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Where to Find Free Food and Drinks at SXSW

From barbecue from Fort Worth joint Panther City, hot dogs with Bob Odenkirk, Lizzo-themed cocktails, to whatever Cheetos is doing

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Two people toasting with whiskey.
Whiskeys at Fort Worth’s SXSW event in 2019.
Visit Fort Worth/Facebook

Over the years, Austin’s food scene and its place in American cuisine has become a key component in South by Southwest (SXSW) festivities, and 2022 is no exception. Panels, educational events, films, and music aside, SXSW is all about the food and drinks — especially of the free kind — and the bizarre and extravagant events, which usually involve food. Alas, Cheeselandia isn’t happening again this year, and neither will Rachael Ray’s Feedback with tons of food.

Eater pored over many listings to pick out the best of the food and drink-related events going on. For more dining and drinking ideas, check out the rest of Eater’s SXSW coverage.

Everything below is free, otherwise noted, and it’s all listed chronologically.

Friday, March 11

Summer in Argyle Fan Dining Experience
In honor of their podcast Summer in Argyle, stars Bob Odenkirk and son Nate Odenkirk will host a hot dog dinner with a menu by host restaurant Banger’s.
Where: Banger’s, 79 Rainey Street, Downtown
When: 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Access: Open to SXSW badge holders with a reservation

Friday, March 11 through Saturday, March 12; Monday, March 14 through Tuesday, March 15; Thursday, March 17 through Friday, March 18

The Future of Food
This series of panels will gather more than 150 speakers and experts to discuss sustainable food systems. There will be various things to eat and drink at these free panels.
Where: SXSW Center, 1400 Lavaca Street, Downtown
When: Times vary per day
Access: Any sort of SXSW badge plus registration on Eventbrite

Friday, March 11 through Monday, March 14

Superheroes & Superstars Experience
Hosted by Amazon Prime Video, this four-day event will have a real-life Vought A Burger stand inspired by the television series The Boys, among other food and drink options inspired by the show. The event will also have a Lizzo-inspired cocktail in honor of the singer’s new series, Lizzo’s Watch Out for the Big Grrrls.
Where: 604 Driskill Street, Downtown
When: Noon to 9 p.m. Friday, and noon to 6 p.m. Saturday through Monday
Access: Any sort of SXSW badge

Friday, March 11 through Sunday, March 13

Peacock Playground
The streaming service is hosting this event centered around its original series, with beverages, games, and merch available in its lounge.
Where: 80 to 82 Rainey Street, Downtown
When: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Access: Any sort of SXSW badge

University of Arizona Wonder House
This event is hosted by the University of Arizona and includes speakers, music, rooftop movies, and food from the Brazilian steakhouse chain Fogo De Chao.
Where: Fogo De Chao, 309 East Third Street, Downtown
When: 11 a.m to midnight
Access: Any sort of SXSW badge

Spurs x Sneaker Politics
This Texas-inspired pop-up will feature food, games, and frozen refreshments.
Where: Sneaker Politics, 221 West Second Street, Downtown
When: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Access: Any sort of SXSW badge

Summer in Argyle Hot Dog Carts
Colorful hot dog carts will be strolling along downtown Austin to promote the podcast Summer in Argyle.
Where: Downtown Austin
When: 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. or until supplies run out
Access: Any SXSW attendees who can find the carts

Friday, March 11 through Tuesday, March 15

Nomi Health: Walk in the Park Lounge
The direct health care company is hosting a health-oriented event with free breakfast, snacks, and sweet treats.
Where: Waterloo Ballrooms 1-3 at Austin Marriott Downtown, 304 East Cesar Chavez Street, Downtown
When: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Access: Any sort of SXSW badge

Friday, March 11 through Wednesday, March 16

The Norton Bright Lounge
The anti-virus software company is hosting a lounge event with light refreshments.
Where: Room 602 at Hilton Austin Downtown, 500 East Fourth Street, Downtown
When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Access: Any sort of SXSW badge

WeTransfer Lounge
This lounge by the file transferring company will have coffee and cocktails to accompany screenings of short films.
Where: Room 301 and 302 at JW Marriott, 110 East 2nd St, Downtown
When: 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Access: Any sort of SXSW badge

Saturday, March 12

HipStirs Craft Cocktail Syrups Brand Activation
The cocktail syrups company will be serving samples of its products paired with an assortment of spirits.
Where: Brush Square Park, 409 East Fifth Street, Downtown
When: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Access: Any sort of SXSW badge

Connected AF: A Booze-Free Bar Meet-Up
This is a non-alcoholic beverage event featuring booze-free drinks by a range of Texas brands.
Where: Hilton Austin Downtown, 500 East Fourth Street, Downtown
When: 4 to 5 p.m.
Access: Any sort of SXSW badge

Saturday, March 12 through Sunday, March 13

SXSW Wellness Expo Presented by Seedlip
Hosted by non-alcoholic spirits company Seedlip, this wellness-oriented exhibition will feature several panels, as well as cocktails made with the brand’s products.
Where: Palmer Events Center, 900 Barton Springs Road, Bouldin Creek
When: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Access: Free and open to the public

The Trip: An Atlanta Cafe
The hit FX network television series is hosting a two-day pop-up with free coffee from Georgia company Dope Coffee.
Where: Higher Ground, 720 Congress Avenue
When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Access: Open to the public with priority access given to SXSW badgeholders

Saturday, March 12 through Monday, March 14

The Modern West
Fort Worth’s tourism board s hosting this Western-themed event, which will have free smoked meats from one of the best barbecue restaurants in Texas, Panther City, along with whiskey, and beer.
Where: Container Bar, 90 Rainey Street, Downtown
When: Times vary per day
Access: Any sort of SXSW badge

Doodles
An immersive multi-sensory experience, the online scheduling software will have themed snacks, refreshments, entertainment, and activities.
Where: 99 Trinity Street, Downtown
When: Times vary per day
Access: Any sort of SXSW badge

Saturday, March 12 through Tuesday, March 15

Hands-Free House by Cheetos
It wouldn’t be SXSW without some kind of giant chip company. Cheetos is hosting this event, which emphasizes hands-free technology and crunchy, cheesy chips.
Where: 1209 East Sixth Street, East Austin
When: 2 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Access: Any sort of SXSW badge

Saturday, March 12 through Wednesday, March 16

The Slack Digital HQ Experience
This interactive pop-up from the business communication software company will have sweet treats.
Where: 301 Congress Avenue, Downtown
When: Times vary per day
Access: Any sort of SXSW badge

Saturday, March 12 through Thursday, March 17

Upgrade to Charcuterie-Grade Snacking with Creminelli
The packaged foods company is offering charcuterie snacks.
Where: Brush Square Park, 409 East Fifth Street, Downtown
When: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Access: Any sort of SXSW badge

Sunday, March 13

eMLS Cup presented by Coca-Cola
The finale of Major League Soccer’s FIFA esports league will have food, drinks, and free merch for attendees.
Where: Austin City Limits Live at the Moody Theater, 310 West Willie Nelson Boulevard, Downtown
When: 2 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Access: Free to the public

Bala’s Boot Scootin’ Disco
This live disco event will have drinks and light bites.
Where: Banger’s Basement, 79 Rainey Street, Downtown
When: 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Access: Free for SXSW badgeholders with RSVP

Tindle Happy Hour
The vegan chicken company will have small bites and drinks available.
Where: Hilton Austin Downtown, 500 East Fourth Street, Downtown
When: 5 to 6 p.m.
Access: Any sort of SXSW badge

Sunday, March 13 through Tuesday, March 15

Feed Your Optimism with Nature’s Fynd
The food company is sampling its fungus-based vegan products like meatless breakfast patties and dairy-free cream cheese.
Where: Brush Square Park, 409 East Fifth Street, Downtown
When: Noon to 7 p.m.
Access: Any sort of SXSW badge

Tuesday, March 15

Global Street Farm
The International Fresh Produce Association presents a street farm with all kinds of fresh foods to accompany conversations about food and culture.
Where: Idle Hands, 85 Rainey Street, Downtown
When: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Access: Any sort of SXSW badge

The Phocas House
This party will have free adult beverages and free tacos.
Where: Atelier 1205, 1205 East Cesar Chavez Street, East Austin
When: 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. day party, 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. night party
Access: Free and open to the public, night party requires RSVP

Wednesday, March 16

Sounds From Spain Paella Day Party
This Spanish music showcase will have paella, tapas, and sangria.
Where: Half Step, 75 1/2 Rainey Street, Downtown
When: 12:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Access: Any sort of SXSW badge

Hydration Happy Hour at iVitamin
This happy hour will have live music, cocktails, and small bites.
Where: 515 South Congress Avenue, Suite 104, Travis Heights
When: 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Access: Free to the public

POP Montreal and M for Montreal Official Showcase
A cocktail networking event followed by a music showcase.
Where: Swan Dive, 615 Red River Street, Downtown
When: 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. networking session, 8 pm. to 2 a.m. showcase
Access: Cocktail networking event for badgeholders

Thursday, March 17

Dillon T. Pickle’s Austin Throwdown
This pickle party, sponsored by canned cocktail brand SunDaze, is hosted by Dillon T. Pickle, the mascot of the Portland Pickles baseball team.
Where: Idle Hands, 85 Rainey Street, Rainey Street Historic District
When: 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Access: Free with registration on Eventbrite

Thursday, March 17 to Saturday, March 19

F*ck Food Waste Experience
Learn about sustainable food and enjoy a free smoothie.
Where: 717 Red River Lot, Downtown
When: Noon to 8 p.m.
Access: Any sort of SXSW badge

Friday, March 18

Intergalactic Pink Mushroom Pizza Pop-Up
Austin pizza truck Sammataro is hosting this pizza release pop-up, which’ll have pink oyster mushroom pizza, a collab between Smallhold and Ruby, for one day only.
Where: Sammataro, 1108 East 12th Street, Central East Austin
When: Noon to 9 p.m.
Access: Free with registration on Eventbrite

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