The Dallas-Forth Worth metroplex is the largest inland metropolitan area in the entire U.S. This area is home to numerous corporate headquarters, sporting events/teams, and tourism attractions. Despite it’s big city feel, it definitely has that southern vibe you would expect from Texas.
I’ve been to the DFW area three times now, as my work’s corporate office is located in downtown Fort Worth. Out of those trips, only one of these did I really get to experience the area. The other two were short-lived trips with planned dinners and not much time for exploring.
Last March, I took a 4 day trip to Texas. Flying out of Memphis, I flew Southwest because they’re my fave. I had not yet flown into Love Field, only DFW, so I made the decision to use Love Field so that I could see Dallas a bit before leaving on my last day.
This day was my “travel day”, so I could get there whenever. I chose a mid-afternoon flight, arriving into Love Field about 2pm. From there I made my way straight to Fort Worth via Uber. I was in a rush, because I wanted to make it to the Stockyards before the cattle drive at 4pm. With the traffic between Dallas and Fort Worth, it took a good 45 min or so to get from one city to the other, I was worried I would miss it but my Uber driver was on a mission to get me there (he was awesome). He stopped by my hotel, The Courtyard Blackstone, so that I could quickly drop my luggage and then whisked me off to the Stockyards.
I arrived to the Fort Worth Stockyards about 10 min prior to the last Cattle Drive of the day. This is the world’s only twice daily drive, happening every day at 11:30am & 4:00pm. Seeing the Longhorns was remarkable, while yes I see cows often here in Arkansas they aren’t the same as the enormous longhorns you see in Texas. The ‘cowboys’ marched them down the brick-laden pathway for the crowd to see, many oohed and ahhed in amazement.
After the cattle drive, I took my time walking around and exploring the area some. The Cowtown Coliseum was a neat site to see, and had I been aware at the time that it was open to the public I would have taken a look inside.
The history of this area was phenomenal in a sense that there was lots of Texas “old country” mixed in with modern-day updates. There were some nifty little shops in the Stockyards Station area that I wandered in and out of, buying some memorabilia items.
Getting hungry, I asked the locals for recommendations on a place I could stop in for dinner. I settled on Riscky’s Steakhouse (not to be mistaken with the BBQ place, although it is good as well), which has been around since the 1920’s. As I was in the stockyards, I felt it only fitting to have a steak for dinner. The food was wonderful!
After dinner I walked around the Stockyards area more, not really wanting to go into any of the bars/saloons alone. There were a few neat places I passed, which looked like fun.
Eager to see it in person, I made my way to Billy Bob’s; most notably known as “The World’s Largest Honky Tonk”. Albeit it was pretty much empty being a Tuesday night, there were a few people on the dance floor line dancing so I just sat and watched. This place was incredible, boasting almost three acres under one roof with its own indoor rodeo arena for live bull riding every Friday and Saturday, a Texas-sized dance floor, dozens of bar stations, a full restaurant, a late night pizza kitchen, arcade games, a Wall of Fame with celebrity hand-prints, and a gift shop.
I am a HUGE Texas Country music fan, and this is one of the main places all my favorite bands/artists play. While we’re on the subject, I want to take a minute to recognize a few bands that lots of people (at least where I’m from) don’t listen to or even know exist. Texas Country (sometimes called “Red Dirt Country”) is different, it’s not what most people think of when they think country music, it’s not your “mainstream” country music. If you’re interested in listening to some, here are a few of my favorite bands/artists:
- Randy Rogers Band
- Josh Abbott Band
- Stoney LaRue (funny story on him later)
- Casey Donahew Band (they even have a song called Stockyards)
- Koe Wetzel
- Aaron Watson
- Wade Bowen
- Reckless Kelly
- Turnpike Troubadours
This day started my meetings for work, which would last almost the entirety of my day. So I’ll quickly touch on my hotel experience.
Every time I’ve stayed in Downtown Fort Worth it has been at the Courtyard by Marriott Fort Worth Downtown/Blackstone Hotel (long name, I know). I have never had anything but a wonderful experience here!
The Blackstone Hotel is on the U.S. National Register of Historic places, having been there since 1929. It is the tallest hotel in downtown Forth Worth, even today, and it’s guest list is full of notable people including many Presidents and movie stars. While this hotel has been renovated and updated many times, there are still some original features.
Noted by my pictures, you’ll see the 2nd floor ceilings are very beautiful and they were also very tall. I was told this floor was where the original ‘ballroom’ was located. Also, You’ll see below a picture of what appears use to be a balcony, which is now painted shut. You can see out into the streets from this window fairly well, minus the tree blocking it in this view.
Following my meetings for the day, I had some sightseeing to do before meeting up with my group for dinner. I walked over to the Fort Worth Water Gardens, which were different from anything I’d seen before.
After taking a few pictures and enjoying the area, I started making my way back to the hotel. On my way I came across a couple other Historic landmarks, one of those being the John F. Kennedy Tribute Memorial.
For dinner I met up with a group of people from my work, and we all headed to the Stockyards for dinner at Cattlemen’s Steakhouse. The food was delicious and the atmosphere was great, I would definitely go back! They cooked the steaks in the same room as you, in what looked like a hearth with a grill on/in it.
Afterwards, some of us went over to Billy Bob’s to hangout (had I known I was coming back, I probably wouldn’t have went alone the night before). We sat and listened to the band that played, which sounded much like Dwight Yoakam to me. Back to one of my favorite artists mentioned earlier, Stoney LaRue, one of the women with me won free tickets to his upcoming concert there that weekend! But of course, none of us could go because none of us lived in that area (and that was much too far of a trek for me, having already met him previously).
Ending the night, we called an Uber and in true Texas fashion this man drove a dodge ram and sounded just like Trace Adkins.
Another day filled with meetings, so I’ll touch on downtown Fort Worth. The area in which I typically stay in, is called Sundance Square. This “square” spans 35 blocks and it’s full of restaurants, shops, businesses, museums, historic landmarks, and lots of places to go for entertainment. As large as it is, it has a friendly feel to it. My favorite landmark in this area is the mural commemorating the Chisholm Trail cattle drives, which happened from 1867-1875.
If you’re ever in the area, I highly recommend taking a walk around and taking in all the neat things to see and do in this area. For a more detailed history on the name of Sundance Square, click here.
At the time I was in Texas, my brother was also working in Texas near Aransas Pass. I had not seen him in quite some time, so he made the drive to Fort Worth to see me and hangout.
Following my meeting this day, we headed to Southlake, TX to see our Aunt and her family. They normally come to Arkansas to visit us, but we thought while in Texas why not visit them! We had a nice dinner at Bread Winners Cafe, and the food was excellent. Afterwards we went back to their new house to hangout, it was beautiful!!
My last day of meetings, they were only a couple of hours and we were out by noon. My brother had stayed with me since I had an extra bed, and he hung-out there while I finished up my meetings. Once checked out of the hotel, we headed towards Dallas.
Having my brother with me felt great because I wasn’t riding an Uber all the way to Dallas, and I wasn’t alone to eat lunch. We had brunch at Ellen’s in downtown Dallas, they have ALL DAY brunch (my kinda place). The atmosphere was chill and calm, and our food was spectacular! Kudos to my Dallas friend that recommended this little place off the beaten path.
Following our brunch, my brother had to head back and I had one more must see stop before leaving Dallas. He dropped me off at The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza, right on time for my tour to begin. In high-school, I did my senior thesis over “Jackie” Kennedy Onassis; so I know quite a bit about the Kennedy family.
This tour is a self-guided one in which they give you headphones and a handheld electronic guide. This is somewhere you could easily spend 2-3 hours (or more), but I knew I didn’t have that long. I probably spent 1-1.5 hours tops and that was me having to skip through some things and just touching on the highlights.
There are no pictures allowed inside the museum, but you can take pictures from the windows. The area where Lee Harvey Oswald was sitting when he “shot the President” was blocked off with glass and no one was able to be in that spot. However, you could take a picture from the window beside it, or above it, of the “X” down on the ground marking the spot where President Kennedy was shot.
There are several conspiracy theories that come from this day in history, and not everyone is going to agree on the exacts. But what I do know, is that it was a humbling experience to be there and to learn about the life and legacy of President John F. Kennedy.
As I finished up my tour, I headed outside to take a look around the building and see the ‘grassy knoll’. I guess I was thinking the road beside it wouldn’t be as busy, and maybe I could stand on the “X”, but that was definitely not the case. Looking at the building, the window that Lee Harvey Oswald “shot” President Kennedy from is the far right, second from the top (the one with a box in the window).
Just a couple blocks away from Dealey Plaza was the JFK Memorial Plaza. I wandered around, luggage in tow, trying to steer clear of the Segway tours that were going on. The memorial is an “open tomb” which represents the freedom of John F. Kennedy’s spirit.
With just under an hour left to explore, I walked around within a couple blocks and came across a couple more neat landmarks. Although I didn’t go inside, the Old Red Museum looked really neat.
Wrapping up my sitghtseeing, I called an Uber and headed to the airport. After getting through TSA and having my bag checked, I had time for a snack. My dad told me I HAD to try Whataburger, so that’s what I did. Their burgers were GOOD and I was stuffed after finishing my “snack”.
Flying back into Memphis I snapped a couple of photos from the air. You can see the Pyramid in the distance as well as the bridge and Mississippi River.
The Dallas-Fort Worth area is a great place for a getaway, as there is SO much to do. I always enjoying being in the area, even if it is for work. If you’re ever down that way, I highly recommend stopping in the Stockyards if nothing else.
Thanks for reading, feel free to share! 🙂
“All day long he sets his sights on ice-cold beer and neon lights. Dallas days and Fort Worth nights.” – Chris LeDoux