1. Landlubbing Is Permitted On The Trinity River
With epic temperatures and swamp-like humidity, Fort Worthians tote their tubes to the river to escape the heat for Rockin’ the River, a free summer concert series. There people enjoy the tunes and occasional breeze while floating from inflatable tubes along the Trinity River. There are also plenty of landlubbers bank-side who jam out on blankets and chairs.
2. All Hail The…Horned Toad?
Upon moving to Fort Worth, you will have to learn how to root for the ugliest mascot in all of college history. OK, maybe UC Santa Cruz’ slimy slug wins this one but the Texas Christian University horned frog comes pretty close. The mascot looks like something out of a anime horror story, if such a thing did exist.
3. And Speaking Of Weird Creatures…
A spooky legend from 1969 has persisted through the years about a cryptid haunting Lake Worth, just on the outskirts of the city. Rumors have abounded over the years about Goatman, a fantastical creature with the body of a man and the head of a goat lurking around, like something out of a Guillermo del Toro movie. Whether you believe in the Goatman or not, the 3,500-acre lake is still a neat place to visit.
4. In Fort Worth, You Give Them An Enchilada And They Take A Guacamole
Tex-Mex is arguably one of the best products to result from American-Mexican relations. The fusion of American and Mexican culinary techniques has spread across the U.S., but the great state of Texas has its own version of Tex-Mex that warms the heart and tickles the taste buds. And in Fort Worth, Tex-Mex is had at El Asadero.
The enchiladas verdes are topped with a white cheese and smothered in a green tomatillo sauce that has been developed over time with love. The fish soup and chalupas are also popular favorites and the mariachi bands that occasionally play sum up the evening perfectly.
5. Fort Worthians Are Crazy Cat People
As in the Fort Worth Cats, their minor league baseball team. The Cats are a member of the South Division of the United League Baseball and they pitch at LaGrave Field. They just signed 55-year-old All-Star MVP Julio Franco, who was the oldest major league player in 2008.
6. Hustle Man Hefner Really Loves Fort Worth And You Can Too
If you’ve just moved to Cowtown and you haven’t yet found your civic sense of pride in this rustic town of wonder, just watch local rapper Hustle Man Hefner’s “I Love Fort Worth” video. His love letter to the “royal south” city gives shout-outs to various parts of Fort Worth, including the high schools of all of his group, and praises the city for making him who he is today. It will make you a believer too.
7. The Booze Flows Freely At Billy Bob’s
Located in the Fort Worth Stockyards, the “World’s Largest Honky Tonk Bar” boasts 127,000 sq. ft. of boot scootin’ space and more than 20 bar stations to keep the party going strong. Its claim to fame includes a frequent reference in the soap “Dallas” and several “Club of the Year” awards from the Academy of Country Music. Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson have graced the stage, among others, and some of the best up-and-coming bull riders can be found there on Friday and Saturday nights, atop real live bulls.
8. And Champions Are Bred In Cowtown Coliseum
More than 3,400 people can pack into the coliseum every Friday and Saturday for the Stockyards Championship Rodeo, where they watch modern-day cowboys lasso their herd. There are also music concerts and the historical reenactment of Pawnee Bill’s Wild West Show, with trick roping, shooting, riding, and good ol’ cowboy songs.
9. Fort Worthians Like It Muy Caliente!
Established in 1870, Pendery’s World of Chiles & Spices is the place to go for all your capsicum concerns. They have ground chilies, whole chilies, diced chilies, any kind of chili you could ever want. Pendery’s also carries sauces, seasonings, cookbooks, kitchen tools, and gourmet gifts as well.
10. Fort Worth Knows How To Fest With The Best
From indie to pop to country and R&B—it’s all on stage at the annual Fort Worth Music Fest, spread out on two stages over two days. On top of great headliners, there are also smaller, local bands performing, great food and cool works of art to be had.
11. You Don’t Have To Travel All The Way To New Orleans For Taste Bud Blasting Soul Food
Chef Keith Hicks of Buttons Restaurant has celebrity status here. He deftly dishes up collard greens, chicken and waffles, and fried green tomatoes with the skill of Ray Charles on the piano. His “cool cuisine” is food for the soul.
Buttons draws hungry diners from all walks of life, from young and hipster to august and well dressed and everything in between. If soul food doesn’t move you, then the live entertainment at Buttons will. On any given night you can sway to performances by some of the best local and region jazz musicians alive.
12. Fort Worth’s Museum Is More Modern Than Yours
In fact, it’s so modern it drops the whole “museum” part from its title and is just referred to as “The Modern.” Situated in Fort Worth’s Cultural District, the Modern houses more than 2,600 works of art in its space, making it one of the leaders in post-World War II art collections in the central U.S., and its permanent collection boasts masterpieces by Picasso, Andy Warhol, Cindy Sherman, and Jackson Pollack, among others.
13. Downtown Is A World Apart
Going Downtown Fort Worth can sometimes seem like time traveling. You never know when you might see horses, wagons, and longhorn steers meandering through the streets. There is a lot of history in and around the downtown area, as evidenced by the grand old architecture and the cowboy culture that seems to pervade everything around.
That’s not to say the downtown area is an old dusty pit. Quite the opposite. Downtown Fort Worth carries a sense of urban sophistication and wears it well. There are a ton of great places to eat gourmet meals, shop like a valley girl, and party like a rock star.
14. “T” Is For Transit
Operated by the Fort Worth Transportation Authority, the “T” is the main bus system serving FW downtown and suburban areas. It also partners with the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) to provide commuter rail service from downtown FW to the airport and Dallas.
15. Esperanza’s Makes Food So Good It Brings A Tear To Papa Joe T. Garcia’s Eye
Esperanza’s Mexican Café and Bakery is the offspring of Joe T. Garcia’s, a Fort Worth staple for delicious Mexican food for nearly 80 years. Named so after Mr. and Mrs. Garcia’s daughter, Esperanza’s serves up scrumptious pastries and breads, as well as breakfast and lunch, but the real draw is the breakfast menu. Beware, the huevos rancheros is drool-inducing, and the tortillas are homemade. Yum!
16. Get A Heavenly Glimpse Of Fort Worth’s Crown Jewel
Everything is bigger in Texas, including the concert venues. The Bass Performance Hall takes up an entire downtown block and is often referred to as the “crown jewel” of Fort Worth.
It is made of limestone and replete with a Beaux-Arts dome and hand-carved, trumpet-playing angels. Beautiful architecture aside, it has been recognized for splendorous acoustics and is definitely the place to see an opera or ballet performance.
17. For 400K People This Art And Music Festival Is The “Main” Attraction
The Main Street FW Arts Festival, held every April, attracts more than 400,000 people and 200-plus local, regional, and international artists displaying their wares.
Ranging all the way down Main St. and into Sunset Square, art aficionados can find everything from sculptures, paintings, jewelry, leatherworks and ceramics, all for sale.
It also happens to coincide with one of the coolest music festivals in town, which features local and regional musicians performing on several stages in and around the art booths.
18. There’s A Little Bit Of Cowgirl In Every Woman In Fort Worth
This place is not for the female faint of heart. Fort Worthians embrace strong and fearless women, and as such, it is home to the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame.
The museum is the only one of its kind in the U.S. and pays homage to pioneering women who represented courage, resilience, and independence in building the American West. And in that vein, it continues to honor modern day ladies with its annual Hall of Fame, which has inducted more than 200 Cowgirls into its ranks since 1975.
19. The Cowtown Marathon Runs Circles Around All Other Marathons
Runners of all distances can rejoice in the Cowtown Marathon, which is held in Fort Worth every spring. Not only does it host the standard half and full marathon, but you can also sign up for a 50K ultra marathon (better start running now).
20. Get The Rush Of Riding The Rapids Without Leaving Town
Communing with nature is all fine and dandy but sometimes you just don’t have time for all that. No need to travel out of town for some fun in the rapids. You can whitewater raft in the convenience of your new hometown, just a mile from the interstate in Clear Fork of the Trinity River. The river used to flow languidly but with the addition of concrete and limestone, it now rocks Class II and III rapids.
21. The Beef Brisket At Railhead Will Totally Turn You Into A Slobber-Monster
Railhead Smokehouse’s motto is “life is too short to live in Dallas,” and it certainly embodies Forth Worthian culture in its cuisine. The chopped beef sandwich is the thing to order. The meat is slow-cooked to perfection and the barbecue sauce is savory, but not too thick so as to overtake the featured ingredient.
Forget about frozen fries. Railhead’s fries are homemade and mouth-watering. And here they totally count as a vegetable.
22. Expand Your Cultural Heritage While You Shop Till You Drop
La Gran Plaza de Fort Worth is not just a shopping mall, it’s more like shopping mall meets bazaar. It does boast a wide variety of boutiques and national chains, including a few anchors like Burlington’s and Ross’s. There is also a huge concentration of western wear stores (you never can have too many Wranglers in Texas) and several mercados.
But the fun doesn’t stop there. There is a long list of yummy spots for authentic Mexican food and live entertainment on weekends, including magicians, mariachis, and, yes, even a carnival.
23. Central Market Totally Sacks All Other Grocery Stores
Foodies and health nuts rejoice. This place has your assorted cheeses and quinoa. Central Market is also a great spot to stop in for a healthy lunch or snack. Their grocery selection tends to lean toward the high-end and their specialty is produce—they carry a ton of organic and delicious fruits and veggies.
24. Just Below The Surface Bubbles An Epic Sibling Rivalry
Don’t be fooled, Fort Worthians do feel a need to prove themselves under the shadow of their bigger sibling, Dallas. Over the years they have competed for high profile sporting events and conventions, as well as money from the state and prominence.
Often they do manage to one-up their bigger sibling. The 2011 Super Bowl is one such example. Fort Worth successfully lobbied to book ESPN as a broadcast site in Sundance Square.
Most importantly, Fort Worthians really strive to separate themselves from Dallas. They are two distinctly different cities with different cultures and heritage, shared mainly by proximity and a super big airport.
25. It’s A Fantastic Place To Discover Your Inner Flower Child
Fort Worth is home to the oldest botanical garden in the state of Texas. The Fort Worth Botanic Garden houses 12 distinct gardens, including the enchanting Japanese garden, which is filled with bamboo, ferns, irises and gardenia, as well as thousands of exotic koi fish to feed.
Fragrant flowers abound in all their colorful blooms. There are two separate rose gardens and a Water Wise garden filled with colorful native plants, including Mexican Bush sage, red yucca, agave, and Esperanza.
26. Fort Worth Has Gone One Hell Of A Wild Side
The animals in the Fort Worth Zoo never stop working—the place is open 365 days a year. So you’ll have no excuse not to go and check out the 5,000-plus native and exotic animals that reside there. The zoo also has some serious cred—it was listed as a top zoo by “Family Life” magazine, the “Los Angeles Times”, and “USA Today.”
27. You Really Do Have To Know Someone To Get A Table At Nonna Tata...
Or just get there early... Really early. The place only has six tables, and is only open four days a week. But the sometimes three-hour wait is well worth it. The food is renowned and its chef won “Fort Worth” magazine’s Top Chef competition a few years ago.
Start off with the roasted red bell pepper soup and move on to sop up heavenly lasagna with homemade focaccia bread. Are you hungry yet? I am.
28. To Watch Shows Today, Go To The House Of Tomorrow
The Casa Mañana, in the Cultural District, is a fully-enclosed theatre that showcases musicals, touring shows, concerts, and special events that are fun for the entire family. The acoustics are stellar and because of the crafty arrangement of the theater seating, every seat is a good seat. Your only disappointment will be when the curtains close.
29. Golfing Is At Its High Brow Finest At The Colonial
Those in the know (and who can afford it) affiliate themselves with the Colonial Country Club, located on the south bank of the Clear Fork of the Trinity. It has been ranked by “Golf Digest” as 73 out of the top 100 golf courses in America.
Every year the Colonial hosts the Crowne Plaza Invitational, one of PGA’s five invitational tournaments. So get out your pink Polo and clubs and go hit the links!
30. The Sky’s The Limit In Fort Worth
Fort Worth is home to several corporations in the aerospace industry, including Bell Helicopter, Lockheed Martin, and American Airlines. It is also home to several air shows throughout the year, including the Air Expo which features the Blue Angels, and the Fort Worth Alliance Air Show, where you can watch USAF Thunderbirds do amazing things in the sky.