Want to go where the West begins? Then pack your wide-brimmed hat and your favorite pair of boots and book your tickets to Fort Worth, Texas. A legendary cowboy town that has some of the best rodeo, arts, and food in the country, this Texas city is an excellent choice for a long weekend away with the family or a unique getaway for two. “What I love about Fort Worth is that it’s the perfect mix of small-town vibe with big-city amenities, where everyone wears a smile and the living is easy,” says The Scout Guide Fort Worth Editor Leigh Brown. Originally from Tyler, Texas, Leigh lived in Dallas and Austin before settling in her current hometown. Here, she shares a few of her favorite things to do and see during a visit to her city.
Where to Stay
The Ashton Hotel (610 Main Street) is a boutique hotel in the heart of downtown Fort Worth and, according to Leigh, it’s your best choice to experience the small-town feel and history of the town. Book your room early, because the 50-room hotel fills up fast.
If you can’t find a room at The Ashton, don’t fret. The Omni (1300 Houston Street) is a large and luxurious option. This major hotel chain is based out of nearby Dallas, and the Fort Worth location goes the extra mile to support local businesses. Plus, it has a rooftop pool with spectacular sunset views, and offers perks for children like cookies and milk and a backpack stuffed with activities.
What to Do
“You cannot come to Fort Worth and miss a visit to The Stockyards National Historic District,” Leigh says. Cowboy culture is alive and well in Fort Worth (nicknamed Cowtown for good reason), and the Rodeo is a huge draw for visitors and locals alike. In January and the beginning of February, you can catch the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo at Cowtown Coliseum, and stay tuned for a brand-new, $450 million dollar rodeo arena that will be opening in 2019. Leigh’s favorite Rodeo attraction is Bull’s Night Out, but she says the mutton busting is great if you have little ones in tow. Even if you don’t make it to the Rodeo, you can still see cowboys in action: live cattle drives happen twice daily at The Stockyards at 11:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.
After experiencing Fort Worth’s Wild West side, it’s time to head out to the city’s prestigious art museums for a different type of culture. In fact, many visitors come to Fort Worth for the art museums alone—the city’s Cultural District is home to six show-stopping museums in a beautiful, park-like setting. Must-visit institutions include the Kimbell Art Museum (3333 Camp Bowie Boulevard), The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth (3200 Darnell Street), and the Amon Carter Museum of American Art (3501 Camp Bowie Boulevard). At the Kimbell, see if you can hunt down Michelangelo’s first painting and take time to appreciate the museum’s architectural beauty, for which visitors come from across the globe to behold. Time your day so you get to The Modern in time for lunch at the Café Modern, where you can sit overlooking a serene reflecting pond after touring the latest exhibition. Next, pop into The Amon Carter Museum of American Art, which has an impressive photography collection plus hands-on activities for families. If you’re up for one more stop, right around the corner you’ll find the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History (1600 Gendy Street), where you can rest while taking in a movie at the IMAX Theater or participate in a few real-life science experiments.
Where to Eat
Lunch is a big deal in this town, and Leigh says you won’t find a more fun or delicious option than Joe T. Garcia’s (2201 North Commerce Street). She recommends sitting in the beautiful gardens at the Mexican eatery, where you’ll feel like you’re in San Miguel de Allende. If you’re in need of a barbecue fix, go to Angelo’s (2533 White Settlement Road), where the beer is served ice cold in schooners and the food speaks for itself.
For dinner, Leigh likes to bring her out-of-town guests to Pacific Table (1600 South University Drive), where she orders the grilled artichokes, Brussels sprouts salad with manchego, and a side of their “perfect” French fries. If you’re looking for a special night out, Leigh recommends Ellerbe Fine Foods (1501 West Magnolia Avenue), which she describes as the ultimate farm-to-table experience. “It’s the kind of place you’ll want to order a glass of champagne before the meal,” she adds.
Where to Shop
Fort Worth is home to some pretty fabulous shopping spaces, like the Shops at ClearFork, which includes a brand-new Neiman Marcus, but it’s also full of hidden gems that are worth going off the beaten path to find.
If you’re looking for design inspiration, Leigh recommends checking out Simple Things Furniture (7401 West Vickery Boulevard in Benbrook). It’s full of treasures for the home and the most inviting sofas and chairs you could imagine. For fashionable apparel and accessories, try You are Here (5109 Pershing Avenue) for beautiful on-trend pieces and Esther Penn (3328 West 7th Street) for items with a casual-cool vibe. Finally, if you have little ones to buy for, be sure to stop into Monkey and Dog Books (3637 West Vickery Boulevard), an eclectic children’s bookstore that feels a little magic on the inside.
Where to Refuel
Magnolia Avenue is the perfect place for a charming stroll and treating yourself to a pick-me-up in the form of coffee, ice cream, or a baked good, depending on your mood. Craftwork Coffee Co. (1121 West Magnolia Avenue) will take care of your caffeine needs, and Melt (1201 West Magnolia Avenue) will satisfy an ice cream craving. If you want something more meal-like, visit Stir Crazy Baked Goods (1251 West Magnolia Avenue) for to-die-for sausage rolls and quiche followed by their signature Adam Bombs (mini cookie sandwiches).
More sweets can be found at Hurley House (5512 Bellaire Drive South), which serves popular rice crispy treats and incredible cinnamon rolls through a drive-through. If refined sugar isn’t for you, stop by Juice Junkies (925 Foch Street), where the cold-pressed juice is abundant and Leigh’s standing order is the Magic Carpet Ride (a smoothie made with fresh pressed sweet potato, banana, orange, fresh pressed apple juice, and almond butter).
Pictured above: The Scout Guide Fort Worth Editor Leigh Brown in front of Stir Crazy Baked Goods. Wardrobe styling by You Are Here. Booties from Esther Penn. Photography by Kristen Kilpatrick Photography.
For more insider’s tips on what to do and see in Fort Worth, follow The Scout Guide Fort Worth on Instagram.