The Ultimate Guide to Formula 1 Grand Prix in Austin

From concerts to fan activations, here’s everything you need to eat, see, and do during the race weekend.

US grand prix racing
Courtesy of US Grand Prix
Courtesy of US Grand Prix

The 2023 Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas promises a weekend full of so much more than racing—though there’s going to be plenty of that as well. In addition to Sunday’s big race, you can expect to see a ton of music, Texas charm, fan experiences, and food all weekend long.

The Formula 1 race will take place between October 20 and 22, about 45 minutes away from downtown Austin. Here’s what you need to know about all the fun you can find around the track.

Major Music Performances at F1

On Friday night, The Killers will be performing on the Germania Insurance Super Stage, as the first night of a weekend full of high profile performances. On Saturday, Queen and Adam Lambert will perform in a pre-race night bacchanal on the same stage. After the race on Sunday, Tiesto will perform.

Additional performances across the four stages at the race grounds will include TheBrosFresh, Sir Woman, Mobley, The Tiarras, and many more. You can check out the complete lineup, including performance times and stage instructions, on the COTA website.

The Germania Insurance Super Stage Festival Lawn gates, which can be accessed by entrances at Turn 9 and near Tunnel 2, will open about an hour and a half after racing and other on track activities end each day.

Courtesy US Grand Prix

Off-the-Track Activities at F1

Whether you’re interested in making friendship bracelets at Grand Plaza, trying to stay on a fully equipped bucking bull at the Turn 2 Saloon, or watching Luche Libre matches at Turn 6 La Cantina, there’s quite literally something for everyone. At La Cantina, there’s also chances to add your own touch to the Paint-By-Numbers mural and listen to live mariachi performances.

Over in Lone Star Land, you can get permanent jewelry from Link x Lou or take it a step further and get a tattoo at Lone Star Tattoo Saloon. There’s also a Texas Shoot-out, and award-winning Texas barbecue.

At ONEderland, located on the Turn 9 bridge, there’s an extreme pogo show, a comedic shoot-out show, stilt walkers, and trick ropers. There will also be dragon braids by hair extraordinaire and social media sensation Gabana Dahillia, LED dancers, and Formula SAE Collegiate cars. It’s the most circus you’ll find at an F1 race.

Finally, over at the Main Grandstand the Circuit of Americas Shops will help you pick up a ton of custom race gear to commemorate the weekend — a great option for people not ready to permanently tattoo their race experience on to their bodies.

You can check out the high-res map below for more details about each turn, or explore the interactive map online.

Food and Drink at F1

Whether you want pizza or Thai food, you’re vegetarian or are hoping to stuff yourself full of Texas brisket, there’s a meal option for you. At the Main Grandstand alone there are 14 food and beverage options, with more options at every turn. There are also offerings at the Germania Insurance Super Stage, Lone Star Land, Fan Field, and Grand Plaza. For a complete list of offerings you can refer to the map above.

The entire event will exclusively have Pepsi — so that means Starry instead of Sprite.

Us grand prix crowd at the race track
Courtesy US Grand Prix

Important Race Weekend Logistics

There are a few important things to note about Circuit of the Americas. One of the biggest ones is that the race schedule is a bit different compared to other F1 races. Instead of Saturday being the qualifying day, Austin qualifiers will take place starting at 4 pm CT on Friday. Saturday will feature the sprint races, and then Sunday will be the Grand Prix, starting at 2 pm.

The fan track walk will take place at 4 pm on Sunday, after the race finishes.

You can access the racetrack by car or by shuttle — the shuttles will pick up from downtown Austin, southwest Austin, and northeast Austin. The three day shuttle pass is between $89 and $129, depending on pickup location and includes roundtrip transportation. This is a great option for anyone who doesn’t want to have to navigate the chaos of parking or rideshare pickups.

More Fun Things to Do in Austin

Once you leave the track and head back to your hotel, the fun doesn’t need to end. There’s an endless supply of fun to be had in Austin. Thrillist has you covered on where to eat, drink, and dance while you’re in town that weekend.

Want more Thrillist? Follow us on Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and YouTube.

Opheli Garcia Lawler is a Staff Writer on the News team at Thrillist.