TEXAS

Cowboy Up in Fort Worth, Texas!

Fort Worth is often overlooked and outshone by its close neighbor Dallas, but if country is what you crave Fort Worth is your city! Everything is bigger in Texas and that is certainly clear when you visit the Fort Worth Stock Yards. Fort Worth has all the charm and grace of a true southern town. In the late 1800's Fort Worth was put on the map as a big city because it was a stop on the great cattle drive to Kansas, the Chisholm Trail. When the railroads arrived it became a livestock market in its own right. Cowboys and outlaws truly populated the city in its early years. It's refreshing to be able to say that much of that character remains today.

While the cattle trade is still a major industry, the Stockyards provide atmospheric slice of Old West life that is pretty stimulating. Twice a day they have an authentic cattle drive through the stockyards that gives you an opportunity to admire the longhorns (and the cowboys). The cattle drive occurs in front of the Livestock Exchange Building

There are a lot of really neat shops to bang around in and find all of your cowboy memorabilia. If you want to cowboy up this is the place to do it. I found a horseshoe to hang over my front door and an old tractor license plate that I thought was pretty cool in one of the antique stores. Who can go to cowboy country without getting boots and a belt buckle with the big ol' Texas star on it? It was hard choosing what I wanted to buy to take home. I even ended up with a rope and learned how to lasso a cow during my short visit to the Stockyards. It truly felt like I was living in a western.

Fincher's Western Wear in the Stockyards has been in business since 1902. They have every kind of hat brim and crown you could possibly ever want and will custom steam and bend a hat however you desire. It's a treat to look around and marvel at all the old hat advertising while realizing they hung those ads up once and left them for decades upon decades.

Ponder Boots is maybe five blocks away from the flashy corner of the neon lit western boot store. Ponder Boots is in a plain building with piles of hides. It is plain and simply an old and worn workshop that makes a good product. There are stacks upon stacks of hide to choose from to get your own custom pair of boots made.  YEEHAW! Nothing fits and feels better than custom made boots.

The Star Café at the Stockyards used to be a historic saloon. They still have a pressed tin ceiling and the original wood bar with the brass rail at the bottom to lean on. The Bed and Breakfast next door to the Star Café has been on some ghost shows.  It was a brothel in Hell's Half Acre and some people from the 1880's are supposedly still there if you believe in that sort of thing.

Cattlemen's Steak House has been around since 1947 and makes the best steaks, but you can expect to pay a pretty penny. I like a little splurge on a meal when I'm on vacation and this would be my top pick. If you're looking for just a beer and a little atmosphere you should try the White Elephant Saloon and admire the hat collection. It is the longest operating saloon in the Stockyards.

If you come in on a Friday or Saturday be sure to catch the rodeo! After the rodeo you should check out Billy Bob's! Billy Bob's is the world's largest honky tonk.  I've spent a fair share of time in the south and I've never seen or experienced anything like it! It has an indoor bull rink and a massive dance floor that is perfect for line dancing and cutting a rug.

Cowboy up Fort Worth style! You will be so glad you did!

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