If you have a hankering for a different kind of vacation – a place that is not a typical sun, sand and beach destination, then Fort Worth Stockyards could be what you are looking for. This historical district, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, transports you back in time to the late 19th and early 20th century when Fort Worth played an instrumental role in the cattle industry. Today the Fort Worth Stockyards are the last standing stockyards in the U.S. However, for visitors of all ages, the area offers much more than just original and renovated buildings from the era.
Every day at 11:30 am, and again at 4 pm, visitors are ushered to the sidewalk to witness more than a dozen head of Texas Longhorns make their way down East Exchange Avenue.
Want to see what it takes to be a real cowboy? Then head on over to the Cowtown Coliseum for the Stockyards Championship rodeo, complete with bull riding, barrel racing, lasso tricks and mutton tag (where children try to touch [tag] a sheep).
While not a huge facility, the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame houses the world’s largest collection of wagons and it is fascinating to walk among them and witness how milk and groceries used to be delivered, not to mention how laundry, photography and dump truck services used to all be handled from the back of a wagon. Also inside the museum are tributes – in the form of small, personalized stations – dedicated to Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame inductees.
When in Texas, especially a location whose history is centered around cattle, it seems only right to head out for a good steak dinner. And Cattlemens Steak House certainly delivers – just ask to sit in the rear of the restaurant so that you can watch the chef work his magic on the various meat cuts.
If you don’t mind the smoking that is allowed on-premises, then Billy Bob’s Texas which claims to be the world’s largest Honky Tonk, is the place to go for some evening entertainment. Here you will find two-stepping, live concerts, dining, bull riding, pool tables, shopping, multiple bars and lots of patrons wearing cowboy hats and boots. To me it felt like a cowboy version of Vegas, but with everything under one roof.
Maverick Fine Western Wear sells everything from decorative household pieces, to women’s clothing, to ornate cowboy boots and hats – all with a Western flair. There are even teeny tiny versions for children.
Best Place to Stay:
Hands down the best place to stay, from both a price and location standpoint is Hyatt Place. The rooms are huge, with a partial divide separating the bedroom from a living room area, featuring a large sectional sofa. Best of all you are just across the street from the Cowtown Coliseum, the Stockyards Museum and right next door to the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame.
Featured Image: Fort Worth Stockyards