As the 16th largest city in the United States and part of the No. 1 tourist destination in Texas, Fort Worth has come out from under the shadow of its "big sister" city, Dallas. Fort Worth is an eclectic blend of cowboy-meets-culture: whether you prefer to spend your time in a museum or watching the world's only twice-daily cattle drive, this city offers plenty of things to do. And, if you need to give your wallet a little rest, here are 10 fantastic things to do in this city, completely free:
It's hard to believe that admission to this American treasure is free. Housed in a beautiful, contemporary building, this museum offers a diverse array of exhibitions, publications, and programs that connect visitors to masterworks of American art in many genres, including painting, sculpture, illustration, photography and more. Don't miss your opportunity to view nearly 400 works by Frederic Remington and Charles M. Russell, the two greatest artists of the American West.
2. See U.S. Currency Being Printed…Legally!
The Bureau of Engraving and Printing’s Fort Worth Currency facility
is one of only two locations in the U.S. that print money (Washington, D.C. being the other). Come on a weekday and take a free 45-minute guided tour. The tour features the various steps of currency production, beginning with large, blank sheets of paper, and ending with wallet-ready bills! You'll see millions of dollars being printed.
3. Tap your toe to a Cowtown Opry Show
Dedicated to the preservation of country music as a part of Texas heritage, the Cowtown Opry is a group of performers who specialize in bringing back authentic western music shows. Concerts include vintage and contemporary western music, songs from the singing cowboy movies, old time cowboy ballads, and western swing (THE official music of Texas!). Weekly concerts are free, on the steps of the Livestock Exchange Building. Visit the Cowtown Opry website
for an up-to-date schedule.
4. Take a Tour of Fire Station No. 1
A historic fire station near Fort Worth's Sundance Square District, Fire Station No. 1 is part of the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History
. The exhibit features interactive models (including a bucking bronco) that commemorate Fort Worth’s first 150 years, from its early years as a frontier outpost, through its raucous cattle-town years, and into the modern big-city era.
5. Watch Texas Longhorns Driven by Genuine Texas Cowhands
Relive the romance and mystique of Old West cowboys and cattle drives! Watch the world’s only twice-daily cattle drive where teams of real cowhands drive longhorn cows through the Stockyards on Exchange Avenue. 11:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. daily in the Stockyards. And look for the Drovers before and after each cattle drive for photo opportunities and to learn more about life on the trail! >>more info and schedule
6. Fort Worth Botanic Garden
Home to more than 2,500 species of plants in its 23 specialty gardens, the Botanic Gardens
are absolutely beautiful and a great place to learn about nature. The general gardens are free; there is a nominal fee for the Conservatory and the Japanese Garden, where the koi-filled pools, sculptured hillsides, crafted stonework and dramatic waterfalls provide a view of exotic conservation.
7. Fort Worth Water Garden
The 4.3 acre urban oasis is located next to the Fort Worth Convention Center featuring three pools of water and over 500 species of plants and trees. The quiet meditation pool, the aerating pool and the active pool all have water cascading down terraces and collecting in pools below. 1502 Commerce St.
8. Monnig Meteorite Museum
Meteorites are the oldest materials known — older than any rock formed on Earth! The Monnig Meteorite Museum is one of the largest university-based collections with over 1,700 specimens. Explore the mysteries of meteorites, create your own terrestrial impact crater and even touch a piece of Mars at this “out of this world” gallery devoted to our visitors from space. Located on the grounds of the Texas Christian University campus. >> more info
9. Trinity Trails
Trinity Trails are the biking/cycling, running/walking and horseback trails of Fort Worth. The trails are named for the Trinity River, along which many of the trails are located. There are over 40 miles of trails along the Trinity and its tributaries, connecting with 21 parks, the Fort Worth Botanic Garden and Japanese Garden, Log Cabin Village, Fort Worth Zoo, the historic Stockyards and downtown Fort Worth. >> more info
10. Kimbell Art Museum
The Kimbell's permanent collection contains works ranging from the third millennium B.C. to the mid-20th century, and includes major pieces by Fra Angelico, Velazquez, Bernini, Rembrandt, Goya, Monet, Cezanne, Picasso, Mondrian and Matisse. It is also home to Michelangelo's first known painting. The collection comprises Asian and non-Western as well as European art. The museum features special and traveling exhibits on display throughout the year. >> more info
Oh, and one more thing in Fort Worth that's free:
"Molly the Trolley" is a vintage-style vehicle that offers a quick and convenient way to travel throughout the downtown area for free, from the Fort Worth Convention Center to Sundance Square. Molly stops near every downtown hotel property, landmark, dining, shopping and entertainment venue. Be sure to hop aboard for a free ride while exploring Fort Worth's free treasures. >> more info