Introduction to Fort Worth, Texas
Fort Worth, located in north central Texas about 30 miles west of Dallas, is familiar to many as part of the Dallas - Fort Worth metroplex. Fort Worth is actually thriving city in its own right, with around 550,000 people and a bustling downtown area. It is the sixth-largest city in the state and one of the 30 most populous in the nation. Named after Texas army commander William J. Worth, the city was founded during the Mexican War in 1849 as a military outpost. Fort Worth steadily grew as a center for cattle and meatpacking, first as a supply center along the Chisholm cattle trail, later with the completion of America's first railroad in 1876. An oil boom in 1917 and multiple military installations built during both world wars triggered additional growth. Today, Fort Worth boasts a strong and diverse economy not dependent on any one industry. Companies headquartered in Fort Worth include Burlington Northern Santa Fe, Radio Shack and American Airlines.
Fort Worth Culture
Fort Worth's own website claims the city is the museum capital of the Southwest, and it may be right. The city's Culture District, located just south of 7th Street and west of University Drive, has more than a half dozen museums in a concentrated area. The Amon Carter Museum features 19th and 20th century western art, with works by Frederic Remington and Georgia O'Keeffe. The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth is the oldest art museum in Texas, with contemporary paintings, sculpture and photography. Known as "America's best small museum," the Kimbell Art Museum has a world-class collection including works by El Greco, Cezanne, Rembrandt, Picasso, and Matisse. The Fort Worth Museum of Science and History has the Omni Theater and the Noble Planetarium.
The Cowgirl Museum, the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame, the Cattle Raisers Museum and the Cattleman's Museum all celebrate Fort Worth's heritage as the center of America's cattle industry. Every morning in Fort Worth you can see its herd of long horns driven down Exchange Avenue by cowhands, and the stockyards have been restored, with rodeos and western events held there regularly.
Fort Worth Sports and Leisure
Within a half hour of the city, sports fans can find local teams in all four major leagues, plus auto racing. Right in Fort Worth, the 154,861-seat Texas Motor Speedway is the second largest sports facility in the US, and the third largest in the world. The track hosts the annual NASCAR Nextel Cup event as well as Indy Car and dirt track racing. Just 12 miles away in Arlington, the Texas Rangers play their home games at the Ballpark in Arlington, which also houses a baseball museum. Just 22 miles away in Irving, the Dallas Cowboys ("America's Team") play at 65,000-seat Texas Stadium. The NBA's Dallas Mavericks and the NHL's Dallas Stars play 30 miles away in downtown Dallas at the American Airlines Center, which seats 18,000+. Within the city, the Fort Worth Cats play minor league baseball at LaGrave Field; the Fort Worth Brahmas play minor league hockey at the Fort Worth Convention Center.
Fort Worth Outdoors
There is no shortage of outdoor activities in Fort Worth. Within the city limits, boating is popular at Heritage Park at the intersection of the Clear and West forks of Fort Worth's Trinity River. Just 10 miles southwest of downtown Fort Worth, Lake Benbrook is one of the city's best freshwater fishing destinations. Holiday Park, Mustang Park and Rocky Creek Park, all located around Benbrook's periphery, offer facilities for hiking, boating and camping. Dozens of larger lakes are within an hour drive of the city. Golf courses in the area include the nationally-ranked Cowboys Golf Club, 19 miles away in Grapevine.
Fort Worth at Night
Nightlife is one of Fort Worth's strong suits, with Texas Monthly naming it "the hottest downtown in Texas." A nice place to walk around at night is Sundance Square downtown, a huge area loaded with shops, restaurants, bars and nightclubs. To the north, the Stockyards area is another hotspot, with many western themed bars. The most famous is Billy Bob's Texas. Known as the "world's largest honky-tonk," Billy Bob's has 32 bar stations spread across a 127,000-square-foot area providing live music and other entertainment. For those who need more options, Dallas is just a half hour away.