Once a small out-post on the frontier to the West – a resting place for herdsmen and cattle making their way along the Chisholm Trail to the markets – today Fort Worth is a flourishing metropolis and a destination in its own right. This innately Texan travel spot holds its ‘Cowtown’ roots close to the heart of everyday life, but with time has garnered contemporary appeal and today a city of ‘cowboys and culture’ sits waiting to be explored. Authentic Honky Tonk and live weekend Rodeos, blend with world-class art, theatre, shopping, dining – the ‘to do’ list goes on and on. Not sure where to start? We have created our selection of the best sights, activities and experiences for the cultured, modern traveller.
‘WHERE THE WEST BEGINS’
Steeped in heritage from its original rancher days (the Longhorn is an enduring symbol of Texas), no visit to Fort Worth would be complete without a bit of buckaroo. If you’re visiting in January or February, get tickets to the legendary Fort Worth Stocks Show & Rodeo, otherwise start at The Herd, a twice daily cattle drive through the town where the frenetic beat of hooves and the clink of spurs transport you to a bygone era, unearthing some of the mystique around cowboy life. Then let your inner child come out by donning chaps and jumping on your own horse; the Fort Worth Stockyards Stables offer beautiful guided rides along the Trinity River Trail, to give you that all-important wrangler experience and add a little ‘yee-ha’ to your trip. Finish your day-in-the-life-of-a-cowboy with a knees-up at Billy Bob’s Texas, the world’s largest Honky Tonk – it’s a raucous affair, but the kind of authentically Texan bar that, once again, gives you a glimpse into the rich history of this city.
CULTURE MEETS COWBOYS
Fort Worth is often dubbed ‘museum capital of the Southwest’, authentic western heritage is magnetised by a fusion with its sophisticated cultural scene. There is even a dedicated Cultural District. Soak up the atmosphere in Sundance square, the beating heart of the city with its cacophony of shops, restaurants, theatres, music venues and a beautiful opera house. If you’re lucky enough to be there during the Lone Star Film Festival in November, you can get see all the latest releases and meet the talented artists behind them. For art lovers, the Kimbell Art Museum is a feast of masterpieces from antiquity right up to mid-20th Century, while the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth (fondly nick-named ‘The Modern’) offers an impressive collection of American post-war art within a striking building made of glassy flat roofed pavilions, set in 11 manicured acres. If you want a more interactive experience then Fort Worth Museum of Science and History plays host to ‘museums’ within the museum and boasts its own Imax and planetarium (just a taste of its alluring features).
ADVENTURES WORTH YOUR WHILE
To experience Fort Worth of old, make the short journey to Log Cabin Village; for each step you take away from the hubbub of the inner city centre, you’ll feel like you’ve taken another step back in time. The traditional wooden architecture is a little gem of rustic cowboy culture that carefully preserves the unique roots of its dwelling place. From here, you can visit the Fort Worth Zoo or wander the quieter pastures around Lake Worth, a reservoir on the west fork of Trinity River. At the end of the day you’ll be reluctant to kick off those cowboy boots. Trust us, a life like this? It’s addictive.