SXSW 2023: The Best Food Freebies And Deals

This year's SXSW Conferences and Festivals are occurring March 10 through 19 in Austin, Texas, and online. The annual event brings together film, television, music, and technology industries in a weeklong creative experience filled with concerts, screenings, discussions, and food to overload the senses. From rocking out to the legendary band, The Zombies, to participating in an hour-long conversation with humanitarian and chef José Andrés about his non-profit World Central Kitchen, the scope of the festival is breathtaking.

Although food doesn't make a headline at the festival, it's the focus of multiple exhibits, interactive experiences, panel discussions, and cooking demonstrations. Several films explore the culinary arts, including a documentary with food writer and critic Ruth Reichl and a biopic on the disputed origin of Frito-Lay's Flamin' Hot Cheetos, directed by actress Eva Longoria.

The walk-up rate for admission to everything SXSW offers is $1,995. Participants interested in attending only certain events can purchase limited badges for less. However, there are plenty of opportunities to score free food and drink at the festival, and we can show you how. From fancy cocktail parties to messy barbecue tailgates and plenty of swag, SXSW vendors are dying to get their products in your hands — free of charge. Here's how to score the best free food and drink at SXSW 2023.

Like barbecue?

Texas is known for its barbecue and offers several styles throughout the state, from the dry rubs of Central Texas to the saucy, sticky pork ribs of Southern Texas. Prepare to grab a dozen napkins, a frosty beverage, and enjoy free barbecue at these tasty events with a cause.

Amazon is promoting Thursday night football at the TNF Texas Tailgate, taking place at Hotel San José. Enjoy free margaritas and barbecue while listening to live music.

Patagonia is sponsoring a series of events at its downtown location in honor of its 50th anniversary, beginning with the Soil Power Happy Hour. Enjoy free food and spirits on a first-come, first-served basis all weekend long. You can also sample barbecue from local restaurants LeRoy and Lewis, The Austin Winery, Still Austin Whiskey Co., and Patagonia's beer label, Patagonia Provisions x Dogfish Head Kernza Pils, while listening to live country music from Harry & Emmy and Benjamin Violet. You can preview each day's events on the brand's schedule.

Fans of the Showtime series "Yellowjackets" won't want to miss the free barbecue at this wild and spooky event, Camp Yellowjacket. Despite the creepy YouTube promo, we're confident human body parts aren't on the menu.

Coffee before cocktails

After partying into the wee hours of the night, you'll want to start your day off right with free caffeine. Cocktail hour begins early here, and there are plenty of events offering free wine, beer, and spirits, including local brands and White Claw hard seltzers

Amazon Ads is offering free coffee and tea each morning to get a jump start on your long day. Choose from hot or iced beverages to pry those sleepy eyes open. Just head to Jo's Coffee at Hotel San José from March 10 to 12, at 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

The Future of Food is returning this year to continue the discussion with 32 panel talks with over 60 experts, 10 chefs, and 34 local food businesses eager to share their products. There will be plenty of food and drink to sample, including White Claw. Registration through Eventbrite is required.

Join South Asian House for a marathon event featuring leaders from seven countries. Free food and chai lattes will be served fireside during the 15-hour-long events. Registration is required.

Beers & Sliders with Beyond Conference is hosting an event offering, you guessed it, beer and sliders.

Try Coca-Cola's newest limited edition beverage, Coca-Cola Move, along with a few boozy cocktails to the tunes of Grammy award-winning artist Rosalía on March 17. Registration is required.