From Cowboys to Late-Night Cocktails, a Night in Fort Worth Is—Ahem—Worth Every Penny


Fort Worth, Texas at dusk. (Photo: Thinkstock)

Fort Worth may be home to America’s oldest continuously running stock show and rodeo, but it isn’t all about cowboys and cattle drives. Fort Worth is America’s 17th-largest city. It’s got its own museum mile, the oldest zoo in Texas, and a world-class performance venue that anchors a walkable nightlife district. The thermostat rarely dips below freezing, and there are all sorts of places to eat, drink, and experience Texan hospitality. Here’s how to spend the perfect Thursday night in Fort Worth.

4 p.m.

There’s more to Fort Worth than cattle, but cattle is a big part of Fort Worth’s history. Start your perfect night in Fort Worth with a truly Texan experience: a cattle drive in the Stockyards National Historic District. Cattle drives are held twice a day, at 11:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Exchange Avenue. Wander around the Stockyards after the cattle drive to get a feel for Fort Worth’s history, and don’t be surprised if you run across a real-life cowboy or two.


You’re in the Longhorn State, so go get your fill at the daily cattle drive in the Fort Worth Stock Yards. (Photo: Fort Worth Convention & Tourist Bureau)

Before you leave, pop in to Billy Bob’s, the world’s largest honky-tonk, with room for 6,000 people and live bull-riding. Billy Bob’s has seen performances by many of the largest names in country music, as well as by ZZ Top, Tina Turner, Pat Benatar, and Ted Nugent.

7 p.m.

A lot of things are bigger in Texas. Nonna Tata is not one of them. Nonna Tata is an intimate Italian restaurant on one of the trendiest foodie strips in Fort Worth. It has just a handful of tables inside, and a few more outside. It doesn’t take reservations, and is open only Tuesday through Friday, which makes it the perfect spot for a Thursday night dinner.


Grab a bottle of vino and head to Nonna Tata for the best bolognese in Fort Worth. (Photo: Krissy S./Foursquare)

Owner Donatella Trotti, who hails from northern Italy, changes the menu at her whim, cycling through an array of pasta dishes and accenting them with her homemade focaccia bread. For dessert, try the tiramisu or dolce Nutella. And don’t forget to bring cash and your own wine: Credit cards aren’t accepted, and Nonna Tata is BYOB.

9 p.m.

Don’t be fooled. Fort Worth may be called Cowtown, but it’s not all country. Wander downstairs to the Scat Jazz Lounge on West Fourth Street, and you’ll feel like you’ve left Cowtown far behind and landed in New York City during the gilded age of jazz. There aren’t any TVs or neon beer signs here. Scat Jazz Lounge is swanky, dark, and all about the music. Headline acts start at 9 p.m. Thursday nights.


Need a break from the cows and cowboys? Pop by Scat for a cocktail and a swanky live jazz performance. (Photo: Scat Jazz Lounge/Facebook)

Related: Airport Review: We Size Up the Texas-Sized Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport

10:30 p.m.

As you’re leaving the Scat Jazz Lounge, wander by the Bass Performance Hall at Fourth and Calhoun. The Bass Performance Hall was built entirely with private funds, and hosts the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, the Texas Ballet Theater, the Fort Worth Opera, and the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition.


How beautiful does the Bass Performance Hall look all lit up at night? (Photo:Andy Curry/Flickr)

Related: The Ultimate 24-Hour Texas Barbecue Blitz

11 p.m.

After the Bass Performance Hall, pop into Pete’s Dueling Piano Bar for a rock ‘n roll sing-a-along. Pete’s started as a one-man show on Austin’s legendary Sixth Street, but has since grown into a statewide chain of dueling piano bars. Pete’s is one of the liveliest spots in downtown Fort Worth, and an excellent second-to-last stop on your perfect night tour of Fort Worth.


Think piano bars are all about tuxedos and baby grands? Think again… (Photo: Pete’s Dueling Piano Bar/Facebook)

12:30 a.m.

There is perhaps no better way to end a night out in Texas than with tacos. With this in mind, settle into a booth at Fuzzy’s Taco Shop for your last hurrah. Order a couple of tacos — and maybe even one last margarita.


Nothing hits the spot quite like some late night tacos—and Fuzzy’s is on it. (Photo: Fuzzy’s Taco Shop/Facebook)

Related: Pizza vs. Taco? Salsa vs. Sriracha? America’s Most Popular Foods, State by State

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