5 Stops for Sports Fans in Austin
Some Texas stereotypes get just a little exaggerated. We don’t, for example, all ride horses, wear cowboy hats, or have our own personal oil wells pumping away in the backyard. But our well-documented love of sports (especially football) is real and intense, even though Austin does not boast any national sports teams itself. While the city has its fair share of fans rooting for the Dallas Cowboys, Houston Astros, or San Antonio Spurs, Austin’s collective heart is devoted to the Longhorns. Since 1893, we've been hooked on the University of Texas’ Horns, and on football Saturdays, the town seems painted in UT's colors of burnt orange and white. And, like our fellow Texans in big cities and small towns throughout the state, we're also pretty crazy about high school football. But there are other games in town—even the recently adopted Summer X Games—and Austinites will probably be happy to strike up a conversation with you about any of them.
UT football at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium
Even if you're not a football fan, taking in a Longhorns home game here is unforgettable, from the massive tailgating scene to the many game-day traditions, like singing “The Eyes of Texas” and flashing the Hook ’em Horns sign. If you’re visiting during the off-season, you can still take a guided tour of the 100,119-capacity stadium.
Outside of cheering in the stands at DKR-Memorial Stadium, enjoying some beer, brats and barbecue with the burnt-orange masses at Scholz Garten is the most quintessential Longhorns game-day experience you can have in Austin. In fact, the venerable biergarten and restaurant, founded in 1866, is even older than UT football itself.
Football at Westlake High School
If you’re in Austin during the fall, any high school game will give you a real-life Friday Night Lights experience. One of the area’s leading programs is at Westlake High School, where you might see a future NFL player in action. Some proof: New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees and Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles are both former Westlake Chaparrals.
Round Rock Express baseball at Dell Diamond
About 23 miles north of downtown Austin, the Dell Diamond is the home of the Round Rock Express, the Triple-A affiliate of the Texas Rangers. Texas baseball legend Nolan Ryan and son Reid Ryan are co-owners of the team. Dell Diamond boasts tasty food, fireworks after Friday games and a play area for kids.
Circuit of the Americas
Since 2012, Austin has been host of the U.S. Grand Prix, the only Formula 1 race in the U.S. Built for F1, the COTA track also hosts other racing events throughout the year, and will again be a venue for the Summer X Games in 2015. You can take tours here on weekends.