Sundance Square is a true mecca for shopping, dining and entertainment in Fort Worth. Photo by Jeremy Enlow
A sunny day in Burnett Park.
Reata Restaurant's rooftop is a memorable scene.
GRACE serves up scallops.
A few beer variations from Cowtown Brewing Co.
ArtSpace 111 has been a true retreat for interesting Fort Worth art since two brothers took over a historic building in 1980.
Martin House is one of many Fort Worth breweries worth visiting.
Fort Worth was established in 1849 as an army outpost overlooking the Trinity River. Later on, it became a cornerstone of the longhorn cattle trade. You can still see much of the city’s western heritage in its many activities and architecture. Downtown Fort Worth became the hub of the city and Sundance Square, when it was built in 1979, became the snazzy centerpiece.
Fast forward to present day and downtown Fort Worth is a destination within itself. This is your guide to one of Panther City’s most happening neighborhoods:
Fort Worth Coffee
As always, let’s start out with some coffee. Buon Giorno Coffee is located on Florence Street and this European-style coffee shop is a worthy stop. With a lovely selection of pastries and specialty coffee drinks, you’ll be sure to find something to your liking. Try a classic cappuccino to feel like you’re at a sidewalk cafe in Europe.
You can also venture towards the Fort Worth Court House and check out Vaquero Coffee. This quaint coffee shop found its home in the historic Joe Diaches Credit Jeweler building. Vaquero specializes in high quality coffee and specialty drinks. The dirty chai spice latte, a chai latte with an added shot of espresso, is especially delicious.
Downtown Fort Worth Must Visits
With no shortage of things to see and do in downtown Fort Worth, you just need to narrow down what you’re in the mood for.
If you’re in the mood for a show, Bass Hall is the quintessential theatre experience. It requires a bit of forethought, but it is 100 percent worth it. This year, the venue will feature A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Hamilton and Jesus Christ Superstar, just to name a few.
Burnett Park is a great place to walk your dog or plan a picnic. You may recognize the 50-foot-tall Jonathan Borofsky’s brushed aluminum sculpture, “Man With a Briefcase.” The beautiful park was originally designed by George E. Kessler for Anne Burnett. The three acre public park provides a vast green space in the downtown Fort Worth landscape and has a playground for kids. Bring the family and enjoy a leisurely walk underneath the many oak and magnolia trees.
To explore Fort Worth’s vast art community, take a trip down to Artspace 111 on Hampton Street. Going into its 40th year, the contemporary art gallery is a home for many local Texas artists. Twin brothers Daniel and Dennis Blagg converted the large historic building into a coveted Fort Worth gallery. Art Space 111 hosts solo and group exhibitions throughout the year. For more information visit Artspace111.com.
If a bit of day drinking is in order, downtown has a solid selection of breweries that you need to visit. Just across the river from downtown is Panther Island Brewing. The taproom opened in 2014 and offers four beers year-round and seasonal, micro-seasonal and weekly special taproom beers. You can find live music, food trucks, games, a big screen TV and a view of downtown.
Martin House Brewery is down the road on South Sylvania Avenue. Started by three friends who love beer and cooking, Martin House became the product of just that. The brewery boasts innovative flavors and unusual combinations that result in some delicious brews — most recently a Best Maid Sour Pickle Beer hit the market.
Mere minutes away from Sundance Square is Cowtown Brewing Company. This brew pub offers up a full menu along with an impressive selection of 13 beers. You can pair your brew to your barbecue or just enjoy a cold beer in the brewery’s huge air conditioned tap room.
If beer isn’t your style and you’re in the mood for something a bit stronger, try Acre Distilling. The four-year-old distillery produces more than 18 spirits including vodka, gin, bourbon, single malt whiskey, rum, bitters, flavored liquors and even cordials. You can enjoy various cocktails by the bar or take a tour of the facility.
For music, you have to visit Scat Lounge. This jazz-centric lounge is reminiscent of music clubs of old. You can find this music venue in the basement of the historic Woolworth building. Scat evokes an Art Deco feel, keeping the lighting dim with rich wood accents. Kick back with a cocktail and enjoy some jazz. To see who will be performing go to scatjazzlounge.com.
Downtown Fort Worth Restaurants
Downtown Fort Worth is flush with restaurants for all occasions. Reata Restaurant is a downtown Fort Worth institution. The elegant eatery specializes in true Texas cuisine. Think steaks, buffalo and my personal favorite, tenderloin tamales. For a memorable evening, you definitely want to make a reservation on the rooftop bar.
The culinary genius of Reata has produced another, more casual restaurant located in the historic No. 1 Fire Station. It is called 203 Cafe. The small cafe is open for breakfast and lunch, 7 am to 3 pm, Mondays through Fridays. Try one of the burgers or one of the kitchen’s specials.
GRACE is a must for a modern American dining experience. Chef Blaine Staniford delivers an exceptional selection of steaks, fish and other meats pared with your favorite side dishes. GRACE also boasts a rather impressive wine list and seasonal cocktails.
Also on Main Stree, you can stumble upon Little Red Wasp. The charming Fort Worth restaurant serves straightforward food with a bit of a southern twist. With three different fried chicken flavors to choose from expertly paired with sides your grandmother would serve you, you will not leave hungry.
With a front row view of Sundance Square, Bird Cafe is a must. Serving up Southern food for brunch, lunch and dinner, Bird Cafe is a charming setting to indulge. The cocktails are expertly made and the patio is the perfect place to people watch.
Chef Jon Bonell and Anthony Felli are the masterminds behind Waters Restaurant on Main Street. The coastal-style restaurant brings top seafood and exceptional wine pairings. This makes it a favorite for many locals.
If you are in the mood for something a little more casual, you need to try Salsa Limon in its downtown location. What started as a small taco truck with fresh ingredients, has exploded into three Fort Worth restaurants and lots of die-hard El Capitan fanatics — seriously, you have to try the El Capitan.
That’s the thing about downtown Fort Worth. It can still surprise you.