It's that time of the year...the weather is getting hot and your sense of adventure is getting unbearable. Alas, a full vacation is out of the question and all you really have is a day to explore. This was my predicament last week until I thought, "why not Ft Worth?" As a Dallasite, I hear this great city getting a bad rap daily by people who have never been there, which is why it took so long to really go. Starting out at art museums, then going to restaurants, public structures, and a jazz club, below is my itinerary for a perfect day trip in Fort Worth.
Step 1: Beat the heat by being artsy with visits to The Modern Museum of Art and The Kimbell
Photo by Liao Yusheng
Past being one of the most beautifully designed museums in the world, The Modern features a collection of over 2,600 works of art spanning 275,000 sq ft. Give yourself plenty of time in this museum...not only are the galleries expansive, but the architecture itself, by Takao Ando, will take more than a few minutes to absorb. Expansive spaces, reflective pools, and truly great pieces of modern art make this the ideal starting point in any Ft Worth excursion. Personal highlights include Swingeing London by Richard Hamilton, Untitled by Doland Judd, and the current photography/video exhibition, FRAMING DESIRE. If you're hungry, they have a fantastic museum restaurant with an unmatched view of the pool and architecture. (Free every Sunday of 2015)
By Andreas Praefcke
Next up is The Kimbell, boasting a collection less modern and truly classical. It's a little smaller than The Modern, but features incredibly important works, including The Cardsharps by Caravaggio and one of Michelangelo's breakout works, The Torment of Saint Anthony. This collection spans hundreds of years and countries, featuring French aristocratic portraits to Flemish landscapes and even a few works by Picasso and Mondrian. The range of art here alone is worth visiting, and if you get arted out, they have a minimalistic garden in the center of the compound to relax.
Step 2: Take a stroll through the Botanical Gardens
After museums come a different type of art- nature. In addition to the outside main garden, this complex features an indoor conservatory and a Texas Wildlife Boardwalk (fun but not mandatory if you're pressed for time). Throughout the garden are a variety of flowers and landscaping mixed with classical architectural elements, such as gazebos and fountains. If you're looking for a romantic place to make your move or just jokingly almost push someone into a fountain, this is it. Open until 7 in the summer, this is a great stop to work up your appetite even more before dinner (just check here to see if it's closed for a concert beforehand). Admission for both conservatory and gardens about $6.
Step 3: Get your drink & food on (Mariachi band included)
If you are in Ft Worth and you don't go to Joe T Garcia's, you are making a big mistake. This is the last thing I ever expected to come across 5 minutes away from the Stockyards....a tropical paradise of food, music, and drinks. Seating over 1,600 people in multiple dining rooms, this is one indoor and outdoor restaurant to be messed with. Once you get there, I suggest going to the bar on the outdoor patio and getting a margarita, or a pitcher of it because you're going to be waiting in line to be seated. Usually it's about 10-30 minutes wait but it takes about 5 minutes to get your food after you've ordered. How? They have no physical menu, your only options are enchiladas, fajitas, or nachos. We got the fajita combo (chicken and beef) to share and it was more than plenty, with about 5lbs of food left over. One VERY important thing you should know before visiting...its all CASH ONLY, so bring plenty! After dinner, you'll want to walk all that off so it's time to explore the Water Gardens just in time for sunset.
Step 4: Water Gardens (you won't get that wet)
By James Brandon
These water gardens are the reason I actually decided to explore Ft Worth, not only are they visually stunning, but the trek down into the main waterfall is an unbeatable experience. With water rapidly rushing all around you, the steps are a bit of a challenge if you're in heels (my mistake). But once you're down in the center of the cascading structure, it's hard to tear yourself away from the pure energy surrounding you. If you do go at sunset, wait until the lights in the center are visible; it turns a waterfall into something out of a sci-fi flick. In addition to the Active Pool (picture above), the park hosts a Meditation Pool and an Aerating Pool. If you get lucky, you might hear some live music in the adjacent amphitheater. But live music is next on the list anyways...
Step 5: Get jazzy at the Scat Lounge
Yes, it's just as cool on the inside as it is on the outside. If anyone is looking to really experience Ft Worth in a day, this is the place to end it. It features some of the coolest cats on the block, delicious drinks, and an atmosphere that's straight out of the Jazz Age. In addition to drinks and music, they also offer small finger foods. One of the highlights of coming here on any night is the surprise sit-ins on any given set. If you're into the jazz scene in Dallas, this will rival Sandaga and some acts at the Mansion. You can check out their upcoming shows here to plan your trip.
Although it's near impossible to experience the culture of an entire city in one day, this should give you a pretty good idea of what Ft Worth has to offer, and hopefully make you want to return again. Next trip we will be covering the Stockyards (yeehaw), the Renata restaurant, and some of the best queso and gourmet burgers in Texas.
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To view any photos from my trip, search @czarina_ekaterina or @OurNewMonarch on Instagram.