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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There is a fearless declaration of the obvious in “Being Texan: Essays, Recipes, and Advice for the Lone Star Way of Life,” a book that invites its readers to recall the power and panache of the late Texas Gov. Anne Richards, before getting schooled on no less than twenty types of taco.
Released this month, “Being Texan” is the first of several Texas Monthly titles to come in the build-up to the magazine's upcoming 50th anniversary in 2023. It is divided into four sections: Identity & Culture, Town & Country, Arts & Entertainment and Food & Drink.
In the introduction, titled “What Does it Mean to Be Texan?,” Texas Monthly editor Dan Goodgame addressed the eclectic aspirations of the book, writing: “Our modest goal was to craft a well-informed, thoughtful sampling of the best the state has to offer.” To this humble end, forty-two editors were utilized to cover fifty-five topics, which tackle everything from the various dress codes that make up “Texas chic” to Selena’s ongoing appeal.
The resulting richness is all over the map, running from Texas Monthly Senior Editor John Nova Lomax’s frustration over the frequent mispronunciations of Texas cities (“From Amarila to Wad-a-loop”) to Oscar Casares’s bittersweet essay on Dia de Los Muertos in the time of COVID (“Souls of the Departed”).
The book goes from silly to serious fast, and the pace might unseat some readers who would otherwise just enjoy the ride of pride that comes from being reminded that Texas gave the world Cheetos, Fritos, Doritos, Dr. Pepper, Liquid Paper and the microchip.
So, in a book that switches from the state’s early instance on remaining a slave republic to a piece about collecting San Antonio ghost stories, it perhaps goes without saying that the essays on brisket and beer are the easiest to digest.
“Being Texan” does, in truth, contain some delicious and downright literary food writing.
Joe Galvan’s “Ode to the Raspa,” treats the summertime shaved ice staple as nothing less than a kind of edible ambassador of U.S. cuisine. “They serve as an important and necessary reminder of the fluctuating, imprecise words that American food inhabits,” he writes like some semiotics professor, before waxing poetic on how raspas embody childhood innocence as well as “the humidity of a July evening that finds itself at the bottom of a Styrofoam cup.”
But readers who are tempted to skim the section on “Strong Texas Women” or “The Evolution of Juneteenth” to get to Paula Forbes’ warning not to skip the processed cheese when slow cooking queso, will have missed out on some deep insight into what it means to embrace all the appealing and uneasy aspects of the state.
In “A Tale of Two High Schools,” Dan Q. Dao, details how, as a Vietnamese kid growing up in Houston, he employed the tropes of Texas culture as a tool of survival. “Perhaps out of a sense of self-preservation, I became enamored with the gilded mythology of Texas, from the folklore of the Alamo to the twang of country music. I wore cowboy boots, showed up for Friday night football games, and rarely missed a rodeo,” writes Dao, observing that: “Part of me believed that if I proclaimed my Texanness loudly enough, I would be spared the label of outsider.”
The dilemma of the homegrown Texas outsider is artfully explored in Skip Hollandsworth’s “Why McMurtry Matter,'' a meditation on the ironic popularity of Larry McMurtry, a writer who wrestled with his relationship to Texas--particularly the Hollywood myths and misconceptions that surrounded the state. Speaking about (to his mind) the perplexing success of “Lonesome Dove,” McMurtry said: “All I had wanted to do was write a novel that demythologized the West. Instead, it became the chief source of western mythology. Some things you cannot explain.”
There is much about Texas itself that seems hard to explain.
But David Courtney, a senior editor at Texas Monthly, does a good job of speculating on this rare amalgam of conservative pride and fearless experimentation that tends to run through the state, when he writes “Texans believe they possess something deep within themselves that sets them apart, and therefore they kind of do.”
Despite the surface-level accessibility of a book that addresses the cultural significance of Neiman Marcus and the extreme brand loyalty to Whataburger, “Being Texan” offers rare input regarding Texas and its citizenry, as well as handy advice for breaking in a pair of cowboy boots.
'Not a band, an experience': Musician Pete Monfre pushes the boundaries of making it in the music industry
In a city where live music is heralded above all else, Pete Monfre was surprised to find local musicians working for free that he quit the industry for 10 years in 2006.
Local musicians tended to be underpaid before COVID-19 sent the music industry reeling, but the fallout from the pandemic exasperated the existing problems. Musician and marketer Monfre knows—he’s been behind that shaking tip jar, trying to turn a profit while doing what he loves. He’s tackling the problem with a unique brand of live shows, which go against the grain, mix business with pleasure and help bring home the bacon.
The shows, called Stories from the Road, are an informal storytelling jam session at The Saxon Pub that encourages interaction between the artist and audience.
After a brief hiatus due to ongoing woes of the pandemic Stories from the Road came back to The Saxon Pub on Saturday. It was the first of 23 consecutive shows that didn’t sell out, which Monfre attributes to the break of not having shows.
“We called it Stories from the Road—not a band, an experience,” Monfre said. “We're not going to rehearse, we're not going to have a list, we're not going to prepare, every show is a one-off and you will never see it again.”
His shows start early at 6 p.m., with a rotating group of musicians playing blues or Americana who need not rehearse. This time it featured Mark "Kaz" Kazanoff on saxophone and harmonica, bassist Mark Epstein, drummer Kevin Hall and Adam Pryor on Hammond Organ.
You’ll probably end up spending a bit more than the typical show at the Saxon Pub, around $30 per person, but each show goes directly to supporting the artists that made it.
“Part of the mission was to advocate for fair wages for musicians and to help musicians understand their economic value,” Monfre said. “Now I can afford to pay musicians a modest guarantee and we call that the Fair Play approach to live music.”
Monfre moved to Austin as a young adult with the intention of “conquering the music industry” in 1981, which he told Austonia he did not do but did meet “a lot of interesting people.” He left Austin to tour for a few years, then moved to Milwaukee, where he continued to play music.
After returning to Austin in 2006, Monfre discovered some musicians were playing shows for free.
“I'm playing in Chicago and Michigan and hardcore blues places, and we don't play for free,” Monfre said. “So I actually quit for 10 years. There is no reason to play for free whatsoever if you just get the model right.”
Having already tried to conquer the music industry once, Monfre took a business-forward approach the second time. The model also caters to what he believes is an underserved group: working professionals who want to meet like-minded individuals but also be home by 9 p.m.
Chief Technology Officer for Economic Transformation Technologies David Smith, who has been coming to other Monfre shows since they started in 2016, said he enjoys the improvisational nature of the shows because it reminds him of old Austin.
“The Stories from the Road get back to the root of what music is: the fact that you can sit and jam, make music with musicians because they understand music, and that's the soul of Austin,” Smith said. “It really is a celebration of music.”
Monfre said the informality is what makes his shows so popular—you’ll hear the musicians ask the key for a song, take a request from the crowd, make a lighthearted jab at one another or create a song from scratch.
“They want to see the sausage being made, it's really funny I would have never thought it,” Monfre said.
Price (right) said he was happy the show ended early so he could make it home to Lampasas. (Laura Figi/Austonia)
“I am knocked out. It just really didn't get any better than what we just had—this band was so good, the crowd was so good,” Price said. “That's what Austin in the ‘60s and ‘70s was all about, just everybody throwing it together.”
Stories from the Road is returning to The Saxon Pub stage on Dec. 18, with a completely new group of musicians. The show, like always, will start at 6 p.m.
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The holiday season is upon us, so get ready to celebrate with carols, snacks and light shows galore. Austin is full of holiday festivities spanning throughout all of December so get out and enjoy the cool weather while it lasts.
Don't miss these nine holiday-themed light shows.
Austin's most famous annual light show and a Readers Choice of USA Today's 10 Best Public Displays of Holiday Lights, the Trail of Lights will be drive-thru again this year Nov. 27-Dec. 31. For 57 years in a row, the Trail of Lights has lit up Zilker Park with games, food, local vendors and more than two million lights gleaming for the holidays. The event, as always, is free to the public and you can reserve slots here. The Zilker Tree is already up, so you can already see it if the holiday cheer is too much to bear.
Coming back for the second year in a row, Peppermint Parkway will transport you to COTALAND, where six million lights gleam and Christmas is just a one-mile drive away. The hybrid event will have you drive through the display of lights, dancing elves and unique little villages before you hit the walking plaza, where you can grab a bite to eat and meet Santa. Tickets range from $40-$95, some including a lap around the COTA track, running from Nov. 26-Dec. 26.
Dreamland Dripping Springs has been transformed into a winter wonderland—running throughout the month of December, the venue's first-ever holiday display is taking over with activities for the whole family. Plus, running from Nov. 20-Jan. 4, a pop-up ice skating rink will really bring the holiday cheer for $10 or $5 Monday specials. The lights display will feature half a million lights and warm, festive sips from the taproom.
With events galore for the holiday season, winter is really when the Hill Country Galleria thrives. Starting with its Light Up The Plaza event on Saturday from 6-8 p.m., where visitors can see Santa, gaze at the official lighting of the holiday tree and hear some live tunes from rock band American Authors. The Galleria will also hold a holiday market every Thursday, Friday and Saturday leading up to Christmas Eve and periodic photos with Santa at Buenos Aires Cafe.
Deck the Halls at the Driskill Hotel
(Courtesy of the Driskill Hotel)
This holiday season, the Driskill will deck out every nook and cranny of the historic hotel from the grand staircase to the 16-foot Christmas tree in the lobby to be lit on a Dec. 1 ceremony that will be open to the public. Touches of Driskill festivities can also be seen at Dell Children's Hospital with a gingerbread village for its annual "Cookies for Caring" event.
Kicking off the lighting of the tree on Saturday, Dec. 4, Austinites will gather on the steps of the Texas Capitol at 6 p.m. to sing the 45-foot tree to life. Afterward, local band Los Coast will close out the night with a free concert. The fun doesn't stop there though as the Downtown Austin Alliance will host the Downtown Holiday Stroll, with "holiday passports" and stamps to collect for local restaurants and stores, and a Frida Friday Holiday Market at Republic Square.
Combining festive holiday lights and the beautiful native plants of Central Texas, Luminations at the Wildflower Center is back with thousands of lights, luminarias and a lit-up look at Fortlandia. This year will also feature an interactive light maze called "silvana" by Ben Busche of architecture firm Brut Deluxe, which will be the maze's first appearance in North America. The event will run Thursdays-Sundays from Dec. 2-Jan. 30 for $10-$25 per person.
Reserved tables are back for Mozart's Coffee Roasters annual Christmas Lights Show for $20 four-person tables and $30 six-person tables—so get your tickets early because these tables are likely to sell out. The light show will also feature a festival-style Bavarian marketplace for those last-minute gifts. If you're too late to reserve a table, don't worry, there will be standing room available for free so come one, come all, and come early for parking.
From Dec. 2-4, Old Settlers Park will light up with holiday displays, family activities, festive refreshments and live music. Watch the balloons hover above the lake as you sip on a hot chocolate or give to those in need, with stands for Round Rock Operation Blue Santa, which is taking toys for kids in need, the Play For All Foundation, which is accepting cash donations for disabled children, and the People & Parks Foundation, accepting cash donations for green space in the community. Admission to the event is free, along with most of the activities in the park.
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