The SXSW pet scene

Feb 18, 2013 at 6:38 a.m. ET

Headed to enjoy a week of music and film at Austins' South by Southwest festival? The world's music capital that vows to keep things weird also proudly ranks among the top 10 pet-friendly cites in the nation, and SXSW offers no exceptions.

Cool dog wearing sunglasses

If your pet loves crowd surfing as much as you do, we've got the lowdown on the best pet-friendly locales in town.

Restaurants and bars

No doubt you'll want to enjoy the best grub Austin has to offer but don't forget your pooch is on vacay, too. These dog-friendly restaurants and bars encourage festival-goers to eat, drink and enjoy the SXSW action with their furry best friend in tow.

El Mercado

With live music, a large patio and the best Tex-Mex in town, El Mercado is the place to go with your pooch. Tuesdays are all about dogs, during Yappy Hour where your pet can nosh from a pet-friendly menu and bark about the latest SXSW happenings.

The Dog and Duck Pub

For beer-minded music lovers, the Dog and Duck Pub offers more than 40 local and national draft selections while your pup enjoys the scene on the open patio. Located in the heart of the action, you and your dog can take in the SXSW atmosphere side by side.

Lucy's Retired Surfers Bar and Restaurant

The one and only place to hang loose and chill with your pup. At Lucy's Retired Surfers Bar and Restaurant, you and your pet can kick back and ride the musical waves while sharing a burger and fries. If your pet's not a fan of sharing, let him choose from his very own menu of dog-approved eats.


Sleep is optional at SXSW and after long nights of bar hopping and rocking out, a warm pick me up is just what you'll need. If you left your pup at home for the evening activities, make sure to check out these pet-friendly coffee bars together.

Irie Bean Coffee Bar

Where Yappy Hour is a state of bean. At Irie Bean Coffee Bar, pets are regulars and every hour is yappy and happy. Two-legged customers can enjoy a hot cup of Joe or a smooth glass of wine while taking in the sights and sounds of SXSW pooch side.

Jo's Coffee Shop

Stop at Jo's for some much needed R & R with your bestie. Enjoy fresh baked goods and delectable beverages while your pet gets to know fellow festival-goers of the four-legged kind.


When it's time to loosen the leash and let your pet roam, Austin's parks are puppy paradise. This pet-friendly haven is filled with room to roam and, as an added bonus, these parks are located in the center of it all.

Red Bud Isle Park

Your pup loves being by your side, but too much leash time can make any dog crave a little freedom. At Red Bud Isle Park, you pet can run free and take in the great outdoors with fellow music and film loving pups.

Walnut Creek Metropolitan Park

Cool down with a brisk walk and maybe even a dip in the water at Walnut Creek Metropolitan Park. Your pet will love off-leash time to splish and splash in the creek or stay dry and run the trails before hitting up the next music venue.


SXSW is home to tens of thousands of music and film lovers from across the world. If your pet is not used to crowds and noise, it may not be a suitable environment for him. As always, preplanning is the only way to ensure your pet has a positive travel experience. Most venues that have a patio in Austin are pet-friendly, however, be sure to call all establishments ahead of time to confirm your pet is allowed. Pack a bag with all of your pets' essential needs, including doggy bags, water and food dishes and always keep your dog on a leash.

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