By Lucy J. Phillips, Photo by Alex Hopes
Can you believe my owner is a native Austinite and she’s never been to South By Southwest? As a music aficionado myself, I think she is missing out on the dog-and-pony show that is one of our city’s premier events. She is hoping to attend a few free events at the festival this year, and I want to be the lucky dog who gets in on the action! Can you recommend a few places to people-watch and pup-watch together?
Dear Rockin’ Rottweiler,
It’s always lovely to hear from a fellow music fan. Our humans don’t always give us enough credit when it comes to our taste in music. (Not all dogs love Beethoven!) Personally, I love listening to songs like “Heavenly Day” by Austin’s own Patty Griffin. Did you know Griffin wrote those lyrics for her dog? There is nothing better than blasting that tune with your tongue out and the windows down while heading to the Greenbelt with your favorite human.
As for discovering new music at SXSW, the festival never disappoints with its free events and showcases. I reached out to Alex Hopes of Zilker Bark because I always love seeing the pictures of pups he posts during the festival. Hopes founded Zilker Bark while snapping photos of his dog, Sid, with all his furry friends at Zilker Park—and now it’s his full-time job! After following the Zilker Bark Instagram account for years, I finally got my own photo at an Austin Pets Alive! fundraiser.
Hopes says he mostly sees people walking their doggies down Sixth Street during SXSW. Even if you can’t go into the bars, you can still hear the music and meet lots of like-minded pups. He also recommends heading to South Congress Avenue since so many hotels in the area are pet-friendly. One of my favorites is the South Congress Hotel, where I’m currently barking out this column. My human and I also love hanging out on the patio at Hotel San Jose, which hosts a free event every year during SXSW called South By San Jose. This year, SXSJ is March 13 through 17, with music starting at noon each day. The venue gets a little too crowded for pups during the shows, but you can still enjoy music and good vibes as you stroll down South Congress Avenue.
Don’t forget you’ll both need to refuel from all that ambling! Shake Shack on South Lamar Boulevard has a dog-dedicated menu, including Pooch-inis and ShackBurger dog biscuits. Ciclo, the new restaurant at Four Seasons Hotel Austin, also features a pet menu, while Second Bar + Kitchen has not one but two pet-friendly patios right in the middle of the SXSW action. If you’re looking to skip the crowds, sniff out the patios at Contigo on the East side or Épicerie on Hancock Drive. And I always love a quiet morning with the other hounds of Houndstooth Coffee on North Lamar Boulevard. (Houndstooth even has a dedicated hashtag just for us: #houndsofhoundstooth).
To escape town altogether, there’s always the Greenbelt and that Patty Griffin anthem on a sunny afternoon!
Dear Lucy is our new column where our pawtributor answers your dog questions. Have a question for Lucy? Follow her on Instagram @asklucydog.