Last Updated on February 20, 2018 by Jody Halsted
Fort Worth's growth really began with it's Historic Stockyards District. Today families can visit the Stockyards, watch a cattle drive and absorb Texas' cowboy heritage.
Top 6 Things to do in Fort Worth's Historic Stockyards District
Watch a Cattle Drive
You can see a team of drovers guide spectacular Texas Longhorns down Exchange Avenue twice daily, at 11:30am and 4pm. The afternoon drive is the larger of the two. While the cattle seem quite tame they can be easily spooked- and with those long horns they can be dangerous. Be sure to stay on the sidewalks. Be sure to stop in the Stockyards Visitor Center to learn more about the Chisholm Trail and the cowboys who drove the cattle.
Visit the World's Largest Honky Tonk
You don't have to boot-scoot to enjoy a stop at Billy Bob's Texas. This massive building can hold 6000 people and has live bull riding on the weekends. It's a family friendly place and has a full service restaurant and plenty of fun souvenirs in its shop. Really, you can't be so close and not go.
Enjoy a Rodeo
Every Friday and Saturday night the historic Cowtown Coliseum hosts the Stockyards Championship Rodeo. You'll see calf roping, barrel racing, and bull riding as well as special kids events. It's a special thing to see a rodeo in the place the first indoor rodeo was held.
Follow the Texas Trail of Fame
Look down at the sidewalk and chances are you'll see a star memorializing contributors to the “cowboy way of life”. You'll likely know quite a few: John Wayne, Teddy Roosevelt and John Stetson to name a few. But a few more, with their own interesting stories, are waiting to be discovered. Amanda Burks is believed to have been the first female drover, “Bigfoot Wallace” was a Texas Ranger and “Booger Red” Privett was a renowned cowboy who owned his own Wild West show. Check out Texas Trail of Fame website to see the stars and get their incredible bios!
Eat a Big Steak
It's no surprise that beef is on the menu in the Stockyards, and you can expect a Texas-sized serving! Not in the mood for steak? You'll find Tex-Mex and barbecue here, as well as a lovely cupcake shop. Not far up the road is the fabulous Joe T Garcia's; my girls said it was like eating in a castle!
Buy a Cowboy (or Cowgirl) Hat
Really, I don't know that you can visit here and leave without a fabulous cowboy hat. It may be illegal. You'll find every size, from utilitarian to rhinestone bedazzled, here. And if you're in the market for some mind-blowing handmade cowboy boots make a stop at Leddy's. Their boots are like works of art.
Tips for Visiting the Historic Stockyards District
Plan on 3 hours, minimum, for your visit. This will give you time to explore all the historic buildings, watch the cattle drive and do a bit of shopping. If you plan to eat here add another hour. For evening meals, especially at Billy Bob's or Joe T. Garcia's, inquire about a reservation in advance.
Pick up a map of the stockyards at the visitor's center. It's a deceptively large area and you could miss a lot of it without a guide.
Take time to explore the history here. Both the Cowboy Hall of fame and the Stockyards Museum are filled with incredible artifacts and cowboy tales worth hearing!
Looking for a great stay in the Historic Stockyards?
The Stockyards Hotel is a wonderful boutique experience with a whole lot of Texas flair!
Have you visited the Fort Worth Stockyards? What was your most memorable experience?