With so many amazing things to see and do, planning your first trip to Cowtown can seem overwhelming. From must-dos to unexpected finds, here is a rundown of activities to add to your itinerary.
Take in the History
Fort Worth Stockyards
It’s Cowtown, y'all. If you’re looking to live out your cowboy fantasy, this is the place. Fort Worth was one of the last stopping points on the Chisholm Trail during the Cattle Drive Era in the mid-1800s. And life today doesn't look much different in this historic district. Witness the world's only twice-daily cattle drive, experience the year-round rodeo or sing-a-long with the Cowtown Opry on Sunday afternoons. Visit Mule Alley for rustic-lux shopping and dining at hot spots like Provender Hall, Lucchese and Wrangler.
You can also hit up The Love Shack or Hooker's for a burger, Riscky’s BBQ or Cooper's for some hearty ribs before heading to Billy Bob’s Texas, the world’s largest honky-tonk. Billy Bob's is 127,000-square-feet of pure entertainment including live bull riding, a restaurant and gift shop, two dance floors and 30 bar stations. Don't forget to try their signature shot - The Three-Legged Monkey.
Must See Neighborhoods
Hit the water for some tubing, kayaking or paddle boarding at Panther Island Pavilion. It's the hub for year-round events like Oktoberfest, Fort Worth's Fourth and Rockin' the River. If you float a little further down the river you'll find Coyote Drive-In Movie Theater. The modern-day drive-in shows double features on three large screens and sells snacks and beverages from The Canteen.
As the name suggests, this trendy urban neighborhood can be found just south of downtown. South Main Street and Magnolia Avenue are hip drags loaded with local hangs. Designated as a cultural district by the Texas Commission for the Arts, there are plenty of eclectic galleries and venues.
The culinary scene in this pocket neighborhood is vibrant and lays claim to more mom ‘n’ pop barbecue and soul food restaurants per capita than in any other part of the city. It's well worth a visit.
Historic Southside is home to rich culture and spaces that help preserve the African American contributions to Tarrant County. It's home to great eateries like Smoke-a-holics BBQ and the award-winning Black Coffee. Shop for a bespoke suit at Franklin + Anthony Suits, explore the Reby Cary Youth Library, or tour the distillery and do a tasting at TX Whiskey.
Just beyond the Cultural District along the Trinity River, there are plenty of things to do in this growing neighborhood. Hikers and bikers can explore miles of great views along the Trinity Trails, and restaurants like Gemelle, Salsa Limon, Lettuce Cook and Heim BBQ call this area home.
See the Sights
Fort Worth Zoo
The Fort Worth Zoo is something to marvel at indeed. With more than 7,000 native and exotic animals, it's ranked as the No. 2 zoo in nation and features Predators of Asia and Africa, the African Savanna and Elephant Springs. In the summertime, visitors are invited to cool off at the splash pad, Safari Splash.
Fort Worth Botanic Gardens
This is a delightful respite in the busy city. You can meander through 23 specialty gardens in Texas’ oldest botanic garden, including the very beautiful Japanese Gardens.
Fort Worth Water Gardens
Take a moment downtown to visit the Fort Worth Water Gardens. Adjacent to the Convention Center, the garden is an impressive architectural installation with three water features, offering a place of calm in the middle of busy downtown.
Taste the Local Flavor
If you are after a steak while in Fort Worth, look no further than the renowned Reata Restaurant in Sundance Square. The food is excellent, and the views from the rooftop bar and one-of-a-kind dome are superb.
The James Beard semi-finalist restaurant takes Mexican food to another level. Inspired by Mexican houses of old, its atmosphere is the perfect setting to enjoy one of their succulent steaks, cabrito dishes and napolitos fritos.
Bonnell's Fine Texas Cuisine
Bonnell’s has won a lot of awards, and for good reason. Chef Jon Bonnell serves up “Texan Cuisine” with a twist. The Elk Mini Tacos and Venison Carpaccio are must tries!
Joe T. Garcia’s
A Fort Worth staple since 1935, dining at Joe T's is as much about hanging out on the patio with a margarita as it is about the food.
Paris Coffee Shop
Serving up patrons in the Near Southside for four decades, this unpretentious diner serves breakfast dishes that taste like home. Biscuits and gravy, crispy bacon, hearty omelets and pancakes will satisfy to your heart's content.
With a range of Tex-Mex options to choose from, the former food truck and female-owned Caliscience was named best new restaurant in Culture Map's Tastemaker Awards and is frequently on lists of Fort Worth's Best Tacos.
Expand Your Horizons
Museums are abundant in Fort Worth and we have some of the best in the country. Home to the only Michelangelo in the country and numerous special exhibitions, the Kimbell Art Museum does not disappoint. The Fort Worth Museum of Science and History has as many exhibits for adults as they do for children, along with a Planetarium and the OMNI IMAX Dome. The Amon Carter Museum of American Art was designed by the same architect as the Fort Worth Water Gardens and admission is free. The National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame and the Modern Art Museum round out the area with unique and stunning collections.
Bass Performance Hall
The world-renowned Bass Performance Hall is the permanent home to the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, Texas Ballet Theater, Fort Worth Opera and the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. Performances in the Hall run year-round while free, docent-led tours are offered on select Saturdays.
Lenora Rolla Heritage Center Museum
The museum is located in a restored house and features exhibitions highlighting African American Culture in Fort Worth. It also serves as a community gathering space and hosts events throughout the year to celebrate shared heritage.
Catch a Game, Rodeo or Race
Cheer for the Horned Frogs at a Texas Christian University Football Game
As a part of the Big 12 Conference, TCU hosts some great collegiate sports. In Texas, football is king and catching a TCU football game is something truly enjoyed by Fort Worthians. Come out for the tailgate and make some friends, just be sure to wear purple!
Texas Motor Speedway
Hosting both NASCAR and Indycar races, Texas Motor Speedway is one of the premier racing facilities in the United States. TMS is also home to Big Hoss TV, the world's largest HD television screen.
Opened in 2019, the state-of-the-art arena hosts concerts, hockey, basketball, wrestling for up to 14,000 spectators. The arena is home of the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo and the Panther City Lacrosse Club.
Located in the heart of downtown, this 35-block entertainment district is lined with cowgirl chic outfitters like Parts Unknown and Overland Sheepskin. Mainstream shops include H&M and Francesca's.
The Shops at Clearfork
This luxury retail shopping center is the place for retail therapy. Anchored by Neiman Marcus, it also has luxury brands like Tiffany & Co., Tory Burch, Tumi, Louis Vuitton, Burberry and more. The center also has tons of dining and entertainment options where you can cool your heels after a day of shopping.