The Director of South by Southwest Interactive Shares His Favorite Places

Hugh Forrest discusses his top spots to host meetings, see concerts, and entertain sponsors in Austin and beyond.

March 26, 2014, 7:15 AM EDT

Darrell K Royal–Texas Memorial Stadium

Photo: Courtesy of Darrell K Royal–Texas Memorial Stadium

Hugh Forrest is director of South by Southwest Interactive, known as SXSWi, which ran March 7 to 11 in Austin, Texas. The festival focuses on creativity as much as technology and includes a gaming expo, a trade show, and awards. While Forrest spends much of the conference at host hotel Hilton Austin, here’s where he spends the rest of his time.

To Entertain Out-of-Towners
It is a bit of a hike, but out-of-towners are always impressed by a trip to Mount Bonnell on the west side of Austin.

For My Favorite Meal
Sausage at Ruby’s BBQ in Austin. Completely delicious and completely unhealthy.

To Get Inspired
Meditate! Austin’s a good place for that. But I also love [luxury spa resort] Ten Thousand Waves [in Santa Fe, New Mexico].

For a Teambuilding Activity
Karaoke at Austin Karaoke, located in a strip mall that caters to Korean businesses.

To See a Show
My favorite Austin live music venue ever was Liberty Lunch, but, unfortunately, that space has long since been sacrificed to the office building deities. These days, most of the shows I attend occur at the Long Center.

To Entertain Sponsors
Trudy’s Texas Star. Who doesn’t love Tex-Mex?

For an Intimate Meeting
The flagship location of Whole Foods is directly across the street from the SXSW offices in Austin. Whole Foods is always busy, but there are enough nooks and crannies in the building such that you can conduct a (relatively) private meeting.

For Outdoor Entertaining
My backyard in the summer (with lots of mosquito spray). Or in the winter (with a few logs in the fire pit). I also really enjoy the Shady Grove restaurant in South Austin, which has lots of outdoor seating.

To Watch Sports
Darrell K Royal—Texas Memorial Stadium, which is where the University of Texas football team plays. Let’s hope new coach Charlie Strong makes the venue even more special.

To Relax After SXSWi
Sleep, sleep, sleep (and then sleep a little more).

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