A far cry from its flashier sister city, Dallas, this artsy college town has an unpretentious vibe reminiscent of Old Austin. Known by nicknames like “Cowtown” and “Funky Town,” Fort Worth has received a glow-up in recent years with the opening of new hotels, lauded restaurants, and a stylish redevelopment within its historic Stockyards area. But rest assured: Despite its buzzy new attractions, the city remains as laid-back and welcoming as ever.


Hang your hat at Hotel Dryce, a former dry ice factory turned boutique hotel located near museums like the Kimbell Art Museum and the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. Opened last summer, the space has cozy burnt-orange robes in the rooms and a stylish jewel-toned lobby slinging cocktails and coffee. Looking to unwind somewhere luxe? Downtown’s new Kimpton Harper features a penthouse lounge on the 24th floor called Refinery 714 with 360-degree city views.


Fort Worth recently nabbed two spots in the top 10 of Texas Monthly’s annual “Top 50 Texas BBQ Joints” list. The No. 1 prize went to Goldee’s, where crowds are lining up as early as 4 in the morning to sample its dynamite spareribs, Laotian sausage, and jalapeño cheese grits when doors open at 11 a.m. Fridays through Sundays. (Several of Goldee’s pitmasters cut their teeth at Austin joints like Franklin Barbecue and la Barbecue.) Don’t miss the pork belly burnt ends and brisket elote at Panther City BBQ, which also cracked Daniel Vaughn’s top 10. Other go-to options include the succulent birria tacos at Tinie’s and the stellar tuna handrolls at Hatsuyuki Handroll Bar.


Head to the hip Foundry District to sample an array of spirits and small-batch craft beer at Blackland Distillery and Maple Branch Craft Brewery, respectively. While there, be sure to explore Inspiration Alley, a tucked-away outdoor art gallery of 60-plus murals located between the two tasting rooms.


Cowboy up at the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo (Jan. 14-Feb. 5), an annual event with bull riding, horse shows, and a celebrity goat-milking contest. A trip to Funky Town would not be complete without a visit to the Fort Worth Stockyards. While the army outpost has been around since 1849, the historic district features a new Mule Alley redevelopment filled with shops, restaurants, and diversions. Enjoy a juicy burger or chicken-fried steak at chef Marcus Paslay’s Provender Hall and order a libation inside the eye-catching Hotel Drover. The new hotel boasts the country’s first Lucchese Custom Collection boutique, where shoppers can order a bespoke pair of boots.