Vacations this year are less of a "fly across the ocean" type and more "hop in the car" style, but even quick weekend getaways can still be just as enjoyable. Only about a three-hour drive from Austin is Fort Worth, making Cowtown an ideal destination for 48 hours away.
Where to eat
Since this is still Texas, food is No. 1 on the itinerary. You'll want to hit all the Fort Worth faves, starting with FunkyTown Donuts and its rotating menu of traditional and, well, funky flavors (think sweet potato, maple bacon, and even brisket). Buon Giorno and Vaquero can each take care of your caffeine fix with fresh coffee.
Lunch is a terrific time to explore other flavors, whether that's Turkish dishes at Istanbul Grill, seafood at Waters Texas, or upscale home cooking at Little Red Wasp. But if you're set on Tex-Mex or barbecue, Salsa Limon and Bailey's BBQ can more than fulfill those cravings.
If you'd rather save your tacos for evening, pair them with a margarita on the patio at Joe T. Garcia's. It's truly not a trip to Fort Worth until you've done that, but some would argue the same for a meal at Reata Restaurant, Tim Love's Woodshed Smokehouse, or Riscky's BBQ.
Where to be outdoorsy
Fort Worth is home to one of the prettiest and largest trail networks in Texas. Bike, jog, walk, or even roller skate your way through the Trinity Trails, which spans 100 miles of trails connected to 21 parks, downtown Fort Worth, the Stockyards National Historic District, and beyond.
You can also rent a canoe or kayak to explore via the Trinity River, or stay on dry land at the Fort Worth Nature Center and Refuge and watch for deer, bison, armadillo, and prairie dogs in the 3,600-acre center, one of the largest of its kind in the United States.
Drop in at the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens, the oldest botanic garden in Texas, where 109 acres and 23 specialty gardens are home to more than 2,500 species of native and exotic plants. Or visit the No. 1 zoo in the nation, the Fort Worth Zoo, and say hi to 542 different species, 68 of which are endangered or threatened in the wild.
Where to find culture
Culture knows no bounds in Cowtown, and you can find lots of it at Fort Worth's impressive museums, which are open with COVID precautions and advance reservations.
Snap mind-bendingly beautiful pictures at the Fort Worth Water Gardens, located next to the convention center in downtown. Three distinct pools — aerating, quiet, and active — burble across four acres.
Spend time exploring the Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District, where the twice-daily cattle drive down Exchange Avenue still happens at 11:30 am and 4 pm. Mule Alley is open and features exciting new shopping, dining, and nightlife.
Fort Worth is also home to an array of artistic murals, some capturing the city's Western heritage while others examine current events, and few which are just pretty, modern, abstract creations. Find a full map and collection of the murals here.
A different way to take in the city's murals is by bike — Murals, Miles & Melt is a socially distanced bicycle ride happening October 17 and the third Saturday of each month moving forward. The 15-mile ride will roll by murals in the Near Southside, Cultural District, Trinity Trails, Fairmount, Downtown, and Foundry District while supporting two locally owned businesses along the way with snack stops at Meyer & Sage and Melt Ice Creams. Get your tickets (which include bike rental) here.
For more information about the city and to start planning your trip, check out Visit Fort Worth.