Fort Worth is famous for being more relaxed and "country" than its big brother Dallas. This North Texas city is home to TCU, the Cattle Raisers Museum, the Stockyards National Historic District, Bass Performance Hall, and plenty more fun things that are ideal for the whole family. It also has a slightly Old West charm to it that makes it even more memorable.
Come out for the weekend rodeos at the Fort Worth Stockyards and daily cattle drives, go biking along the Trinity River, but make sure to stick around and see what else Cowtown has to offer. It's the perfect weekend escape from DFW or other big Texas towns.
Here are 10 Hidden Gems of Fort Worth.
10. Fort Worth Water Gardens
On the south side of downtown Fort Worth, next to the Fort Worth Convention center, sits the wonderful oasis that is the Fort Worth Water Gardens. Created in 1974 and donated by Fort Worth's most popular philanthropic organization, the Amon G. Carter Foundation, the water gardens provide a peaceful retreat from the busy city streets.
9. La Gran Plaza
Just five miles south of Sundance Square, you'll find La Gran Plaza, a Mexican-style shopping mall that is part bazaar and part Mercado. Boasting over 200 stores, and a 120,000-square-foot market, La Gran Plaza provides for one of the most unique shopping experiences in Texas. On top of shopping for a mix of modern and traditional Mexican fashions, and eating home-cooked Mexican cuisine, visitors are also treated to an assortment of mariachis, vocalists, and dancers.
8. National Cowgirl Museum & Hall of Fame
The National Cowgirl Museum & Hall of Fame is all about honoring the women who contributed to the legacy and foundation of the Wild West. Take a guided tour and see over 4,000 artifacts honoring 220 honorees including Annie Oakley, Sacagawea, Georgia O'Keefe, and Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.
7. Clearfork Food Park
Located waterside, just across from The Fort Worth Zoo, Clearfork Food Park is a local favorite. Here, multiple food trucks circle around a permanent cantina and live music pavilion. The park is dog-friendly, and its riverside location makes for a great spring or summer afternoon.
6. The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth
Take a look at a picture of the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth and you might guess it was an installation in New York, Tokyo, or Sydney, but this proud establishment was built to showcase the artistic appreciation of the residents of Fort Worth. The permanent collection includes works by Matisse, Picasso, and Warhol, while traveling exhibits feature such modern artists as African American painter Kehinde Wiley.
For other museums, check out the Kimbell Art Museum, Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth Museum of Science and History Museum (includes the Noble Planetarium), National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame, and Sid Richardson Museum. But don't forget about the local art galleries around Sundance Square Plaza.
5. Coyote Drive-In Theater
Featuring four screens and a beautiful panoramic view of the Fort Worth Skyline, Coyote Drive-in Theater offers a perfect vintage experience. The on-site restaurant offers great movie grub--pizza, burgers, popcorn, as well as local beer on tap. All you have to do is bring a radio, pop a tailgate, lean back and enjoy the double features that play every Friday and Saturday night. Its old-school version of entertainment makes it a cinematic, atmospheric hidden gem of Fort Worth.
4. Amphibian Stage Productions
Amphibian Stage Productions is Fort Worth's most innovative and critically acclaimed theater. In 2003, the company opened with The True History of the Tragic Life and Triumphant Death of Julia Pastrana the Ugliest Woman in the World, a play about a Mexican Carnival woman and her torrential life. The company opens four plays per season with local actors and award-winning playwrights. Amphibian is dead-set on being recognized as a world-class theatrical experience.
3. Rockin' the River
During June and July, Fort Worth is hotter than a two-dollar pistol. The solution: Rockin' the River, a summer-long free concert series that combines the thrill of live music with the relaxation of floating the river. Bands play on a stage that hangs over the water, while the audience cools down and cheers on from the comfort of the Trinity. At night, folks take to the grassy banks. Tubes, coolers, and food are rented or sold on-site. Just bring your shorts or cut the legs off of those jeans. Rockin' River is the cool alternative to the typical sweaty, heat-stroke-inducing summer music festivals.
Not a water person? Check out some live music at Fort Worth's famous honky-tonk, Billy Bob's Texas instead.
2. Fort Worth Botanic Gardens
You probably didn't think Fort Worth nature was anything to write home about, but these botanical gardens are worth the visit. Fort Worth is a city that constantly integrates nature with entertainment. The Fort Worth Botanic Gardens feature 115 acres of curated foliage. In all, the site boasts 23 separate gardens that offer 23 unique experiences. The Japanese Garden evokes the elegant, yet simple beauty of the naturalistic Japanese countryside, while the Lower Rose Garden takes visitors on a rose-tinted walk inspired by long French and Italian gardens. With over 2,500 plants and multiple secluded picnic spots, this is a go-to destination for the Fort Worth romantic.
1. Forth Worth Zoo
In the heated sibling rivalry between Dallas and Fort Worth, the Fort Worth Zoo is a stand-out winner. Not only does the Fort Worth Zoo feature some 5,000 species of animals, including Asian Elephants, Black Rhinos, Grant's Zebras, and African lions, but the zoo basically doubles as a theme park with its own mini-water park, carousel, petting zoo, suspension bridge, rock-climbing wall and shooting range.