A view of the Japanese Garden at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden. 

A view of the Japanese Garden at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden. 

File/David Woo

Cowtown has its charms (think spurs and buckles), but some folks can't get past the overwhelmingly Western heritage of Fort Worth. Cowboy culture is all over, yes, but most Fort Worthians are far more cultured than they're given credit.

Think about it this way: Any town with a handful of billionaire residents is going to have more than just cow-chip tossing contests on weekends.

You might even rub elbows with a Walton or a Bass at some point if you're willing to give Fort Worth another try. Find some non-cowboy fun at any one of these fine establishments.


Soak in all the mod art you can while sipping down a specialty cocktail on the first Friday of every month at The Modern. The large, open-air lobby converts into a concert hall with a swinging good band, a bar, dancing and a themed art tour that alternates every month. 3200 Darnell St., Fort Worth. 817-738-9125. www.themodern.org

If a uniquely Texas bar scene is what you seek outside the Stockyards, American Food and Beverage is a fine choice. The cocktail list offers lots of updates on old favorites and soon-to-be favorites, like the Sweet Water cocktail, made with Texas sweet tea vodka, mint, fresh lemon juice, cane sugar and a splash of club soda ($8). Plenty of local beers are featured and occasionally a Texas wine, too. 2869 Crockett St. Fort Worth. 817-916-5300. americanfoodandbeverage.com/fortworth

Cafe Modern inside the Modern Art Museum in Fort Worth. 

Cafe Modern inside the Modern Art Museum in Fort Worth. 

Ben Torres/Special Contributor


The Lebanese family that owns Chadra Mezza & Grill calls it "southern hospitality" with "Mediterranean flavor." Some have called it a Mediterranean miracle. I call it the (occasionally needed) most delicious departure from Tex-Mex. If you're unsure, try the lunch buffet ($10), which lets you sample a little bit of everything Chadra has to offer: zesty salads, pastas, breads, meats, and the area's most scrumptious hummus. 1622 Park Place Ave. Fort Worth. 817-926-3992. chadramezza.com 

Ellerbe Fine Foods doesn't need to put on airs, but it does possess a light-and-airy sophistication that's easy for anyone to enjoy. Step inside you'll see why. The quality is in the details. Every ingredient is carefully chosen. Every presentation delightful. Every vegetarian I've known finds it an upscale favorite because - unlike most fine dining establishments - steak and seafood entrees aren't the only way to claim culinary greatness. 1501 W. Magnolia Ave. Fort Worth. 817-926-3663. ellerbefinefoods.com


All that glitters is sold at Haltom's, a jeweler that's been in Fort Worth for over 100 years. Visiting the downtown store on 3rd and Main is nostalgic for so many old Fort Worth families, who insist on returning to that location despite other locations having opened closer to home. Plenty of well-known designers are sold in the store - like Rolex and Henri Daussi - but you can pick up fashion jewelry pieces, too. Luxury shopping can come at a lower price, especially if you visit on a sale weekend. Various locations.  817-336-4051. haltoms.com

You have to visit the Japanese Garden to understand its calm enchantment. Wandering down the narrow paths and tranquil waterscapes make visiting worth every penny of the $5 adult admission fee. Write it off as nature therapy. You're guaranteed to see a handful of Fort Worthians traipsing this Kyoto-style garden on any nice day, maybe contemplating deep philosophical questions or just questioning why we don't spend more time enjoying the beauty of nature instead of our social media profiles. 3220 Botanic Garden Blvd. Fort Worth. 817-392-5510. fwbg.org/gardens/japanese/

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