Fort Worth Summer Bucket List
We’ve just about made it through the weirdest summer ever. Just because it’s hot as heck doesn’t mean we we still can’t enjoy ourselves. Our family has been doing our best to keep busy despite the heat and social distancing. I came up with a bucket list of 20 activities to inspire you and/or your families to get out there and enjoy the remaining days of summer in Fort Worth. Activities were selected with social distancing and safety in mind due to Covid-19.
1. ENJOY THE TRINITY TRAILS
If you’ve already walked or biked the trails, try paddling or stand up paddle boarding. Just because it’s summer in Fort Worth doesn’t mean you can’t find a refreshing respite. It always feels a few degrees cooler even in the summer on the water and you get a gentle breeze as well. You can rent kayaks or stand up paddleboards from Backwood Sports. Check their social media page for updates. Bring plenty of water in a leak-proof bottle* and a dry box for your phone.
2. COYOTE DRIVE-IN
The Coyote Drive-In provided one of the most pleasant social distant experiences. They are showing previously released movies and it’s fun to revisit old favorites or see a movie we missed the first time around. Masks are required outside of your personal vehicle and the space surrounding your car. We stayed inside our cars and ran the air conditioning because summer. The concession stand is open.
3. Find a frozen treat
Summer in Fort Worth means finding some yummy frozen treats. Ice cream is a simple summer delight that’s refreshing and a momentary escape from the hot weather. You can pick up pints or enjoy scoops at Melt Ice Creams. Sno-cones and the accompanying bright colors that stain your tongue are also part of the summer ritual. Check out newcomer Funky Monkey Shaved Ice or go visit Sol y Luna Sno Ball or Freeze Factory or Pelican’s Sno balls. Grab a popsicle or frozen treat from Alma’s Paleteria. If you’re ready to venture outside of the box go try a Mangonada at Kokitos or Michoacan Creamery.
4. Find a patio
Indoor dining is limited these days but outdoor dining following socially distant protocols has been deemed somewhat safer. Ordering curbside or delivery is always the safest option and you can find guides for those here. Even though its summer in Fort Worth there’s some outdoor spots to stay cool. Just a few to check out are the patio at Piola Restaurant and Garden for apps and dinner, the rooftop at Tinies, Press Cafe’s expansive outdoor seating, Bearded Lady and Salsa Limon River District. For breakfast or coffee try 5 AM Drip, Tacoheads or Righteous Foods.
5. Visit a Farmer’s market or fruit stand
Check out my posts on the Cowtown Farmer’s Market and the Clearfork Farmers Market. Both are currently open on Saturday’s and it’s important right now to support our local farmers and makers. Summer produce brings an abundance of fresh flavors! Remember to to bring your own bag!
6. Order Cocktails to-go
For now bars are closed but some restaurants are offering cocktails to-go. If you order some cocktails and find a music livestream and a nice breeze on your patio that’s a pretty nice summer evening. Check out my curbside margarita options to get you started. I’ve recently gotten into learning more about cocktails and gathering the gear needed to shake some tasty concoctions up. If you are looking for bar essentials, a set like this will get you started. Look for vintage bar glasses at estate sales or the antique mall as a fun thing to collect. I have some vintage highballs that make everything look better.
7. Be a Fort Worth tourist
Sometimes there are parts of town that we take for granted and remain undiscovered or have changed. Take the Stockyards for example, it’s entering a new era with Mule Alley and the addition of luxury Western retailers like Lucchese and Tecovas. Also, check out Provender Hall, the latest restaurant by chef Marcus Paslay of Clay Pigeon and Piatello, which recently opened up serving hearty Western and Southern inspired fare. If you’re looking for something more low key check out Hooker’s Grill for a burger, beer or milkshake. Or on the funkier side, look at my guide for the Foundry District and explore this quirky area. Or wander around Dowtown, start at the Courthouse look for the sleeping panther and work your way to the Water Gardens.
8. Go on a self-guided Taco Tour
Explore and discover some of the best tacos in Fort Worth on a self-guided taco tour. Who doesn’t want to spend a few hours eating tacos and drinking margaritas with a choose your own adventure vibe?! Eat This Fort Worth’s signature tour has been packaged up to let you have the experience on your time. Order your Taco Tote which comes with an Eat This Fort Worth tote bag, taco itinerary and map, detour suggestions and locally made food products. It’s a fun way to spend an afternoon and be a food tourist in your own town!
9. Take a hike
The Fort Worth Nature Center recently re-opened and all you have to do is reserve a spot for a great hike. There’s a mix of forest, prairies and wetlands so do some research and pick out the type of terrain you’d like to see on your hike. Also don’t be surprised if you see some wildlife like buffalo, snakes and cranes. Samson Park also offers free hiking trails to check out. For a more urban hike with a big payoff go to Airfield Falls. You can drive to the Trailhead which you’ll know by the large parts of a McDonnell Douglas C-9 aircraft displayed at the entrance of the park. Get on the trail and go for a short hike where you see a creek, native plantings and then you’ll find yourself in the area’s largest natural waterfall which is a great discovery for summer in Fort Worth. Kids (and grown-ups) can splash around in the waterfalls (200 Pumphrey Dr, Westworth Village, TX 76114). Don’t forget your 10 essentials when hiking. Primary for the Texas heat is managing hydration, I always pack an insulated water bottle to keep my water cold and sunscreen that will not sweat off.
10. Support a local brewery
Our local breweries need us now more than ever. They are struggling to shift business models and they need our support to survive. So if you are able to pick up some cans, crowlers or growlers at your favorite brewery please consider supporting them. Several breweries like Funky Picnic Brewery and Cafe, Wild Acre Brewing (Camp Bowie location) and Cowtown Brewing serve delicious food that you can order for curbside. Other local breweries include Martin House Brewing Company, Hop Fusion, Rahr & Sons Brewing and Panther Island Brewing.
11. Show Fort Worth Pride on your next zoom call
If you are still zooming and want to be styling and rep the Fort you have to get some swag from Morgan Mercantile (t-shirt below) or Fort Worth Locals. Or sport some Fort Worth merch on your next mural photo shoot.
12. Have a retro picnic day at Burger’s Lake
Going to Burger’s Lake is a little like going back in time. Maybe because not much has changed since I used to go there as a kid as part of our summer traditions. Bring a cooler with your favorite picnic lunch and spend the day there. Also, have you even lived in Fort Worth if you haven’t mustered up the courage to swing off the trapeze or jump off the diving platform?! Masks are required and there’s plenty of space to social distance throughout the 30 acre park but it’s best to get there early for the best spots.
13. Support a black owned business
Food is political, there’s no way around it. It’s important to be intentional about where we spend our dollars these days. The power of the Black Lives Matter and other social justice movements crosses over into many aspects of our lives including deciding where to dine, get your haircut or get your cake made. I will be putting together a resource for black-owned businesses soon but in the meantime, Fort Worth Magazine has this list. Just a few to mention are Smoke-a-Holics BBQ, Doughboy Donuts, Fort Worth Barber Shop, Loft 22 Cakes and Danette’s Urban Oasis.
14. Get on the plant bandwagon
I don’t know about you but I’ve become a plant person during this whole lockdown and so have many of my friends. There’s several local nurseries that you can get your plants from. My absolute favorite is Guadardo’s Garden Center. Walking through their space is literally a breath of fresh air and you can check out their large selection of succulents, cactus and fruit trees and some of the most beautiful pottery in town (check out their talavera selection). Archie’s Gardenland is a near-iconic spot for all your gardening needs. Archie’s has been operating since the mid-30’s and is still family run, this place is as local as it gets and it has a loyal following. Westland Gardens is a new entry and is located in west Fort Worth. Grow Plant Shop also has a highly curated selection of house plants in a highly instagrammable airstream.
15. Disc Golf
A great way to enjoy the outdoors this summer in Fort Worth is disc (frisbee) golf. Starter packs of disks can be bought for around $20. Z Boaz is a nice course in Fort Worth with a variety of terrain and levels. As always bring hydration and bug spray and going early or later in the day is recommended.
16. Eat craft BBQ
One of the more resilient food businesses has proven to be our unstoppable craft BBQ in Fort Worth. The name of the game with the Fort Worth BBQ scene is the earlier the better, especially on the weekends. Show up early to make sure you are able to get what you want. Panther City BBQ, Derek Allan’s BBQ, Heim BBQ, Smoke-a-holics, Brix and Dayne’s Craft BBQ are the most well known spots in Fort Worth. You cannot go wrong with any of these places, just check their social media for hours. I’ve tried the BBQ at all of these spots and they are all different in their own right but all produce a stellarly delicious product.
17. Birria tacos
Have you hopped on the Birria taco train yet?! This taco craze has hit Fort Worth big time with long waits and sell-outs. Don’t let that put you off from these unique tacos. Birria tacos consist of a crispy corn tortilla shell that encloses beef and stretchy, melty cheese and then you get a cup of broth called consomé on the side for dunking. Birrieria y Taqueria Cortez and Caliscience are popular food trucks and its best to get there early to avoid long wait times. Paco’s Mexican Cuisine, Mariachi’s Dine-In and Tres Betos Taqueria are restaurants also offering these popular tacos.
18. Mural hunt
Grab a phone or a camera and some water and go on a mural hunt. The Foundry is a good place to start and you can read my guide on that area here. Nearby you can find one of the latest murals at 2900 W. Lancaster by West 7th local artist Mariel Guzman. Stroll along Magnolia Avenue and you’ll spot several iconic murals. Mid-morning and late afternoon will give you the best lighting and temperature conditions.
19. Rent an e-bike
It’s hot enough as it is in August. Why not give yourself a little boost, literally. Rent an ebike and explore. If you haven’t ridden an e-bike before it’s just like riding a bike but with an extra kick. They are fun and there are stations all around Fort Worth thanks to Fort Worth Bike Sharing so you can try them out. Check out their interactive map to find stations that have e-bikes.
20. Go to a Museum or the Zoo.
Fort Worth’s museums have recently re-opened. Masks and social distancing are required but it’s still worth it to take time to escape your quarantine routine and visit a museum. Roam around the Cultural District and choose between the Modern Art Museum, Kimbell Art Museum, Amon Carter Museum of American Art or the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History. On the other end of the spectrum, spend a day outdoors and wander around our beautiful Fort Worth Zoo.
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