SXSW returns to Austin this coming week, bringing thousands to the capital of Texas for 10 days of film, television, music, tech, comedy, culture and fashion and beauty. How to make sense of it all? Below, WWD’s guide to SXSW 2023, which runs from Friday through March 19.
Where to Stay & Eat & What to Do
One of Austin’s newest luxury hotels, The Loren at Lady Bird Lake, opened its doors last November. The hotel boasts impressive views, a rooftop pool, and spa. Nido, the hotel’s rooftop restaurant and cocktail lounge, offers a menu of elevated American dishes with a Texas influence. Six-time James Beard award finalist Steve McHugh recently debuted his new restaurant, Luminaire, inside the just-opened Hyatt Centric Congress Avenue hotel. The all-day restaurant is serving up Texas fare with a focus on local ingredients. The San Antonio chef also opened a bar, Las Bis, on the hotel’s eighth floor. Since no trip to Austin is complete without tacos, stop by buzzy new taqueria Masa y Más, located around the corner from the Alamo Lamar, one of SXSW’s primary screening venues. Puerto Rican chef María Mercedes Grubb heads up Ember Kitchen and Subterra Agave Bar, which opened at the end of last year and leans into live fire cooking.
If you have some downtime, swing by the Contemporary Austin Jones Center on Congress Avenue. The museum recently debuted “Eamon Ore-Giron: Competing with Lightning” as well as a new textile painting by artist duo Celeste. Miami’s Museum of Graffiti is popping up in Austin during the festival with a celebration of the 50th anniversary of hip-hop. “The Art of Hip Hop” opens Friday at 809 E. 8th Street with a weekend of activations including concerts, live graffiti painting, and customizable Champion apparel.
Film & Television to Look For
The SXSW Festival kicks off with film and television over the first weekend, starting with a bang with opening night film “Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves.” The action movie stars Chris Pine, Sophia Lillis, Regé-Jean Page, Michelle Rodriguez and Justice Smith. Other films to watch out for? Eva Longoria will make her feature directorial debut with “Flamin’ Hot,” as will Brittany Snow with “Parachute.” Other buzzy projects include “If You Were the Last,” starring Anthony Mackie and Zoe Chao; “Bottoms” from Emma Seligman, the director of “Shiva Baby” and costarring Rachel Sennott and “The Bear” breakout Ayo Edebiri, and “Problemista,” directed by Julio Torres and starring Tilda Swinton.
On the television front, buzzy Netflix series “Beef,” which stars Steven Yeun and Ali Wong, will be the closing night TV premiere. The opening TV show is the Donald Glover-directed “Swarm,” starring Chloe Bailey.
As for activations, Paramount+ will open The Lodge throughout the first weekend at Rainey Street’s The Clive Bar for celebrations surrounding its programming, including “1923,” “Star Trek” and “Rise of the Pink Ladies”; Create and Cultivate is back at SXSW with The Future Summit, this time with influencer Tinx as guest speaker. Prime Video is popping up at Hotel San Jose in South Congress with “Prime, TX,” which is “a portal to the Line Star State of your dream.” They’ll be celebrating their new series “Daisy Jones and the Six,” which came out March 3.
The Roku City pop-up will feature a park and rooftop diner with a menu referencing beloved movie and TV meals like “Seinfeld” and “Inside Out.” Reservations sold out shortly after being announced on OpenTable, but there will also be Creature Coffee available and cupcakes from the Cupcake Guys.