Stockyards Cowtown Walking Tour, Fort Worth

Stockyards Cowtown Walking Tour (Self Guided), Fort Worth

Once a major livestock center and a home to cowboys, cattlemen and outlaws, Fort Worth, TX has fully lived up to its nickname – “Cowtown.” From the late 1870s through the mid 1980s, the Fort Worth Stockyards made the city famous, drawing cattle from all over the state. Today mainly inactive, the Stockyards – "the last standing stockyards in the United States" – celebrates Fort Worth's long tradition as a part of the cattle industry, and is the place where legacy of the Old West proudly lives on and is fun to explore.

Recently remodeled, the Stockyards National Historic District, billed as "Where the West Begins”, is one of the most popular attractions in Texas, consisting mostly of entertainment and shopping venues.

You can start your journey in Stockyards Station – currently all retail and restaurants, where hog and sheep pens once took place. Historic landmarks within the district also include the Livestock Exchange Building, built in 1903, as well as the Cowtown Coliseum, built in 1908, where the first indoor rodeo was held, and still is on every weekend.

Among the many bars and nightclubs with a Western motif there is Billy Bob's Texas – the world’s largest honky-tonk, and the White Elephant Saloon – a marquee establishment where you can “belly up” to the bar, relax and have a cold beer, just like they did in the days of the big cattle drives. Speaking of the cattle drives, the weathered brick Exchange Avenue, lined with historic buildings, is where you can still see Texas Longhorns herded twice a day.

If you only have a single day in Fort Worth, head on over to the Stockyards and get a taste of the true American West with the help of our self-guided walking tour!
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Stockyards Cowtown Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Stockyards Cowtown Walking Tour
Guide Location: USA » Fort Worth (See other walking tours in Fort Worth)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 9
Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 0.8 Km or 0.5 Miles
Author: ChristineR
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Stockyards Station
  • Cowtown Cattlepen Maze
  • Grapevine Vintage Railroad
  • Exchange Avenue - Herd Cattle Drive
  • Livestock Exchange Building - Stockyard Museum
  • Cowtown Coliseum
  • White Elephant Saloon
  • Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame
  • Billy Bob's Texas
Stockyards Station

1) Stockyards Station

Stockyards Station is a shopping area located in the historic Stockyards district in Fort Worth. Visitors will find more than 20 unique shops, a wide number of restaurants and plenty of things to see and do. Stockyards Station is a great place to plan a full day walking tour as visitors take their time moseying through the Old West themed streets.

Stockyards Station is home to numerous shops that have nearly everything one could want as a souvenir from the Old West. Shops sell items like beef jerky, turquoise jewelry, cowboy hats, boots and more.

While in the Stockyards district, visitors can watch an Old West gunfight show, take part in the herd experience, watch daily cattle drive, listen to music, take in a comedy show or attend the rodeo. Afterward, they can sample jerky, steak, Texas chili or any number of dishes that one can only find in the American West.

Stockyards Station is open from 10 AM to 6 PM on Monday through Saturday and noon to 6 PM on Sunday.
Cowtown Cattlepen Maze

2) Cowtown Cattlepen Maze

The Cattlepen Maze is a unique form of entertainment for visitors, especially family with kids. It is a 5,400 square-foot wooden pathways resembling the cattle pens of the old west. The maze is comprised of wooden pathways that twist and turn in a multitude of directions. Maze runners compete against the clock attempting to locate four check points throughout the maze.

A second-story observation deck is available for those who wish to watch others get through the maze. Many people prep for their trip through the maze by trying to find the best way to make it through to the end.

The maze is open daily from 10 AM to 6 PM. Cost is $6 per person. Tickets are half-price on Tuesdays. It is conveniently located next to all of the major attractions in the Stockyards district.
Grapevine Vintage Railroad

3) Grapevine Vintage Railroad

The Grapevine Vintage Railroad is a special event railroad that runs from the Fort Worth Stockyards to Grapevine, Texas. The authentic, 1920s coach has standard train rides and special events throughout the year.

The Trinity River Train Excursion is the route from the Fort Worth Stockyards. This ride takes passengers on a 45-minute route that crosses the Trinity River, rides through Trinity Park and stops at a historic rail yard.

The young and young at heart enjoy the Great Train Heist, which shows outlaws hopping on board and detectives trying to solve the mystery surrounding who carried out the robbery.

The Trinity River Train Excursion takes place on Saturdays and Sundays at 2:45 PM. It returns to the station about one hour later.
Exchange Avenue - Herd Cattle Drive

4) Exchange Avenue - Herd Cattle Drive

Exchange Avenue is the location of what is arguably the best-known tourist spot in Fort Worth. This is the location of the daily cattle drive. Children and adults both look forward to watching the herd make the trek along East Exchange Avenue in Fort Worth's Stockyards National Historic District.

The herd cattle drive takes place daily at 11:30 AM and 4 PM. It is wise to arrive early for either showing in order to get the best view of the longhorns. The cattle drive can be seen from sidewalks on Exchange Avenue or from one of the many restaurants that line the street. Visitors are welcome to use the lawn in front of the Livestock Exchange Building to get an excellent view of the moving cattle.

Drives are not held on Easter, Thanksgiving or Christmas. They may be canceled due to bad weather or if the cattle are feeling particularly temperamental.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Livestock Exchange Building - Stockyard Museum

5) Livestock Exchange Building - Stockyard Museum

Those who wish to watch cattle drive will no doubt find themselves at the Livestock Exchange Building. However, they may not realize that the exchange building is an interesting and unique tourist spot in its own right.

The building was erected in 1902 as an office for cattle traders. It is now the home of the North Fort Worth Historical Society museum, also known as the Stockyard Museum. This museum holds information about the Stockyards and exhibits of special interest, like the "bad luck wedding dress," spurs that belonged to John Wayne and the Guinness World Record-holding light bulb that has burned for more than 100 years.

The Livestock Exchange Building and the Stockyard Museum are open every day except Tuesday. The hours are 10 AM to 5 PM on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. It is open from noon to 5 PM on Sunday.
Cowtown Coliseum

6) Cowtown Coliseum

The Cowtown Coliseum is a multi-purpose arena. The Coliseum hosts weekly rodeos. It hosts local sporting events and concerts and began hosting the Fort Worth Sixers of the National Indoor Football League starting in 2007.

The venue was built in 1908 and was refurbished in 1986. Elvis Presley once performed there. Part of the historic Fort Worth Stockyards, the structure is the first ever indoor arena for rodeos in the United States. The PBR held their first Bud Light Cup Series bull riding event at the Coliseum to begin its inaugural season (1994), and later returned to Cowtown for the first time since that year to host an Unleash the Beast Series event in February 2021.

The Coliseum also houses the Bull Riding Hall of Fame.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
White Elephant Saloon

7) White Elephant Saloon

The White Elephant Saloon has a long history in Fort Worth. It was originally located in Hell's Half Acre, the city's notorious red-light district in the late 19th century. It moved to the Stockyard's in the 1970s and has become one of Fort Worth's most prominent saloons.

The saloon features nightly live music, dancing, shuffleboard and billiards. It also has a full bar and a chili parlor. The chili parlor is open for lunch from noon to 2 PM and for dinner from 6 PM to 8 PM. Texas-style chili is served with fresh, homemade cornbread.

Those hungry for something other than chili can enjoy catering from Love Shack. Owned by Chef Tim Love, the Love Shack offers a variety of burgers, hot dogs and sides like chili parmesan chips and chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwiches.

The White Elephant Saloon is open from noon until 10 PM or later on weekdays and noon until 1 AM on Fridays and Saturdays.
Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame

8) Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame

The Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame is a museum that focuses on rodeo and the western lifestyle. In particular, the Hall of Fame displays rodeo stars and noted supporters of the rodeo. Western entertainers are also featured in the museum.

The Hall of Fame offers a display booth for each of the 125 honorees who have have been inducted. Some of the inductees include Lyle Lovett, Taylor Sheridan, Bob Wills, Lari Dee Guy, Adriano Moraes, Nolan Ryan, Tommy Lee Jones, Willie Nelson, Charmayne James, Lane Frost and many others.

The museum also houses the Sterquell Wagon Collection, a Chisholm Trail Exhibit, the Zigrang Horse Bit Collection, the John Justin Trail of Fame, the Applewhite-Clark Exhibit, Adventures of the Cowboy Trail, Amon G. Carter's 1933 Cadillac and the family favorite Jersey Lilly Old-Tyme Photo Parlour.

Estabilshed in 1997, the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame moved to the Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District in 2001. It is held in one of the horse barns that belonged to the Fort Worth Stockyards. The barn was constructed in 1912 after a fire destroyed the previous barn that had been erected in 1888.

Tourists may visit the museum Monday through Thursday from 10 AM to 5 PM, Friday and Saturday from 10 AM to 7 PM or Sunday from 11 AM to 5 PM.
Billy Bob's Texas

9) Billy Bob's Texas

Billy Bob's Texas is said to be the world's largest honky tonk. The 100,000 square-foot space is indeed a massive night club that mostly features country music. However, it occasionally hosts pop, indie and rap acts. Other events held at Billy Bob's Texas include dinner theatre, MMA and bull riding contests.

Billy Bob's Texas was founded by Billy Bob Barnett and Spencer Taylor. They purchased a former department store and cattle barn, which they renovated into a large concert venue and dance hall. It opened in 1981 with a capacity for 6,000 guests.

The honky tonk has a dance hall and a seating area near the main stage. It also has a bar, restaurant, pool hall, arcade and gift shop. Visitors can see handprints from their favorite music legends. Among the dozens of handprints include Willie Nelson, Ringo Starr, BB King and Johnny Cash.

Billy Bob's Texas opens at 11 AM Monday through Saturday and at noon on Sunday. It closes at 6 PM Sunday through Tuesday but remains open through early morning hours the rest of the week.

Walking Tours in Fort Worth, Texas

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