Fort Worth looking to round out cowboy culture with new crop of luxury offerings
Hotel Drover

Fort Worth looking to round out cowboy culture with new crop of luxury offerings

TORONTO — Where else can you watch the world’s only twice-daily longhorn cattle drive followed by a sumptuous afternoon at a world-class spa?

Fort Worth, Texas, that’s where.

Fort Worth looking to round out cowboy culture with new crop of luxury offerings

Courtesy Dickies Arena

The city, considered the fifth largest in Texas and the 13th largest in the United States, has long been known for its cowboy culture and delicious barbecue. In addition to the daily cattle drive, during which real Texas cowhands drive a herd of Texas longhorns down East Exchange Avenue in the Stockyards National Historic District, visitors can stay at a working cattle ranch like Wildcatter Ranch & Resort, let loose at Billy Bob’s, the world’s largest honky tonk, attend the weekly Stockyards Championship rodeo, and sign up for a guided BBQ tour on electric bikes. 

But thanks to recent business investments and developments, the city of Fort Worth is now making a big push in the luxury market, with a wide offering of upscale experiences that appeal to high-end travellers.

“We’re seeing a lot of businesses move in from the East and West Coasts to Fort Worth – the Wall Street Journal just named us the fastest growing city in the nation,” says Terran Fleenor, Senior Manager of Public Relations & Content Strategy for Visit Fort Worth. “It’s been really fun to see the growth and shifting perspective of Fort Worth. We’re still Western, we’re still cowboys & culture, but now we’re considered more Modern West. We’re still respecting the city’s heritage and culture but we now have a mix of new luxury and dining options, too.”

The Shops at Clearfork

The Shops at Clearfork

Fleenor recently sat down with Travelweek to highlight these various luxury offerings during a recent visit to Toronto to attend the HSMAI (Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International) Marketing Strategy Conference. Noting how Canada is Fort Worth’s number two market, Fleenor is urging Canadians to discover all that’s new about the destination, from accommodations to dining and entertainment.

“A lot of new luxury properties have really changed the travel game for us,” says Fleenor. “The Crescent Hotel will be opening in the next two months, plus there’s the Bowie House, part of the Auberge Resorts Collection, which will be debuting in late 2023. Both properties will really change the landscape in terms of hotel offerings.”

To completement these new upscale accommodations, Fleenor also tells Travelweek that the city recently celebrated the opening of its first fine-dining vegan restaurant called ‘Maiden: Fine Plants & Spirits,’ as well as a crop of exciting new high-end eateries like Musume, an Asian sushi-and-sake restaurant, and Le Margot, serving French classics by celebrity chef Graham Elliot. Also not to be missed is Don Artemio, a new Mexican hotspot in the Cultural District that was recently named a James Beard Award finalist. 

“We have so much Tex-Mex cuisine, which everyone loves. But Don Artemio gives guests a step up in terms of Mexican cuisine, with high-end Mexican staples with a fun twist. Last time I was there, I ate crickets dipped in guacamole and it was so good!” says Fleenor. 

Fort Worth looking to round out cowboy culture with new crop of luxury offerings

Sundance Square

Rounding out the luxury offerings are high-end shopping at The Shops at Clearfork, a wide selection of spas like Milk + Honey and Woodhouse Day Spa, wellness activities like goat yoga, the new Dickies Arena where musical legends like Sir Paul McCartney and Pearl Jam have performed, as well as a new focus on film tourism.

“We’re getting a lot of interest from a lot of different production companies, moviemakers and directors, including Taylor Sheridan who does ‘Yellowstone. He’s brought four of the ‘Yellowstone’ spinoffs to Fort Worth, where he’s originally from, which shows how he’s investing back into his home city. We’re actually working on self-guided tours of film locations, with one currently available for the prequel, ‘1883,’ on our website. The ‘1883’ self-guided tour has been in our top 10 in terms of web traffic for the last year,” says Fleenor.

Once in Fort Worth, adds Fleenor, visitors will find that it’s easy to combine the city with nearby Dallas (45 minutes away), Austin (three hours away) and San Antonio (four and a half hours away). 

“Everything’s connected by train,” she says. “We’re seeing a lot of innovation in terms of how people are travelling to Texas and how they’re building out their trip itineraries. You’re definitely going to get a different Texas in each of these cities, from Dallas’ cosmopolitan scenery to San Antonio’s rich history.”


And what about Fort Worth? How would Fleenor sum it up?

“I would say Fort Worth is the unexpected city,” she says. “People have a set perception of what it’s about, nothing more than cowboy hats and the Old West. But when they get there, they’ll find that yes, we’re all of those things but we’re also so much more.”

Air Canada currently offers one daily flight to Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) from both Toronto (YYZ) and Montreal (YUL). 

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