25 Reasons We Love Fort Worth
The city is mighty cosmopolitan for a "Cowtown." The cattle drives are just for show--but the avant-garde theater, floating museum, and white-water rapids are the genuine article.
9. Field of vision
There are no bad seats at LaGrave Field, where the minor-league Fort Worth Cats compete with downtown's skyscrapers in the distance. During evening games, fans gather by the left-field foul line for the best views of the skyline at sunset—and the city's best burgers, at the ballpark outpost of legendary Kincaid's. 301 NE Sixth St., 817/226-2287, fwcats.com, games from $4.
10. Oldies and goodies
Brenda and Jarrell McDonald scour the country to collect the hodgepodge of Western goods crowding every inch of their ramshackle shop, Crosseyed Moose. Wonderful finds like 1920s hand-stitched boots lurk amid antler chandeliers, dusty periodicals, and kitschy figurines. 2340 N. Main St., 817/624-4311.
11. Whole lotta Love
Texan chef Tim Love couldn't resist naming his latest restaurant, a gourmet burger and shake joint, the Love Shack. Nearly everything is made from scratch, including the tangy "love sauce" on burgers and the frothy root beer served on tap. 110 E. Exchange Ave., 817/740-8812, shakeyourloveshack.com, burgers from $3.50.
12. A place to hang your hat
Cowhide headboards, saddle-seat bar stools, and lamps made from spurs and horseshoes are all part of the Western decor in the 52-room Stockyards Hotel, which swung its brass-and-wood doors open in 1907. The gun of outlaw Bonnie Parker (of Bonnie and Clyde) is displayed in the suite where she stayed in 1932. 109 E. Exchange Ave., 800/423-8471, stockyardshotel.com, from $169.
13. The joy of Mex
Fort Worth's Mexican-food meccas come in a variety of sizes: With its block-long garden patio, 72-year-old Joe T. Garcia's holds more than 1,000 people (2201 N. Commerce St., 817/626-4356, joets.com, margarita $6), while Melis Taqueria, a cheery roadside stand with just one picnic table, wins raves for its tortas and tacos (4304 W. Vickery Blvd., 817/377-8484, tacos $2.80).
14. Go on, order a shot
Cowboy hats, donated by regulars over the years, cover the walls and ceiling of the White Elephant Saloon, which was named after a local 1880s-era bar whose owner, Luke Short, killed a man in a shoot-out. Costumed actors restage the showdown every February 8, but most other nights, when couples two-step to country-and-Western acts, the bar is about as laid-back as you can get. 106 E. Exchange Ave., 817/624-9712, whiteelephantsaloon.com.
15. Who you callin' a lady?
Gutsy women of the West—including Annie Oakley, Georgia O'Keeffe, and the Dixie Chicks—get their due at the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame. Exhibits present artifacts beside firsthand accounts from ranch women, rodeo stars, and jockeys. You can be filmed on a bucking bronc and have the scene superimposed over footage from a 1920s rodeo—and then download the video results for free. The gift shop stocks feisty souvenirs, such as mugs that read "My heroes have always been cowboysgirls." 1720 Gendy St., 817/336-4475, cowgirl.net, $8.
16. Texas terroir
One of 10 wineries and tasting rooms in Grapevine, a small town 25 miles northeast of Fort Worth, Homestead shows off vintages from the Red River Valley region. "We aren't interested in anything that isn't 100 percent Texas," says manager John Hatcher (211 E. Worth St., 817/251-9463, $5). Su Vino, stocking house blends of Italian varietals, has no such stipulations (120 S. Main St., Ste. 40, 817/424-0123, suvinowinery.com, $5). On weekends, the Grapevine Vintage Railroad runs to and from the Stockyards--eliminating the need for a designated driver (817/410-3123, grapevinesteamrailroad.com, round trip $20).
17. Star-studded events
Nearly every month from March through November, people gather outside the Museum of Science and History for free stargazing parties co-organized by the Fort Worth Astronomical Society. Members point out phenomena such as double stars, which appear to be a single star until seen through telescopes. 1501 Montgomery St., 817/255-9300, fwmuseum.org.