fort worth texas points of interest
Last week I traipsed off to Texas. My mom and I were at a conference in the area and decided to make a long weekend out of our trip so that my husband could join us. Short trips are great because you get a jam-packed getaway that doesn’t take up much time. The downside, however, is that you have to be very intentional with your plans to make sure you get a good taste of the area you’re visiting. We planned Saturday in Ft. Worth and Sunday in Dallas. So here is my One Day Ft. Worth Travel Guide on what to do and where to eat (probably the most important part)! Musts in Ft. Worth for the three of us were the stockyards, the Kimbell Museum (my husband is an architect, so this was high priority for us), and Mexican food. I’m happy to say we hit them all!
The Magnolia District in Ft. Worth
We started the day on Magnolia Avenue on the southwest side of town. It’s a small area with restaurants, hotels, and shops. We stopped there in the morning for coffee and baked goods. Luckily it wasn’t too crowded yet, so I got to take some great photos. We enjoyed coffee at Avoca (a local chain) and then goodies at Stir Crazy Baked Goods. I got an insider tip on Stir Crazy and it did not disappoint…
We couldn’t resist the cinnamon roll with cream cheese frosting (to die for), a honey butter scone, and a cranberry muffin. They were all sinfully delicious and I can’t wait to try to make honey butter scones at home!! They also had uterus cookies which cracked me up. The woman working there was delighted to tell us they made them out of Texas Longhorn cookie cutters, rolling the horns in on the sides! Gotta love a baker with a sense of humor!
Fort Worth Stockyards
The stockyards is a must on every Ft. Worth Travel Guide. There are two cattle drives daily – 11:30am and 4:00pm. They clear the street moments before and walk the cattle down the street (less than a quarter mile). Though a quick head nod and their horns would take me out, I did think the cattle were quite cute, slowly ambling down the street without a care in the world! My mom wondered if it was the same animals she saw when she was there a few decades ago! They could have been! There are a few parking lots around Main Street. It’s $15 to park, but everything else is free. I think there is probably a good chance for free (or less expensive) street parking nearby, but we were running late and had to pay (blah!). After the cattle drive, you can head into the shops area for the gunfight (real guns, blank bullets)! I’m not gonna say it was my favorite activity but fun for kids! There are plenty of shops, saloons, and food joints in the area, but where you have to go for lunch is Joe T. Garcia’s…
Joe T. Garcia’s – Great Mexican Food in Ft. Worth
A dear friend of mine recommended Joe T. Garcia’s to me the second she heard I was heading to Ft. Worth. A family-owned Mexican restaurant, it’s a mainstay and a local favorite. They don’t take reservations or anything besides cash. Upon arrival, pick your line for indoor or outdoor seating – yes, it’s that popular. If the weather isn’t crazy one way or the other, I suggest sitting outside. They have a beautiful fountain and wonderful ambiance. An insider tip is that you can go to the outdoor bar just past the host stand to buy margaritas for your party to enjoy while you wait in line! Just remember. Cash only! They have the classic margarita (my preference ) and their special margarita with Grand Marnier (my husband’s pick). They both went down easily!
They only have two options at dinner time, so I recommend lunch or better yet – brunch on Saturdays and Sundays. But honestly, the food is delicious so it probably doesn’t really matter when you go. They’re famous for their ‘nachos,’ which you can see above. It’s a lightly fried corn tortilla, cheese, and salsa. They also have an option with refried beans – my pick for sure!
Doesn’t this spread look amazing? We ordered the mixed fajitas and the Migas – chicken chilaquiles. Add the homemade tortillas (served with butter too) and you’ll be in Mexican food heaven in no time. I never thought of making chicken chilaquiles and now I can’t get them out of my mind!! We ordered this for three people and we didn’t end up finishing it all. So be prepared for big dishes.
As with the cuisine across any country, the sopapillas on their menu weren’t like the sopapillas with which I’m familiar. I’m used to the sopapillas that look like pillows. You open the seam and drizzle in honey or jam. These ones were fried tortillas, covered in honey, cinnamon, and sugar! Not the same but still tasty!!
Kimbell Art Museum
Full from lunch, we got in the car and drove to the Kimbell Art Museum. Recognizable by the large arches, the art museum is full of natural light and open spaces. Because of the curvature of the building, no beams are needed to support it. And with super fancy thingies (apologies to my husband, I can’t remember all the appropriate terminology), the natural light coming through the skylights is reflected back up to the ceiling, so the direct light doesn’t hit the art, harming it’s longevity. In the world of art and architecture, the museum really is a wonderful feat. The art inside is amazing too with Monet, Picasso, Bernini, and Rembrandt pieces – just to name a very few.
GRACE – Where to Eat in Downtown Ft. Worth
If you’re looking for a foodie experience in downtown Ft. Worth, GRACE is the way to go. An elegant restaurant with fun food creations and combinations. Everything Chef Blaine Staniford offered on the menu looked delicious, but the tasting menus came highly recommended by the owner, Adam Jones, and wait staff, so we couldn’t turn them down. They offer meat and vegetarian tastings, so we dutifully tried one of each – in the name of science of course!
The tasting menus include seven courses, so don’t fret that it isn’t enough food. We each had our favorites and my husband would probably disagree with me, but he can start his own site! Just kidding! There were a few offerings on both menus that struck my fancy, but aside from the Bouchon Mussels (above right), the vegetarian menu won my heart again and again. The starter – avocado toast on buttered rye bread mixed with sauerkraut and garbanzo beans, topped with cotija cheese – was the best way to start. Living in LA, I’ve had my fair share of avocado toast, but this one was amazing! I was actually disappointed I had to share with my mom and husband, but fair is fair! Next was a golden beet carpaccio (pictured behind the mussels). It was topped with parsnip puree (a recurring flavor through both menus of which I couldn’t get enough), apples, quinoa, and pecan vinegar. Talk about fancy!!
And the final savory course on the vegetarian menu was this smoked potato tortellini. It reminded me a lot of gnocchi but lighter, which made it all the more delicious. Turnips and brussel sprouts were featured throughout the meal (both in their peak season) and they shone brightly in this dish. This is another one that made me a bit upset to share.
When it came time for dessert, we were full, so when the menu read chocolate mousse, we were worried it would be heavy. What came to the table, however, was the lightest chocolate mousse I’ve ever had and it ended the meal delightfully. I think avocado was mixed into the mousse. Then it was topped with pistachios and eucalyptus gel. Don’t ask me about eucalyptus gel; I’m having a hard enough time spelling it correctly! I do know that it was a fun flavor and consistency in the dessert. All in all it was a delightfully delicious and fun evening!
After our long day in Ft. Worth, we headed home to our hotel for a lovely night of rest before our visit to Dallas!