Fort Worth, Texas is a city in the northern part of the stare and started life as an army outpost. The city is very close to Dallas, so it’s sometimes a little overlooked. Although Dallas is a far more famous city, Fort Worth has so much to offer visitors and residents alike.
Fort Worth is the fifth largest city in Texas, although it has a relatively small population in comparison to its neighbor, Dallas, and other major cities, such as Houston and San Antonio. The city’s nickname is ‘Cowtown’ because of its cattle trade and roots in ranching and all things Wild West.
There are so many things to do in Fort Worth that it can be difficult to know where to start. The city is steeped in history, but it also has a very modern side.
Let us guide you on some of the best things to do in Fort Worth, Texas to ensure that your visit to this amazing city is memorable.
Fort Worth Water Gardens
Given the often-searing heat of the Summers in Texas, it seems only fair that someone would design an oasis of water to help its residents cool off. The site covers more than 4 acres and is a really unusual but attractive place to be. A visit to the water garden is a great thing to do in Fort Worth with kids. Kids love getting wet, and the active pool at the Fort Worth Water Gardens allows to dip their toes in the warm water. Although there’s no actual swimming allowed, you can cool down under refreshing water sprays from the fountains.
The meditation pool is particularly popular with adults. The gentle sound of the running water is very relaxing and you can take shelter from the hot summer sun under the massive live oak trees. To help you relax even further the Fort Worth Water Gardens is one of the great free things to do in Fort Worth. Nothing de-stresses you quite like not having to open your purse.
Admission to the Gardens is free of charge
Sundance Square is an area comprising 35 blocks in downtown Fort Worth. It was named after the Sundance Kid and his bestie, Butch Cassidy, who often visited the area. The transformation of this section of Fort Worth really help to breathe new life into downtown. Sundance Square is pedestrian friendly and has many restaurants, bars, and nightclubs. There are also numerous movie screens and live musical and theatrical performances are common occurrences here. It’s a great area for shopping in Fort Worth. Sundance Square has received several awards for its innovative approach to urban planning. You really have to see it with your own eyes to appreciate what a fantastic attraction it is. Ask any local, and they’ll tell you that a visit Sundance Square is one of the best things to do in Fort Worth.
Fort Worth Botanical Gardens
With 21 specialty gardens and more than 2,500 species of plants and flowers, the FWBG is listed on the National Register of Historical Places. It has various gardens dedicated to flowers like begonias, orchids, and roses, as well as areas for cactus, native wildlife and perennials. One of the highlights of the botanical gardens is the beautiful 7.5-acre Japanese Garden. Walking in the area is like being in another world and it’s filled with colorful maples, acers, magnolias and cherry trees. It’s a really fun thing to do in Fort Worth for those who love horticulture.
Tickets required, available at entrance $4-$7
Log Cabin Village
Log Cabin Village is billed as ‘Fort Worth’s Living History Museum’ because it’s a village filled with historic houses from the 1800s. After seeing so many of the wooden homes that used to dot the Texas landscape were being torn down, the museum was created. The aim was to retain this part of Texas history and preserve it for future generations. There are several homes, a school, and a smokehouse, and all are decorated and furnished with authentic artifacts from the time period. Staff and volunteers from Log Cabin Village dress up in the traditional clothing of the day. This helps to make it a really fun thing to do in Fort Worth for all the family.
Tickets required, available at the entrance, $4.50-$5
Fort Worth Stockyards
Walking up to the iconic arches of Fort Worth Stockyards is like taking a trip back in time. Either side of the street has traditional old saloon bars and historically preserved buildings that hark back to the days of the Wild West. The stockyard themselves are fully operational, so a visit there will almost certainly involve you spotting longhorn cattle or people on horseback. It quite a unique site in what is, after all, a huge and very modern city.
A visit to Fort Worth Stockyards is definitely one of the most fun things to do in Fort Worth. While you’re there, you can go bull riding, see the rodeo, or ride a horse. During my visit, there was an advertisement for sessions of Goat Yoga, which sounded like the most fun ever. Fort Worth Stockyards also has a museum which details its long past. This is a great place to visit if you’re interested in finding out more about the incredible history of FWS.
Kimbell Art Museum
Kimbell Art Museum has to be one of the best things to do in Fort Worth. Not only does it house a massively impressive collection of art, but the buildings themselves are masterpieces. Architects Louis Kahn and Renzo Piano designed the buildings specifically to house the art within. The Kimbell Museum has two buildings; one named for each architect. The 1972 Kahn building is widely regarded as one of the greatest architectural buildings of modern times. It has been specifically designed to allow as much natural light as possible to flood the skylights and vaults. The innovative design helps to enhance the artwork inside. The Piano Pavilion is made up of two sections connected by a glass passageway and also contains an auditorium with superior acoustics.
The art collection at the Kimbell is what you would expect to find in Rome, Paris or Madrid. There are works by Miro, Monet, Leger, Picasso and Edvard Munch, to name a few. Other collections include art and sculptures from Asia, Ancient America and Africa.
There is no admission to enter the Kimbell, making it one of the best free things to do in Fort Worth and the entire state.
Off-beat things to do in Fort Worth
If you’re interested in things to do in Fort Worth with a historical element, take a trip to visit the grave of one of the most infamous men on the planet: Lee Harvey Oswald. The simple stone can be found in Shannon Rose Hill Burial Park. It might be slightly creepy and off-beat, but it’s also on the list of free things to do in Fort Worth. Free can never be bad, right? While you’re in the mood for unusual, there’s a lightbulb in the Palace Theater in Fort Worth Stockyards that’s been burning for 111 years. We’re not sure why it’s never been switched off, but I guess it must be out of the reach of visitors who are sorely tempted to try it.
Frequently Asked Questions by Travelers About Fort Worth
We’ve compiled answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the city and things to do in Fort Worth. These will help your research, planning, and general education about all that’s on offer in a trip to Fort Worth, Texas.
What is Fort Worth known For?
Fort Worth is famous for being the center of the Longhorn cattle trade. Back in the day, Fort Worth was one of 10 outposts protecting the American frontier from the Mexicans. To this day, Fort Worth is known as ‘where the West begins.’ Even now, Fort Worth is still very much known as a cowboy town, hence its nickname ‘Cowtown.’ One of the best things to do in Fort Worth – if you’re interested in history – is take a trip to the wonderfully preserved Stockyards National Historic District.
Was Fort Worth a Fort?
Yes! Fort Worth was the most northerly fort from ten that protected the old American Frontier. The ‘Fort’ in the name comes from this and the ‘Worth’ comes from an American war hero, General William Jenkins Worth. Fort Worth was officially named in 1849.
Is Dallas bigger than Fort Worth?
In terms of land area, Fort Worth is 340.5 square miles. Dallas, on the other hand, is 341.4 square miles. So, yes, Dallas is a tiny bit bigger than Fort Worth in terms of physical size. In terms of population, Fort Worth has 874,000 people while Dallas is home to 1.3 million. So, Dallas wins both battles, even if it just marginally comes out in front in terms of land size. And although Dallas might be the winner, there’s still no end of things to do in Fort Worth.
Fort Worth tends to be left behind a little given its proximity to its more famous neighbor. However, there’s plenty of things to do in Fort Worth, so it absolutely holds its own. How many other places can claim to be the hiding spot of choice for Bonnie and Clyde, for example? If Fort Worth was good enough for them, it’s certainly good enough for you! There are so many fun things to do in Fort Worth and that, combined with its great year-round climate, means it should be a feature on everyone’s to-do list. Fort Worth is served by Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.