Here is a 5-day itinerary for visiting Fort Worth with kids. Whether you follow it exactly or take the pieces of the itinerary and customize your own trip you will have an awesome time.
We recommend staying at the Sheraton Fort Worth for your vacation. It’s in an excellent location and has recently undergone a complete renovation. The rooms are large which is great for families and they have a large pool and hot tub. Plus, Molly the Trolley picks up right out front. Molley the Trolley is a free trolley that will take you to various places throughout downtown Fort Worth.
Hotel: Sheraton Fort Worth Hotel 817-335-7000 located at 1701 Commerce Street, Fort Worth, Texas 76102
5 Days in Fort Worth with KidsDAY ONE:
Mid Morning – After checking into the Sheraton start your day off by walking across the street from the hotel to the Fort Worth Water Gardens. Be sure to take your camera. This is one of the best spots in all of Dallas/Fort Worth to take photos.
- The Fort Worth Water Gardens is a beautiful and refreshing oasis adjacent to the Fort Worth Convention Center. Designed by Phillip Johnson (who also designed the much-acclaimed Amon Carter Museum), the Fort Worth Water Gardens is an architectural and engineering marvel to be enjoyed any time of the year. The park features three pools of water: the aerating, the quiet and the active pool. 1502 Commerce Street, Fort Worth, TX 76102 817.392.7111
After you are done visiting the water gardens, walk over to the JFK Tribute
- On November 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy gave a speech to the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce, and shortly after an unscheduled speech to thousands of people gathered in the rain outside the Hotel Texas (now the Fort Worth Hilton). The tribute marks the President’s historic visit and Fort Worth’s important place in history with a beautiful Lawrence Ludke bronze of President Kennedy set within an elegant plaza. 815 Main Street, Fort Worth, TX 76102 817.870.2100
As you are walking around you are experiencing different parts of Sundance Square and Downtown Fort Worth – A national model of urban revitalization, and considered one of the premier downtown settings in the country, the critically acclaimed entertainment/business district boasts 35 square blocks of shopping, 30-plus restaurants, three live theaters, an AMC movie, art galleries and more. The newly added Sundance Square Plaza includes water features, 32-foot-tall Teflon umbrellas, and the historic Chisholm Trail Mural.
**LUNCH – Stop for lunch and experience real Tex-Mex cuisine that will knock your socks off at Cantina Laredo on 530 Throckmorton St. Fort Worth, TX 76102. If you check in on Yelp you will likely receive a coupon for free queso or guacamole!
While the kids play parents and grandparents can relax under the covered seating area. Here you will have a great view of the Chisholm Trail Mural in Sundance Square Plaza. The Chisholm Trail Mural pays homage to Fort Worth’s historic cattle drives of the 19th century. The mural spans three stories high and was completed in 1988 by artist Richard Haas. It has since become one of Fort Worth’s most popular tourist attractions. 400 Main St. Fort Worth, TX 76102
If you want to do some shopping in this area, we recommend visiting these.
- Leddy’s Ranch at Sundance Square-410 Houston Street $$$$
- Pappagallo Classiques- 408 Houston Street $ (I found the cutest top here!)
- Retro Cowboy-406 Houston Street $$$
- Barse Jewelry- 501 Main Street
- Earth Bones-308 Main Street
Little Red Wasp Kitchen + Bar, located in the heart of downtown, is the casual counterpart to the sophisticated GRACE. Open seven days a week, the kitchen offers a late-night service on Friday and Saturday’s until midnight and brunch service on Saturday and Sunday until 4 p.m.
The nationally-ranked Fort Worth Zoo was named the number one attraction in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex by Zagat. Home to more than 5,000 animal species and a world-famous reptile collection, the Zoo supports conservation projects in more than 30 countries around the globe. The institution’s focus on education and conservation is second to none, enhancing the lives of more than one million visitors a year.
Have a late Lunch at Woodshed Smokehouse Located on the banks of the Trinity River, Woodshed Smokehouse is celebrity Chef Tim Love’s homage to all things grilled, roasted and slow-cooked. The restaurant features an animal and sausage of the day, varying from rattlesnake to elk, and smokes its delectable items over four types of wood: mesquite, pecan, hickory, and oak. 3201 Riverfront Drive; Fort Worth, Texas 76107 (817)877-4545
After lunch, visit the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens (Admission is $2 for adults and $1 for children) 3220 Botanic Garden Boulevard Fort Worth, TX 76107 817-871-7686
The oldest botanic garden in Texas, the Fort Worth’s Botanic Garden is home to more than 2,500 species of plants in its 23 specialty gardens. Visit the world-renowned Japanese Garden, where the koi-filled pools, Japanese architecture, meticulously-maintained plants, and dramatic waterfalls create a serene environment for this strolling garden. Or explore the winding paths of luxuriant tropical foliage in the 10,000-square-foot conservatory.
Return to the hotel for a bit of downtime. The Sheraton has a great pool and a fun happy hour.
Evening – Enjoy dinner at Joe T. Garcia’s. Joe T. Garcia’s is a Stockyards institution. Here you can enjoy a potent margarita made with silver tequila and fresh lime juice, along with old-school Mexican combo plates and fajitas in a gorgeous hacienda-style garden courtyard.
Morning: Bureau of Engraving & Printing’s Western Currency Facility (tour is free) 9000 Blue Mound Road, Fort Worth, TX 76131 817.231.4000
Learn how billions of dollars are printed at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing’s (BEP) state-of-the-art Tour and Visitor Center located in Fort Worth, Texas. Over half of the nation’s currency order is produced in Fort Worth, one of two facilities in the nation. Visitors have the opportunity to walk through two floors of interactive exhibits and displays, view the high-definition movie theater and take a free, 45-minute guided tour on the elevated tour walkway.
Lunch: Find an Abuelo’s on your way over to Dallas for a Tex-Mex lunch.
Afternoon: After lunch, continue on to Dallas to the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, located in Victory Park, near Downtown Dallas. This 4 level science museum will have your kids learning and playing for hours. Be sure to hit the downstairs area where you can race a dinosaur or a cheetah!
Evening: Return to Fort Worth and have dinner at Mi Cocina a casual Tex-Mex eatery near the Sheraton next to Sundance Plaza.
Morning: Visit the Fort Worth Cultural District
Located a few miles west of downtown is one of the largest arts districts in the nation. The Fort Worth Cultural District features five internationally recognized museums in a beautiful park-like setting. The museums are acclaimed for their architecture, quality collections and programs. This remarkable collection of museums in a single location has made Fort Worth a major destination for art lovers.
Visit the Kimbell Art Museum (currently free) 3333 Camp Bowie Blvd. Fort Worth, TX 76107 817.332.8451
The Kimbell Art Museum is known as “America’s best small museum” and is the permanent home to Michelangelo’s first painting, The Torment of Saint Anthony. The Kimbell offers a world-class collection of art, with masterpieces from antiquity to the 20th century, including works by El Greco, Cezanne, Rembrandt, Picasso and Matisse. The museum also regularly hosts major traveling exhibitions. The Kimbell building, designed by the great American architect Louis Kahn, is widely regarded as one of the most outstanding public art buildings. About the Piano Pavilion: Located across the lawn of the museum’s original home – a modernist icon designed by Louis Kahn – the distance between the two buildings was quoted as “close enough for a conversation, not too close and not too far away” by architect Renzo Piano. The $125 million pavilion is made of glass, concrete, and wood and surrounded by elms and red oaks. The Piano Pavilion stands as an expression of simplicity and lightness, some 65 yards west of Kahn’s vaulted, luminous museum landmark of 1972.
Visit the Amon Carter Museum of American Art (admission is free) 3501 Camp Bowie Blvd. 817.738.1933
Designed by renowned architect Philip Johnson, the Amon Carter houses a preeminent collection of nineteenth- and twentieth-century paintings, sculpture, works on paper, and is one of the nation’s major repositories of American photography. Artists represented in the collection include Winslow Homer, Thomas Eakins, Georgia O’Keeffe and John Singer Sargent. The museum is home to nearly 400 works by Frederic Remington and Charles M. Russell, the two greatest artists of the American West. Visitors can enjoy family-friendly programming throughout the year. Lectures, workshops and films provide a wonderful way for adults to connect with American art.
Afternoon: Lunch at Rodeo Goat the hottest burger shop in Fort Worth and voted the best burger in Dallas-Fort Worth by DFW.com. Plus, we consider it to be one of the best hamburger places we’ve ever been too! Here you will enjoy house-ground hamburgers – beef, chicken, turkey or veggie – are grilled to perfection, along with a healthy topping of ingenious ingredients: blackberry compote, Sriracha-mayo, fried eggs and more. They even have a fun game you can play on their patio. 2836 Bledsoe St., Fort Worth, TX 76107 817-877-4628
After lunch, I recommend splitting up. Those that want to go shopping and those they do not (aka Dad and kids) Mom can head out to one of these places to shop:
Grand Prairie Premium Outlets – Just minutes from Fort Worth, Grand Premium Outlets is one of the newest malls to North Texas. Partners with “who’s who” of designer and brand names including Barneys New York, Brooks Brothers, Columbia Sportswear, Calvin Klein, Coach, Cole Haan, Dooney & Bourke, Gap, Guess, J.Crew, Michael Kors, Neiman Marcus Last Call, Nike, Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH, Tommy Hilfiger, True Religion Brand Jeans and many more. Located at 2950 W. Interstate 20; Grand Prairie, TX 75052 972.602.8383
West 7th District – This trendy urban development link downtown, the Will Rogers Memorial Center and the Cultural District. Discover a sophisticated blend of pedestrian-friendly urban elements; indulge in high-concept eateries; splurge in boutique shops and enjoy vibrant nightlife. Located at 2821 West 7th St. #100 Fort Worth, TX 76107 817.810.9076
The non-shoppers can head over to Altitude Trampoline Park. This is a cheap way to let your kids burn off all that energy they accumulated due to going to art museums. I find that promising my kids an activity like this helps us “get through” the museums easier.
Evening – Dinner on own
Morning: Explore the Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District – Stockyards National Historic District is filled with sites from the Old West, great Texas-themed shopping and cuisine, rodeos, Western saloons, Billy Bob’s Texas—the world’s largest honky-tonk, the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame, and the Fort Worth Herd twice-daily cattle drive. You’ll see legendary structures such as the Livestock Exchange Building, and the Stockyards Station shops and restaurants in the old sheep and hog barns.
11:30AM or 4:00PM – Watch the Fort Worth Herd Twice-Daily Cattle Drive – The Texas Longhorn and the American cowboy are two of the most enduring symbols of the Old West. They’re a big reason why Fort Worth earned the nickname “Cowtown” and have formed the core of the great cattle drives of the late nineteenth century. Now, the romance and mystique of cowboys and cattle drives returns to Fort Worth with The Herd – Texas Longhorns driven by genuine Texas cowhands – offering an unforgettable glimpse into the past. The jingle of spurs, the cattle bawling and the rhythm of the hoof beats bring a bygone era to life as The Herd passes by. 131A E. Exchange Ave. Fort Worth, TX 76164 817.336.4373
Popular things to do include:
Shopping for Western Gear – Numerous Western shops, including Maverick, Fincher’s and Leddy’s, are located along the historic Exchange Avenue. Most of which include bars within the shops.
- Maverick Fine Western Wear 100 East Exchange Avenue Fort Worth, TX 76164; 817.626.1129; Located in the historic Stockyards, Maverick Fine Western Wear offers clothing fit for urban cowboys and cowgirls. Sip as you shop at the bar inside the store.
- Fincher’s White Front Western Wear 115 E. Exchange Ave. Fort Worth, TX 76164; 817.624.7302; Fincher’s White Front Western Wear is located in the heart of the historic Fort Worth Stockyards and the original home of White Front Western Store, established in 1902. Have a cowboy hat custom steamed to your liking or enjoy a beer as you shop at the in-store beer.
- Stockyards Station 130 E. Exchange Ave. Fort Worth, TX 76164; 817.625.9715; Located in the heart of the Fort Worth Stockyards, Stockyards Station provides an exciting blend of old and new. The Station’s two dozen shops offer wine, cowboy boots, leather goods, jewelry, arts and crafts.
- M.L. Leddy’s 2455 N. Main St. Fort Worth, TX 76164; 817.624.3149; Since 1922, M.L. Leddy’s has created custom, handmade boots, saddles, clothing, belts, buckles and much more for discriminating customers all over the world. The company’s line of men and women’s Western-influenced clothing and famed Vaquero boots are available in the showroom.
- The Cowtown Cattle-pen Maze – The Cowtown Cattlepen Maze is a unique form of entertainment for the entire family, group or class field trip. With over 5,400 square feet of frequently changed wooden pathways, resembling the cattle pens of the old west, the maze is always a challenge.
- Stockyards Stables & Horseback Riding – Ride the Trinity River Trails! Come take a trail ride with our experienced guides along the beautiful landscape of the Trinity River. This is a great family or individual activity that all can enjoy.
- Petting Zoo – The Stockyards Petting Zoo features an array of animals including goats, alpacas, cows, and even camels!
- Chief Records (in Stockyards Station): Formerly the Ernest Tubb Record Shop, this store has been filling country music fans’ need for over 59 years. Everything you need in country music offering records, tapes, CDs, videos and memorabilia of country music past and present.
- Grapevine Vintage Railroad- Passengers step back in time as they ride in the authentic 1920s and 1930s Victorian-style coaches and experience train travel as it was in the glory days of the expanding West. The Grapevine Vintage Railroad operates over approximately 21 miles of the Cotton Belt line, linking the historic communities of Grapevine, Colleyville and Smithfield, and Fort Worth’s historic Stockyards.
- Stockyards Museum – This historic site offers visitors the chance to explore the rich history of Fort Worth and how it was developed from a stop for cowboys driving cattle north to the stock market of the West that sold millions of heads of cattle, then shipped them by railroad. It is home to the second oldest antique light bulb still illuminated.
- Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame – honors Texas men and women who have excelled in the sport and business of rodeo and the western lifestyle. A few of the inductees include: Nolan Ryan, Tommy Lee Jones, Trevor Brazile, Don Edwards, George Strait, Lane Frost, Ty Murray, Barry Corbin, Red Steagall, Tuff Hedeman, J.J. Hampton (17 time PWRA World Champion), Charmayne James, and Don Gay (8 time PRCA World Champion Bull Rider).
Coopers Old Time BBQ is home of the Original World Famous “Big Chop” and has been serving Fort Worth locals since 1953. The restaurant has a large main dining area and an incredible indoor/outdoor patio with a view of the Fort Worth skyline that can seat 200.
Afternoon: Visit Billy Bob’s Texas – Free Line Dance Lessons on Thursday evenings at 7 PM Built in 1910 as a cattle barn for the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo, the “world’s largest honky-tonk” has been entertaining guests for over 30 years with 127,000 square feet of Western-style entertainment, including arcades and casinos, line-dancing lessons and professional bull-riding demonstrations. It’s only fitting that the biggest names in country music should play this larger-than-life club. The likes of Willie Nelson, Dwight Yoakam, George Strait, and Robert Earl Keen have all walked the Billy Bob’s stage. 2520 Rodeo Plaza Fort Worth, TX 76164 (817) 624-7117
Enjoy an afternoon treat at The Bull Ring Ice Cream Parlor – Featured in Budget Travel magazine’s list of “25 Reasons We Love Fort Worth,” the charming Bull Ring ice cream shop serves up homemade treats in the heart of the Stockyards National Historic District. Decorated with noteworthy, pre-1970s Texan artwork, the shop offers a private event space for rent in the former basement gambling parlor.
Dinner – Have dinner at one of the restaurants at the Stockyards.
8 PM – Stockyards Championship Rodeo at Cowtown Coliseum – Fridays and Saturdays only Built in 1908, Cowtown Coliseum was the site of the world’s first indoor rodeo. The coliseum hosts a variety of events throughout the year, including the year-round Stockyards Championship Rodeo held every Friday and Saturday night at 8 p.m. and the Pawnee Bill’s Wild West Show held every Saturday at 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Located at 121 E. Exchange Ave. Fort Worth, TX 76164 817.625.1025