Austin FC has finally made it home.
The scoreboard may not have shown it, but the club made a splash in their home opener on Saturday, June 19 as they brought over 20,000 fans together to celebrate their debut.
Now, the club gets the chance to "build a fortress" in Q2 Stadium, as star player Brad Stuver said. With all of the new traditions, in-stadium information and watch parties every matchday, it's hard to know just what to expect on game day.
Luckily, Austonia's got you covered with an all-day gameday itinerary that touches on everything from parking to food at Q2 ahead of your next home match.
What to know before you go
First of all, if you're trying to watch the game live at Q2 Stadium, you'll have to scour the sites of ticket resellers like SeatGeek or VividSeats at up-charged prices. Tickets sold out on the Austin FC site almost instantly when they dropped in May. (But don't worry, we have watch party info if you didn't snag tickets.)
If you have tickets, you'll want to keep three things in mind as you plan your day:
- Q2 Stadium does not allow bags into the premises unless they are smaller than the size of your hand or medical or childcare bags. Pack light and pack accordingly.
- Q2 is a cashless stadium. Bring your card and download the Austin FC & Q2 Stadium app to streamline your ticketing and concession stand process.
- Plan to leave early, and figure out whether you plan on parking or using public transportation or rideshare ahead of time. We'll get to parking details later.
Scout out watch parties for pregame action
Austin FC has two main supporters' groups within the city: Austin Anthem, which is the longest-running club that hosted a 1,000+ member watch party for the club's season opener, and Los Verdes, a lively crew that features fan band La Murga de Austin.
Two breweries next to Q2, Circle Brewing (2340 W Braker Ln.) and Hopsquad Brewing (2307 Kramer Ln.) are the unofficial HQs for each group. Sometimes the clubs move to other locations, but both breweries almost always host events full of food trucks, live music and signature beers as the roar of the stadium echoes nearby.
Meanwhile, Austin FC hosts official watch parties around the city and often partners with sponsoring wing bar Plucker's. For the latest watch party information, check out Austin FC's Twitter a few days before each match.
For those looking to celebrate at your neighborhood bar across the city, check out Austin FC's 30+ member Pub Club. The club's pub partners have hosted smaller viewing parties for every match of their existence so far, and many come with special Austin FC drinks or promos.
Parking and transportation
Austin FC offers on-site parking to season ticket holders, while other fans can use Cap Metro or offsite parking to get to the first home match. (Austin FC)
Cap Metro is one way to get to the stadium with frequent services at their Kramer Lane stop about a half-mile from the stadium.
You can access the bus via the four routes with increased frequency near the stadium or find a Park & Ride stop to get to Q2 without the hassle of parking. For more tips on using Cap Metro, click here, and visit here for a complete gameday schedule.
The club has also mapped out walking and biking routes and a drop-off point for those coming in via limousine or rideshare apps.
For those parking at Q2 Stadium, the club recommends making parking plans before getting to the site. Austin FC has laid out three lots for those with special access.
- East lot via Aguilar Street: For season ticket holders with four or more tickets located in the Captain Morgan Club and Captain Morgan Club East Loges
- North lot via Burnet Road and Bright Verde Way: For season ticket members with four or more tickets located in the Lexus Club and Lexus Club West Loges
- Southwest lot via McKalla Place off Rutland Drive: For Suite Holders and Season Ticket Members with four or more tickets
Season ticket holders get an automatic parking pass with their purchase, and all other ticket holders should visit Pavemint to purchase offsite parking prior to getting to Q2 Stadium. Austin Police and traffic members will screen those with special access prior to entry.
For more maps and parking information, click here.
You're in! Beer hall, food and in-stadium information
Austin FC's Verde Queso was a competition winner for a reason, and it'll be featured at the stadium's iconic Queso Fountain. (Claire Partain/Austonia)
Once at the stadium, hopefully you'll have time to take in the sights, sounds and smells before the match.
Here's a few things to expect, from local food to craft beers on tap:
- The facility- Austin FC didn't skimp out on Verde & Black furnishings, and they prepped well for the sweltering Texas heat. Some of the stadium's 20,500 seats are made of breathable mesh to help with the summer warmth, and the entire stadium was built to trap a cool breeze that blows throughout the facility. Enter through one of four gates and witness plenty of local art and Austin FC sculptures.
- The Austin FC Beer Hall- will open its doors four hours before kickoff and will stay open about an hour and a half after, Austin FC President Andy Loughnane said. It'll feature 16 beers on tap, including an assortment of local craft beers. The stadium will also have two Michelob Ultra bars near the Northeast Gate and on the 300 level near the Premium Terrace and will host a Bulleit Bar on the Porch.
- Beverages- The stadium will be dotted with alcoholic offerings from Diageo North America, which includes Captain Morgan, Bulleit Whiskey, Ketel One, Don Julio and Crown Royal, as well as Anheuser Busch, Heineken, Dos Equis and Austin Eastciders. Non-alcoholic options include Coca-Cola Products, C4 Energy and Waterloo Sparkling Water.
- Local Eats- We could go on all day about the food offerings at Q2 Stadium—and we did. From Valentina's Tex-Mex BBQ to T'Loc's Sonoran Hot Dogs, Austin FC worked to represent Austin by partnering with 512 Food Co. and loading the stadium up with as many local eats as possible. For a complete list of food options, including the iconic Queso Fountain, click here, and check out Austonia's food reviews of a few of the snacks that will be available come gameday.
- The Verde Store- Still not stocked up on Verde merch? The club's multi-story Verde Store can help. Located on the north side of the stadium, the store is packed with more Austin FC merchandise than anywhere else. Austin FC said that gameday hours will vary, but regular hours are from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. every day.
- The supporter's section- The South Side of Q2 Stadium is dedicated to its most loyal supporters. Thousands of Los Verdes and Austin Anthem members who have been waiting since 2017 will finally get their moment, and they don't skimp out on noise. La Murga de Austin, the club's fan band, will provide drum beats, brass numbers and chants throughout each match, and the stadium is designed specifically to amplify their sound. Click here for five chants you should know before heading to the match.
What to know before the whistle blows
For those who haven't quite stayed up to date, here are some key highlights on the season so far and showstoppers on the roster.
After eight weeks on the road, the club racked up eight points in eight games toward their standings before their 0-0 home-opening draw That's not too shabby, according to Head Coach Josh Wolff, especially after a road stretch that saw multiple injuries and one and half games without Captain Alex Ring playing when he got a red card.
After a 2-0 loss to season opener LAFC, Austin saw their breakout win against the Colorado Rapids with a 3-1 victory. It was midfielder Diego Fagundez who got in the first goal for the club, and he celebrated by throwing up an "LV" in honor of Los Verdes. Fagundez scored once again the following week against Minnesota and has solidified a starting spot in the midfield. He's one of the scrappiest players on the field and he hustles every minute of every match.
Cecilio Dominguez was the other breakout star in the Colorado match, scoring two goals back-to-back in a span of just 10 minutes to clinch the game. Dominguez is one of two Designated Players for the club alongside Tomas Pochettino, and he's recently been the striker at the front of Austin FC's lineup.
After beating Colorado, Austin FC went on to a 1-0 victory in Minnesota before crumbling in Kansas City and losing 2-1 to Wolff's former team. The club struggled to find its footing afterward and suffered several injuries, but they still scraped up a few draws to close out the grueling road stretch before their home matches began.
Other players to know include winger Jon Gallagher, who has almost scored his first Austin FC goal several times, and goalkeeper Brad Stuver, who has wowed crowds with his highlight-worthy saves week after week.
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Austin's Delta 8 industry has been turned on its head after Texas health officials clarified that the cannabinoid is on the state list of illegal substances, though it was previously believed to be legal by most retailers, consumers and manufacturers.
House Bill 1325, which was signed in June 2019 by Gov. Greg Abbott, and the Farm Bill, signed into law by former President Donald Trump in 2018, legalized any hemp product containing less than .3% THC. The same bills were thought to have made Delta 8 legal, though the Texas Department of State Health Services added a notice on its website saying it was still a controlled substance as of Friday, Oct. 15.
Both the federal and state governments keep separate lists on what is considered a controlled substance. Marijuana is considered Schedule I, a category reserved for substances with "no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse," both statewide and federally.
Austin-based CBD retailer Grassroots Harvest CEO Kemal Whyte, like many CBD shop retailers, was blindsided by the announcement. Many small businesses rely on Delta 8 for their sales—Green Herbal Care CBD said about 90% of its sales come from Delta 8—and Whyte said he is frustrated by the inconsistencies in the drug scheduling system.
Since 87% of Texans support the legalization of marijuana, at least for medical use, per a recent poll, Whyte said he wonders who this legislation is for.
"It's gonna have a massive impact on small businesses—there's just no way around it," Whyte said. "The reality is, we don't want to push out anything bad for our customers, we want this to benefit our customers and to help them. If we can make money while doing it, that's the American dream. What are we doing, whose benefit is this for?"
Delta 8 surged in popularity after the perceived legalization—consumers enjoyed its lower psychotropic potency, decreased anxiety while using it and the peace of mind as a legal way to get high. So in order to protect their products and livelihoods, both Grassroots Harvest and Austin-based manufacturer Hometown Heroes are taking legal action.
Whyte said Grassroots Harvest is suing DSHS, saying their action is creating negative effects in the market. Meanwhile, a Hometown Heroes spokesperson said the company is in the process of filing a temporary restraining order that would pause the ban on Delta-8 in the state of Texas.
Threats against Delta 8 are not new—DSHS lost a lawsuit trying to make "smokable hemp products" illegal last year and Texas lawmakers had been considering a bill that would make Delta 8 illegal, though it was dropped after the clarification was made.
Hometown Heroes released a formal statement in response to the DSHS rule.
"I need to be clear—we love Texas, we're just choosing to fight for the will of the people in regards to cannabis in Texas," Hometown Hero CEO Lukas Gilkey said in a statement. "(Texas DSHS) are using backhanded ways to create legislation and go against the will of the people."
Whyte laments the fact that it would be easier legally to "open up a strip club that also sells guns," and said he can't post customer testimonials that mention the benefits of Delta 8 without getting hit with a cease and desist from the Food and Drug Administration. Whyte said he isn't opposed to regulation—far from it—he just wants to see it go through the correct channels.
"The fact that they're stunting our ability to communicate with our clients that want to learn about this, you're preventing us from communicating with them and teaching them, or spreading information that we know," Whyte said. "I think that that in and of itself opens up a lot of questions."
Grassroots Harvest still has Delta 8 products on its shelves for the time being but for how long, Whyte doesn't know.
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Austin Public Health and other clinics around Austin are now providing booster shots for all three vaccines, including Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, to fully vaccinated individuals after both Pfizer and J & J were approved by the CDC on Wednesday.
APH and Austin clinics, which were already administering the approved Pfizer booster, will begin distributing shots as soon as Friday.
Those who received the second dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine more than six months ago are elligble to receive a booster if they are over 65 or if they are over 18 and:
- Live in a long-term care environment
- Have underlying medical conditions
- Work or live in high-risk settings, such as schools, hospitals or correctional facilities
Austin-Travis County Health Authority Dr. Desmar Walkes said in a media Q&A Friday that APH is encouraging boosters just as much as they have urged residents to get their first and second doses.
"Boosters are incredibly important to keeping our community protected and hospitalizations low," Walkes said. "If we can stay on top of our vaccinations, we provide protections for our most vulnerable and make it that much harder for COVID to spread in our community."
Eligible residents are free to choose the same booster as their first doses or "mix and match," per the CDC announcement.
Those looking for another dose can simply bring their vaccination card to APH centers or the dozens of Walgreens and CVS locations in the metro, which began administering doses Friday.
Additional updated guidance from the CDC allows for all eligible individuals to choose which vaccine they receive as a "mix-and-match" booster dose. It is advised to remember to bring your CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Card showing the original doses with you when going for booster shots.
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