Food, fans and futbol: Everything you need to know before heading to Q2 Stadium on Austin FC gamedays
The biggest party in Austin is almost back at Q2 Stadium!
Attending a match with over 20,000 fans can seem daunting for a new member of the scene, especially after a thousands-strong crowd already showed their Verde pride in a preseason match in a draw to Liga MX champs Atlas FC on Wednesday, Feb. 16.
But Austin's first major league pro team is also its most inclusive, and each match is a testament to the city's history and community spirit.
From gameday fashion to parking tips, check out our one-stop guide to the Austin FC matchday experience ahead of the club's second season, which kicks off against FC Cincinnati at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 26 at Austin's Q2 Stadium:
Each section provides a unique experience—and nearby food and drink options—at Austin FC's Q2 Stadium. (Q2 Stadium)
Still scrambling for a last-minute ticket? If you're not a season ticket holder, it might seem tough to snag a spot at Austin's season opener. But despite the hype, tickets are still available for the Saturday match starting at $44.
If you're looking for beer showers and nonstop action, search for the more elusive supporters' section tickets. Tickets are slightly more limited in this area due to the constant excitement stirred up by fan clubs Los Verdes and Austin Anthem and fan band La Murga de Austin.
Fans of opposing teams tend to gather around the upper level around Section 228, so avoid that unless you've got an opposing club's jersey. Otherwise, tickets from around the stadium are sure to provide different snapshots of the big game.
Austin FC tickets are powered through SeatGeek. You can download the app, or buy tickets on their website here.
Aside from decking out in Verde, there are a few rules to know before reaching Q2:
- First, leave your cash at home. Q2 is all cashless.
- The stadium is not BYOB, so leave outside food and drinks at home too.
- Bags larger than your hand, professional cameras, selfie sticks, air horns and other materials are also banned. Click here for more info.
- Do charge your phone before the match and download the Austin FC app. You can use it for everything from ticketing to parking info and paying for in-stadium food and drinks.
Q2 fashion: what to wear on gameday
You can't go wrong with an Austin FC jersey fit on gameday. (Austin FC)
With such a prominent signature color, it'd be a crime to not wear some Verde come gameday.
Here are a few tips for your gameday fit:
- Check the weather beforehand. Q2 Stadium is outdoor, though it's designed to stay coolish during Texas summers. Austin's season will open on a gloomy Saturday with chances of showers and temperatures peaking at just 42 degrees.
- Matchday outfits range from casual sportswear to dresses, suits and even Verde face paint, so don't worry about being too bold. Wear comfortable shoes if you plan on touring the stadium or standing throughout the match.
- For the freshest fit to date, check out Austin's minty clean Sentimiento jersey, which was released as the club's secondary outfit earlier this month and offers a more minimalist look.
- If you're looking to dress like a Day One fan, check out season one's white "Legends" jersey or the classic Verde and Black-striped home jersey—it was voted the team's drippiest kit by Austin FC fans in our latest poll.
- If you're still looking for something green, check out the on-site Verde Store at the north of the stadium before the match. It'll be stocked up with the latest merch but may be crowded on game day. Normal hours run from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. every day, while the Verde Store's Congress location is open from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 12-5 p.m. on Sundays at 506 Congress Ave.
A guide to matchday public transportation to Q2 Stadium. (Cap Metro)
Now that you've got Verde on and swapped an air horn for your foam finger, you're ready to take on a more daunting task: getting to the stadium.
Although Austin FC fans have come up with creative ways to make it to game day, our recent Twitter poll shows that most still choose to park.
Stadium parking passes can be found here, but be prepared to pay a pretty penny—home opener passes start at a cool $60. Have your pass ready on your phone before you enter the North, East and Southwest lots.
For more affordable parking, check out Pavemint, which offers spots in offsite lots surrounding the stadium with single-match and season parking passes. It's also common to see crowds of people walking from The Domain or other farther lots as they head to the stadium.
Many fans also try out public transportation through Cap Metro, which is speeding up its gameday process this season. Four routes, including the MetroRapid 803, MetroBus 3, MetroBus 383 and MetroBus 392 will drop off in front of the stadium as often as once every 10 minutes. MetroBus 392 is slightly slower with drop offs every 30-35 minutes between Q2 Stadium and Tech Ridge Transit Center.
If routes to Q2 aren't available near you, you can also park your car and catch a bus at four Park & Ride locations including the North Lamar Transit Center, Pavilion Park & Ride, Tech Ridge Park & Ride and Westgate Transit Center.
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 more maps and parking information, click here.
Pregame and watch party action
Last night was 🔥🤪 pic.twitter.com/n1moYpROBY— Los Verdes (@LosVerdesATX) February 13, 2022
Those Texas-sized beers tend to go for Texas-sized prices inside Q2, but have no fear: local breweries are always ready for Austin FC traffic within walking distance of the stadium.
Grab a brew at Hopsquad Brewing (2307 Kramer Ln.), the home of Los Verdes, or the Austin Anthem HQ Circle Brewing (2340 W Braker Ln) to get some pre-game hype.
Due to a cold weather forecast, outdoor festivities including live music performances have been canceled at Hopsquad for the home opener, but the party will still rage on at both venues in the warmth of the indoors.
Weather permitting, both breweries will stock up on food trucks, live music and even Austin FC-centric beers for each game as the roar of the stadium echoes nearby.
You're in! What to eat, buy and look for inside Q2
Once at the stadium, hopefully, you'll have time to take in the sights, sounds and smells before the match.
Here are a few things to expect, from local food to craft beers on tap:
- The facility- Enter through one of four gates, which open 90 minutes before the match, and witness plenty of local murals as you scope out your spot in one of the stadium's 20,500 seats. Everything will be Verde, including most people you see lining up in front of each gate.
- The Austin FC Beer Hall- Open four hours before kickoff, it stays open about an hour and a half after. It features 16 beers on tap, including an assortment of local craft beers. The stadium also hosts Michelob Ultra bars, a Bulleit Bar and plenty of places to grab a Dos XX.
- Beverages- Expect offerings from partner Diageo North America, which includes Captain Morgan, Bulleit Whiskey, Ketel One, Don Julio and Crown Royal, as well as Anheuser Busch, Heineken, Dos XX and Austin Eastciders. Non-alcoholic options include Coca-Cola Products, C4 Energy and Waterloo Sparkling Water.
Food, food and more food
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.
Austin FC's Diego Fagundez is a favorite on and off the pitch. (Austin FC/Twitter)
Not up to date on last season? No need to fear—lamenting about last season's disappointing nine-win season will help you fit in quickly. The club finished second to last in the MLS' Western Conference for its first season last year, and the season came with peaks and valleys that were not reflected by the team's ever-present fans.
But that won't happen again this season, according to head coach Josh Wolff, who told Austonia he expects the team to make playoffs this season.
The club has had a mixed bag of results in preseason, including a 4-0 win over the Dynamo and a 1-1 draw to Mexican league champions Atlas FC as well as losses to Toronto FC and Chicago Fire FC. Each match was a chance to tweak the lineup and test out the club's eight new players, including:
- Maxi Urruti, a former Houston Dynamo striker
- MLS veteran midfielder Felipe Martins (he just goes by Felipe)
- Norwegian center backRuben Gabrielsen
- Kipp Keller, Austin’s No. 1 MLS SuperDraft pick of 2022
- Colombian midfielder Jhojan Valencia
- Ethan Finlay, an experienced MLS winger
- Left back Charlie Asensio, also picked in the SuperDraft
- 19-year-old keeper Damian Las
To get even more in the know, check out Austonia's one-month out report for a predicted starting lineup, club culture and more must-have information on the second-year team.
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Timmy and Tommy are ready to play.
As the 2-month-old white-and-tabby brothers swat feather wands, chase toys and generally hold court inside Purr-fecto Cat Lounge, a half-dozen potential adoptive parents look on lovingly, trying to get their attention.
“This is kind of like the speed dating of cats,” said Lupita Foster, owner of Purr-fecto Cat Lounge. “I intentionally didn’t put in any tables. That’s why we call it a lounge instead of a cat café because we have these lounge areas where you can sit and relax and cuddle.”
Foster, who has owned a cleaning company, Enviromaids, for 18 years, was inspired to open Purr-fecto Cat Lounge after adopting her own cat, Romeo, from a local shelter.
“When you want to adopt a cat, you have to spend a lot of time with them to get their personality,” Foster said. “I wanted to do something to help the community and something that makes me feel good, that warms my heart. A business with a purpose. This was a perfect idea.”
Actually, a purr-fect idea.
Inspired in part by a cat lounge she visited in Los Angeles, Foster began laying the groundwork for the business in late 2021 and officially opened the doors of Purr-fecto Cat Lounge, located at 2300 S. Lamar Blvd., in July 2022. Since then, she’s worked with rescue organizations such as Fuzzy Texan Animal Rescue and Sunshine Fund Cat Rescue to facilitate nearly 100 cat adoptions.
At any given time, there are 10-15 cats living in the space, which features an ideal blend of calm, cool corners and adorably Instagrammable backdrops with phrases such as “I want to spend all my 9 lives with you.”
Lina Martinez, 32, learned about Purr-fecto Cat Lounge from a friend’s Instagram post and made an appointment to visit two days later.
“My first impression was, ‘AWW!’” Martinez said. “The kittens were to die for. I felt happy and at peace – just what I needed.”
Visitors to the cat lounge pay $15 for a 30-minute CATXperience session or $30 for a 70-minute session that is spent getting to know the personalities of each cat. Foster said the first thing she typically sees from visitors to the lounge is a smile.
“Everybody that enters the door is smiling,” she said. “And we’ve seen people who have cried because they can’t have kids and they decide to go and adopt a cat instead.”
Foster said she loves bringing in cats who might not have a chance to be adopted at traditional shelters. She told the story of one cat named Izzy, who was partially blind, who was adopted by a family that had a deaf cat at home.
“Izzy was not going to get adopted anywhere else, but she’s extremely beautiful,” she said. “If she was in a cage in a rescue and you tell people she’s blind, she was probably going to be overlooked. But visiting our space, she doesn’t seem like she’s blind. She knows her way around. She moves around perfectly.”
Although Martinez, who had been casually looking for a pet to adopt since moving to Austin nearly four years ago, was interested in a cat named Ruby that she had seen on Purr-fecto’s social media, at the lounge she instead found herself drawn to 5-month-old mixed breed Tuxedo cat.
“I thought he was a star,” she said. “He worked the room and introduced himself to everyone. When I laid down to pet Ruby, he ran from the other side of the room and cuddled with me. It was game over. He got me.”
And she, of course, got him, complete with a commemorative photo that read “My Furrever Family” the day she took him home. Although his original name was Emmanuel, she renamed him Sullivan after her favorite DJ.
“Purr-fecto is special because of the amount of effort and love they put into taking care of the cats,” Martinez said, “and finding them good homes and making possible adopters feel at home.”
Foster, who spent a recent Thursday hosting a group of teenagers in foster care at the lounge, several of whom expressed interest in working there, said the best part about her new endeavor is that her heart is always full.
“I just feel complete,” she said. “I always felt as an entrepreneur that I was missing something. I knew I accomplished a lot, but in my heart I was missing a little connection with the community. Now I’m creating connections between humans and pets and that’s amazing. I’m creating family bonds. It’s just about love, you know. And we need that.”
We all have those cravings for an amazing butter chicken or some authentic dosas with coconut chutney, but when I was thinking about where I wanted to go to satisfy my taste buds I realized that my list of great Indian food around Austin was surprisingly short. After doing some research and asking around, here is your list of the best Indian restaurants around town.
This restaurant claims to have the most authentic South Indian food, and from what I've heard, the claims might be true! Their menu features the traditional South Indian dishes of Idlis, Vadas, a variety of Dosas, and more.
If you're looking for an Indian and Tex-Mex fusion cozy restaurant, then look no further! Nasha on East 7th Street prides itself on its specialty margaritas, Tikka con Queso, Biryani, and more creative dishes!