Fort Worth doesn’t have just 3 attractions. It has 3 areas–the Cultural District, the Stockyards, and Sundance Square–each with several notable attractions. Ruth and I start every visit to this constantly-reinventing-itself city with an evening downtown.
Sundance Square is a people magnet. The Fort Worth Destination Guide 2016 calls it Fort Worth’s “heart and soul”. This is clichéd but true. It’s named for the Sundance Kid because he and Butch Cassidy hid out here and enjoyed its pleasures several times when it was called Cowtown.
Since Ruth & I last visited, there have been some changes. For one, the high-rise headquarters of Radio Shack no longer casts a shadow on downtown’s Sundance Square.
In the 19th century Fort Worth, established in 1849 as a frontier military post, was said to be with some accuracy where The West began. By the 1860s cattle drives were common, and they dominated the economy for 2 decades. The only cattle drives today occur twice a day in the Stockyards National Historic District. They are tame but fun.
Surrounded by 35 blocks of lively entertainment and too-many-to-count places to eat, Sundance Square also has radio stations, huge upside-down umbrellas, and a lively fountain. However, my favorite things in Sundance Square are the Chisolm Trail Cattle Drive mural and Hank FM.
Fort Worth’s downtown revival, which the Bass family started in 1979, has won awards. Locals have told me that before its transformation began downtown Fort Worth, was, like a lot of big city urban cores, a scary place. Now it’s a place to gather. Alas, our favorite restaurant just off Sundance Square, Ferre, is now a Cheesecake Factory. Luckily, this year we discovered Del Frisco’s Grille, a worthy replacement.
One of the revival’s goals was to preserve historic buildings instead of razing them, so amid downtown skyscrapers and hotels are a number of well-preserved properties. Our favorite is the Sinclair Building. Our 2nd favorite is the Hilton Hotel where John F. Kennedy spent his last night on Earth. It’s now one of at least a dozen fine places to stay downtown.