From meeting new people to experiencing new sights, sounds, and smells – is there anything more exciting or rejuvenating than a break from the day-to-day mundanity? Traveling is an excellent way to immerse yourself in a new culture, setting, or way-of-life, but the best part is this: you don’t have to venture far from home to enjoy what this world has to offer.
Whether your journey takes you across your own city, to an unexplored part of your state, or even to the other side of the world, there’s no doubt you will still learn a lot about your surroundings – and yourself – along the way.
While the culture an hour away from your home might not be drastically different from what you’re used to, you can still gain a deepened sense of appreciation for where you’ve laid your roots. Plus, traveling locally has a lot of benefits:
More cost-effective. Local travel is certainly a budget-friendly way to explore! Many activities and parks are free or have a low cost of entry. For day trips, you can also pack your own meals to save.
Eco-friendly way to travel. Travel is hard on the environment, but putzing around your area is more sustainable than air travel.
Quick trips. Getting out locally means you can do it more often! Long weekend trips are a lot easier to take when the destination is a short drive away.
Easy to plan. Preparing your itinerary for a local getaway will likely save you some time and stress.
More convenient. Especially if you have little ones, sticking close to home may be much more convenient than far-off destinations. If you forget something, have an emergency, or need to cut the trip short, being closeby definitely has its benefits.
The Dallas-Fort Worth area is one of the best-known in America — though it’s true that many of the folks who “know” it do little more than fly through it.
But for people lucky enough to find themselves in Fort Worth for a longer period of time, a wide range of activities worth exploring awaits. From witnessing the tradition of a real, live cattle drive to sitting back and enjoying some of the finest dining in the country, there are all sorts of reasons to pause for a moment or more in this Texas metropolis.
In this article, we’ve put together some of our very favorite things to do and places to explore in Fort Worth, no matter what you’re after or who you’re with. Even for people who’ve called the area home for a while, this guide will help you discover some hidden gems in your very own backyard!
*Note: Some of the suggestions may not be doable due to coronavirus closures, but keep this list handy for when things start opening back up more! Be sure to check individual pages for specific operation details.
Although the DFW area is one of the largest metros in America, it’s also a wonderful place for folks looking to get outside. Here are some of the best state and national parks and preserves in the Fort Worth, TX area.
Just 30 miles from the heart of Fort Worth, Cedar Hill State Park offers visitors 1,200 scenic acres of countryside to explore and discover, including 100 miles of lakeshore perfect for swimming, fishing, boating, and other water-based activities. This park is particularly popular amongst bird-watchers, who flock in — pun definitely intended — to get a peek at painted buntings, yellow-billed cuckoos, eastern bluebirds, roadrunners and more.
Think you’ll have to book a flight to find yourself wandering amidst cascading waterfalls and fields of wildflowers, but a trip to Cleburne State Park will have you thinking twice. Just about an hour’s drive from Fort Worth, this 500+ acre park offers beautiful trails, including elevated walkways on scenic stone pillars, making it the perfect place for a photoshoot.
We all know the dinosaurs roamed these lands before us… but how often do we get to see the remnants of their time here first hand for ourselves? Dinosaur Valley State Park offers the opportunity to do just that: its claim to fame is a series of real-life dinosaur tracks left in the lime-, sand- and mudstone, though it’s also a wonderful place for all sorts of recreation from hiking to mountain biking to camping.
The remnants of an old railway opened back in the late 1800s, the Mineral Wells Trailway winds 20 miles through the beautiful Texas wilderness, making it a popular excursion for cyclists, runners and more. Lake Mineral Wells State Park preserves this beloved bike path while also providing campsites, hiking trails, and rock-climbing opportunities galore.
Even if you don’t make it out to one of the state parks in the area, there are plenty of incredible green spaces to explore in town. Here are some of the best hiking trails in Fort Worth, many of which don’t require much driving at all.
Eagle Mountain Lake Park is a common escape for Fort Worth denizens, and Eagle Mountain Lake Park Trail is the best way to acquaint yourself with the area on foot. Running seven miles out-and-back and seeing about 500 feet in elevation gain, this hike is ranked moderate in difficulty. Since it’s heavily trafficked, it’s best to hit this one early in the day and avoid weekends… though it’s worth fighting the crowds to enjoy the lakeside scenery and variety of landscapes.
Tucked inside Marion Sansom Park, the Sansom Red Trail is well-known for its scenic waterfalls as well as its gently forested slopes. Part of the pathway is paved, and the two-and-a-half-mile journey sees a little under 200 feet in elevation gain, making this an easy-to-moderate venture.
Another Sansom Park trail with both woods and waterfalls, the Dam Drop Loop is another moderate option running about two-and-a-half miles and seeing a little more than 200 feet in elevation gain, giving it a very similar profile to the Red Trail. This one is moderately trafficked and beloved by bird watchers, and visitors have also been lucky enough to see deer and armadillo in the area.
Marine Creek Lake Trail runs approximately six miles through Marine Creek Lake Park, seeing an elevation gain of under 500 feet over that entire length (translation: it’s pretty darn gradual and gentle). The lake is a popular spot for boating, and the path, which is paved in some parts, is great for cyclists as well as walkers and hikers.
Although often broken down into smaller, more digestible parts, the Trinity River Trail runs almost 18 miles altogether, offering hikers the opportunity to get up close and personal with Fort Worth in a fundamental way. Linking together many of the city’s best-loved parks and waterfronts, this is a great trail to chop into multiple, shorter adventures.
Given how much there is to see and explore in Fort Worth, you’re going to need to fuel up to take it on. Here are some of the best restaurants in town, no matter what you might be hungry for.
Sometimes, there’s just nothing like a fresh and heaping plate of pasta to soothe the soul and fill the stomach. Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen is one of the best-ranked restaurants in Fort Worth by any measure, but especially if you’re after an evening enjoying authentic, Tuscan dining.
Offering traditional curries, tandoori delights and a sprawling lunch buffet sure to fill you up and leave you satisfied, Maharaja Indian Restaurant is one of the best spots in town for an affordable, yet delicious, dining experience. Served in a classy (yet casual) dining room or offered up for takeout, Maharaja offers a perfect meal anytime, anywhere.
We’ve got one word for you: tacos. Mariachi’s Dine-In offers tons of delicious, fresh tacos for your taco-eating pleasure. Of course, you can find plenty of other delicious eats at this beloved Mexican restaurant, as well, including a well-populated plant-based menu for those looking for vegetarian and vegan options in the Fort Worth area.
You might be miles from the nearest ocean shore… but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy delicious, fresh seafood in Fort Worth. Hatsuyuki Handroll Bar is a boutique spot for sushi in town, serving up fresh and creative options daily, including sashimi.
If you don’t go to a steakhouse, can you really say you’ve experienced Fort Worth — or Texas, for that matter? If you’re looking for a great balance of prime cuts to price, Riscky’s Steakhouse is just the ticket. Family-friendly and in the business for almost a century, this joint has been serving up delicious steaks in a rustic, western environment since 1927. A gluten-free menu is also available, as are kid-friendly portions and options.
Neighborhood favorite Taqueria Adrec’s had to open a second truck down the street from the first to provide faster service for their hungry customers (that’s always a good sign). With street taco staples like barbacoa, al pastor, and lengua (don’t knock it till you try it), Adrec’s really shines. Favorites include the trompo tacos, al pastor marinated pork cooked on a large rotating spit, yielding tender pieces of pork with a crispy char on the outside. Topped with onion and cilantro, sliced radishes, caramelized onions, and your choice of red or green salsa (yes, they are both spicy), Adrec’s tacos are out of this world. But don’t sleep on their huge quesadillas, burritos, and house-made horchata.
A Hawaiian-style food truck turned brick-and-mortar, Coco Shrimp serves up fresh vibes and shrimp at their Bryan Avenue location. With each meal served alongside a large portion of buttery herbed rice and a salad, it makes for a hearty lunch spot. Not sure what to get? Try the sampler and pick a selection of flavors that range from sweet and spicy to butter garlic. Coco Shrimp’s island-style space in Fort Worth’s walkable SoMa District – paired with perfectly cooked, tender shrimp in an addictive crunchy coconut coating – is sure to keep you coming back for more.
One of very few Guatemalan restaurants in the DFW, don’t be intimidated by the unfamiliar items on the menu here; their friendly staff is happy to help you navigate their cuisine. Go for one of their hearty breakfast plates that include fried plantains, queso fresco, handmade tortillas, and fresh baked breads, or try the pepian (beef stew made with a rich sauce made from ground seeds and peppers), churrasco (steak with chimichurrisauce), whole grilled fish, or one of their other rotating weekly specials. Wash it all down with one of their juices (I really like the marañón or cashew juice) or imported Guatemalan sodas.
Although it was once little more than a stockyard, Fort Worth these days is a bustling city with plenty to see, do, and experience… and yes, you can still enjoy its bovine roots as well! Here are some of the top things to do in Fort Worth this weekend and beyond.
Bringing the kids along for the adventure? Good deal: Fort Worth is full of fun things for younger cowpokes to enjoy. Here are just a couple options.
The biggest and most popular attraction in the DFW area, Six Flags Over Texas is a theme park filled with all sorts of fun rides and activities. From exciting, speedy roller coasters to more relaxed, family-friendly rides — as well as games, dining, and shopping opportunities — this is the perfect place to spend a fun family afternoon. (It’s also tops on our list of “things for couples to do in Fort Worth!”)
Founded back in 1909 with only one lion, two bear cubs, an alligator, a coyote, a peacock and a few bunnies, the Fort Worth Zoo has grown up a lot over the past hundred years. These days, it’s home to about 7,000 animals representing more than 540 species, including mammals, birds, ectotherms and more. Offering fun and educational programs and events, the zoo is a great place to get your kids interested in and involved with conservation efforts… not to mention a just pain enjoyable way to spend a day.
There’s no shortage of things to do in Fort Worth during the daytime… but good news: it doesn’t all end once the sun has set and the moon has risen. Here are some of our favorite things to do in Fort Worth at night.
Want to enjoy a trip down memory lane… while also taking in some spectacular cinema? The Coyote Drive-In offers all the majesty of the big screen with the privacy of your own cozy vehicle, as well as serving up delicious and refreshing concessions and hosting a variety of other community events.
While there are plenty of bars in Fort Worth to choose from, The Republic Street Bar is a standout. Beloved by locals for its variety of affordable beer choices, games, events, and dog-friendliness, this is a great spot to gather with some friends and wind down for the evening.
Exploring any city can cost a pretty penny if you’re not careful. Luckily, there are plenty of things to do in Fort Worth that won’t set your budget back too far!
Established back in 1934, the Fort Worth Botanic Garden is the oldest major botanic garden in the state of Texas, and covers 33 beautifully-manicured acres overflowing with local and exotic flora. Admission to the gardens is only $12 for adults, $10 for seniors 65 and over, and $6 for children 6-15. Kids under 6 are free — as are GROW members!
The Fort Worth Stockyards may be best known for the daily cattle drive — which we’ll get back to in just a minute. But they’re worth wandering around even when the longhorns are resting peacefully in their pens. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this 98-acre district is chock full of shopping, dining, and people-watching opportunities… all of which can be very affordable, depending on how you play it! You may even have the opportunity to sit on a longhorn yourself if one of the handlers is standing on the street and available.
Yup: there are even things you can do to get acquainted with Fort Worth that are absolutely free of charge! Here are some can’t-miss activities.
As mentioned above, the Fort Worth Stockyard is best known for a tradition that’s been underway essentially since the town was founded — though the symbolic daily drive was officially established in 1999. Every day, at 11:30 a.m. and 4 p.m., cowhands drive the Fort Worth Herd up East Exchange Avenue, giving onlookers an authentic taste of what life was like here in bygone years. It’s totally free to watch — just be sure to line up early to get a good vantage point!
Fort Worth, Texas is actually one of only two locations in the world where U.S. currency is printed (at least legally). And you can see that work in action at the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing, which offers free admission and self-guided tours.
Everyone needs some R&R from time to time — and if you’re looking for the best places in Fort Worth to relax, rejuvenate, and beautify, we’ve got you covered. Here are the best salons and day spas in the Fort Worth area.
“Tranquil” and “transformational” are two of the words The Woodhouse Day Spa uses to describe itself, and we agree. Offering patrons a chance to escape into a soothing massage, revitalizing facial, or beautifying hand and foot treatments and waxings, one thing’s for certain: you’ll leave feeling a lot better than you did when you walked in.
Whether you’re in need of a new haircut, color, or style, or you’re after professional makeup application, exfoliation or skin resurfacing, Lemongrass Salon & Spa is Fort Worth’s Aveda studio, using natural, plant-derived ingredients to help you look and feel your best. They’re also a popular spot for brides and others looking to celebrate a big day!
Ever want to float away… literally? The Fort Worth Float Company offers a one-of-a-kind opportunity: rejuvenating float tanks, where you can shut out the world for a brief but restorative period of time. Offering both pods and a “float cabin” for those who might feel a little claustrophobic at first, you’ll soon thank yourself for the serenity that comes with this kind of treatment.
Staying active will help keep you in shape, yes… but more importantly, it’ll improve your confidence and quality of life. Here are some of the best gyms and yoga studios in Fort Worth for those looking to get their sweat on.
Offering a wide range of equipment and services in a community-oriented space, Forged Fitness is more than a gym: it’s a lifestyle. There are plenty of cardio machines, free weights, and all the other goodies you need to get where you’re going, but if you need a bit more of a boost, check out their group classes and personal training offerings.
Yoga is so much more than holding a series of challenging poses. At The Sanctuary Yoga Room, courteous and compassionate instructors help you find the sanctuary within, cultivating beauty, strength, and healing for practitioners of all fitness and ability levels. Teacher training is also available for yogis looking to bring their experience to the next level.
It’s probably pretty clear by now that you’re not going to be bored in Fort Worth… but there are plenty of amazing destinations to check out within an easy day’s drive, too. Here are some can’t-miss spots worth day tripping to from the DFW area.
Known for its hopping nightlife and music scene, Austin is also home to the flagship Whole Foods and has an active and engaged wellness community — so there truly is something here for everyone. And yes, it’s at least a little weird… but you probably already know that part. Check out our full Austin guide, here!
If you’re willing to cross state lines into Arkansas, a unique national park experience awaits. Hot Springs National Park, located immediately adjacent to the town of Hot Springs, offers a kind of natural spa experience: geothermally-heated waters that are healing and soothing to relax in, nestled amongst beautiful landscapes. The town is also filled with cute restaurants and shops to peruse, making this the perfect opportunity for a weekend getaway from Fort Worth.
As a final reminder, some of these activities may need to wait until businesses fully reopen from coronavirus closures. However, there is still much to see and experience in Fort Worth that you can enjoy today! What are your favorite spots in Fort Worth? Send them our way to [email protected] or by tagging us on Instagram @rvshare and using the hashtag #rvsharelocal.