Say the word ‘Dallas’ and images of oil tycoons, stretch limos and designer gowns spring to mind.... But neighbouring Fort Worth? Not so much. Don’t get me wrong, the city has more than its fair share of lavish living – but what it doesn’t have is its own iconic television show that showcases all of the glitz and glam of its oil-rich, opulent lifestyle.
But for those of us who – let’s be honest now – are less ‘Ewing’ and more economical, Fort Worth can be the perfect match. Because whether it’s enjoying the great outdoors or discovering some of the greatest art works of the 20th century, Fort Worth definitely offers more bang for the buck.
So, stand aside Sue Ellen. Here are just a few ways that you can to keep your cash safely in your pocket in Cowtown, while still having an absolutely golden time:
1. Free Money
Tour the Bureau of Engraving and Printing’s Western Currency Facility – one of only two U.S. Department of Treasury locations that print money – and it won’t cost you a single dime to see billions of dollars being printed.
During the 45-minute guided tour you’ll learn about each step of currency production, beginning with large blank sheets of paper and ending with wallet-ready bills. Fort Worth Convention & Visitors Bureau
2. Free Michelangelos
The collection at the Kimbell Art Museum contains holdings from the third millennium B.C. to the mid-20th century. Without reaching into your pocket you can gaze upon works by Bernini, Rembrandt, Goya, Monet, Cezanne, Picasso, Matisse and Michelangelo. So enrich your life with some gob-smacking beauty: it won’t cost you a penny.
Fort Worth Convention & Visitors Bureau
3. Free Meditation
Fort Worth Water Gardens provides a cooling oasis in the concrete jungle of the downtown district. The garden’s three pools – the meditation pool, the aerating pool and the active pool – fascinate visitors of all ages.
Trees encircle the quiet meditation pool and a flat, still plane of water cascades almost 90 degrees down to a sunken walkway. The aerating pool features multiple spray fountains, and at the active pool, water cascades 11 metres down terraces and steps into a small pool at the bottom.
4. Free Americana
The Amon Carter Museum offers a stunning survey of American art, from the first landscape painters of the 1830s to the game-changing modern artists of the 20th century.
This museum houses founder Amon G. Carter's collection of works by the two greatest artists of the American West: Frederic Remington and Charles M Russell.
And for those who want to dig deeper, the museum is also home to one of the country’s premiere libraries for advanced study of American art, photography and history - and it's all wonderfully free of charge.
5. Free Tripping The Light Fantastic
For a real step-back-in-time, go to the Stockyards Museum in Fort Worth’s Stockyards National Historic District. Forget about admission fees and grab the opportunity to explore Cowtown’s rich Western heritage.
The museum is home to the 1908 Palace Theater Light Bulb, which began burning on September 21, 1908, as a backstage light at the Old Byers Opera House. This granddaddy of electric light continues to burn today at the museum. There’s zero admission cost, and the museum is camera-friendly. Russell Stringfield/Flickr
6. Free Family Fun
The Fort Worth/Dallas Metroplex – Trinity Park, sits on the banks of the Trinity River, which weaves its way through the city’s Cultural District.
Multi-use paved paths serve joggers, walkers, skaters and cyclists, and there are five boat launches, a water-ski slalom course, a number of fishing spots and equestrian trails for horseback riding. There are also multiple picnic areas and playgrounds scattered throughout the park's shady trails, making it a great, free place for family get-togethers. Fort Worth Convention & Visitors Bureau
Fort Worth: Did You Know?
• 60 per cent of America’s paper money is printed at the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing Western Currency Facility in Fort Worth.
• One of Bonnie and Clyde’s hide outs from the law was the historic Stockyards Hotel in Fort Worth.
• The Texas Civil War Museum in Fort Worth houses the largest private Civil War collection west of the Mississippi River.
• Fort Worth is home to the oldest stock show and rodeo in the country – the Southwestern Exposition and Livestock Show.
• Fort Worth hosts the world’s only twice-daily cattle drive in the Stockyards National Historic District.
• In 1963, President John F. Kennedy delivered his last public speech in Fort Worth before leaving for Dallas.
• Fort Worth’s Texas Motor Speedway is one of the largest racing facilities in the U.S., with seating for nearly 155,000 spectators.
• The Modern Art Museum in Fort Worth is the oldest museum in Texas and is the second-largest museum gallery space for modern art in America, next to MoMA New York.