8 "Weird" Ways to Experience SXSW

Nomadic aura portrait studio MOODxMOSS is participating in SXSW this year.
Nomadic aura portrait studio MOODxMOSS is participating in SXSW this year.

Headed to Austin for SXSW? Keep it weird with memorable experiences part of this year’s festival.

1. Eat at the “Breaking Bad" restaurant. Los Pollos Hermanos, the restaurant from the cult fave TV show, has popped up at 122 W. 5th Street. Stop by for snacks and appearances by stars of the show’s prequel “Better Call Saul,” but expect a line.

2. Take surfing lessons downtown. TNT's "Animal Kingdom” is making a splash with a Southern California-inspired pop-up beach in the middle of downtown Austin, complete with a wave simulator so you can try surfing and sign up for lessons.

3. Get a photograph of your aura. Austin-based mobile portrait studio MOODxMOSS roams the country offering aura readings at celeb-attended events. The yurt-inspired structure is popping up at SoulCycle in downtown Austin - you’ll leave with a Polaroid of your aura like the ones pictured above.

4. Schedule a nap in a pod. Mattress company Casper's Napmobile has rolled into town, allowing you to schedule a snooze between panels and events (slippers provided). The company has also teamed up with last-minute hotel booking app ONE:NIGHT to take over the historic Austin Motel, where rooms are available for $99 to those who get lucky using the app each afternoon. Included with the room is Tesla car service and bedtime stories read by “a real-life mom.”

5. Shop at a feminist head shop. The stylish Hotel San José hosts a popular SXSW event each year with free live music and shopping from hand-picked local vendors. This year, one featured vendor is Catchtilly, a boutique that stocks artisan-made smoking accoutrement geared towards women, like ombre pipes, pink rolling papers and metallic lighters. While you're there, snap a picture in front of Austin's iconic "I love so much" mural at sister concept Jo’s next door - haters recently defaced it, but it’s repaired just in time for the fest.

6. Bite into the "Twin Peaks" donut. In celebration of the show’s reboot on Showtime, a Double R Diner pop-up will serve free coffee, pie and Twin Peaks-themed donuts created by Portland’s famed Voodoo Doughnut, which has a location in Austin.

7. Free yourself from the “Prison Break” escape room. Inspired by the FOX television show, a limited number of reservations at The Escape Game Austin are free over the weekend.

8. Exercise with the It Girls. Fast-growing, fashionista-approved recreational apparel brand Outdoor Voices has a presence in Manhattan, but its first location was in Austin. “A Brunch of Joggers” starts off at the flagship boutique. Join the massive group to take a leisurely morning jog through the picturesque, slightly hilly surrounding neighborhood before celebrating with a vodka-fueled victory brunch back at the shop. Organizers are expecting more than 500 runners at the free, coed event this year. Participants get hats emblazoned with the word “Y’all," the perfect Texas souvenir from your 2017 SXSW.

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