Credit: Liezl Estipona

A Race Fan’s Guide: 10 Things Not to Miss at the 2024 Grand Prix of Long Beach

Start Your Engines and Gear Up for an Exhilarating Weekend!

As if the beaches of Southern California weren’t exciting enough, there’s one in particular that gets a thrilling makeover every year as the iconic Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach roars to life. This annual motorsport isn’t just about heart-pounding competition on a temporary street circuit. It’s a full-fledged urban festival that ignites the city. Imagine Indy race cars screaming past palm trees, elite drivers battling for checkered flag glory and enthusiastic crowds cheering them on. Beyond the track, the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach explodes with vibrant entertainment, delicious food options and interactive displays that celebrate car culture and cutting-edge technology.

As an official partner of the event, Modelo will be out in full force to make sure attendees are well-hydrated amid the festivities. Modelo will be at the track with plenty of drink specials and giveaways for attendees every race day and into the night. Whether you’re a die-hard racing fan or simply out for a thrilling weekend getaway, the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach promises an unforgettable experience. Here are 10 things not to miss at this year’s Long Beach event!


1 | VIP Club Perks

There’s no better way to see a race than overlooking the pit lane with clear sight of the straightaway. Upgrading to the Pit Lane Club promises just that—incredible race views right below you with the gorgeous Long Beach waterfront in the background. Located at The Vista Club, seats here are canopied and elevated high above the action. If you prefer to be nearest to the track, then sign up for The Seaside Club, which positions you near Turn 9 in the high-speed back straight. And being part of these clubs means you’ll get limited access to the pit and paddock throughout the weekend. There’s even a VIP option for the foodies: join the non-stop party with the Bubba Gump Fountain Club. You’ll be settled in the Grandstands closest to Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., where complimentary buffets will be set up for breakfast and lunch. Be sure to check out the new, exclusive second-level Fountain viewing deck located just above the restaurant.


2 | Drink Specials

Credit: Stefanie Parkinson

The adrenaline that rushes when you watch a race is always accompanied by thirst. Modelo will be ready and waiting to quench it with their many offerings for a cold one (or a few!) throughout the weekend. You’ll be able to find Modelo at most track locations, including one in Marina Park (behind Grandstand 31) and another on the Promenade near the entrance to the Convention Center. You can expect to find Modelo featured at all locations inside the track, and stay on the lookout for the Modelo promo team, which will offer even more.

Local Insight: A Long Beach favorite, Gladstone’s, will be featuring a beer and breakfast burrito special on Saturday, April 20.


3 | Thunder Thursday

Grand Prix Long Beach
Credit: Happily Bearded After

If three days of race action isn’t enough for you, head to the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach kick-off party, Thunder Thursday, presented by Visit Long Beach. This event features motorcycle freestyle demos, pit stop competitions and endless rows of cool cars—you might even snag a driver’s autograph. Stop by the Modelo beer garden, set up by Auld Dubliner, to enjoy live entertainment with a beer in hand. Located at The Pike Outlets, this family-friendly event starts at 6 p.m. and goes until 10:30 p.m.


4 | Post-Race Nightlife

YouTube video

On all three days of the races—starting with practices, graduating to qualifiers and peaking with the Grand Prix itself—the event ends either with a public concert or a friendly competition. You’ll be out of the track well before bedtime and likely ready for a big post-race dinner. Head to Panama Joe’s for tacos or Legends Sports Bar for burgers, where you’ll be certain to find more Modelo specials for the taking. Then, let the rush of the races carry you to nearby nightlife—the neighborhood is home to jazz clubs, dance clubs and plenty of dive bars that will be celebrating the weekend in race-chic style.



5 | The Lifestyle Expo

Credit: Bleu Cotton

Head to the Convention Center between races to experience the Lifestyle Expo—over 270,000 square feet of automotive, home, recreation, travel and entertainment products and services on display. The Green Power Prix-View will showcase hybrid and electric cars, as well as energy-saving home products and healthy lifestyle products. Bring the kids to the Family Fun Zone in the Long Beach Arena, which features electric-powered cars for the youngsters. This is the perfect pitstop for ultimate fans who will have the opportunity to join Cooler Master for racing challenge simulators and a sim racing tournament. The Lifestyle Expo is an excellent destination for engineering enthusiasts, too, as they’ll be able to witness mechanics working and race cars from the circuit showing up for technical inspections. If you missed your chance for an autograph on the paddocks or at the parties, you’ll be certain to spot your favorite driver here.


6 | Historic Indy Car Challenge Race

Grand Prix Long Beach
Credit: IndyCar

The race geeks among us know the details: In 1984, Long Beach switched from Formula 1 to Indy cars. The inaugural winner was Mario Andretti, who later won twice more in Indy cars, only to be shadowed by Al Unser Jr., who subsequently collected six victories inside of eight years. Sanctioned by the Historic Motor Sports Association (HMSA), the Historic Indy Car Challenge Race will celebrate the history of the races throughout the weekend. Vintage Indy cars will take to the track for 20-minute races on both days, punctuated with the IMSA WeatherTech Championship race on Saturday, April 20, and the NTT INDYCAR SERIES race on Sunday, April 21. “For many, this will be a first-time experience, and for others, it will certainly bring back delightful memories,” says Grand Prix Association of Long Beach President and CEO Jim Michaelian. 


7 | All-Driver Autograph Session

Credit: Bleu Cotton

With the opening of spectator gates and a full day of practice races, the first day of the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach will set the stage for the weekend races. This is the day that makes it or breaks it for drivers—and also the perfect chance to secure an autograph. Open to all spectators, be sure to attend the NTT INDYCAR SERIES Autograph Session, where you’ll be able to meet stars like Scott Dixon, Josef Newgarden and Alexander Rossi. We hear that defending series champion Alex Palau and Valencia’s Colton Herta will make cameo appearances, too. This session will take place in the INDYCAR Paddock on Friday, April 19 at 5 p.m.


8 | Mothers Exotic Car Paddock

Credit: Joey Ikemoto

No race circuit is complete without having the chance to witness exotic sports cars up close and personal. Just shy of taking one for a spin, you’ll get to see the gloss and glamor of over 100 exotic sports cars on display at the event. On Sunday, April 21, enjoy these cars at Mothers Exotic Car Paddock located outside Turn 9. If brands like Ferrari, Porsche and Lotus get your engine going, then do not miss this spectacle.


9 | All-Star Jam Concert

Credit: Liezl Estipona

The Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach is called “Southern California’s 200 MPH Beach Party” for a reason: the party goes long after the races are over. On Friday, April 19, and Saturday, April 20, exit the track after the final race and head to the Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center Terrace Plaza for some live entertainment. The All-Star Jam Concert lineup includes internationally known musical acts, such as Gretchen Wilson, Eddie Montgomery and David Lee Murphy, as well as the event’s backing band, SIXWIRE. The shows are free to each day’s race ticket holders and available on a first come, first served basis. 


10 | Family Fun Zone

Credit: Joey Ikemoto

While the Indy race cars are reserved for the professional drivers, your little ones will have a chance to race in Lil’ Lightning Racers, too! The ever-expanding Family Fun Zone will include these electric-powered race cars for young kids who are ages 3-6. The area will also feature rock climbing walls, interactive games, video games and racing simulators. Located in the Long Beach Arena of the Lifestyle Expo, the Family Fun Zone will be open during race hours all weekend long.


Nearby Hotels

Let’s face it: you’ll need a nap and a good night’s sleep to make it through race weekend. Luckily, there are plenty of hotels within walking distance of the track. The Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach‘s official hotel is Hilton Long Beach, located right on Ocean Blvd. Other nearby hotels include the Hyatt Regency Long Beach, The Westin Long Beach, and the Courtyard by Marriott Long Beach Downtown. Book early if staying close to the track is part of your plans, but rest assured: there are also plenty of hotels within a short drive of the event area.

+ posts




Related Content

Skip to content