Fort Worth is a city of unending contrasts. A world-class music competition sits side-by-side with the "World's Largest Honky-Tonk." There are live rodeos and cattle-drives complete with horses, wagons and trail bosses as well as exhibitions of artists like Monet, Picasso and Matisse. You can watch performances by a nationally recognized ballet company and then go "two-stepping" to live country and western music.
Sundance Square is a 16-block area of buildings that have been restored and/or replicated to match their turn-of-the-century appearances. Named after the Sundance Kid, Butch Cassidy's famous sidekick, the Square is home to such restaurants as Billy Miner's Saloon—where the hamburgers are hot and the beer and margaritas cold—and the Cabo Mix Mex Grill, which offers South/Central American cuisine with a Yucatan influence.
Just south of the Fort Worth Convention Center is the Fort Worth Water Gardens, a four-and-a-half block park with assorted lakes and waterfalls. Entertainment possibilities in the downtown area are almost endless; from the fabulous Bass Performance Hall to the Caravan of Dreams, you're sure to find something to keep you busy.
A few minutes west of downtown lies the third largest arts and cultural district in the United States. Amon Carter Museum features pre-1940 works by premier 19th and 20th Century artists, including paintings, books, sculptures, prints and photographs. The Kimbell Art Museum is a work of art in itself, thanks to architect Louis Kahn's use of natural light, space and materials.
Nature and animal lovers will find a variety of classic venues located in this district. The Fort Worth Botanic Gardens features 114 acres of gardens where more than 2,500 species of native and exotic plants are displayed. Meanwhile, the Will Rogers Memorial Center is home to some of the world's most prominent equestrian events, and The Fort Worth Zoo houses more than 5,000 native and exotic animals in their natural habitats.
The Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District is a living museum depicting life in both the Old West and the new. Designated a historical landmark in 1976, the Stockyards constitute one of the state's most popular tourist attractions. This district's largest attraction is the Stockyards Station, now a real depot for the Tarantula Train. The station is not only the largest train station in the Southwest, but also a dining, shopping and entertainment delight for the whole family. Shop for everything from Western clothing to antiques, Indian jewelry to Texas wines, and leather goods to country and western music. Kids of all ages will enjoy the vintage amusement park rides, boisterous reenactments of Western shootouts and living history tours found here.
Billy Bob's Texas, billed as the world's largest honky-tonk, features multiple dance floors and concert venues, an indoor rodeo, a mechanical bull, a gift shop and live entertainment almost every night by country music's biggest names. White Elephant Saloon, is as plain as Billy Bob's is fancy and has a good-sized dance floor.
The Metroplex/Outside Fort Worth
The areas surrounding Fort Worth include many other worthwhile places to visit, but you'll want to rent a car to get around comfortably. The American Airlines C.R. Smith Museum is located southwest of Dallas-Fort Worth Airport, the Fort Worth Nature Center and Refuge is located ten miles (16 kilometers) northwest of downtown Fort Worth, and the Vintage Flying Museum at Meacham International Airport, offers weekend hangar tours of a vintage B-17 bomber.
Located East of Fort Worth in Arlington are several opportunities for family-oriented entertainment, including Hurricane Harbor water park, directly across the street from Six Flags Over Texas amusement park. For sports fans, there is also the Ballpark in Arlington, home of the Texas Rangers American League baseball team.
For a piece of Texas history, visit Grapevine, located east of Fort Worth on Highway 114. Deemed the oldest settlement in Tarrant County and named for the mustang grapes growing wild in the area, it is the official home of the Texas Wine and Grape Growers Association.