The "D" in DFW—Dallas—tends to get top billing when people talk about how to spend a day in North Texas. But Fort Worth is where the cowboy-history action takes place.
Located about 30 miles southwest of Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, the city of Fort Worth is considered by many to be where the West begins. And the Stockyards National Historic District is the heart of that romantic notion.
You can access a Fort Worth Stockyards adventure in style. Two vintage locomotives, "Puffy" and "Vinny," will take you on a ride from the Dallas suburb of Grapevine to the stockyards. The heritage railroad runs along the former Cotton Belt Route and offers pretty views of the Fort Worth skyline.
Start your time in the stockyards by watching the famous twice-daily cattle drive, held at 11:30 AM and 4:30 PM. The herd of longhorns are quintessentially Texan. Nearby, sit on a saddled longhorn for the perfect photo op.
Walk around the historic district, taking in its one-of-a-kind Western vibe. Walking tours are available with a guide who will lead a leisurely stroll, sharing historical facts and stories.
Relive the glory days of the expanding West at the Stockyards Museum. Hold on to your hat and take a turn on a mechanical bull found next to the Cowtown Cattle Pen Maze. For cultural experiences, check out the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame or Texas Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame.
There's also no shortage of shopping. You can buy an authentic Western hat and cowboy boots, and find Texas-made souvenirs, at the boutiques along the streets of the stockyards.
When your dogs are tired, take in some Texas tunes at a venue such as Billy Bob's Texas. Afterward, rest easy knowing you've seen some of the best—and distinctively Western—attractions one can visit on two feet. Learn more at fortworthstockyards.org.
This piece appeared in the August 2017 issue of Alaska Beyond, the in-flight magazine for Alaska Airlines.