Woah, Nelly! You’re in for a wild ride if you’re only in Fort Worth for a day.Fort Worth often gets overshadowed by the “Big D” aka Dallas, but in my humble opinion, Fort Worth holds its own as a notable destination. With its storied past converging with the new in a tasteful way, it can’t help but stand out. I have jotted down some logistical insights and tried to keep suggestions to the “most” significant for you to cherry-pick adventures. I have also provided a mock itinerary should you just want to be along for the ride.
Getting to Fort Worth
If flying, DFW or DAL are the most common airports. From either location, a car can get you to Fort Worth within 40 minutes. DFW also has a light rail (TEXRail) that will give you a direct shot to Downtown Fort Worth’s Central Station. If driving from out of town, I-30 and I-35 are the main highways that lead into the city.
With limited time, you’ll pay a premium to be in the action. I highly recommend staying in The Stockyards with options varied based on service levels and price point. The five hotels within walking distance of each other are Hotel Drover, Autograph Collection by Marriott, Springhill Suites by Marriott, Courtyard by Marriott, Hyatt Place, and The Stockyards Hotel.
Lunch and Dinner
- 97 West Kitchen & Bar — If looking to dine Friday evening through Sunday brunch, advanced reservations of three-four weeks are encouraged to catch a preferred seating time. The menu is delicious, and you certainly can’t go wrong with the Catch of the Day Ceviche, Little Gem Wedge Salad, and Bone-in Ribeye Steak.
- Provender Hall — This charming two-story loft space is located in a repurposed Mule Barn where rehabbed wood and brick lend to its charm. The food suits the vibe and the Skillet Cornbread and Steak Frites are must-tries.
- Àtico — A rooftop restaurant with great views of Downtown Fort Worth. The flatbreads are tasty, but simply enjoying a beverage around sunset would be my recommendation.
- Joe T. Garcia’s — In existence since 1935, the iconic restaurant consistently has two-hour waits for dinner service and a line around the block. Despite that, it’s worth the wait if you have time. The décor, service, food, and margaritas all lend themselves to a remarkable experience.
- Biscuit Bar — A local family-owned franchise with five locations throughout DFW. The menu is varied, delicious, and affordable. The Boss, Fully Loaded Tots, and El Jefe have been fan favorites amongst my social circles, but you really can’t go wrong with anything from the menu.
- Esperanza’s Restaurant & Bakery — Named after Mr. and Mrs. Joe T. Garcia’s daughter, Esperanza (Hope), this family restaurant serves traditional Mexican food. Luckily, breakfast is served all day so take a little morning stroll to enjoy.
Activities in Fort Worth
- Running, cycling, or horseback riding along the Chisholm Trail and Trinity River while overlooking the Fort Worth Skyline.
- Museums – there’s many, but here are a few of the more notable ones:
- Large Live Music Venues
- 10 Breweries — in Fort Worth to kick back and relax
- The Foundry District — to explore
Get in the night before and check into your preferred Stockyards hotel.
If budget permits, Hotel Drover is recommended for the best overall experience with all senses indulged. The thoughtfully curated art, intricate design features, relaxing backyard, and true Southern hospitality will leave you wanting to return immediately. If more budget-sensitive, Hyatt Place is next door and still located in the heart of The Stockyards.
Rise ‘n shine!
Walk to Biscuit Bar for a patio breakfast on Mule Alley and enjoy a quiet stroll before it livens up for the twice-daily cattle drive (11:30 AM and 4 PM).
Morning and early afternoon adventures!
Take a horseback ride for 30 minutes or an hour at 10:30 AM down the Chisholm Trail, along the Trinity River, and overlooking the Fort Worth skyline.
- Upon return, explore Stockyard Stations, Mule Alley, and the museums within the area before and after lunch.
- For lunch, I would request seating upstairs at Provender Hall. It’ll be a nice respite from the crowds and noise within The Stockyards.
If horseback riding isn’t your thing and/or you want to go on a longer adventure, rent an electric bicycle East of Hyatt Place on East Exchange Avenue or go for a run along the Trinity River Trails.
- I suggest heading towards downtown, pit stopping at Panther Island Brewing if you’re craving a craft beer, and continuing onward to the Kimbell Art Museum. On your way back, drop by The Foundry District for artistic vibes and get back to The Stockyards area for a bite to eat at Joe T. Garcia’s.
Line up at 3:45 PM for the 4 PM Cattle Drive down East Exchange Avenue.
Insider secret, go to the west end of East Exchange Avenue and stand in the middle of the street right outside the cones. This will give you a head-on view as the cattle come your way.
After the Cattle Drive, head to the hotel to freshen up for nighttime festivities!
If venturing through The Stockyards on a Friday or Saturday, an early dinner is suggested so that you can make the Rodeo at Cowtown Coliseum by 7:30 PM.
- 97 West Kitchen & Bar dinner reservations for 5 PM are recommended since it would allow for ample time to enjoy your meal, take in The Backyard post-meal, and stroll leisurely to Cowtown Coliseum.
After the rodeo, venture to Billy Bob’s for two-stepping and live concerts. Be sure to check the show schedule and purchase tickets in advance.
Finally, head home and reflect fondly on your day.
You’ll soon be reminiscing about your next trip to Fort Worth, Texas!
I also wanted to provide a map for those that prefer visuals, like myself, for ease in referencing key areas within The Stockyards noted above.
I hope this helps with planning and I hope you tag #DreamsAbroad on your trip so we can share in your adventures!