So you’re coming to Austin for F1, and that’s awesome! You will almost certainly have one hell of a good time. Every year I get a LOT of people asking for opinions of things to do, places to go, food to eat, and what to expect. So instead of writing 25 emails, I’m just going to make this post. Feel free to share, but keep in mind, these are my opinions, and I’m kind of a boring person so take that for what it’s worth. (Hint – Not much)
Meg and I don’t live downtown… We don’t go downtown that often because it’s a pain in the ass (parking, traffic, etc…) SO, if you’re staying downtown, you probably won’t find this very helpful. There’s lots of stuff going on downtown during F1 weekend, so honestly, just walk around. Austin is pretty damn safe, so don’t really worry too much about getting mugged or stupid crap like that. 6th street is the epicenter of crazy shit if you’re into getting hammered. They will have the roads closed off on the weekend so it’s pedestrians only. East 6th is also starting to become pretty hipster with lots of avocado toast options so if that’s your fancy, you’ll love it. Rainy Street is also a good place to get wasted.
If you’re gonna be exercising your liver’s capacity, take an Uber, or better yet, download the app Ride Austin which is essentially Uber but without the whole giving your money to an asshole CEO thing and giving more of it to the drivers. Or you can use one of those scooters, but please be careful and when you’re done, don’t be a dick – put it in a place where it’s not blocking the sidewalk.
Let’s start with food because, well, I love food.
If you’re coming to Austin for the first time, then you’re essentially required to eat some BBQ. Austin (and the surrounding area) is known to have some of the best BBQ in the world. And I agree. There’s an insane number of BBQ joints to try, so I can’t say I’ve tried them all or even a small percentage of them. But there’s a few I’m a big fan of and a few that are… Meh. Keep in mind it’s Texas BBQ, so brisket is king, ribs and sausage are your “side” dishes, and you might get something non-meat but I wouldn’t expect much. And to the locals reading this, I don’t give a shit if I missed your favorite BBQ place, please don’t email me to complain.
- Rudy’s – The Default – Consistently damn good, reasonably priced, multiple locations but I prefer the one on 620/2222. GET THE CREAM CORN and MOIST brisket.
- Franklin’s – The best but you REALLY gotta want it – Here’s the problem with Franklin’s, the line is just stupid. Seriously. If you want THE BEST BBQ in the world, then by all means, get up at 6am and get in line. You might be able to get some by 11am if they don’t run out.
- County Line – (2222 and 2244) – Solid BBQ, really good bread.
- Terry Black’s – Great option downtown
- Smitty’s Market in Lockhart – One of the original’s – worth the drive
- Salt Lick BBQ in Driftwood – Arguably worth the drive – Not the best BBQ but fun experience, well known
Other Restaurants I’m a fan of…
Not in the mood for BBQ (what’s wrong with you?!) then these are some of the places Meg and I tend to go to frequently. Note that we tend to mostly go to places in Northwest Austin and in the Domain because we live in that area. So if you’re not wanting to go to that area, well… Too bad. You wanted my opinion, here it is.
- North By Northwest (NXNW) – Cool brewery with good beer and solid food. Probably the place Meg and I go to the most
- Taverna – (Domain & Downtown) Italian – get the Spaghetti Carbonara
- Cru – good pizza, good food.
- Eddie V’s – (North & Downtown) Want a crazy good steak and OK with spending a few bucks… Get the Banana Fosters for dessert.
- Perry’s – (Domain & Downtown) GET THE PORK CHOP.
- Tomo – Meg and I’s favorite Sushi place – Tip – go on an off-hour if you don’t want to wait forever.
- Chez Zee – Cool place, insanely good desserts
- Frost – Gelato chain but oh yes, so very very good.
- Hopdoddy – North & Downtown – The best burger in town but the line is silly sometimes.
- Torchy’s Tacos – LOTS of locations – Damn good tacos.
- Kerby Lane – BEST breakfast in town served 24/7 at most locations.
- Cuba512 – Real Cuban food. Get the Lechon Asado!
- Siena – Hidden gem
- Andiamo – Another legit Italian place but oddly located in a strip mall? The bread is insanely good
- Halal Bros – Cheap and good Middle eastern food
Events & Cars stuff NOT at COTA
- Pistons at the Park – Sunday 11/3 @ 8AM Austin’s Park n Pizza – Local car show
- FCA F1 Reception – Friday 11/1 @ 7PM Austin Country Club – I will be there. If you’re an FCA member, you really should go.
- Ray Ban Scuderia Ferrari Celebration – Wednesday 10/30 @ 6PM Ray Ban in the Domain – It may be moved as there looks to be heavy rain Wednesday. I’ll be there if it’s not raining.
- Hot Rod Cruise in at Top Notch (Featured in the movie Dazed and Confused) – Saturday 11/2 @ 6PM
- My Yacht Club – Big fancy party – Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at 9PM
Getting to/from COTA and Parking
Driving to and from COTA will be terrible Sunday. It will be mildly unpleasant Saturday, and depending if it’s rush-hour, it could suck Friday as well. Just accept that it’s not going to be fun and be patient. If you are taking a shuttle or uber or something other than driving yourself, I can’t help you. I’ve never used those options so I can’t speak to how that works. I’ve always just bought a parking pass and drove.
Places to Stay
Wait, you don’t have a hotel/rental house/couch to crash on arranged? LOL! Good luck then. Here’s the thing about hotel recommendations… I live here. I’ve never stayed in a hotel in Austin so I have no clue what’s good and what’s not. Hotel recommendations from me are worthless.
Will I be at F1 this year?
No. I decided that the ROI for my channel is too low and the tickets cost too much. Nobody watches videos of cars racing so I stopped making them. Plus I’m heading out to SEMA & the FCA National Event in Scottsdale so I decided that was more important.
Can we hang out and have a beer?
Maybe. Totally depends on when and where, as well as if you’re a creeper or not. I will be at the Ray Ban Ferrari Celebration Wednesday and the FCA F1 reception Friday night. Those are probably the best opportunities to say hi. If there’s enough of you wanting to meet up, then perhaps we can figure something out like meeting at Josh’s shop to see the Testarossa and crack open a few beers.