Austin

The Austin skyline    

Your survival plan for South by Southwest, the annual film-and-music bonanza taking place this month:
(1) MAKE A PLAN. With hundreds of bands playing over five nights, picking your spots can be tough. Big names reliably play Stubb's Bar-B-Que (stubbsaustin.com), and be sure to check out the roots scene at the Continental Club (continentalclub.com). Schedules are released in early February; information available at sxsw.com.

(2) FIND A HIDEOUT. The three-month-old Hotel Saint Cecilia is the latest from local hotelier Liz Lambert. Handmade Swedish beds and in-room turntables almost justify the rock-star prices (doubles from $315; hotelsaintcecilia.com).

(3) GRAB A BITE. Think Texas, think barbecue. Our pick: Ruby's, for the oak-smoked brisket (rubysbbq.com).

(4) RIDE AWAY. That Austin has some of the best mountain biking in the Southwest is an open secret. One top trail is the Barton Creek Greenbelt, a 7.5-mile limestone-riddled roller coaster. Find rentals and trail info at Bicycle Sport Shop ($30 per day; bicyclesportshop.com).

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