Memorial Day is here, which means summer has (unofficially) arrived! Last week I had a mini-staycation with a friend of mine and it got me thinking about all the wonderful attractions Fort Worth has to offer. People tend to think of cattle and cowboy hats when they think of Fort Worth but after reading this blog, I hope you’ll see what I see: a city full of high culture and farm fresh cuisine. I couldn’t possibly fit all my favorite restaurants into this post (I’ll save that for another day) so I’m going to focus on my favorite Things to Do in Fort Worth.
Cowtown Farmers Market
I believe whole-heartedly in knowing where your food comes from. There’s just something so satisfying about shaking the hand of the man who makes your cheese. (Eagle Mountain, Latte Da Dairy.) That’s why I love Cowtown Farmers Market. The market (3821 Southwest Blvd, Fort Worth, TX 76116) is open year-round on Saturdays, rain or shine, starting at 8 am until sell out.
What they have available is of course entirely seasonal but you can at least count on jams, tamales, breads, and pastries any time of year. My dog Gabby loves trotting along next to me while I pick out floral arrangements, eggs, and vegetables.
It’s of course free to stroll around the market, but take cash if you plan on purchasing anything. The farm fresh eggs that I often rave about on social media are usually gone by 8:45 am so arrive early if you want some. The yolks are so orange, you really can’t stomach super market eggs once you’ve had these in your kitchen. I’m usually in and out within the hour because I go before I’ve even had coffee. (Gotta get those eggs!)
The best part of a trip to the farmers market? The loot you bring home! I often go for greens, freshly baked bread, eggs (of course!), meat, cheese, and flowers. Recently Steel City Pops popped up at the market and I now can’t go without getting at least one for my freezer.
Fort Worth Botanic Garden
If you love flowers as much as The Rose Table, the Fort Worth Botanic Garden is a must-see. Full of lush foliage and babbling brooks, my friend and I couldn’t help but be reminded of Jurassic Park while strolling along the paths.
Another thing to love about the Botanic Garden? It’s free! If you have plans in the museum district, hit the Botanic Garden first. It’s just minutes away on University Drive. I recommend going first thing in the morning. North Texas summer temperatures are not a joke!
The rose garden is normally spectacular but after two months of rain, not many roses in the city are flourishing. (Mine certainly aren’t.) Still, the fountain is delightful and the rose garden smells fantastic. You can easily do the Botanic Garden in an hour, but there are other parts of the garden that you can pay to enter if you want to extend your stay.
Fort Worth Zoo
Centrally located in the city (and also on University Drive), the Fort Worth Zoo has long been a favorite of my family’s. I remember driving over from hometown since I was a little girl. My brother, sister-in-law, and niece live in Fort Worth and we stroll around the zoo once or twice a year.
The animals are great fun to watch – unless you’re my niece, who prefers to be on the lookout for squirrels – but it’s really the atmosphere that makes Fort Worth Zoo so special. It’s a beautiful park full of flowers and photo ops. Tickets are $12 for adults and worth every penny.
Go when the zoo first opens so that you’ll be up in the Texas area in time for lunch. We always get BBQ and stop for ice cream cones on our way out. It’s just not a trip to the zoo without ice cream! You can see pretty much everything in a half day.
I’m counting Woodshed Smokehouse on my Things to Do in Fort Worth list because it’s more of an event than a restaurant. Not only does Woodshed have some of the best BBQ north of Austin, but also a charming location on the Trinity River and a stage for local musicians. Order the mint julep and thank me later.
(Sadly the charm of Woodshed’s julep has recently taken a hit as they no longer serve the cocktail in the signature silver julep cup but it’s still delicious!)
I love taking out of town guests to this Fort Worth gem. The al fresco dining room includes picnic tables, live music, and a hang out so casual, dogs can be seen lounging on couches around the fire pit. I highly recommend strolling along the river after you leave Woodshed stuffed silly.
Coyote Drive-In is hands down my all-time favorite movie theater, mostly because I can take my dog and pretend I’m in the 1950s. The dog-friendly pavilion has live music on the weekends and an ice skating rink in the winter. The movies at Coyote start late – it has to be dark to see the screen after all – so plan accordingly. You’ll want to get there an hour early to stake out the best parking…and to order a churro.
Cross your fingers that your movie is playing on the screen in front of downtown Fort Worth. It’s by far the coolest viewing experience. Coyote welcomes lawn chairs so if you have more than two people, you can spread out comfortably around the car. Tickets are just $8 per person and you get TWO movies for that price, if you want to stay for both.
Bass Performance Hall
This blog could easily turn into a love letter to Bass Performance Hall. I have seen countless shows grace the stage and have never once been disappointed in the caliber. The building itself is breathtakingly beautiful and arguably the most iconic building in the city.
I frequent the touring Broadway shows, Fort Worth Opera festival, and Texas Ballet Theater’s annual production of The Nutcracker. My niece, pictured below, is only three years-old and she’s already been to two Fort Worth Opera events!
The interior of the building is all grey marble and glorious paintings, especially the higher up you get. You can even find your way to the balcony right under the iconic angels. I once asked an opera singer friend of mine – who has sung at venues all around the world – which theater was her favorite. She smiled and said, “Bass Hall.”
Check out Bass Hall’s schedule of events and plan your visit around a show you want to see. Ticket prices vary depending on what type of show you fancy. If you really want a special evening, spring for box seats. Just check out this view my sister-in-law and I had for Cosi fan Tutte!
Scat Jazz Lounge
Scat Jazz Lounge is hands-down my favorite hidden gem in Fort Worth. You don’t find it on a lot of lists. You kind of have to be in-the-know, and now you are! If you turn down an alley off 4th street in downtown Fort Worth, you’ll see the sign below. Click the button beneath the sign and take the elevator down a level. That elevator is basically a time machine.
The doors will open and you’ll be transported to a 1920s speakeasy. The room is dimly lit and has some of the best martinis in the city. (I especially love the classics, like the Brandy Alexander.) It’s difficult to carry on a conversation while the stage is occupied so just sit back and enjoy the show. Headlining acts take the stage at 9:00 pm.
What’s your FAVORITE thing to do in Fort Worth?