Based on my last two years at SXSW, I’ve learned that going in with no expectations is key. Badged individuals will always have priority, so patience is crucial. My goal is to help you discover events suitable for your family, empowering you to decide what works for your little ones. 

In 2022 I took my two sons to a Cheetos interactive event. The lines were so long, and even though we signed up and had Eventbrite tickets, we were turned away at the door. However a security guard let us sneak into the court yard. We didn’t get to tour the smart house with Chester the Cheetah, but my kids got to interact with digital content and grab some snacks. Which they loved!

Last year, I took my oldest son to an Apple TV+ event and an eMLS FIFA championship. He was AMAZED by it! That had so many cool digital experiences and photo-ops. The swag and food were also nice too. 

We also found a unofficial South By event with North Italia Pizza that we took the whole family to. Despite the lines, the free swag and pies were a hit. We topped off our day with a visit to Waterloo Greenway park for some outdoor fun.

I also have just taken a walk with them on SoCo avenue. You’re bound to run into some sort of event, concert, or giveaway.

While family time is essential, don’t hesitate to grab some mama time at events too. You could buy a badge or a local wrist band. Or check out unofficial SXSW events.Last year I got Eventbrite tickets to a Create and Cultivate event. I had to best time in community with other women and learned so much about tech in the entrepreneurial space. They gave an amazing swag bag out to the first 200 women through the door. I didn’t get one, but I heard the contents were epic. 

I have curated a few websites and social media accounts I suggest you follow to navigate what you’d deem kid friendly. 

Official SXSW Resources:

Steal My Itinerary: 

Recently a friend from my dance class, Jaclynn Brennan, shared this amazing list of few unofficial events.

I am definitely checking these out. 

  • 3.7 – Beyond the Billion x Ayana Cocktail Reception
  • 3.7 – Women Abundance Club Cocktail Reception
  • 3.9 – Jaclyn Johnson Cherub (Create and Cultivate) X Ayana Pop Up Activation & Panel
    • Time: 12-1:30pm
    • Venue: Private Space Rental
    • RSVP here
  • 3.9 – Female Founder House
    • Time: 10am-7pm
    • Venue: Vuka Bolden Creek
    • RSVP here
  • 3.9 – ELLEVOY Brunch Reception
    • Time: 10am-12pm
    • Venue: Proper Hotel (Goldies Lounge)
    • RSVP here
  • 3.10 – Ayana x Logictry RechargeHER Pop-Up

Anyone else’s kids into bathroom humor? I am taking my children to see a giant 30 foot poo at Camp Funk, hosted by Poo Pourri. It’s free to the public on Wednesday March 13. You just need Eventbrite tickets. 

Poo-Pourri’s Giant Poo in Dallas’ Klyde Warren Park

Additional Resources:

For a comprehensive guide to SXSW, check out The Ultimate Guide to SXSW.

Remember, the key is to embrace the unpredictable nature of SXSW and tailor your experience to suit your family’s needs. Enjoy, make memories, and create an unforgettable experience for both you and your little ones!

Zana Carbajal
Zana is wife to Esteban and mama to her four children, Joaquin, Teodoro, and twins Roma & Rosalind. She is a Senior Retail Technology Manager and Co-host of The Strong Sunflowers & Los Girasoles Fuertes podcasts. She was a competitive cheerleader at Hawaii Pacific University, where she pursued her Bachelor’s in Public Relations and Advertising. She is currently working on an online Master’s in Global Strategic Communications from The University of Florida (Go Gators!) She advocates for whole-hearted living and constantly looks for ways to improve her mind, body, heart, and soul. She loves songwriting, singing, and musical theatre and has already warned her kids when they are all over 18+; she is moving to New York City to audition for Broadway.


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