If you’re looking a cool family-friendly(ish) and free show during SXSW, make sure to head over to the Hotel San Jose for South by San Jose (SXSJ). The festival, held in the parking lot of the hotel, starts every day at noon and runs through March 16.

IMG_20140313_123148The event is a fun mix of music, vendors, and concessions and happens to take place on one of the hippest parts of South Congress. I took my family to SXSJ today and we had a blast. While not necessarily a kids’ show, the open air (non-bar!) atmosphere makes it a good spot to bring your little ones and watch a quick show.

My only caveat for parents is that the music was really loud. Kids will definitely need ear plugs for this one. Fortunately, we had ear plugs and headphones and stayed off to the edges near the vendors so we were able to enjoy ourselves, but without something to dampen the sound, your kids probably won’t be happy. The only other con for parents is that parking in the area can be a challenge on a regular day, and even more so during SXSW, so make sure to plan ahead and be prepared to walk a bit once you find a space. There’s load of cool stores in the area so even if you have to walk down South Congress there’s lots to see along the way.IMG_20140313_122048

On the plus side, even as the crowd got bigger there was still plenty of room to move around and some cool vendors to visit. You can also grab a coffee from Jo’s and take a pic at the famous I Love You So Much graffiti on the side of the building while you’re there. So, while I wouldn’t recommend bringing babies, older kids and parents can catch some cool live music and get a taste of SXSW at SXSJ.

The line up for the rest of the week:

Friday, March 14:

Saturday, March 15:

– Ava

Ava Love Hanna is a writer, performer, and mother of a super awesome 6-year-old. She loves exploring Austin’s best kid-friendly places with her husband and son. Read about her adventures in writing, parenting, and being obsessed with Doctor Who at avalovehanna.com.