There’s something happening at the Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix 2019. Not the cars – we all know about that – but something else.

During the four-day race, which will take place at Albert Park from March 14 to 17, you’ll find a variety of bustling precincts specialising in almost anything you could want during a long weekend: international food, crafty cocktails, speciality cooking demonstrations and genre-hopping live music.

Whether you want to sip drinks lakeside, gaze at the city skyline, or party through a DJ set or two, it’s all possible. You might even rub shoulders with the likes of Lewis Hamilton and Daniel Ricciardo.

Here are our tips for the weekend.

Food trucks and pop-ups
M-Lane and F1 Central are beefing up their slate of mobile eats this year, adding smoked meat gurus Black Bear BBQ and woodfired pizza from Happy as Larry. Those vendors will join returning champions such as St Kilda Burger Bar, Biggie Smalls, Royal Stacks, Miso Fresh, 8 Smoked Inches, Twisted Fisherman and frozen drink purveyors Refresher Truck.

Beyond the buzzing food truck circuit, don’t miss a special pop-up from Crown Casino’s San Antone, which will be bringing mouth-watering smokehouse meats to the F1 Fan Zone. And nearby on Champions Gateway, premium bar The Albert will show live race footage all weekend on superscreens, while the lakeside pop-up bar Water’s Edge is designed to keep you cool. (Both bars will offer DJ sets all weekend.) In the heart of M-Lane, you’ll find the ideal spot to take the perfect Melbourne skyline selfie (if you’re in need of some mid-race grooming or a make-up touch up, hit up the pop-up barbershop or Jade K Beauty Bar).

Coffee culture
F1 Central throws down the gauntlet with the Global Barista Challenge, a lively series of competitions ranging from a “testing” session on Thursday and qualifying rounds on Friday, to the main competition on Saturday and a grand Sunday showdown that’ll decide the very top talent. Master classes in latte art will be open to the public on Thursday and Saturday. And Sean Edwards, managing director of Cafe Culture International, will be guest speaker for this year’s Cafe Talks, explaining how cafe owners can nail the perfect balance of elements across the board.

Live music
Jamaican-American rapper and reggae star Sean Kingston will headline Fox FM’s returning RNB Friday, anchored by American rapper Kid Ink and Australian DJs Horizon and Rojdar. But save some energy for Saturday, which sees popular DJ export Hot Dub Time Machine collaborate live with Dan Mac (Art vs. Science) and rising singer-songwriter Samsaruh – with party-starting support from Furnace And The Fundamentals, Nite Theory and DJ Eve Speciall. On race day, veteran Adelaide alt-rockers The Superjesus will bridge the gap between the ’90s and today.

Cooking demos and workshops
If the indulgent spread of barbeque and smoked meat gets you inspired in the kitchen, check out the array of workshops and demos each day. Get educated on the specifics of both barbeques and smokers, learn how to cook different styles of meats on different cookers and load up on samples along the way. Chefs will be on hand all weekend to demonstrate and celebrate the versatility of meat, including Jay Beaumont, founder of the Port Macquarie Blues & BBQ Festival.

Circus and stunt shows
If you think all the frenetic excitement will be limited to the racecourse, think again. Melbourne’s globetrotting Strange Fruit Circus Show, which incorporates theatre and dance into its performances, will make your stomach drop with daily aerial performances incorporating their five-metre-high signature sway-poles. And the Wheel of Steel Stunt Show will defy gravity with feats of gymnastics, aerial stunts and acrobatics.

There’s a reason the Australian Grand Prix attracts crowds from around the world. Aside from the main event, it makes for an exciting day out with things to see and do off the track. Car fanatic or not, it’s worth checking out this autumn.

This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix 2019.