Fort Worth, known for its cowboys and culture, where the west begins, and nickname “Cowtown” has doubled in population since 1990.
Originally named after the commander of the Texas Army, the 1843 treaty of Bird’s Fort between the Republic of Texas and many native American tribes established Fort Worth as an Army outpost in 1849 along the banks of the Trinity River. The town became a thriving ranching industry and cattle center once it became a stop along the Chisholm Trail, where millions of head of cattle were herded to markets farther north.
Today Fort Worth thrives on oil, gas, the aviation industry and it’s Cowtown history. I have fallen in love with Fort Worth since we moved here in 1993. Below you’ll find my favorite things to do in Fort Worth, Texas and things you’ll love to do if you visit.
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Read Reviews of the Best Hotels in Fort Worth, Texas on TripAdvisor
52 Things To Do in Fort Worth
- Sundance Square in friendly Fort Worth is the safest, most diverse downtown in America, offering restaurants, hotels, entertainment, boutiques, shopping, museums, and more along red-brick streets.
The Tarrant County Courthouse, on the list of U. S. National Register of Historic places, is a pink Texas granite building in the Renaissance Revival style erected in 1894, resembling the Texas State Capitol except for the clock tower. Visit the museum inside to learn more about Fort Worth.
- The Sid Richardson Museum, located in historic Sundance Square, features permanent and special exhibitions and paintings of the American West by Charles M. Russell and Frederic Remington.
Reata at Sundance is named for the majestic ranch in the 1950’s epic movie “Giant” starring James Dean, Rock Hudson, and Elizabeth Taylor. You’ll find legendary Texas cuisines like the Tenderloin Tamales, famous steaks like the Blackened Buffalo Ribeye, exquisite wines and one of the tastiest margaritas anywhere.
Sip a Fort Worth Old Fashioned made with Firestone & Robertson TX Whiskey or a classic margarita before dinner on the rooftop bar.
- Enjoy refined teas and delectable bites with Afternoon Tea at the Ashton, at the hotel in Sundance Square. The traditional English tea presentation combined with the contemporary elegance of the Ashton offers flavorful teas, biscotti, fresh fruit preserves, delicate finger sandwiches, shortbread, and pastries.
- The Hilton Hotel, a historic landmark hotel in downtown is the scene of the 35th President John F. Kennedy’s final address on the morning of November 22, 1963. Historic photographs line the hallways and are featured in the rooms of this ‘place in history’ hotel.
- The Fort Worth Water Gardens, located in the south end of downtown near the Convention Center, offers a 4.3 acre architectural and engineering marvel with refreshing water features including steps leading down to a water fountain.
- TCU Texas Christian University, a compelling academic community, located three miles from downtown, is a private Christian University with 10,500 in enrollment. TCU is home of the Big 12 Conference Horned Frogs (named after the state reptile) with football Coach Gary Patterson.
- Magnolia Avenue, a funky-chic neighborhood in a pocket just south of downtown near a group of hospitals, is a mix of modern restaurants, shops, and bars in an old neighborhood. Try Kent & Co Wines, 200 wines by the glass or dinner at Ellerbe Fine Foods, refined yet laid-back.
- West 7th in Fort Worth, a five-block pedestrian-friendly urban village west of downtown features high-concept dining, local specialty fashion retailers and salons, spas, gourmet and fast-casual eateries, bars, and a movie theater. Try Terra Mediterranean Grill, Gloria’s Latin Cuisine or El Bolero – Crockett Row.
- The Kimbell Art Museum, in the museum district west of downtown, opened October 4, 1972, with 260 paintings and 86 other works of art owned by Kay and Velma Kimbell. The museum continues to enrich the collection with acquisitions by Michelangelo, Poussin, Mayan ceramics and special exhibitions like Monet, The Late Years and Renoir, The Body, The Senses.
- The Modern Museum, featuring post-World War II art, dates to 1892. Enjoy the Café Modern Executive Chef Denise Shavandy’s farm to fork culinary dishes like 44 Farms Cheeseburger and Moroccan Chicken Salad.
- The Fort Worth Zoo, the 4th top zoo in the nation, features “A Wilder Vision’ a $100 million master plan to completely redesign the zoo with renovated and re-imagined habitats.
- The Colonial Country Club is home to the PGA Charles Schwab Challenge scheduled every mid-May, the longest-running host of a PGA Tour event played on its original site.
- The Botanic Gardens, established in 1934, is the oldest botanic garden in Texas, with twenty-one specialty gardens including the Japanese Garden, the Rose Garden, and the BRIT Botanical Research Institute of Texas.
- The National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame, established in 1975, is dedicated to honoring women of the American West.
- The Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District, located on 98 acres north of downtown, tells the true history of Texas famous livestock industry.
- The Fort Worth Herd Longhorn Cattle Drive happens daily at 11:30 am and 4:00 pm on Exchange Avenue complete with real cowboys and drovers.
- The Stockyards Legendary Hotel, with western-themed rooms in a historic 1907 boutique hotel, was frequented by Bonnie and Clyde.
- Billy Bob’s Texas, the iconic “World’s Largest” country music honky-tonk with an indoor rodeo arena, mechanical bulls and dozens of bars and eateries is known for hosting top country and western stars.
- Check out the twenty-plus Breweries in the Fort Worth area, each with a unique craft beer experience, who are celebrating the new ‘beer to go’ law effective September 1st.
- Firestone & Robertson Distillery, constructed on the grounds of an old golf course, touted their Texas Whiskey as the award-winning “Best American Craft Whiskey.” Every cork holds a circle of boot leather by Justin, Tony Lama and more.
- Main Street Arts Festival, held 4 days every April with 223 artists, stretches along nine brick-lined blocks with incredible art, local entertainment and great food.
Bike Fort Worth, a comprehensive plan for promoting safe bicycling and backed by our mayor Betsy Price, established the downtown loop, Thunder Road and additional bike lanes across Fort Worth.
- Margarita, the official Fort Worth cocktail, comes on the rocks with a salt rim, or beer-arita, frozen with an 8 oz Dos Equis or Corona turned upside down in the drink, frozen margarita swirled with sangria, plus flavors of strawberry, mango, cucumber, peach, prickly pear and more.
- See exciting rodeo action, bull’s night out, the midway, livestock and horse shows at the Fort Worth Livestock Show and Rodeo held three weeks every January to mid-February at the Will Rogers Coliseum and debuting at the New Dickies Arena in 2020.
- ESPN College GameDay Kickoff at Sundance Square is a live broadcast in the ‘living room’ of downtown over Labor Day Weekend, a great partnership embraced by the community.
- Neiman Marcus and the Shops at Clear Fork are open upscale shopping, restaurants and department stores just west of downtown.
- FW Museum of Science & History opened in 1945, inspires meaningful hands-on learning. The Omni Imax Theater features an 8-story domed screen and 30-degree stadium seating, the largest dome west of the Mississippi.
- AT&T Cowboy’s Stadium in nearby Arlington is home to The Dallas Cowboys and select college football games, rodeos, supercross events and more.
- The new Globe Life Field, the domed Texas Rangers ballpark is scheduled to open the season March 2020 in nearby Arlington.
- Texas Motor Speedway in north Fort Worth houses the NASCAR, AAA Texas 500, Texas Sprint Car Nationals and the Monster Energy Series racing.
- Find Mexican Food restaurants all over Fort Worth with famous enchiladas, fajitas, and guacamole; the original is Joe T. Garcia’s, family-owned since 1935, serving over 1000 hungry patrons a day. Patio seating with a margarita is a must during the spring and fall.
- The New Sinclair, Autograph Collection Marriott Hotel downtown features high-tech innovations in its 164 guest rooms and a 2-story penthouse suite with Kohler digital showers, LG wallpaper TVs, and Savvy Electric mirrors. Feast on steaks and seafood at the Wicked Butcher and indulge in cocktails and small plates at the 17th Floor Rooftop Bar.
- The Downtown Fort Worth Inc, Main Table, held annually in September, spans four blocks, right down the middle of Main Street and features delectable steak dinners from five of downtown’s premier restaurants, opening with champagne and hors d’oeuvres in General Worth Square.
- Thistle Hill, also known as the Wharton-Scott House on Pennsylvania Ave just south of downtown is a historic mansion built in 1904 by a Texas Cattle Baron.
- The Ball-Eddleman-McFarland House built in 1899 on Penn Street is Fort Worth’s premier example of Queen Anne-style Victorian architecture with turrets, gables, copper finials and a slate tile roof.
- Bet a quinella at Lone Star Park, a Class I thoroughbred and quarter horse racetrack with seasonal live and simulcast horse racing 7 days a week just east of Fort Worth in Grand Prairie.
- A perfect wedding and reception venue, the Fort Worth Masonic Temple, home to four Craft Lodges and several Masonic appendant bodies and organizations in Tarrant County was built just west of downtown in 1932.
- TexRail – Trinity Metro provides daily passenger rail service in Tarrant County from Fort Worth to DFW Airport with stops along the way.
- Fort Worth Aviation Museum at Mecham Airport north of downtown tells the history of aviation in North Texas with 26 military aircraft from a 1943 BT-13 trainer to a Blue Angel F/A-18 Hornet.
- Twenty-three districts and 86 individual properties are listed in the National Register of Historic Places in Tarrant County including the Fort Worth Woman’s Club and the W. T. Waggoner Building downtown.
- Two majestic angels with brass horns stand guard outside the Bass Performance Hall, home to the FW Symphony Orchestra, Texas Ballet Theatre, FW Opera, Cliburn Concerts and the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition.
- Elizabeth Boulevard, the Silk-Stocking Row of the 1920s, named after the wife of its developer John Ryan, was the city’s first Historic District and was added to the National Register in 1979.
- Lockheed Martin in west Fort Worth builds the F-16 fighting falcon, the F-35 and recently the U. S. Army awarded Lockheed Martin a $347 million contract as part of a multi-year hypersonic weapons development for long-range precision strike missiles.
The Bell Fort Worth Alliance Air Show held every October displays the importance of the aviation industry, its products and services and culminates with the Blue Angels Flyover.
- Eat fresh seafood at Eddie V’s Prime Seafood, Pappadeaux‘s Seafood Kitchen, and Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House.
- Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge is a 3,000-acre preserve with 20 miles of hiking trails, plus a multitude of birds, alligators, deer, and buffalo.
- Amon Carter Museum of American Art, since 1961, houses his collection of paintings and sculpture from Frederic Remington, Charles M. Russell and more and is devoted to the study of American art.
- Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and their outlaw friends roamed “Hell’s Half Acre” in the old downtown frequenting the saloons, gambling halls, and the red-light district. Stay in Etta’s Place, a Bed & Breakfast in downtown, named after the woman who was romantically involved with the Sundance Kid.
- Ghost Tours: Fort Worth’s Ghost Bus Tour explores the madness, mystery, and mayhem of outlaws, oil and cattle barons, and ghosts, after drinking a signature ghost tour cocktail at Acre Distillery before departing. Stockyards Ghost Tours investigates the most active paranormal activity found during this 90-minute walking tour including bordellos, shoot outs, hangings, and ghosts at Miss Molly’s B&B, the Cadillac Hotel, the Stockyards Hotel and more.
- The U. S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing Western Currency Facility prints millions of dollars right here in North Fort Worth – free tour, but no free samples.
Where to Stay in Fort Worth: Find the Best Hotel for Your Budget
Downtown Fort Worth is your best bet. Sundance Square has plenty of bars and restaurants. There’s public transport to Cowboys Stadium as well.
If you’re seeking luxury, you’ll find a handful of four and five-star hotels offering high-class facilities and services. The popular choices of luxury hotels include, but not limited to, The Worthington Renaissance Fort Worth Hotel, The Ashton Hotel and the Hilton Fort Worth.Check Trip Advisor reviews: Fairfield Inn (Budget) | Radisson Fossil Creek (Mid-Range) |The Worthington Renaissance Fort Worth Hotel (Luxury)Check Out Best Prices on HotelsCombined: Fairfield Inn | Radisson Fossil Creek |The Worthington Renaissance Fort Worth Hotel
The best time to visit Fort Worth
The best time to visit Fort Worth is between September and November when the temperatures aren’t overwhelmingly hot, the tourist traffic has died down and the Texas State Fair is in full swing.
Top Tours in Fort Worth
Recommended Travel Resources
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- Top Fort Worth Hotel Reviews: TripAdvisor
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Travel Writer/Photographer, a native Texan based in Fort Worth covering travel destinations, wineries, breweries, restaurants, cruises and much more locally, nationally as well as internationally from Peru to Canada plus Hawaii to Bermuda. Member of the ITWPA, International Travel Writers and Photographers Alliance and United States Press Agency USPA.