SXSFree

13 official and absolutely free ways to experience SXSW in Austin

13 official and absolutely free ways to experience SXSW in Austin

SXSW Eco Light Garden_Republic Square Park_2014
The SXSW Eco Light Garden takes over Republic Square Park for most of the festival. SXSW/Facebook
SXSW Gaming Expo 2014
The Gaming Expo is the epicenter for video game culture and overall nerdom at SXSW. Photo by Lisa Hause Courtesy of SXSW
SXSW Outdoor Stage_Butler Park_2014
SXSW's Outdoor Stage showcase returns to Auditorium Shores this year with Spoon, a Latino lineup and more to be announced. SXSW/Facebook
SXSW Music Gear Expo 2014
From amateur to professional, the SXSW Music Gear Expo is a one-stop shop for musicians of all levels. Courtesy of SXSW
SXSW Eco Light Garden_Republic Square Park_2014
SXSW Gaming Expo 2014
SXSW Outdoor Stage_Butler Park_2014
SXSW Music Gear Expo 2014

Editor's note: Our cohorts at CultureMap Austin have all the intel about SXSW 2015, which runs March 13-22. So we're passing along the information for anyone headed that way.

You can still have fun at SXSW, even if you didn't score a badge or a wristband. (But you do need a guest pass, available in advance or onsite, to attend SXSW events.) Here's a rundown of some of the best free official SXSW happenings throughout the entire festival.

SXSW Gaming Expo
The Gaming Expo is the epicenter of video game culture at SXSW, with panels at the Geek Stage, access to unreleased games, competitive tournaments, networking opportunities, happy hours and more. The Bonus Round Closing Party wraps up the geeky fun on Sunday.
March 13-15

SX Create
This community-oriented showcase from SXSW Interactive offers cool tech-driven demonstrations and activities on the City Terrace of the Long Center for the Performing Arts. We're talking everything from 3D printing to drones.
March 13-15

SXSW Job Market
Sure, SXSW is about partying and having fun, but the massive festival is also about networking. Connect with some of the hottest companies and employers during the Job Market at the JW Marriott.
March 13-14

General Assembly presents SXSW Workshop Programming
General Assembly is offering free classes at the AT&T Conference Center in web development, digital marketing, user experience design and much more. Admission is free, but an RSVP through Eventbrite to each individual panel is required.
March 14

SXSW presents Cultural Placemaking through Interactive Storytelling
Austin's African American Cultural Heritage District has been working on the Discover Heritage Map, a multimedia collaboration with local middle school students. This fun workshop at the Carver Museum guides you through the interactive map, which explores East Austin's rich history and culture.
March 14

​SXSW Community Screenings: Austin Film Society ShortCase
The aptly named ShortCase is a showcase of short films from Austin Film Society members at Marchesa Hall. Enjoy a wide variety of films, all produced by local filmmakers.
March 14

SXSW Eco Light Garden
Escape the hubbub and experience inspiring light installations at Republic Square Park. This annual project is a mixture of art and LED technology, offering everyone a chance to relax and explore.
March 15-21

SXSW presents #BlackLivesMatter in Austin
Discuss how one hashtag created a global conversation. The conversation is led by Gregory Vincent, vice president of diversity and community engagement at the University of Texas at Austin, and Nelson Linder, Austin chapter president of NAACP, in the Boyd Vance Theater at the Carver Museum.
March 15

Film screening: Bikes vs. Cars
Bikes vs. Cars explores our world's growing transportation demands and dwindling resources amid the debate between, well, bikes and cars.
March 18 and 20

SXSW Outdoor Stage at Auditorium Shores
SXSW's annual outdoor music showcase returns to Auditorium Shores with a stellar three-day lineup. So far Spoon and an entire evening of Latino music have been confirmed, and more will be announced. Our advice? Arrive early and brace yourself for a massive crowd and, of course, some great tunes.
March 19-21

Flatstock at SXSW
Music is the big deal at SXSW, but where would these indie shows be without the gig posters that promote them? Flatstock is long-running tradition at the Austin Convention Center, displaying work from top poster artists.
March 19-21

The Sailor Jerry Gallery at SXSW
Norman Collins — better known as "Sailor Jerry" — inspired a delicious brand of spiced rum and spurred the popularity of the traditional American tattoo style. View an impressive collection of Collins' work during the gallery's SXSW debut at Studium.
March 19-21

SXSW Music Gear Expo
This expo is a great one-stop shop for all musicians. Check out the latest and greatest gear, as well as activities such as Stompbox, Shred Shed, Gear Lounge, Synthesizer Space and the Flatstock Stage, all at the Austin Convention Center.
March 19-21