Although it is often overlooked in favor of its sister city Dallas, the lively yet laidback Fort Worth certainly warrants a visit for all its tourist attractions. While many of these relate to its cowboy history, culture and heritage, other things to do in Fort Worth include visiting some of its many excellent art museums and gorgeous gardens. In addition to this, a myriad of great bars and restaurants can be found in both the sprawling Sundance Square and historic Stockyards district.
While all this certainly makes the city an appealing place to visit, most people come to experience its cowboy culture and enjoy its rodeos, cattle drives and honky-tonks. Although many of its shops and entertainment options are Wild West-themed, there are also lots of authentic old buildings and historic attractions. With so much going for it, Cowtown, as it is affectionately known, is sure to have something that will interest and entertain everyone.
12. National Cowgirl Museum
Located in the city’s Cultural District is the National Cowgirl Museum which offers up a fascinating look at the lives of women in the Wild West. Through interactive exhibits and interesting artifacts, you can learn all about the often overlooked artists and educators, ranchers and rodeos who so shaped the spirit and culture of the American West.
Since opening in 1975, its captivating collection has grown and grown, and it now includes everything from artworks and memorabilia to photographs, prints and rare film footage. In its Hall of Fame you can find informative displays on renowned figures such as Sacagawea, Annie Oakley and Georgia O’Keeffe. With some superb sculptures, a well-stocked souvenir shop and even an electric bucking bronco to try out, the National Cowgirl Museum is certainly well worth stopping by.
11. Fort Worth Herd
When in Cowtown no visit can ever be complete without going to watch the fantastic Fort Worth Herd. Twice-daily, cowhands drive the small herd of Texas Longhorn cattle through the streets of the Stockyards National Historic District in what is a historically accurate and authentic experience.
Watching the Old West come to life before your eyes is an amazing experience, as cowboys clad in authentic gear herd the majestic creatures with their massive horns through the historic area. After watching the drive, you can visit the cows in their corral and chat to the cowhands who look after them. In addition, the scenic streets of the Stockyards are very pretty and pleasant to stroll around, with the delightful district and its happy herd lying just ten minutes’ drive to the north of the centre.
10. Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth
Boasting a colossal collection of some 3,000 contemporary and modern artworks is the marvelous Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. Set in the city’s Cultural District, it showcases lots of striking paintings, photos and sculptures with its focus being on the post-World War II era.
First opened back in 1892, the museum now occupies a breathtakingly beautiful building that appropriately exhibits some amazing modern architecture. Within its five pretty pavilions are lots of gorgeous galleries for you to explore that are home to arresting artworks by famed figures as Francis Bacon, Pablo Picasso and Andy Warhol. The museum also has a lovely sculpture garden to wander around which offers up fabulous photos of its building reflected in the ponds surrounding it.
9. Bureau of Engraving and Printing
One of only two such sites in the whole of the States, it is at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing that much of the nation’s money is printed. Nestled on the northern outskirts of the city, the heavily guarded facility has some terrific tours for you to take that offer up an interesting insight into the history, design and production of America’s paper currency.
Due to the demand for increased production, the Fort Worth facility was founded in 1987 to serve the Western United States with fresh bills. On the self-guided tour, you can learn about the intricate art of currency manufacturing as well as see the presses in action and an antiquated old engraver’s bench. Besides its interactive exhibitions, there is a film to watch on the history of the dollar and a souvenir shop selling uncut currency sheets to stop by.
8. Amon Carter Museum of American Art
Yet another of the Cultural District’s many magnificent museums is the awe-inspiring Amon Carter Museum of American Art. Home to a simply staggering collection of some 150,000 or so artworks, its extensive galleries include everything from drawings and sculptures to paintings, photographs and prints.
Named after the successful Texan oilman and art collector Amon Carter, it was established in 1961 and originally focused on portrayals of the Old West in American artworks. While the superb works of both Frederic Remington and Charles M. Russell still take pride of place, the museum’s scope has expanded considerably since those early days. Now you can find mesmerizing modernist pieces and fine art photographs alongside phenomenal portraits and landscapes of the Old American West.
7. Fort Worth Zoo
Situated just ten minutes’ drive to the southwest of the city center is one of its top tourist attractions – the fantastic Fort Worth Zoo. A very fun and family friendly place to visit, it boasts an incredible array of native and exotic animals with its massive menagerie now numbering over 7,000 in total.
Regularly ranked among the best zoos in the nation, its expansive exhibits are home to everything from lions and tigers to bears, gorillas and orangutans. As well as seeing them up close and personal, you can also learn all about the marvelous mammals and their natural habitats through its delightful displays. Besides the terrific Texas Wild and outstanding Australian Outback areas, the zoo is also known for its successful flamingo breeding colony and its two types of Rhino species.
6. Texas Motor Speedway
If you’re after an exhilarating experience when in Fort Worth, then you can’t beat going to watch a race at the Texas Motor Speedway. Over the course of the year, the state-of-the-art speedway hosts lots of exciting events with the NASCAR Cup Series, and IndyCar Series being the biggest and best of them all.
Opened in 1996, the remarkable racecourse has a closed-circuit quad-oval layout with its sheer and banked turns only adding to the excitement. Besides all its roaring races and numerous NASCAR competitions, the speedway also hosts the occasional Monster Truck show or motocross race on its dirt track facility. In addition to watching an epic race, you can actually go for an unforgettable ride around the speedway in a race car yourself.
5. Kimbell Art Museum
One of the most popular places to visit in Fort Worth among both locals and tourists alike is the exquisite Kimbell Art Museum. Also located in the city’s Cultural District, its small yet impressive collection of artworks is a treat to peruse with even the museum’s modern building being a critically acclaimed architectural marvel.
Named after the Fort Worth businessman and art collector Kay Kimbell, its captivating collection includes astonishing artworks by everyone from Matisse and Michelangelo to El Greco, Rembrandt and Van Gogh. Almost as breathtaking as all the phenomenal paintings and sculptures is the brilliant building itself which has a very unique design. Due to all of its skylights, its elegant galleries are always bathed in natural light which only adds to the museum’s appealing and attractive ambience.
4. Fort Worth Botanic Garden
Set just to the south of the Kimbell Art Museum is the popular, pleasant and picturesque Fort Worth Botanic Garden. A very scenic and serene space, it is home to more than 2,500 types of flowers, plants and shrubs, it and has over twenty kinds of gorgeous gardens for you to amble about peacefully.
The first botanical gardens to be opened in the whole of Texas, it remarkably dates all the way back to 1934 with its charming confines now sprawling over a huge part of the Cultural District. While sublime sections such as the Fragrance Garden and Rose Garden certainly look a treat, the highlight is undoubtedly its tranquil Japanese Garden. Here you will find bridges, pagodas and waterfalls as well as a traditional teahouse all centered around three ponds teeming with koi.
3. Sundance Square
A lovely lively yet laidback place to visit and explore, the sprawling Sundance Square encompasses 36 blocks right in the city center. As well as boasting lots of beautiful old buildings and attractive architecture, its historic streets are lined with fun things for you to see and do with everything from shopping and dining to entertainment and nightlife being on offer.
While in the days of the Wild West the city’s downtown was home to saloons and gambling parlours, the vibrant area now instead has lots of fine restaurants and local boutiques to check out. Within its wonderfully well-restored historic buildings you can also find exquisite art galleries and hotels with numerous live theaters and music venues also dotted about. Add in its many bars and nightclubs and its plaza’s packed schedule of concerts, festivals and events, and it is no wonder at all that Sundance Square is so popular among both locals and tourists alike.
2. Fort Worth Stockyards
As it is home to all things cowboy, from big brass belt buckles and BBQ to country music and cattle drives, no visit to Fort Worth can be complete without stopping by the Stockyards National Historic District. Once a major livestock market, it is now a top tourist attraction with cowboy-themed shops and restaurants to be found alongside marvelous museums and interesting historic sights.
As well as having lots of remarkable renovated buildings to explore, the Stockyards is also home to everything from saloons and souvenir shops to corrals and nightclubs. Absolutely everything in the area showcases the city’s cowboy culture with the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame also looking at its history and heritage. Besides enjoying the lively ambience, guests can watch cowboys rope and race at Cowtown Coliseum and see the Fort Worth Herd be driven through the Stockyards’ scenic streets.
1. Fort Worth Water Gardens
Despite their close proximity to the center of town, the fabulous Fort Worth Water Gardens feel a million miles away from its bustling downtown. Often described as a ‘cooling oasis in the concrete jungle’, it has three pretty and peaceful pools for you to visit with its wonderful water features lying amidst a gorgeous green park.
Opened way back in 1974, the water gardens are the perfect place for locals and tourists alike to rest, relax, reflect and refresh themselves. While the meditation pool and its cypress trees invoke calm and quiet, the aerating pool is set in a scenic and serene spot beneath some shady oak trees. The garden’s standout sight however is its awe-inspiring active pool which has water coursing and cascading its way down lots of stone steps before reaching a picturesque pool down below.