A place where “cowboy boots and hats come together,” Fort Worth exudes a real Texas vibe, yet with a “modern west” ambiance befitting America’s 12th largest city.
As such, Fort Worth tourism exec Terran Fleenor says there’s lots going on in the city, not least when combined with nearby Dallas and Arlington, which comprise the state’s predominant metropolitan hub.
In Toronto to talk up the town, which counts Canada as its top international market after neighbouring Mexico, Fleenor says Fort Worth is a destination full of history and characters, particularly in the Stockyards National Historic District (banner photo), where real cowboys conduct a twice daily cattle drive and visitors can see rodeos year-round (Fridays and Saturdays), shop for western wear, and savour traditional Texas fare and country music.
The National Cowgirl Hall of Fame adds to the ambiance, as does Billy Bob’s Texas entertainment, food, and concert complex, which calls itself “the world’s largest honky tonk.”
Arguably the city’s top attraction for visitors, The Stockyard has completed the first phase of a $500-million redevelopment (with part two coming soon), including the recent opening of the 200-room Hotel Drover, part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection.
But Forth Worth also has the 35-block Sundance Square entertainment and retail district (named after “the Sundance Kid”), with hotels (some new and renovated ones in the pipeline), restaurants, bars, music, festivals, galleries, and shopping, plus an arts district with five world-class museums (including the renowned Kimball Art Museum), Dickies Arena (for concerts and other major events), and theatre amongst its many amenities.
For outdoors enthusiasts, there’s Trinity River Trails, for hiking, cycling, horseback riding and water activities, located right in the city – which is highly walkable, giving a small town feel to a big-time city. The Fort Worth Botanic Gardens, and Zoo, also provide popular outdoor activities.
On the culinary front, Fleenor admits “barbecue and steaks are really our bread and butter” and gives a shout out to top-rated Goldee’s, as well as Panther City BBQ; but she adds visitors can “eat their way around the world” with notable North Mexican cuisine and even vegan offerings – the latter “kinda fun given we’re known for our barbecue!”
The city has also become a hub for spirits, including tequila and whiskey, and there’s an ale trail with close to 20 craft breweries on it.
Meanwhile, located less than hour from Forth Worth by train or car, Dallas offers a “different vibe” than Fort Worth and is often paired with its neighbour by Canadian visitors. A prime example of a Texas destination that belies the image of cattle and cowboys, the city is home to the largest arts district in the US, plus notable JFK (assassination) tours. And for those still muddling who shot JR, the “Dallas” TV show’s Southfork ranch can be visited 45 minutes away.
Located between Dallas and Fort Worth (each about 30 minutes away), Arlington is known as the “Home of the Cowboys,” as in football team. And home of the Texas Rangers baseball franchise too. The former offers popular tours of state-of-the art AT&T Stadium (photo), while Globe Life Field is a great place to catch a ball game. The original Six Flags amusement park also calls Arlington home.
Another town in the Dallas-Forth Worth neighbourhood – with its own unique personality – is Grapevine, which, not surprisingly, is “all about wine” and boasts an urban wine trail. Other attributes include a historic main street, claims of being the “Christmas Capital of Texas,” a great live music scene, artisan shopping, restaurants and cafés, and a vintage excursion train to the Fort Worth Stockyards.
Canadians have plenty of direct flight service, including Air Canada, to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) from Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, and Calgary.
First published at Travel Industry Today