Going to a new city can be super fun, but also, at times, intimidating. You have to figure out where to go, what’s cool and which local art to check out. And this is just any regular day of the year; imagine the pulse of Austin, Texas during SXSW. How to deal? Below is a list of iPhone apps I’ve compiled so you have all you need to know to be in the know for this year’s nonstop music, film and interactive media fest.
Plane Ride There
Brush up on your Southern music knowledge by checking out Music Map: Indie Rock ($1.99). Simply click on "Southeast, Listen Now," and in two shakes of a Texas BBQed lamb’s tail, you have fabulous Southern tunes at your fingertips. Looking for a hot conversation piece with the Austin locals? Show them you know what’s up in their local scene.
Once you get down to the festival and you’re ready to max out on art and culture, SXSW Play (free) will guide you through the essentials. Watch as pictures of bands and films come floating down your iPhone screen, then click on one, revealing the band/film’s info, including a respective MP3 or podcast. Want to check out punk bands exclusively? Only catch experimental shorts? You can create these distinctions on SXSW Play, making it that much easier to narrow down your options.
Looking to keep track of the many engagements you want to make sure you hit? On my.SXSW (free), find the events you want to go to and then RSVP. The my.SXSW iPhone app will make you a personalized schedule, including a description of each event to refresh your memory.
Stranger in a Strange Land
Let’s say you wake up hungry (and possibly hungover), have no idea what’s around you, but you know you want food fast. Foursquare won’t feed you, but it will come pretty close. This free iPhone app finds your location and then informs you of places nearby including tips on which foods to try and what to stay away from. Here I learned that my favorite neighborhood bar has ladies night on Wednesdays—free fries for girls! Not bad. Imagine what Foursquare can do for you in Austin.
With Gowalla (free), I didn’t even have to imagine what I might do in Austin. I’m already planning a trip to The Ginger Man for their outdoor beer garden thanks to “Austin Bar Hop” under “Trips”. Also just a touch away is "Austin Stairs of Doom," a guide to awkward urban sidewalks, and more traditionally, Austin BBQ Bonanza.
New In Town
With Happy Hour iPhone app ($1.99), you can type in a date, time, and location to get the skinny on cheap drinks at the bars in your desired neighborhood. Be sure to catch $1 beers from 4 to 7 p.m. at Barton Springs Saloon after a dip, and don’t miss out on frozen margaritas and selected martinis, also from 4 to 7 p.m., at the Waterloo Icehouse.
When you’re not out late getting your party on, you’re going to want to experience Austin during the day. Check out Spider House Cafe for some outdoor shows, but not without wearing your faux shades via the 99-cent Sunglasses! iPhone app. Choose from nine different pairs and use your iPhone’s camera to see through your virtual shades. Sounds a little crazy, I know, but these “sunglasses” actually protect your eyes from the sun.
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