September 22, 2022

Extend Your Stay: The 10 Best Things to Do After the U.S. Grand Prix

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Austin, TX – The 2022 Formula 1 United States Grand Prix (USGP) is just one month away! If you haven’t already, it’s time to plan your stay for the party of the decade: The 10th USGP to be held at Circuit of The Americas (COTA) and COTA’s 10th birthday.  

While the Austin Bergstrom International Airport is conveniently located just a few miles from COTA, the Monday following race weekend is notoriously is one of the busiest days at the airport every year.  For the best travel experience, COTA recommends extending your stay in Austin until Tuesday, October 25 or Wednesday, October 26. COTA is just one of Austin’s many gems—there is so much more to explore in the Live Music Capital of the World! 

To assist with your planning, COTA has secured special discounted rates for USGP attendees with various local hotels and created a list of awesome ways to experience the fastest growing city in America.    



Rather than spend time waiting on delayed flights or sitting on the tarmac, here are our suggested Top 10 ways to spend time in Austin: 

Spend a day on the water boating, paddle boarding, tubing, or swimming 

Austin is home to a large network of rivers and lakes and has many options when it comes to water sports and activities. Near Downtown, paddleboard, kayak or canoe on Lady Bird Lake or take a dip with the locals and head over to Barton Springs Pool. Experience the cool natural spring water which sits at a constant 65-70 degrees year-round.  

If you are looking for a full day of sunshine and swimming, rent a boat or a barge with friends, BYOB, and check out scenic Lake Austin or Lake Como-esque Lake Travis. For the more adventurous souls, rent a few tubes and float down the San Marcos River, only an hour away in a beautiful tree-covered setting.   

Wine & Dine in Fredericksburg 

Looking to have a little getaway within a getaway? Rent a car and drive out to Fredericksburg, TX, known for its beautiful and scenic wineries. Only an hour and a half away from downtown Austin, enjoy wine tasting, unique culinary experiences and a quiet but stunning hill country atmosphere at Pontotoc Vineyard or Messina Hof Hill Country.  

If you’re looking to stay in the area, visit Vaudeville, a New American bistro, for dinner and tour the adjacent art gallery. Or if you want to feel like a local, check out rustic steak and seafood restaurant, Cabernet Grill, and enjoy local wine and that signature country ambiance.  

Explore the city’s best eats (and drinks) 

Austin consistently appears on many different foodie travel lists for its amazing barbeque, authentic international cuisine, unparalleled fine dining, and myriad of creative cocktails. 

It will take more than a weekend to experience it all! If you’ve decided to embark on a BBQ tour, make sure you hit: 

Terry Black’s (catch their free pit tour!), Cooper‘s BBQ (downtown with outdoor seating behind the building), Salt Lick (three locations around Austin), Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew (old Austin ranch feel north of the city), Franklin’s (famous for 6am lines and selling out early), or Interstellar BBQ (casual, down-and-dirty eats in northwest Austin). 

If you’ve had enough BBQ from Lonestar Land at COTA, Tex-Mex might be the move. Matt’s El Rancho creates made-with-love masterpieces in south Austin near Polvos, the experts of blending Austin and Mexican vibes. Downtown, Ranch 616 and Cisco’s Bakery & Bar bring excellent flavor with plenty of attitude in both food and décor. La Mancha lays in north Austin serving the queso of your dreams in an open, biergarten-type layout that makes it easy to feast all night long (though it does close at 9pm). 

Be sure to explore more restaurant options on Visit Austin’s website. (We highly recommend brunch at Fixe or Pool Burger and a cold beer at Central Machine Works!) 

Shop ‘til you drop: A Day at the Domain 

Inspired by all the unique fashion at the Formula 1 USGP? Check out Austin’s 5-star shopping at the Domain, as well as some of the best eats, bars and experiences in town. Start the day by visiting shopping staples like Mejury, The RealReal, Reformation, Chanel, and Louis Vuitton. Refresh yourself with a visit to Drybar and get a well-deserved blowout. Interested in seeing more cars? Visit the Tesla showroom and learn all about the electric car revolution.  

Need to eat to fuel for shopping? Enjoy brunch at CRÚ Food & Wine Bar with fresh ingredients to complement your mimosa selection. Or, once you’ve worked up an appetite, grab lunch at Blue Sushi Sake Grill for the ultimate sushi experience with responsibly sourced seafood and bold flavors. For more a fun Happy Hour experience, bowl into Punch Bowl Social with craft cocktails and games galore. Is it already late? Mozy over to Wonder Bar for awesome secret photo ops and their one-of-a-kind disco ball beverage.  

Activities & experiences for that famous Austin vibe  

Looking to get a round of golf in before leaving Austin? Visit ShadowGlen or Morris Williams public golf courses with their own unique challenges and designs. Only looking to play nine holes? Butler Pitch n Putt offers a unique Austin experience of nine par-3 holes as well as putting, chipping greens, and a beer garden on the south bank of Lady Bird Lake.  

For the non-golfers, check out Bouldin Acres for an elite pickleball experience including food trucks and delicious cocktails, or let out some steam and visit Urban Axes an axe-throwing bar where you can BYOB! 

Find out how we ‘Keep Austin Weird’ 

Austin is becoming a new technological hub in the U.S., but the city can’t bear to let go of its unofficial motto, “Keep Austin Weird.” See how the capital is adapting the digital to fit the curious at Austin Wonderspaces, an immersive and interactive art show with a full bar. Or catch some tech in Austin’s best green spaces at Field of Light, a dazzling production of lights across acres of fields at the Texas Arboretum. 

Looking for a little weirder? Explore The Cathedral of Junk in south Austin – a one-man operation started in 1988 that encompasses this city’s love of the strange and the fascinating. Make sure to call ahead. Fortlandia will also be open for another year in the Luci and Ian Family Garden, ready to transport you to imaginary worlds through a collection of forts built by different designers.  

Finally, get in the Texas spirit with free two-steppin’ lessons the Tuesday after Formula One weekend at the Little Longhorn Saloon, “the honkiest tonkiest beer joint in town.” For more wild, wacky, and uniquely Austin events, be sure to check out Lite+Brite ATX, the inimitable weekly e-newsletter providing introductions to the not-normal. 

Experience the diverse hiking and walking trails around Austin 

Part of Austin’s unique vibe comes from the city’s commitment to green spaces, with plenty to explore for all levels of activity. Stroll the family friendly 10-mile loop in the middle of the city on the Ann and Roy Butler Hike-And-Bike Trail at Lady Bird Lake – home to plenty of paddleboard rentals and three rowing teams. Hike the Violet Crown Trail which currently consists of three different paths. Future plans for the trail are set and will connect all three paths for a full 30-mile trail from Zilker Park through the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center down into the scenic hills of Hays County, so make sure to see the OG this trip. 

Head to west Austin for Emma Long Metropolitan Park, located on Lake Austin and featuring camp sites, swimming areas, boat ramps, and delightfully fresh air. Mount Bonnell is another gem above Lake Austin. A quick half mile trail will bring you up to one of the highest points in Austin with wonderful views of Lake Austin and the city skyline. Pennybacker Bridge, also known as the 360 Overlook, divides Lake Austin between the city side and the Lake Travis side while offering one of the most iconic photo opportunities in the city. 

Discover Pease Park as a closer alternative for downtown visitors hidden along Shoal Creek by North Lamar Boulevard. With new features including a splash pad, basketball courts, and a giant hammock, Pease Park offers family friendly outdoor space and activities. 

Explore art and museums found across Austin 

Walk through the Blanton Museum of Art or the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum to discover the influences behind Austin’s culture. Both the Blanton and Bullock are on the University of Texas at Austin’s campus, so don’t miss the chance to see where the pride and winning traditions of the Longhorns take place. If you are staying further downtown, the Contemporary – Jones Center and Austin’s Public Library are two more locations worth exploring for their fantastic architecture, hidden secrets, and connections to the city. 

Spend the day on yourself: Spa Day 

With a 3.41-mile racetrack and Texas heat, The Circuit of The Americas is no easy task. Congratulate yourself on a race well-watched at one of Austin’s many spas. If you’re staying downtown, relax at milk + honey, Verbena Spa at The Proper, or Viva Day Spa. Go northwest for Miraval Austin Wellness Resort or Lakeway Resort and Spa and explore the blue waters and breath-taking cliffs of Lake Travis. Lakehouse Spa is just on the other side of Mansfield Dam, overlooking the lush greenery and private hills on a turn of Lake Austin. Finally, make your escape from the capitol at Carter Creek Winery Resort & Spa in Johnson City for a unique blend of boutique booze and muscle-melting massage.  

Do Nothing Day: Just take the day off! 

The aftermath of USGP thrills is sure to require a well-deserved rest day. Relax after the long weekend with a little self-care Monday? Work remotely, enjoy the pool, Binge Formula 1: Drive to Survive on Netflix, and recover from all the 2022 USGP exhilaration.  

Visit for a full list of available hotel rooms with discount codes and offers. Questions about travel and transportation during the USGP weekend at COTA can be directed to: [email protected]     

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