I packed an unbelievable amount into my three-night/four-day trip to Fort Worth, Tex. Here’s a cheat sheet for you, with everything I experienced and vouch for, on this emerging destination.
It’s a 2.5- to three-hour direct flight with Air Canada to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, and then a 30-kilometre drive west to Fort Worth. I used the Roadrunner car service (roadrunnerlimousine.com). There are also taxis and shuttles.
Public transportation isn’t great, so rent a car or take taxis. Molly the Trolley is a free, vintage downtown trolley that runs every 15 minutes between the convention centre and Sundance Square. On Saturdays, Molly goes to the Stockyards for $1.75 (U.S.)
Fort Worth is one hour behind Toronto in Central Daylight Time. January can be cool with an average high of 12 C, and July can be scorching at 35 C.
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- The Stockyards Hotel (109 E. Exchange Ave., stockyardshotel.com) oozes personality and was one of Bonnie and Clyde’s hideouts.
- Hyatt Place Fort Worth Historic Stockyards (132 E. Exchange Ave., stockyards.place.hyatt.com) is in the heart of the action and has free breakfast.
- Omni Fort Worth Hotel (1300 Houston St., omnihotels.com) is ultra-modern, downtown, with multiple restaurants, Starbucks and a rooftop pool.
- Angelo’s (2533 White Settlement Rd., angelosbbq.com) is an old-school barbecue joint with lots of mounted animal trophies. Get a barbecue plate or sandwich.
- At Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que (301 Stockyards Blvd., coopersbbqfortworth.com), they’ll carve and weigh your meat to order. Pick up your sides and desserts and eat at long picnic tables.
- Fred’s Texas Café (915 Currie St. and two other branches, fredstexascafe.com) is known for its burgers. Get the one stuffed with diced serranos and topped with grilled onions and Oaxaca cheese. Don’t miss calf fries (battered bull’s testicles).
- Horseshoe Hill (204 W. Exchange Ave., horseshoehillcafe.com) is home to chef/owner Grady Spears, “the chicken fried steak king,” and the best steak I’ve ever had.
- Reata (310 Houston St., reata.net), serves “legendary Texas cuisine.” Get tenderloin tamales with pecan mash and West Texas pecan pie.
- Joe T. Garcia’s (2201 N. Commerce St., joets.com) has been serving Mexican food since 1935 and still draws daily lineups. This family-owned hot spot makes excellent chile rellenos, tamales and enchiladas.
- Paris Coffee Shop (704 West Magnolia Ave., pariscoffeeshop.net) is an old-school diner circa 1926. Get biscuits and gravy and homemade pie — and be prepared to line up.
- Righteous Foods (3405 W. 7th St., eatrighteously.com), is a “clean food eatery” that bills itself as Fort Worth’s healthiest restaurant. Cookbook author/travel writer June Naylor dined with me here. I cleansed with organic, cold-pressed juice and a breakfast bowl of sweet potato and zucchini, but wished I was hungry enough for the coconut quinoa porridge.
- Woodshed Smokehouse (3201 Riverfront Dr., woodshedsmokehouse.com) is one of local food hero/celebrity chef Tim Love’s ventures. The restaurant, a highlight for me, smokes over mesquite, pecan, hickory and oak and has an animal and sausage of the day.
Fort Worth has five main entertainment districts. Three are well established: Sundance Square (downtown), the Stockyards National Historic District and the Cultural District (one of the largest arts districts in the U.S.) Two are emerging: The West 7th District and Near Southside/Magnolia.
- Load up on paperwork at the iFort Worth Visitor Information Center (508 Main St.).
- Hook up with Authentic Fort Worth Tours (fwbyfoot.com). I went on the $15, 75-minute downtown tour and saw the stunning Fort Worth Water Gardens, JFK Tribute and Chisholm Trail mural in Sundance Square Plaza. There are cultural district and custom tours.
Explore the Stockyards:
- Explore the Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District(fortworthstockyards.org). Start at the Stockyards Visitor Information Center (130 E. Exchange Ave. The daily cattle drives are at 11:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. There’s shopping, food, museums and family-friendly activities.
- The Stockyards Stables (fortworthstockyardsstables.com) offer stagecoach/carriage rides and horseback rides. I