Like Texas itself, Fort Worth’s cultural scene is big enough to offer just about everything.
The city’s arts communities have, over time, settled into three distinct areas: the Cultural District, Stockyards National Historic District and the Downtown District, crowned by Sundance Square. Each offers up a vibrant selection of music, dance, theatre and art, and stands as a community within itself while staying plugged into the entire region’s artistic tapestry.
Follow tree-lined boulevards away from downtown for a few minutes and you’ll find yourself in the Cultural District. With its brick paving and manicured grounds, the district is a jewel dropped into the metropolitan area. Art offerings range from Western to avant-garde at the The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, the Kimbell and Amon Carter, with each well-regarded collection housed in distinct structures renowned for their architectural styles. The region's collection of attractions, including the Art Deco wonder Will Rogers Memorial Center, draw in more than two million visitors a year.
Stockyards National Historic District
Then there’s the Stockyards National Historic District, the “history book of the Texas stock industry.” For drovers heading up the Chisholm Trail, Fort Worth was the last major stop for supplies. Now this part of Cowtown is a way station for all kinds of artists and musicians, many of whom take the stage at Billy Bob’s Texas and play to packed houses.
Downtown District/Sundance Square
And for those who want it all in one place, look no further than Sundance Square downtown, where hip restaurants, independent theaters and art galleries and collide to offer a walkable feast for the eyes, ears and palate. Favorite stops include the improv comedy club Four-Day Weekend and upscale Western shopping at Leddy's. Plenty of urban lofts allow hip locals to live right in the middle of the action.
Bass Hall, Theater Scene
While it’s hard to single out specific groups or institutions here, there are a few that have achieved national and international prominence. Take the Nancy Lee and Perry R. Bass Performance Hall, which houses the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, Texas Ballet Theater, Fort Worth Opera and the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition and Cliburn Concerts. Little wonder that this 2,065-seat venue, with its 80-foot Great Dome, is known around the world.
Smaller but just as mighty are the Casa Mañana, Jubilee Theatre, Circle Theatre, Hip Pocket Theatre, Stage West and a host of other sites devoted to live theater. Cinema buffs are hardly left in the cold either, as the annual Q-Cinema film festival and related events keep local movie houses busy.
Unique Cultural Museums
On the museum front, there’s history to be had at the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame and its male counterpart, the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame.Western art is represented at downtown's Sid Richardson Museum, located in Sundance Square. The Fort Worth Museum of Science and History offers world-class traveling exhibits to visitors young and old within an innovative work of architecture, and the National Multicultural Heritage Museum explores the contributions of all groups to the region.
Trying to stay on top of Fort Worth’s art scene is an enjoyable challenge. The best part? The city’s cosmopolitan residents are always hungry for more, which means the offerings, and the variety, just keep increasing.
Photo courtesy of Ed Schipul
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