Even though Dallas and Fort Worth get lumped in together as one big city, we all know that isn’t the case. It’s not just distance, but the sheer number of things to do in each city that forces you to choose one or the other for a day out.
My husband and I have been residents of BOTH. We live in Dallas now, but we take a family day in Fort Worth every so often, and our kids think it’s a vacation! We love to spend an entire weekend exploring Cowtown, but in case you need to ease into it with just a day, we have you covered!
A Day in Fort Worth With Kids
START AT AMPERSAND COFFEE
Visit one of two locations of this hometown coffee shop. As their name suggests, they are about more than just great coffee. They are passionate about great coffee AND creating a sense of community in their spaces. You’ll want to hang around and spend a long leisurely morning here, but you’ve got things to do. Grab your specialty iced latte and load up for the next stop!
SPEND THE MORNING AT THE FORT WORTH ZOO
You know we had to include the famous Fort Worth Zoo, right? According to USA Today’s latest Top 10 list of best zoos, we now have the top-ranked zoo in the country right here! Obviously, the animals are the main attraction, but there’s plenty more to brag about. Our family especially loves how shady the walkways are throughout the park as well as the Yellow Rose train. Also, the new elephant and rhino exhibits have opened! The recent construction almost tripled the exhibit’s previous size and has been able to increase the crowd/animal interaction. You can definitely spend your entire day here, but there’s more to see in this great city!
RIDE THE FOREST PARK MINIATURE RAILROAD & PLAY AT DREAM PARK
Your kids will LOVE this part of the day. The Forest Park train ride has been a highlight of our kids’ lives! The rides are open all year and take you on a tour of Trinity Park along the Trinity River. From the depot (near the zoo), the train follows the river, under and over bridges, through the park, taking you on a full 5-mile journey. Your kids will see Trinity Park along the way, so they’ll get a sneak peek of where you’re headed next.
Dream Park is the best playground we’ve ever been to. I’m serious, no comparison! It is a huge public playground that is all-inclusive. Able-bodied kids and children with disabilities will find common ground here and play side-by-side. It covers more than 57,000 square feet. It has attractions built into the hills of the park.
TIME FOR LUNCH
Maestro Tacos is the new kid in town, but they’re not new at great Mexican food. Miguel was a butcher in Monterrey for 16 years before helping to open Maestros. All of their products are prepared fresh daily in-house from the tortillas to the salsa. Enjoy tacos, quesadillas, tons of sides, and great margaritas! Follow them on Instagram ahead of your trip so you can really build up your cravings!!
RELAX AT THE WATER GARDENS
The Fort Worth Water Gardens is such a surprising oasis in the middle of downtown. This is as much a relaxing architectural destination as it is an artistic attraction. Visit the gardens and see three main pools of water: the aerating, the quiet, and the active. There are relaxing, serene spots as well as more active people-watching opportunities. Once you’ve had a chance to rest your legs from the morning and let the tacos settle in your stomach, it’s time to move on to the main attractions!
GIDDY UP AT THE STOCKYARDS
Fort Worth is famous for being “where the West begins.” You’ll really believe it when you get to the Stockyards. Every moment you spend here, you’ll can see what old-time Texas looked like. So many things happen here on the weekends, including gunfight shows, a cattle drive down the main street, shopping, eating, and live music! If you make it here for anything, make sure it is for the cattle drive (11:30am and 4pm daily).
ENJOY DINNER AT JOE T. GARCIA’S
If there is one thing my husband and I miss about living in Fort Worth, it is Joe T. Garcia’s. This famous Mexican food restaurant has been a Fort Worth staple since 1935 and has been in the same family for the duration of its existence. There is likely going to be a long line for a patio table on a weekend, but it is worth the wait (which usually goes fast!). The menu is easy: enchiladas or fajitas. That’s it. Sides are served family-style, and margaritas come in PITCHERS! We will never spend a day in Fort Worth without eating here. Make sure you have a check or cash because they do not take credit cards. (They have an ATM on site.)
WANT TO STAY THE NIGHT?
There are plenty of hotels to enjoy in Sundance Square (downtown) or over near the Stockyards. The new Hotel Drover has a bunkhouse room your family will love!
ENJOY THE QUIET RIDE HOME…
The ultimate day in Fort Worth! Your car will be quiet on the way home with everyone exhausted or passed out. Pay our neighbor a visit soon and let us know what we missed!