Words by Ashley Locke
Dallas seems to be on everyone’s bucket list lately, thanks to its thriving culture and booming food scene—but all eyes should be on Fort Worth, it’s slightly smaller, slightly quieter, far less traffic-y sister city.
Restaurants, coffee shops, music venues, and shops have been popping up, blending old Fort Worth with new. But as much as Fort Worth has changed, it hasn’t forgotten its past––and it doesn’t want to. What Fort Worth used to be, still pulses through what the city is today, such as the twice-daily cattle drives that give the city its nickname, “Cowtown.”
When you visit Fort Worth, you become a part of the community. Locals jump at the chance to share their favorite spots—and they might even join you for a drink. No matter who you talk to, the line is the same: We love Fort Worth, and we would never dream of leaving. So, when you make your way down south, you might want to pack an extra large suitcase in case you decide not to leave!
Start your day at Hot Box Biscuit Club. The People’s Champ, a buttermilk biscuit with sugar cane-brined fried chicken, housemade sausage pepper gravy, and cheese, is a crowd pleaser—but you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu! Panther City BBQ is a must for lunch—you’ll smell the restaurant before you see it. Try the Brisket Elote, creamed corn topped with freshly chopped brisket, queso fresco, and fresh jalapeños. If you’re craving something sweet after lunch, swing by one of the Melt Ice Creams locations. The shop is full of fun flavors such as Salt Lick and Lavender Honeycomb. Cannon Chinese Kitchen is a must-try spot for dinner. The restaurant is in a renovated 1930s home, and the menu is loaded with delicious food such as scallion pancakes, red oil dumplings, and wok-seared green beans.
Art and history lovers will enjoy touring the Amon Carter Museum of American Art and the The National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame. The Fort Worth Water Gardens, featured in Solange Knowles’ “Almeda” music video, is a peaceful place in the middle of the city. Enjoy the sound of flowing water and the beautiful waterfall formations. Mule Alley, a new development in the historic Fort Worth Stockyards, has something for everyone. You can spend a full day there eating, shopping, and enjoying live entertainment. A good night ends at Shipping and Receiving, a warehouse bar named for exactly what it used to be. You can always bet on a good band and a good beer!
Fort Worth boasts a history of garment manufacturing, which has resulted in a thriving industry of small-batch, locally made leather goods and clothing, perhaps none more famous than the hand-tooled belts, hand-shaped hats, and custom boots of M.L. Leddy’s. Hey Gang, a children’s clothing brand featuring “play clothes” such as fun overalls and chore coats, is designed and made locally. Proper Supply Co., located in Mule Alley, is the first ever brick-and-mortar luxury western store featuring legendary Stetson products. Readers will love The Dock Bookshop, the largest full-service, Black-owned independent bookstore in Texas.
Located in downtown Fort Worth, The Sinclair is a beautifully designed Art Deco inspired hotel. The rooftop bar and onsite restaurant are a treat, but it’s also steps away from Fort Worth’s bustling Sundance Square. Named in honor of the cowboys who drove cattle to market, Hotel Drover is a place where rustic meets luxury. It’s located in the Fort Worth Stockyards, with Mule Alley shopping, dining, and entertainment nearby.