Seeking urbane diversions today and down-home country cavorting tomorrow? You'll find plenty to suit both moods in Fort Worth, a city of eco-sleek condo towers and rustic-chic Craftsman bungalows, of well-worn denim and dressy suede. It's the quintessential Texan city of yesterday and today-it's equal parts Wild West and contemporary cosmopolitanism.
Here are 5 'Westropolitan' must-visit attractions:
This vibrant neighborhood that also takes in the hip shopping and dining of West 7th Street ranks among the nation's most impressive art-museum hubs, with such architecturally inspired draws as the Louis Kahn- and Renzo Piano-designed Kimbell Art Museum and Tadao Ando-rendered Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. Fans of the Wild West appreciate the guns, boots, and other cool Wild West memorabilia at the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame, and the trove of renowned Western paintings and sculptures by Frederic Remington and Charles Russell at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art. Don't miss the opportunity to learn about life on the cattle drive at the Cattle Raisers Museum inside the Fort Worth Museum of Science & History.
For an unforgettable, up-close encounter with the wildlife and wild plants most associated with the Lone Star State, from beady-eyed alligators to nine-banded armadillos, don't miss the Texas Wild! exhibits of this world-class 64-acre zoo with its own Safari Splash water park.
Railroads and cattle markets helped to build Fort Worth throughout the late 19th century and connect it with the rest of the West. You can explore this colorful legacy by spending a day in the high-spirited Stockyards District, a warren of vintage shops, restaurants, and museums that include the Stockyards Championship Rodeo, the Stockyards Museum, and the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame. You can even see cattle drives, led by seasoned cowhands, through the district at 11:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. daily.
Fort Worth's alluring natural setting along the banks of the picturesque Trinity River makes the city a favorite destination of outdoorsy sorts. Take to the more than 70 miles of well-maintained Trinity Trails, ideal for jogging, strolling, and cycling and punctuated by shaded picnic areas and grassy lawns. At several points along these trails, canoers and kayakers can access the river as well.
The perfect marriage of cosmopolitan sophistication and easygoing Western hospitality, Sundance Square is both an expansive plaza lined with sidewalk cafes and restaurants and the nickname of the surrounding 35-block neighborhood. Shop for western threads and housewares at diverting shops like Retro Cowboy and Leddy's Ranch, smoke a stogie and sip a Caribbean Leaf rum cocktail at stylish Silver Leaf Cigar Lounge, view acclaimed Western landscape paintings at the Sid Richardson Museum, and tuck into plates of contemporary Texas cuisine at Bird Café, Vidalia's, Grace, and countless other noteworthy restaurants.