Fort Worth Travel Guide
Ribs at Angelo's Barbecue in Fort Worth
We've talked up the metro-cowboy contrast and cattle drive history that makes Fort Worth special, but now it's time to get down to the good old fashion Texas appeal: Barbecue, beer, and bourbon. In this addition of Street Food Friday, we round up a few of our favorite Fort Worth establishments:
The main entrance to the Stockyards.
Simply put, the Stockyards is a Fort Worth neighborhood that has been restored to its early 20th century form. There are cattle pens, saloons, and the world's largest honky tonk (and I'm not kidding about that last part). But it’s so much more than a tourist trap. Within the Stockyards still lives Fort Worth’s past as a town of cowboys and cattle drives, the blocks upon which the city was built.
It all revolves around its role on the Chisholm Trail, a 200-plus mile long cattle drive from Texas to Kansas. What’s a cattle drive? It’s the movement of cattle by cowboys from one place to another. In this case, the Chisholm Trail saw herds of cattle, most with a couple thousand heads in total, transported from Texas and sold to packing plants in Kansas, where they were worth more.
Fort Worth – specifically the Stockyards and a section of downtown called Hell’s half acre – was the last stop on the Chisholm Trail where the cowboys could buy supplies and find entertainment before embarking on the 90-day journey north. What sort of entertainment? The cowboy variety, of course. Saloons, gambling houses, honky tonks, and brothels were the main attractions to go along with general stores and the like. It would be months before they rejoined civilization, so whatever fun was had needed to provide ample memories and stories for nights around the campfire.
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Sundance Square in downtown Fort Worth
Fort Worth has a well-developed, friendly rivalry with Dallas, one that pins the country feel of the former against the modern development of the latter. Compared to Dallas, the pace of life in Fort Worth is slow, and as one cab driver put it to me, "When my coworkers come back [to Fort Worth] from Dallas, they're going a mile a minute. I have to tell them to take a walk and chill out."
Overall, it's hard to think of two big cities that are that close and that different (Dallas is the 9th biggest city in the U.S., Fort Worth is number 17). That's a pretty cool platform for travel in its own right. But it gets more specific than that. After spending a few days in Fort Worth, I had a hard time thinking of a city where there was such a drastic contrast within itself. Sure, all cities have neighborhoods with different personalities, but Fort Worth has one of the strongest ying and yangs I've experienced in some time: The push towards modern times against the pull of its western past.
The remake of Carrie hits theaters today, and to celebrate horror attractions across the country have been using the movie's iconic prom scene to their advantage.
This week, the Savage House near San Diego gave anyone who donated a prom dress to a local charity free admission to their haunted house, and Blood Manor in NYC has been giving away Carrie swag as well as student discounts. Those are great, but Hangman's House in Fort Worth, TX has taken the theme to a whole new level.
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If you’ve got some time to kill before your flight out of Dallas-Ft. Worth there’s no need to visit the airport bar—although that isn’t necessarily the worst idea. Instead keep the rental car for a few extra minutes, and take a visit to the American Airlines C.R. Smith Museum right on the outskirts of the airport complex in Fort Worth, Texas.
In a nutshell, the aviation museum shows off the history of American Airlines, and there’s plenty of interactive exhibits that keep you from dozing off during your visit. The museum’s Flightlab reveals how exactly airplanes stay up in the air, along with explaining all other kinds of stuff related to aerodynamics and flying machines. There’s even a Flight Simulator where you can test your skills in the cockpit, but just be sure to call ahead—(817) 967-5904—to ensure it’s open during your visit.