Fort Worth Stockyards

With saloons, steakhouses, and a twice-daily cattle drive, Cowtown’s historic district keeps the Wild West alive.
Fort Worth Stockyards
Cross Eyed Moose
Photograph by Darren Braun

1. New West Alley Gallery and Fine Gifts

Every item in this underground art gallery—the entrance is in the alleyway next to the Star Cafe—is the handiwork of a Texan. So you won’t have to hoof it to Palestine to scoop up Rachel Burk’s pine needle baskets or to the Hill Country to snag Carlos Moseley’s wall hangings made of rocks from the Pedernales. Fort Worthians can support their own homegrown artists by picking out a jazz-themed acrylic painting by Robert Berry or a smooth turned- wood vase by Bob Collett. 115 W. Exchange Ave., 682- 552-5987, newwestalley.com

2. Lonesome Dove Western Bistro

Our cowboy ancestors may have subsisted on beans and biscuits, but today’s diners expect more-sophisticated vittles. Chef Tim Love obliges with “urban Western” fare that is inventive but not so outlandish that Charles Goodnight wouldn’t recognize it, like rabbit-rattlesnake sausage served with manchego rösti and seared kangaroo nachos with habanero-huckleberry sauce. The chuck wagon inventor would have also added Love’s elk tenderloin and shell bean succotash (dotted with bits of lamb bacon) to his own trail menu. 2406 N. Main, 817-740-8810, lonesomedovebistro.com

3. Maverick Fine Western Wear

Dressing with Western flair requires some skill lest you end up looking like Howdy (or Heidi) Doody. At this well-edited boutique, you can find frontier-inspired pieces that are iconic but not kitschy: buttery Coronado leather vests and Rockmount snap shirts for the gents, Johnny Was blouses and Chaarm rabbit bombers for the ladies, and Old Gringo boots for both. Accessorize with hand- engraved silver Vogt cuff links or a Coreen Cordova necklace, then belly up to the bar, crack open a longneck, and toast the new you. 100 E. Exchange Ave., 800-282-1315, maverickwesternwear.com

4. H3 Ranch

When you see—and smell—the suckling pigs slowly roasting over an open fire at the back of this casual steakhouse, your senses will do the ordering for you. Although the thick wood-fired steaks and St. Louis–style pork ribs also earn top billing, don’t be afraid to ditch the meat for the hickory-grilled rainbow trout. As you enjoy a postsupper stein of Buffalo Butt beer in the adjoining Booger Red’s Saloon, make plans to return for the Old West breakfast (oatmeal-studded flapjacks, fat biscuits, huevos rancheros), served on the weekends. 105 E. Exchange Ave., 817-624-1246, h3ranch.com

5. White Elephant Saloon

Anybody who’s anybody has his cowboy hat tacked to the wall (or ceiling) of this historic watering hole, which was a haven for gamblers and rabble-rousers when Fort Worth was an Army outpost. As you shoot pool or shuffle across the dance floor, try to locate the headgear of Red Steagall, Jack Ingram, Ray Wylie Hubbard, and other notables who’ve downed a pint here. And ask a bartender to tell you about the infamous gunfight that broke out in front of the saloon’s original location, on Main Street, in 1887. 106 E. Exchange Ave., 817-624-8273, hiteelephantsaloon.com

6. Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame

This former horse barn now houses one of the world’s largest wagon collections, a visual timeline of the cowboy boot, and Amon G. Carter’s Cadillac. Walk through the more than seventy stalls to see mementos from the careers of Ty Murray, George Strait, and other Western heroes. Time your visit to coincide with the daily cattle drives (at 11:30 and 4) and watch a herd of Longhorns amble their way past the museum. 128 E. Exchange Ave., 817-626-7171, texascowboyhalloffame.org

7. Ernest Tubb Record Shop

Your kids will think they’re in a museum when they catch sight of all the vintage vinyl in this Stockyards Station store. Turn it into a teachable moment as you introduce them to the vocal stylings of country music pioneer Ernest Tubb and legends like Hank Williams, Loretta Lynn, and Bob Wills. While you hum your way through the rows of CDs and records, don’t be surprised if your iPod-toting progeny start begging you for one of the retro-cool Ernest Tubb trucker hats. 140 E. Exchange Ave., 817-624-8449, etrecordshop.com

8. Cross-Eyed Moose

Few purchases are premeditated in this emporium of curious goods. Unless, that is, your shopping list includes a stuffed coyote, back issues of American Rifleman, a pair of rattlesnake earrings, or a leather place mat on which John Wayne’s face has been hand-tooled by a prison inmate. Otherwise, you’ll quickly find things you didn’t even know you wanted, like those $5 cowhide coasters or that $895 Indian headdress. So where do all these random relics come from? “Deaths and divorces,” says the owner. 2340 N. Main, 817-624-4311, crosseyedmoose.net

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