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"Austin, I love you": Hula-hooping bikini girls, bats, breakfast tacos and keeping it &quo

Festival-goers tell the Lion what they're loving about Austin – from spotting weird and wonderful things on the streets to sharing the best places to go and see. Don't forget to post your stories in his mouth online or at the Great Britain House.

Ian: Seeing all the T-shirts saying, “stay weird with me” gave a clue that Austin ain’t like other US cities. And boy, is it different? I’d noticed that none of the houses had US flags flying (as I’ve come to expect thanks to Netflix and HBO) and that people here are just a bit more laid back. A bit bohemian. I guess you could say “weird”. Well, all I can say is, that after only a few days, Austin, I love you. I love the streets, the architecture, the people, the buzz of the festival, the food, the music, the bars, the fact that the buses run like clockwork (and all night) and don’t cost the same as a trip to Disneyland. I’m happy here. And hopefully, I’ll be back.

Anon: I’m a man of the world. I’ve travelled. I’ve seen things, I’ve done things. I’ve bought the T-shirts. But hula-hooping bikini girls on the sidewalk outside at a pizza joint? Half-wasted panhandlers mingling with geeks and tech-heads and emo millennials and college kids and tourists and all the other people that South By attracts? Six guys dressed in head-to-toe purple Spandex trying to get people interested in God knows what? A dozen sorority types pedalling a “pub crawler” truck to the end of the street then piling into the first bar they see? And it’s 11am?! I can’t wait to see it after dark… (“Rowdy” isn’t quite the word I’d use, but that’s why I love South By and why I love Austin. See you next year!)

Asa: If you're visiting from outatown, let me make you one recommendation... breakfast taco. Crispy bacon and eggs wrapped in a taco or tortilla and grilled to perfection. Some might add a bit of cheese tho I say not. They're an Austin institution... an essential part of any Austinite's breakfast. You really gotta try one before you leave. I pick mine up from Joe's Bakery on 7th, but I hear Papalote on S Lamar Blvd are pretty good too.

Elsa Wozencroft: Austin is home to one of the most incredible sights that takes place from under one of our busiest streets every year. Underneath the Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge lives the largest urban bat colony in North America, and during "Bat season" which runs March to November, the bats take to the skies every evening creating a huge black cloud which heads east. There are lots of places you can see the bats - some like to stand along the sidewalk of the actual bridge, and the Austin American Statesman park down the ramp from South Congress Bridge gives a great view of the lake as they take flight. It might be a little early in the season but if you're lucky enough to see them fly then it's a really awesome thing to see while you're here in Austin. Make sure you check it out.

Curious George: As a first timer, Austin seems almost too cool to be a real place. I love how it is void of any well known chains and how each bar/restaurant has its own unique, independent vibe. This, for me, really sets Austin apart from any other American city I've been to.

The Lion that was at the centre of 18th Century coffee house culture is roaring again at SXSW 2017.
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