Axios Austin

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It's Monday.

🌀️ Today's weather: Partly sunny, with a high near 66.

πŸ€ Situational awareness: Texas women's basketball snagged the No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, bringing March Madness to the Moody Center for first and second round games.

  • The Longhorn men's team earned a No. 7 seed in the Midwest Region and will play either Virginia or Colorado State in the first round.

πŸŽ‚ Happy birthday to our Axios Austin member Jose Bethancourt!

Today's newsletter is 885 words β€” a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: Projecting the eclipse's impact

<span style="display: block;text-align: center;">Path of the April 8, 2024 eclipse</span>
Data: NASA; Map: Erin Davis/Axios Visuals

In just three weeks, Central Texans and thousands of visitors will crane their necks up toward the sky to get a good look at the total solar eclipse.

Why it matters: The April 8 natural wonder is expected to bring an extra 1 million tourists to the Austin area on an already busy weekend, with the Capitol 10,000 race and CMT Music Awards scheduled for Sunday.

The big picture: Areas in the path of totality have been competing for attention from eclipse chasers traveling to see the solar spectacular β€” Northwest Arkansas, Cleveland and Indianapolis are all drawing tourists.

  • San Antonio officials have been marketing to eclipse visitors for years, Visit San Antonio chief marketing officer AndrΓ©s MuΓ±oz tells Axios.

What they're saying: Visit Austin officials haven't been "actively marketing" Austin as a destination to see the eclipse "because we already anticipate the city will see an influx of visitors," Visit Austin's Wesley Lucas tells Axios.

By the numbers: The tourist bureau does not have an economic impact estimate, but downtown hotels are averaging 77% occupancy for Saturday through Monday night, Lucas said. Citywide occupancy rates are around 68%.

  • On Sunday night alone, downtown hotels are averaging 78% occupancy, compared to about 55% during Sundays in April 2023, according to Lucas.

Zoom in: "Hotel average daily rate is pacing to be 29% higher than 2023 for early April timeframe over the eclipse," Lucas said. "Strong signs point to increased visitation and tax revenue for April 2024."

What's next: Locals should plan for crowds, busy roads and airport delays.

  • Officials have encouraged people to shop, fill prescriptions and get gas in advance.

The bottom line: We're about to learn how much all the solar eclipse hype translates into real dollars spent in Austin.

Small towns brace for boom

2. Where to watch the total solar eclipse

Dripping Springs is preparing for the solar eclipse with a set of larger than life glasses on display at Veterans Memorial Park. Photo: Suzanne Cordeiro/AFP via Getty Images

Austin will experience a total solar eclipse for the first time in over 600 years, with the next one coming in 2343.

  • It's time to make plans for April 8.

How it works: The closer you are to the path of totality, the longer you'll experience darkness as the Moon's shadow passes over the Earth.

  • Head to the Hill Country to spend more than four minutes under the Moon's shadow. Towns like Fredericksburg, Llano, Marble Falls and Burnet will all experience more time in darkness than the Austin area, which will see closer to two minutes.

State of play: From state parks to viewing parties around town, there are plenty of options if you want to see the eclipse from beyond your backyard.

  1. The Long Center and Simons Foundation will host a free event from 11am-3pm at the Hartman Concert Lawn with a visual storytelling experience hosted by Radiolab's Molly Webster.
  2. The University of Texas will have an eclipse viewing party on campus from 12-3pm, with 16 Sun spot locations. Most classes will be suspended from 1-2pm.
  3. The Austin Public Library will host viewing parties at each location. Check the website for details on specific locations.

The bottom line: You can watch from anywhere in Austin or Central Texas to get a good show. Just make sure you have solar eclipse glasses.

πŸ“¬ Tell us: Where are you planning to watch the eclipse?

  • Hit reply to this email.

More ideas

3. 🀠 The Roundup: Wrangling the news

Anne Hathaway embraces co-star Nicholas Galitzine at "The Idea Of You" world premiere during SXSW on March 16. Photo: Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images for Amazon MGM Studios

Longtime Austin radio personality David Anderson died of cancer last week. He was 73. (Austin American-Statesman πŸ”’)

🎬 Bastrop film studio developer Alton Butler said he sees Texas as the next Hollywood. Construction to build out eight studios could start by next month. (KVUE)

🍿 South by Southwest wrapped this weekend with a packed premiere of "The Idea of You," starring Anne Hathaway and Nicholas Galitzine.

"You have no idea the gift that you've just given us with your responsiveness, by being so connected to every little nuance in this. I will never forget this screening."
β€” Hathaway, to the crowd at Paramount Theater

4. Social calendar

You have about two weeks left to catch Broadway's "Wicked" at Bass Concert Hall. Photo: Nicole Cobler/Axios

South by Southwest is over. Here's what's in store this week.

🐎 Find bull riding and live music at the final week of Rodeo Austin. Tickets are available online.

🎭 Defy gravity at a performance of Broadway's "Wicked" at Bass Concert Hall. Showtimes through March 31. Tickets are available online.

πŸ’ Stay up late with the Wildflower Center on the first night of Tuesday Twilights, included with regular garden admission. Each Tuesday will feature live music, food trucks and take-and-walk adult beverages for purchase through May 14.

πŸ“– Learn how to make a zine at the Central Library and participate in a community zine related to Women's History Month from 5:30-7pm Wednesday. Free and recommended for ages 18 and up.

🀠 Two-step at the White Horse with performances by Spud Sims, Modern Don Juans and Jason James on Thursday evening. $10 cover.

5. πŸ€ 1 awesome NBA performance to go

Victor Wembanyama, right, blocking the shot of Mikal Bridges at the Moody Center last night. Photo: Ronald Cortes/Getty Images

Victor Wembanyama, the Spurs' rookie phenom, put on a show last night at the Moody Center, notching seven blocks, along with 33 points, 15 rebounds and 7 assists as the Spurs edged the Nets in overtime.

Why it matters: Wemby's impressive Austin performance β€” replete with an alley-oop reverse dunk β€” comes just as the Spurs are trying to extend their brand in Central Texas.

The bottom line: You couldn't take your eyes off Wemby as he willed his mediocre team to victory.

Thanks to Chloe Gonzales for editing and Kate Sommers-Dawes and Yasmeen Altaji for copy editing this newsletter.

🫒 Asher felt a little sheepish in the press box last night after he burst into applause following this Wemby drive.

πŸ¦‰ Nicole is listening to this podcast about the ways animals respond to total solar eclipses.