- Eric Moreno
Q2 Stadium – Austin FC
Photos by Eric Moreno, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.86
Q2 Stadium 10414 McKalla Place Austin, TX 78758
Year Opened: 2021
Q2 Stadium – Austin FC
In 2018, after the relocation of Columbus Crew SC to Austin proved unsuccessful, Major League Soccer (MLS) announced they would award an expansion franchise to the state capitol of Texas in time for the 2021 season. Construction began on the stadium, located in the North Burnet area of the city, and was completed in time to host Austin FC’s inaugural season.
The home opener took place in June of 2021, and both the team and their home have proven to be an immediate hit with the fans in Austin, routinely reaching capacity for their home games. Q2 Stadium was designed to be sleek, modern, and inclusive, as well as to embody the spirit of Austin and its inhabitants – that mission was accomplished.
Food & Beverage 5
Great thought and care was put into the design of Q2 Stadium, and this was especially true for its concessions. There are numerous concessions stands on the main concourse, including two chain restaurants with Austin roots in Double Dave’s Pizzaworks and Pluckers Wing Bar. While you can’t go wrong with a slice of pizza or an order of wings while you take in a match at Q2, these are hardly your only options – far from it in, in fact.
Two of the main food groups that Texas is known for – tacos and barbecue – are well represented at Q2 Stadium. Texas chain Tacodeli has a large stand near the northwest gate, but you can also look for One Taco and Casa Chapala, as well. For your nachos fix, Hot & Loaded Nachos and Queso Fountain have you covered, pun intended. For ‘cue, Slovacek’s, 512 BBQ, and Valentina’s BBQ have smoked meat offerings for you.
In keeping with their mission of inclusion, Austin FC has numerous vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free concessions options at most stands, including the aforementioned taco stands. Q2 Stadium also has a Beer Hall and numerous bars and beer stands (look out for local favorite Easy Tiger’s carts with their massive soft pretzels). Also, proving they’re not only about adult beverages but have tried to be as inclusive as possible, Yeti has a free hydration station for fans needing a water break on those hot Austin nights.
In terms of cost, this is an MLS event. In other words, big-time sports in a big-time city, so you can expect to spend applicable prices. As an example, a standard burger and fries combo that can be found at the Oak Hill Grill will run you $15. However, in terms of the quality of food you’ll get at Q2 Stadium, you’re getting what you’re paying for. Also, bear in mind that the stadium is currently a cashless facility, so that will need to be taken into consideration when you go to pay.
I’ve been to quite a few professional soccer matches over the years; granted, nothing overseas or in Latin America, but this was my third MLS event and honestly Q2 Stadium far exceeded any of my previous stops by leaps and bounds. Since it is still early in its infancy, having opened only in early 2021, it still retains all of its newness and uniqueness.
However, and again this is going to be a running theme, great care was put into the design of the stadium, from ensuring accessibility to incorporating the team’s color (green…it is literally everywhere and can be seen on everything) and imagery (the team’s symbol is the live oak tree) and all of that adds to the overall atmosphere at Q2 Stadium. For example, whenever Austin FC scores a goal, the lights in the stadium all glow a magnificent emerald green color, which is truly something to see.
There are three premium clubs, the Captain Morgan Club, Lexus Club, and Q2 Field Club open to attendees (with the proper tickets and/or credentials); some of the clubs stay open up to an hour after Austin FC matches. Outside the stadium, there are also two main areas for live events – H-E-B Plaza and Live Oak Park; these tend to be areas for live music and fan gatherings prior to and after Austin FC matches.
Inside Q2 Stadium there are also plenty of options for fans to load up on Austin FC merch. There are four main shops, including the massive Verde Store (which can also be shopped online), as well as numerous pop-up kiosks. It’s not hard to see why so many fans are kitted out on in green and black at Austin FC games when the team is still so new.
Austin is a fantastic city, period. It is great to visit for a day, for a weekend, or for a week. No matter what your age or your interests, you’re going to find plenty to do to keep you occupied both before and after Austin FC games. Q2 Stadium itself is in north Austin in an industrial area of the city. However, the venue is not far from the downtown/capitol/university area of the city, which is the tourism and entertainment hub of Austin.
If you are looking for culture, museums such as the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum, which tells the complete story of the history of Texas from prehistoric times to today, to the LBJ Presidential Library, which tells the story of native Texan and our nation’s 36th President Lyndon Baines Johnson, are found in downtown Austin. If the outdoors are more your speed, Lady Bird Lake should satisfy you. This 416-acre reservoir of the Colorado River greets visitors entering Austin on Interstate 35, and is a beloved natural landmark for residents. It offers hiking and biking trails (there are bike rentals offered throughout the area), while kayaking, paddle boarding, and rowing are also allowed.
For dining and hotel options, this area of the city is going to be your best bet when attending games at Q2 Stadium, but there are also options in the area for before/after the game. For dining, CAVA is a Mediterranean restaurant that allows you to completely customize your order (either bowls, salads, or pitas) and create something unique with fresh and authentic ingredients. For a more upscale, sit-down affair, Andiamo Ristorante might be what you’re looking for. Ravioli ai funghi, penne con salmone, and cacciucco are just some of the fare offered. If you’re looking to stay in the area, two mid-priced hotels are within a short distance of the stadium, if you would prefer to stay close by on match night: the TownePlace Suites by Marriott Austin Northwest/The Domain Area and Hilton Garden Inn Austin North-Near the Domain.
Like most soccer clubs and football teams, even though they are still in their earliest of days, Austin FC has cultivated a die-hard collection of supporter groups. The Austin Anthem, Los Verdes, the Oak Army, the Burnt Orange Brigade, and more all occupy the south end of the stadium. All decked out in scarves and kits in green and black, they can be seen – or heard, more accurately – banging drums and chanting and cheering from the opening seconds to the final ones.
The team is currently enjoying a regular string of sell-outs in their new stadium, which is to be expected. This wave of early goodwill will have to be built upon with success over time, but for now, Austin FC is the proverbial only game in town outside of the University of Texas, and the fans are showing their support in full force.
For now, if there is one area where Q2 Stadium still has some room for improvements, it is in terms of access. As mentioned, the stadium is in the northern area of the city; this puts it 17 minutes from Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, which is not bad at all. However, as you make your way toward the stadium, there really is only one thoroughfare to drive down on Burnet Road, and this tends to cause some traffic issues.
If you are driving to games, there are multiple parking lots to park at; fans are encouraged to pre-purchase their parking passes for games, however. CapMetro, the city’s public transportation system, does have a bus line that drops off and picks up near the stadium, and by the start of the 2022 season there is a plan in place to have a light rail light stop at Q2 Stadium. Offsite parking can be had, as well, depending on how willing fans are to walk, for as little as $15-$20. Ridesharing is also encouraged.
Return on Investment 3
Single-game tickets for Austin FC matches, depending on the day, start at around $45 per person. For a brand-new team playing in a brand-new stadium, this seems right on the metaphorical money in terms of cost. Plus, the team has already proven such a hit with the local community that they are already waitlisting people for season tickets.
Parking, like everything else at Q2 Stadium, is cashless and will run you between $25 and $55 depending on the lot you choose to park at onsite. With concessions running what they are, Austin FC games could run a pretty hefty tab, especially if you’re bringing the family. I will say the experience is pretty incredible, but you will need to be prepared to spend at Q2 Stadium.
In terms of extras, unlike many other teams, Austin FC has not yet gone the route of creating add-ons to attract fans, especially younger ones. For example there isn’t yet a kids club or costumed mascot, and since they are a brand-new franchise, there is nothing yet in terms of any kind of Hall of Fame or anything to honor the players and teams of the past.
Right now, Q2 Stadium is all about the experience itself. There are a few places set up to take photo ops or selfies (make sure to look for the Austin FC kit wearing grizzly bear near the south entrance) that are always popular with fans. The rest of the traditional extras might come in time, but for now, enjoy the experience.
So as I’ve said, I’ve been to quite a few soccer matches over the years, but I’ve never been to any that matched the level of excitement that I witnessed at Q2 Stadium. Austin FC has built a great fan base, so far. It was truly an unexpected experience for me and something I can only compare to as akin to a big-time college football atmosphere. If you’re a sports fan, this is one you should definitely add to your sports bucket list.
Follow Eric Moreno’s Stadium Journey on Twitter at @EricMoreno6477. Visit Eric Moreno’s writer’s portfolio site at ericmoreno.contently.com.