Fort Worth, TX, In a Weekend

April 13, 2011 at 6:32 pm EST
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Known as the "City of Cowboys and Culture," Fort Worth, Texas offers all that and plenty more. With a bustling downtown, a sophisticated arts scene and a helping or two of Old West culture, Fort Worth has a wildly diverse mix for any traveler — not to mention that famous Tex-Mex cuisine, among other culinary highlights. Here's our itinerary to discover some of Fort Worth's best bets, all in a weekend visit.

Day 1: Downtown Fort Worth
7 p.m.: Classic Texas Cuisine at Reata

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Start your weekend by taking in the warm Texas weather at Reata, a downtown Fort Worth favorite. The four-story eatery, decked out cowboy-style, has a seat for everyone — but the rooftop bar and dining patio is the place to see and be seen during Cowtown's long warm season. Cuisine here is Southwestern eclectic, with everything from steaks to Creole and Southern dishes. Locals swear by the fish tacos.

9 p.m.: Sundance Square and Four-Day Weekend

Spend some time window-shopping or grabbing a post-dinner cocktail as you walk your way through Sundance Square, Fort Worth's downtown hub full of bars, cafes and boutiques. Wind up your night with some laughs courtesy local improv comedy troupe Four-Day Weekend's 10 p.m. show. The all-male group has been entertaining the city for more than a decade. (Too late for you? Early birds can catch the 7 p.m. instead.) Wind up your night at The Ashton Hotel in downtown Fort Worth, a boutique hotel renovated from two buildings listed on the National Register of Historical Places.

Day 2: Southside Cultural District and Stockyards District
8 a.m.: Breakfast at Paris Coffee Shop

Smack in the middle of the hipster Near Southside neighborhood is your breakfast destination: the old-school diner Paris Coffee Shop, known for its cheese grits and biscuits and gravy. The no-frills atmosphere belies the diner's pedigree: Bon Appetit magazine named Paris one of the top 10 places in the U.S. for pie. (No, it's not too early for a top-heavy meringue chocolate or coconut slice.) If you're not in a hurry, the neighborhood's quirky commercial strip makes for a fun walk.

9 a.m.: Cultural District Museums

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Spend the morning exploring the Cultural District, where you’ll have your pick of five museums, Art Deco jewels and kids’ activities all in the lushly landscaped, urbane middle of the city. If art is what you’re after, The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth boasts a provocative collection, as well as renowned architecture, and the Kimbell Art Museum has been called one of the country’s best small collections. For western art, the Amon Carter Museum’s Remington and Russell collection is a good option. Kids will love the Museum of Science and History.

1 p.m.: Joe T. Garcia's Mexican Lunch and Patio

For a little south of the border, drive a bit north to local favorite Joe T. Garcia's, known for its handmade tortillas, legendary margaritas and perfect patio. (Tip: If you're not ready to leave the Cultural District yet, Cafe Modern within The Modern Art Museum provides upscale fare with a dramatic view).

3 p.m.: Stockyards District and Cattle Drive

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Ready to see why Fort Worth is affectionately known as "Cowtown"? A walk around the Stockyards District will explain it all. The areas once housed one of the largest cattle markets in the world. Today it's filled with Western-themed shops, saloons and attractions like the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame. Stick around until 4 p.m. to see a real-life cattle drive (they're held twice daily).

6 p.m.: Lonesome Dove Bistro, White Elephant Saloon

Don't even try to leave the Stockyards without having a steak. And Lonesome Dove Bistro is one of the best restaurants to find one. Well-known Texas chef Tim Love runs the upscale eatery, where signature hand-cut steaks share space on the menu with exotic wild game like grilled Texas quail quesadillas, kangaroo carpaccio and buffalo ribeye. Afterwards, belly up to the bar at White Elephant Saloon, whose authentic Old West saloon ambiance and live Texas music and dancing every night earned it the title of one of Esquire magazine's 100 Best Bars in America.

9 pm: Live Music at Lola’s or Top Live Country entertainment at Billy Bob’s

Fort Worth has a rocking local music scene. Catch a set to close out your night at Lola's Saloon, a bar and venue in the Stockyards that focuses on the best local, regional and national live music in Fort Worth.

Day 3: Trinity Trails, Spiral Diner Brunch
8 a.m.: Trinity Trails Workout

Get in an early workout along the Trinity Trails, a network of more than 40 miles of paths for walking and biking along the Trinity River. The trail network connects with 21 parks, the Fort Worth Botanic Garden and Japanese Garden, Log Cabin Village, Fort Worth Zoo, the Stockyards and downtown Fort Worth.

11 a.m.: Spiral Diner Brunch Work up an appetite?

Try the all-you-can-eat pancake brunch at Spiral Diner along hip Magnolia Ave. This vegan, organic restaurant (yes, in Texas!) appeals to both herbivores and carnivores, with specialties like migas and "The Lumberjack" that assure you won't miss the meat.

Looking to do more? Check out more fun things to do in Fort Worth.

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We want the young professionals to be involved in Fort Worth as early as possible, and hopefully for a lifetime. They are the future, and we want their input now.

Brianna Broussard, program manager, Vision Fort Worth