For the fifth year in a row, Formula One rolls into Austin for the United States Grand Prix hosted at Circuit of The Americas. While Austin is no stranger to hosting big-time festivals and world-class events, F1 brings with it a certain kind of international glamour. As a way to welcome out-of-town guests (and give the locals a little love, too), we've prepared a simple guide for getting the most out of your F1 weekend, beginning with Friday's festivities through Sunday's big race.
Where to eat
Before you head to the racetrack, make a pit stop at Pitchfork Pretty for brunch. Though this relatively new restaurant offers a variety of delicious dishes, we suggest splurging on the fried chicken. On the brunch menu, it appears as part of the Caldo de Pollo Frito, a chicken and cabbage broth with red chile, topped with fried chicken and vegetables.
Leaving the track in time for happy hour? Grab a seat at the beautiful Grizzelda's bar and order up a Grizz Mizz, the restaurant's take on a classic margarita.
If you're feeling peckish after a day at the races (or you're entertaining a few European friends in town for the festivities), swing by Justine's Brasserie for a decadent evening. Order a charcuterie board, a bottle or two of Bordeaux, and soak up the sexy atmosphere. Pay close attention and you may see a few F1 drivers sipping bubbles at the table next to you.
How to get there
Didn't get a rental car reservation? No big deal. Want to leave the car at home? We're with you. For you out-of-towners, Uber and Lyft have finally returned to Austin after a year-long hiatus. Though, in the spirit of keeping it local, consider downloading the app for Ride Austin, a local nonprofit rideshare.
If you're staying downtown, the COTA shuttle bus leaves from the Austin Convention Center (Fourth and Trinity streets) and drops passengers off at McAngus Lot, a 15-minute walk from the COTA entrance. Tickets can be purchased from the driver for $20 each way or can be purchased in advance for a discount. Passengers with limited mobility can be dropped off directly at the front entrance for $50 each way.
Those wishing to skip the traffic altogether can arrange for a helicopter drop off through HELO Austin. Passengers can take off from HELO's private airport at 10301 FM 969 or arrange for an in-town departure through their hotel concierge. Call 512-350-5102 for more information.
Where to party
The list of Formula 1 parties is considerably smaller than in past years, but luckily Austin has no shortage of places to take a victory lap.
Hosted by veteran NBC Sports reporter Will Buxton, this party promises a slew of special guests and giveaways. One hundred percent of the $10 ticket go directly to Susan G. Komen Foundation. Thursday, October 19 at Clearport (516 E. Sixth St.). Doors open at 7 pm, $10 at the door.
Blu Party ATX
For the third year in a row, My Yacht Club joins Blu Party ATX for what promises to be a star-studded, Champagne-filled extravaganza. The $150 individual ticket price gets you access to the dance floor and two floors of DJs and the cash bar. Table service, which ranges from $5,000-$8,000 per night, comes complete with bottle service and lounge seating. October 20-22 at Moonfire Lounge/The Vaughn (310 Colorado St.). Doors 9 pm, tickets $150-$8,000.
If there is one thing Austinites pride ourselves on, it's knowing where the party is and welcoming pretty much anyone to join in. During past Formula 1 festivities, we've seen celebrities at Jo's Downtown Coffee and chatted with F1 drivers at the White Horse. Oh, and don't forget Pete's Dueling Piano Bar. It's considered a favorite among the Formula 1 set and was where Lewis Hamilton and the Mercedes team celebrated his Formula One world title in 2015.