Cowboys and Culture: Why You Should Visit Fort Worth, Texas

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Written By Reena

Born in England, raised in Canada and now living in Australia, I love travelling and experiencing new cultures. On Family Forays, I share our family travel experiences (in Australia and overseas) as well as provide travel advice, sanity-saving tips and feature family-friendly destinations.

Consider Fort Worth dubbed the City of Cowboys and Culture as a stopover destination for a couple of days if you’re travelling via Dallas-Fort Worth. We recently enjoyed a short break in this friendly and laid-back city and enjoyed every moment of it.

After booking the long 15 ½ hour flight from Sydney to Dallas-Fort Worth on route to Florida, we decided to spend a couple of nights in this western town. Unfortunately, due to a flight delay, we only ended up having 36 hours to explore Fort Worth but it was enough to give us a taste of this unique destination.

After a long flight from Sydney, our hotel was a welcome stop. Located downtown, the Omni Fort Worth is a comfortable hotel that reminds you that you’ve arrived in Texas.

From the furniture in the rooms to photos of boot and carpets adorned with lasoos, this hotel epitomises Western Chic. With friendly staff, large rooms and a rooftop pool, it’s a great place to stay in Fort Worth.

The next morning, we rouse ourselves and head to the Fort Worth Stockyards to see the famous Fort Worth cattle drive.

Getting there early, we take the time to wander through the Western-themed shops in the Stockyards National Historic District.

One shop I recommend is M.L. Leddys to get an appreciation of western gear. The smell of fine leather permeates the store as you’re surrounded by hundreds of pairs of cowboy boots.

Since 1922, M.L. Leddys has created custom, handmade boots, saddles, clothing, belts, buckles and other western gear. The sheer variety of boots is astounding and I’m tempted to buy a pair or two until I remember my luggage constraints.

It’s then back out to Main Street where we meet a Texas Longhorn named Jake who obligingly allows visitors to climb on him. Up close, you realise how huge and impressive these creatures really are.

They’re even more impressive as part of a group as the cattle drive begins along Exchange Avenue. Held twice a day at 11:30am and 4pm, this is the world’s only twice cattle drive and includes a dozen Texas Longhorns driven by genuine Texas cowhands. The cattle amble by, their coats all different colours. They snort at the crowds of tourists as cameras click away.

After the cattle drive, we wander into Fort Worth Stockyards Visitor Center to learn more about Fort Worth’s rich history.

The friendly ladies in the Center point out interesting features on the wall mural and also how the eyes of the cowboys and cattle follow us across the room.

They’re delighted to hear that we’ve come all the way from Australia to visit Fort Worth and kindly provide my daughter with a Fort Worth Marshal’s badge.

We’re feeling hungry and they recommend stopping at one of the many barbeque places in the area.

Walking around, we spot Riscky’s Barbeque and tuck into a delicious Texas-sized meal.

We wrap up our visit to the Stockyards and head back to the downtown area of Fort Worth for more exploring.

Next on our list is the Water Gardens designed by Phillip Johnson located opposite our hotel. Although they’re called Water Gardens, they’re not designed for swimming or wading no matter how tempting it may be on a hot day. It’s strictly prohibited. Instead, they’re three different water features to be enjoyed by visitors. The park features three pools of water: the aerating, the quiet and our favourite, the active pool.

After the Water Gardens, we stroll through the downtown area of Fort Worth and come across the John F. Kennedy memorial in front of the Fort Worth Hilton. It’s a poignant tribute to a much loved American leader.

The hotel formerly named Hotel Texas  was the last place JFK stayed before he was assassinated on November 22, 1963. On that morning, the President made an unscheduled outdoor appearance in front of the Fort Worth hotel to more than 3000 people before travelling to nearby Dallas.

After reading the tribute, we walk further and find ourselves at Sundance Square. This downtown location features boutiques, restaurants, night spots, and art galleries as well as Sundance Square Plaza.

It’s at the plaza that we find jetted water fountains we can play in! While my daughter plays, I use the free wifi to catch up on emails and people-watch.

It’s a fantastic space overlooked by a giant Chisholm Trail Mural which depicts the legendary cattle drives of Texas in the late 19th century.

We’re there for a couple of hours during the day enjoying the Texas sun and return later on in the evening for a meal. It’s equally as atmospheric at night. There’s loads of restaurants and cafes around the square and we dine on delicious Tex-Mex.

Our brief stopover in Fort Worth has come to an end and we’ve barely scratched the surface of Fort Worth. Had we more time, we would have visited Fort Worth Zoo and the acclaimed Kimball Art Museum. But they’re on our itinerary for the next time we visit Fort Worth.

Family Forays would like to thank Fort Worth CVB for assisting with our itinerary. We’ll be back!

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