Fort Worth began as a tiny Army outpost in 1849 on a bluff overlooking the Trinity River on the lonely frontier. Then it grew into a bustling town when it became a stop along the legendary Chisholm Trail, the dusty path on which millions of head of cattle were driven north to market. Today, it’s the 16th-largest city in the United States and the fifth-largest city in the state of Texas. It welcomes 6.5 million visitors annually with seven primary entertainment districts each offering distinct dining, shopping, entertainment and cultural amenities. The list below gives you the top ten things to do in Fort Worth.
10. Fort Worth Water Garden
There is a secret that the urban city holds deep within that still provides an opportunity for locals and visitors to take a break from the hustle and bustle of downtown or enjoy a romantic walk. In fact, it is so secret that many locals don’t know about it. The water garden is a piece of tranquility that was built in 1974 with 4.3 acres that consist of three pools of water and a terraced knoll, which helps to shield the park. The main attraction is the active pool which has water cascading 38 feet down terraces and steps into a small pool at the bottom, though there is no swimming or wading allowed. There is a quiet, blue meditation pool which is encircled with cypress trees and towering walls that are covered in a thin plane of water that cascades almost 90 degrees down to the sunken blue water. Lastly, the aerating pool features multiple illuminated spray fountains under a canopy of large oak trees, creating ever-present rainbows.
9. Fort Worth Botanic Garden
The botanic garden is the oldest of its kind in Texas and provides a lush 110 acre tapestry of dappled shade and vibrant splashes of color. The garden was established in 1934 and is the oldest botanic garden in Texas, with 2,501 species of native and exotic plants in its 21 specialty gardens. In addition to wooded areas, some of the major garden features include a back yard vegetable garden, the Conservatory which has 10,000 square feet of tropical displays such as orchids, bromeliads, and trees, and the Japanese Garden. The garden also contains a Begonia Species Bank, established and operated to prevent the loss of begonia species; it is the largest begonia collection in the United States. It’s open daily and there is an admission fee for the Conservatory and Japanese Garden; however, the other gardens are free.
8. Hawaiian Falls Adventure Park at White Settlement
Hawaiian Falls White Settlement is the first Texas water park-adventure park combinations; it offers 16 acres of aquatic fun all summer, and year-round adventure and excitement for adults and kids alike. They have activities like Breaker Beach, the football field-sized wave pool designed especially for families with young children, which has gentle waves perfect to cool off, or for body surfing, tubing, or swimming. If you want to get adventurous, then explore the 1,000-foot-long river of rapids and fountains. Let the escapade continue with the multi-level rope courses, the 60-foot high climbing and rappelling walls, and even the 20,000 square-foot indoor family arcades. When you want to take a break, they have several restaurants to curb your appetite.
7. Kimbell Art Museum
The Kimbell’s permanent collection is small in size, comprising fewer than 350 works of art, and is distinguished by an extraordinary level of artistic quality and importance. Its initial artwork came from the private collection of Kay and Velma Kimbell, who also provided funds for a new building to house it. The Kimbell has continued to pursue quality over quantity. Its holdings range from the third millennium B.C. to the mid-20th century and include major works like Michelangelo’s first known painting, The Torment of Saint Anthony which is the only painting by Michelangelo on exhibit in the Americas. It also includes works by Rembrandt, Friedrich (the first painting by the artist acquired by a public collection outside of Europe), Monet, and Picasso; among others. They also have works from Asia and other non-Western cultures.
6. Amon Carter Museum of American Art
Designed by renowned architect Philip Johnson, this museum is one of the nation’s major repositories of American photography and holds the archives of luminaries such as Nell Dorr, Laura Gilpin, Eliot Porter, and Karl Struss. Its art collections focus on 19th and early-to-mid 20th Century American art, including works by such artists as Alexander Calder, Thomas Cole, Stuart Davis, Charles Demuth, and Thomas Eakins, among others. It also houses a research library of approximately 150,000 items, focusing on American art, history, and culture. The Amon Carter Museum of American Art offers free admission and a diverse array of exhibitions, publications, and programs that connect visitors to masterworks of American art.
5. Six Flags Over Texas
Take a day trip to Arlington to have some fun with family and friends at Six Flags Over Texas. This amusement park is 212 acres that is located 16 miles east of Ft Worth. It opened on August 5, 1961 and is the first Six Flags Theme park. There are over 100 thrilling rides and attractions including the mega-coaster Titan, Batman the Ride, Bugs Bunny Boomtown, and the Aqua-man Splashdown. An exciting new ride will be unveiled later this season called Justice League: Battle for Metropolis. This dark ride is 4D interactive with state-of-the-art special effects, custom design cars, and interactive laser stun guns that put the entire family in the middle of the action.
4. Bass Performance Hall
The city has nothing else like this uniquely beautiful concert hall. It was built in the heart of downtown with limestone and designed by David M. Schwarz/Architectural Services, Inc. in 1998. An 80-foot-diameter Great Dome, artfully painted by Scott and Stuart Gentling, tops the Founders Concert Theater and two 48-foot-tall angels sculpted by Marton Varo from Texas limestone grace the Grand Façade. With five levels of seating it can hold 2,056 people and is able to house symphony, ballet, opera, stage, musicals, and rock concerts. It’s now the permanent home to the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, Texas Ballet Theater, Fort Worth Opera, the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, and Cliburn Concerts.
3. Sundance Square
One of the great places to visit in Forth Worth, especially during the weekend is this dazzling, 35-block development filled with boutiques, numerous hotels, restaurants, condos, lofts, shops, museums, bars, clubs, movie theatres, performing arts, concerts and festivals throughout the year located in city’s downtown area. It’s complete with charming, beautifully restored buildings that stand alongside glittering skyscrapers, fantastic fountains, four giant umbrellas, and a state-of-the art sound and lighting system. On any given day, you might find a band playing on the permanent stage, a yoga class in progress, or thousands enjoying an outdoor movie. A mural on one building commemorates the Ft Worth segment of the Chisholm Trail cattle drives of 1867-1875. The district is also close to the Bass Performance Hall.
2. Fort Worth Zoo
The oldest zoo in Texas, it was founded in 1909 with one lion, two bear cubs, an alligator, a coyote, a peacock and a few rabbits. Today, it’s grown into a nationally ranked facility, housing nearly 7,000 native and exotic animals. It has a wide array of indoor and outdoor exhibits that include World of Primates, Asian Falls, and Raptor Canyon. Texas Wild! is a hands-on exhibit that teaches about the state’s various regions. The Great Barrier Reef takes visitors to the Coral Sea and its mysterious waters. They also have some of the most endangered reptiles and amphibians on the planet at the Museum of Living Art which is a $19 million, 30,000-square-foot herpetarium. Admission is $9 for youngsters 12 and under and $12 for adults; infants up to the age of two are free.
1. Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District
Once home to cowboys, cattlemen, outlaws, and a livestock market, it is now the one of best tourist attractions in Fort Worth. It is 98 acres of weathered brick streets that are lined with historic buildings, restaurants, shops, saloons and other attractions such as the opry, the weekly Stockyards Championship Rodeo, Stockyards Museum, and the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame. It is home to the famous boot making company M.L. Leddy’s and The Maverick Fine Western Wear and Saloon where you can order a drink while you continue to shop. Make sure you don’t miss the world’s only twice daily cattle drive down Exchange Avenue that starts at 11:30am and 4:00pm.
Fort Worth is located in North Texas, and has a generally humid sub-tropical climate. The best times to visit is from September through November when tourist season is low and the temperature is mild. Though summer holds temperatures around the mid-high 90’s, some attractions are only open in during the summer. Whenever you decide to visit, in only a few days you can enjoy a range of experiences from the zoo to rodeos, world-class museums to cowboy cuisine, boutique shopping to concerts, gardens to theme parks. This destination puts the west in Western and has a little bit of something for everyone.