What is there to do in Austin when the track goes cold and you’re no longer trying to use the Mullet of the Americas as shelter from the rain? A ton of things, actually. Here’s our list of the Formula One-related events taking over Austin this weekend.
Like last year’s list, we’ve limited this to events geared towards gearheads because there’s so much going on in Austin at any given time. Do512 and the Austin Chronicle both have exhaustive listings for concerts and other community events if you’d rather use the time to take a break from things that go vroom.
One of the more famous venues — Austin City Limits Live at the Moody Theater — will host Snoop Dogg and Lionel Richie over the weekend, but fair warning: tickets start at $94 and $95, respectively. Elsewhere, there’s all kinds of fantastic and wonderful stuff going on this weekend ranging from a dance party in a roller rink to an Austin Symphony concert set to Looney Tunes.
We’ve also limited this list to the most accessible events that are open to the general public, although Austin Race Events has information on a few more of those more exclusive parties if that’s your jam. Likewise, Circuit of the Americas has a few of their own parties hosted both on and off site that you can check out here.
All events listed in chronological order in local time (CDT). Most of these are free, although we’ve listed cover prices and suggested donations where applicable.
Private collectors Howard Jacobs and Darren Jack amassed one of the largest collections of F1 legend Ayrton Senna’s race-worn items in the world over 20 years of collecting. The Senna collection of everything from race car parts to helmets and gloves will be on display to the public for the first time in downtown Austin. More information on this unique collection can be found here.
WHERE: Circuit of the Americas’ Downtown Paddock (304 E. Cesar Chavez St.)
WHEN: Thursday, October 22 from 3:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.; Friday, October 23 and Saturday, October 24 from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.; Sunday, October 25 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Fan Fest is COTA’s biggest party, only it’s not at the track—it’s all over downtown. Most of it is centered upon Rainey Street this year, which consists mostly of old houses converted into bars and restaurants. Fan Fest’s biggest stage is on Rainey, featuring artists including Public Enemy, Elle King and Ozomatli. If you’d rather see a smaller show, they have an entire list of participating venues from Scoot Inn to the east to the Belmont on the west. Even Toy Joy is offering a free souvenir this year if you stop in (and Toy Joy is one of the most interesting stores in Austin, so that one’s worth the trip). There’s always interesting F1-related activities and exhibits along with all the shows as well. A full schedule and list of artists and venues can be found here.
WHERE: Centered around a main stage on Rainey Street, but spread all over. See here for full venue list.
WHEN: For main stage concerts: Thursday, October 22 from 5:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.; Friday, October 23 and Saturday, October 24 from 5:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m. For all other side shows and events, see full schedule here.
The Fan Forum is a giant fan question and answer session with some of the most interesting figures in F1. Drivers Alexander Rossi, Nico Hülkenberg, Daniel Ricciardo, Esteban Gutiérrez, Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa will be in attendance as well as Günther Steiner, team principal of the American-based Haas F1 Team that’s set to enter the sport next year. Go forth, and pick their brains. Seats for the Q&A session to end all Q&A sessions are on a first-come, first come basis, but it’s in a much larger venue than in previous years, so that should help. For more information, see here.
WHERE: Rainey Street, on the COTA Fan Fest’s Bud Light Stage.
WHEN: Thursday, October 22 at 7:00 p.m.; doors open at 6:30 p.m.
NBC pit lane reporter and F1 journalist Will Buxton hosts a big party for charity every year, and this time it’s benefiting both the Justin Wilson Children’s Fund and Meals on Wheels and More of Austin. Door prizes including F1 memorabilia will be given away, and guests include several current F1 drivers and other motorsport personalities. For more information, see Will’s post here.
COST: $10-20 suggested donation
WHERE: Rattle Inn (610 Nueces St.)
WHEN: Thursday, October 22 at 7:00 p.m., with the first guests on stage at 7:30 p.m.
This isn’t strictly car-related, but is related to all of the Fan Fest events, so we’ll add it here, anyway. While POP Austin will have a free mini-exhibit in COTA’s Grand Plaza during the race weekend, their big show is off-site at Fair Market. Works from both local Austin artists and others around the world will be on display. Thursday features a special exhibition called “Illumination” featuring light-based works. For more information on featured artists and exhibits, click here.
COST: $40 per day with multi-day packages available. Tickets can be purchased here.
WHERE: Fair Market (1100 E. 5th St.)
WHEN: “Illumination” opening night party on Thursday, October 22 from 8:00 to 11:00 p.m.; rest of show continues Friday, October 23 through Sunday, October 25 from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. each day.
You should go to this one, for obvious reasons. Weekend editor Alanis King and I will be there. Also, there are nachos, and nachos rule. More information here.
WHERE: Posse East (2900 Duval St.)
WHEN: Friday, October 23 at 8:00 p.m.
J. Espinosa will DJ this F1 afterparty, complete with cocktails for drinking away any Renault-related woes that may be on your mind. 21+ only. More information here.
COST: Free with RSVP through Do512
WHERE: The Market (319 Colorado St.)
WHEN: Friday, October 23 at 10:00 p.m.
Red Bull swaps venues for their second afterparty of the weekend, moving on to the Container Bar, which is just what it sounds like: a bar made out of shipping containers. It’s located on Rainey Street just down from the Fan Fest main stage. Four Color Zack will DJ. 21+ only. More information here.
COST: Free with RSVP through Do512
WHERE: Container Bar (90 Rainey St.)
WHEN: Saturday, October 24 at 10:00 p.m.
Wait out the traffic, will ya? It’s Elton. Freaking. John.
COST: Free/included (however you want to view that) with F1 admission
Austin 360 Amphitheater (the stage at the base of the “Mullet of the Americas” tower at the track) Infield stage by turn 9
WHEN: 5:30 p.m., right after the Formula One race
Did we forget anything? Add your shindig in the comments below.
Photo credit: Getty Images
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