On Sunday, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen nabbed his second world title at the Japanese Grand Prix, but now, the world’s most glamorous sport is heading back to the states. As A-listers and Formula 1 royalty alike ascend upon Austin for the US Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas, the city is erupting with action both on and off the track.
While the race itself won’t go down until Sunday, the days leading up are an event in themselves. From qualifiers and on-campus activations to the star-studded after parties and can’t-miss food scene, here’s our ultimate guide on what to eat, see, and do during F1’s reign over the Lonestar State.
Hit up the Red Bull Austin Fan Zone for local food trucks and a Racing Simulator
Top Formula 1 sponsor Red Bull is hosting a two-day Austin affair so fans (yes, even Ferrari devotees) can immerse themselves in the racing experience without actually stepping foot on a track. On Saturday, October 22 and Sunday, October 23—aka, the qualifiers and main event—the number one ranked team will have an authentic Red Bull competition car on display, racing simulators so you can cosplay as Verstappen, a Pit Stop Challenge, and watch party. Between virtual lapses, you can fuel up on local grub and grab a drink. Food trucks and a full-service bar will be available on site.
Red Bull is also teaming up with Cash App to provide perks. Users can snag discounts at the bars, fast lanes for the Pit Stop Challenge and Simulator, as well as branded hoppers outside the venue.
Make a pit stop at Soho House Austin to hangout with Patron
Earlier this year, Patrón was tapped as the first-ever official tequila sponsor of the F1 Paddock Club, and to celebrate its foray into the world of F1 racing, the booze maker is presenting a three-day partnership with Soho House Austin. The event also marks a first-of-its-kind venture for the exclusive, members-only club who will open its doors there for a weekend of bookable parties.
The buzzed-about Patrón Pit Stop festivities kick off Thursday, October 20 with a live karaoke party featuring Becky G and racing legend Sergio “Checo” Perez. Bravo stars Tom Sandoval and Tom Schwartz will jump behind the bar on Friday for a race weekend-themed bash out by the Soho House pool that will continue into Saturday. Patron will close out the weekend with the ultimate race day watch party to cheer on tequila partner Perez himself. You can snag tickets online now.
Eat your way through the Circuit of the Americas
It wouldn’t be an Austin weekend if we weren’t gorging ourselves on good food—and no we’re not just talking tacos and barbecue, but that too. Circuit of the Americas has announced its COTA Culinary Experience with over 20 restaurant and chef features littered across the campus. You’ll find Four Brothers and Shawarma Point at Bold Field, Culinary Cowboys at Turn 6, and Nacho Daddy around Turn 12. A comprehensive culinary breakdown just dropped on COTA’s site, so you can map out your own pit stops and avoid a case of hanger.
“From queso and Venezuelan eats, to Texas BBQ and Mediterranean, Austin has an exceptional food scene,” chief experience officer Courtney Young said in a statement to thriller.
Catch a concert near the track or celebrate into the wee hours at an after party
The Formula 1 Austin Grand Prix is more than just the race. The sport didn’t earn its upper-crust reputation for nothing. There’s a culture around it—and that includes VIP and VIP parties alike. Here’s the good news: you can be a “very important person” just by attending. Rock legends Green Day will take the stage Friday, October 21 to inaugurate the weekend with a performance on Circuit of the Americas Super Stage Festival Law. Ed Sheeran will continue the show on Saturday with his own set following qualifiers. Both performances are open to all ticket-holders.
Now let’s talk after parties. So, you spent the day tossing back Patron from the Paddock Club and you’re ready to keep the train going. Cash App & Visa are hosting two fêtes of their own with The Kid LAROI and Zedd headlining Friday and Post Malone Saturday. This is also where the Cash App perks continue. Cardholders will get $1,000 off VIP tables. VIP GA tickets are also up for grabs exclusively to members and include an all-night open bar with free food.
Continuing the success of the Miami Race Nights series from earlier this year, the Chainsmokers and Marshmello will appear at the Fairmont for a two-day Austin iteration on October 21 and October 22. Tickets are also a little more reasonable than those Cash App $1,000 tables too. The baseline GA option—which still includes a premium prepaid bar—starts at $150.
Celebrate Red Bull’s hot steak at one of the hottest spots in town
Fresh off Verstappen’s Japan Grand Prix win, Red Bull is sitting comfortably as the top-ranked Formula 1 team. Now whether it keeps that hot streak going, we don’t know. Here’s what we do know: we’ll be partying with the likes of Red Bull elites nonetheless. Sceney Austin nightclub Mayfair is hosting the after party of after parties following the race on Sunday, October 23 with “Call on Me” DJ Eric Prydz set to command the booth.
Swing by Club Cash App for a VIP viewing experience at Turn 17
Before and throughout the Grand Prix, Club Cash App is giving fans a trackside viewing experience at Turn 17—complete with free-flowing breakfast tacos, a drag brunch, and a Bloody Mary bar. Zach Bia will host a DJ set during the race on Sunday while you can also expect tattoos by Ganga. You can recharge with between race massages, Vitamin B12 shots, and other surprises that even we don’t know about.
So how does one get in on the action, you ask? The folks at Cash App are hosting giveaways on site and around Austin for General Admission ticket holders to score a spot at the tent. Plus, brand ambassadors will be passing out cold hard cash (like $60k worth) throughout the weekend at COTA.
Celebrate the 10th Anniversary of Formula 1 with cake and a 50-foot sprinkle pool
This isn’t just another Grand Prix. The Austin race also marks Formula 1’s 10th anniversary, which can’t be celebrated without a birthday cake. Fans can bag a slice for free and then hit up the Museum of Ice Cream’s 50-foot sprinkle pool for a few scoops to wash it down.
If sweets aren’t your thing—or you’d just rather a real buzz to the sugar kind—Monkey Shoulder scotch is turning an actual cement mixing truck into a makeshift functional cocktail mixer. I think we just need to see it to understand this one, huh?
Commemorate the experience with something permanent
F1 is planning near non-stop entertainment outside of the actual race, with monster trucks and Hollywood movie cars, live ice sculpting, ax throwing, you name it. But if you want to really commemorate the experience, you can do so with something more permanent. Lonestar Tattoo Saloon will be onsite to ink fans with traditional and F1-themed tats. Tell me to get a Ferrari tramp stamp and I will.
Now if the thought of permanently etching your skin with COTA flames isn’t your vibe, Link x Lou is also welding permanent 14k gold bracelets.
Megan Schaltegger is a news writer at Thrillist. She likes strong coffee, discussing celebs like they’re personal friends, and her dog, Marshall. She promises not to speak about herself in third person IRL.