Looking for something fun to do with kids during Spring Break? It just so happens that this little festival called SXSW is going on at the same time with loads of family-friendly events taking place – many that do not require a badge! We’ve narrowed down the list to include some of our favorites that you won’t want to miss. Note: Some events do require that you RSVP or have a SXSW Guest Pass.
Friday, March 10 – Sunday March 12, 11:00 am to 6:00 pm
SXSW Create is a 3-day event at the Palmer Events Center that gives families a chance to experience the hardware hacking and maker arm of SXSW. This year’s event offers more space, more fun, and even more hands-on excitement. From 3D printing to drones to biohacking and much more, this community event showcases the disruptive solutions that are shaping our future. Open to the public with SXSW Guest Pass.
Saturday, March 11, 10:30 am to 3:30 pm
Participants will use their imagination to create miniature worlds using handmade animation techniques such as stop-motion and paper cut-out animation with award-winning Animator, Jeanne Stern. ASoF will provide a pizza party lunch, snacks and beverages throughout the duration of the workshop. Attendance is limited to 18 students, and open to ages 10-18 years old.
Monday, March 13, 8:00 to 9:00 pm
Join Cartoon Network for new content from The Amazing World of Gumball, We Bare Bears, Ben 10 and Teen Titans Go, and a big surprise, all on the lawn of The Long Center! Free with SXSW Guest Pass.
Tuesday, March 14, 3:00 to 7:00 pm
This family-friendly event features live music and entertainment from Magician Black Bert, Mama K & the Shades, Kupira Marimba, and Folksongs & Puppets w/ Portland’s Red Yarn. Food trucks and activities for the kids. Free with RSVP.
Wednesday, March 15, 3:00 pm to 6:30 pm
365 Things Austin Family Top Pick! The annual free family-friendly concert at the Pan Am Hillside in East Austin includes a stellar lineup of artists including Red Yarn, El Tule, The Deedle Deedle Dees, Riders Against the Storm, Ralph’s World, Strumero, and Groundwork Music Orchestra. Activities for the kids range from jumping on Springfree Trampolines to art activities with the Creative Action, nonprofits showcasing what they do in the community, and more. Food trucks will be selling concessions but picnics are welcome, too!
Wednesday, March 15 – Saturday, March 18, 6:00 am to 10:00 am (Saturday 8:00 am to 12:00 pm)
Spoon, Hanson, Jimmy Eat World, The New Pornographers are just a few of the musicians performing at this annual SXSW event. The first 300 guests to arrive will enjoy a free breakfast while listening to live broadcasts by official SXSW artists at the W hotel in downtown Austin. Performances will be held in the Great Room on the 2nd floor of the W. Your $5 donation to the Make-a-Wish foundation of Central and South Texas gets you entry.
Wednesday, March 15 – Saturday March 18, 7:00 am to 10:30 am (Saturday 8:00 am to 11:30 pm)
The annual live music broadcast features 20- to 25-minute sets, held in the Lobby Lounge, as well as candid interviews, with performers including: Spoon, The Black Angels, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Real Estate, and many more. Cost is $10 per person, $5 for ages ten and under, which includes a complimentary breakfast taco and all-you-can-drink coffee. All event proceeds benefit the Seton Shivers Cancer Center.
Wednesday, March 15 – Sunday, March 19, noon
South By San José returns to the Hotel San José and Jo’s parking lot with live music, local vendors and good times. Music starts at noon each day, and the party is always and forever free to attend.
Wednesday, March 15 – Sunday, March 19; noon – 6:40 p.m. daily
Head over to Lucy’s Fried Chicken on South Congress for five days of lip-smacking fried chicken, ice cold drinks and an unbeatable line-up of the very best of Texas and Americana music! Free, open to the public and family-friendly.
Thursday, March 16, 10 a.m. – noon
The 5th Annual MyMusicRx + You Who Rock Show for Kids, will take place at Fader FORT and features family-friendly music by Shakey Graves, Sara Watkins, Y La Bamba, Baskery, Sky Katz, and Red Yarn. Breakfast tacos, bubble machines, giant owl mascots and a special art guitar craft zone powered by Epiphone. Tickets: $25 adults, kids 10 and under are free.
Thursday, March 16 – Saturday, March 18; times not available yet
This 3-day event takes place on the roof of Whole Foods downtown, right next to the playground! The family-friendly all-ages music festival features over 40 performers on two stages.
Thursday, March 16 – Saturday, March 18; times not available yet
This SXSW official event is a series of free outdoor concerts for all ages at the Outdoor Stage at Lady Bird Lake. Tip: It can be crowded, and the only food allowed in are food and beverage items for kids under 5 years of age. Free with SXSW Guest Pass.
Thursday, March 16 – Saturday, March 18, 12:00 pm to 8:00 pm
The SXSW Gaming Expo is a 3-day event at the Austin Convention Center where gamers can meet celebrities, watch live gaming tournaments, learn about new games in the market and the history of old ones, play a variety of games, and compete in a tournament, and have some fun at a cosplay tournament. Suitable for older children. Must have a Gaming wristband ($25) or a SXSW badge.
Friday, March 17, 10:00 am to 2:30 pm
365 Things Austin Family Top Pick! Local favorites come together at the Austin Scottish Rite Theater for a special family-friendly tribute concert celebrating Willie Nelson! An amazing lineup of local and national bands includes: Nakia, The Barton Hills Choir with Ray Benson, Ralph’s World, Red Yarn, The Que Pastas, Jon Langford, Beth Chrisman, and more! Don’t miss out on the professional hair-braiding station to get that signature Willie look, courtesy of Avenue Five Institute. Adults, $3, $1 for children under 12.
Friday, March 17, 12:00 am to 10:00 pm
Stop into Cherrywood Coffeehouse for this all-day show featuring female performers. The outdoor area is a great place for kids to play while you relax and take in the music.
Friday, March 17, 12:00 pm to 7:30 pm
Peelander-fest hosts a free, all-ages show, all day at Spiderhouse Cafe & Ballroom. Acts from as far away as Japan and Poland, as well as locals, will be performing at the show, which ends with a performance by the headliner, Peelander-Z.
Saturday, March 18, 2:00 pm to 5:30 pm
365 Things Austin Top Pick! Close out spring break 2016 with the last free concert in our Unofficial SXSW family music series! The live music and book readings by local children’s and Young Adult book authors will be on the lawn at the Domain. Kids and adults of all ages will hear favorites such as the Que Pastas, The Sugar Free Allstars, The Deedle Deedle Dees, Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band, Joe McDermott, Riders Against the Storm, and Little Miss Ann. Kids of all ages will enjoy storytime with local authors reading from their books, a book mark-making station, local vendors, and jumping on Springfree Trampolines for an afternoon of fun!
Saturday, March 18, 1:00 pm to 6 pm
A day of music, stories and culture from around the globe is taking place at The Hill Country Science Mill in Johnson City. Tribu Baharú from Bogota, Colombia, Los Texmaniacs from San Antonio, Texas, Analogix from Fukuoka-shi, Japan, and Hanato Chiruran from Tokyo, Japan will perform in the backyard with the Texas Hill Country as the setting. The concert is free with admission to the Science Mill: under 3, free; ages 3-18 (or with student ID), $8.50; adults, $10; seniors (65+) and military, $8.00.
Saturday, March 18, 8-11 am
Come enjoy Hat Creek breakfast tacos, coffee, kids’ activities, and music by Anthropos Arts outside of our Domain Whole Foods Market store. Tunes + Tacos is a free event with no RSVP needed, but open donations to Whole Planet Foundation are welcome. Their mission is poverty alleviation through microcredit loans in the U.S. and around the world.