If yo’ve never heard of Fort Worth Stockyards then you can be forgiven since I hadn’t pre trip either! Around 45 minutes from downtown Dallas, it has been preserved relatively well (or at least ‘maintained’ for tourists sake) since the railroads arrival in 1876 when it was a hub for livestock, selling in excess of a million per year!
We went there because we wanted a real taste of the Wild West. Which when we arrived what felt like being on a set of Westworld. Everywhere we looked there were guys in full cowboy attire on horses, some great moustaches and even with lasso’s and then of course the famous Texan Longhorns.
The cattle drive is only shown twice a day at 11.30am and 4pm, so arrive in advance and find some parking in the area ranging between $5-9. After the drive you can then roam the many shops selling your usual tourist affair, cowboy attire galore; Maverick Western Wear is once I would reccomend for your more authentic goods and pretty homewares. We spent around 2 hours there which is enough time as it isn’t massive and we also wanted to head down to Waco for lunch.
WACO / MAGNOLIA MARKET
After a morning in Fort Worth we drove about 1 hour 30 minutes south to a little place called Waco; this is probably somewhere you definitely won’t have heard of! Up until a couple years ago this place was relatively unknown, so you might ask why did we go? Well because I was obsessed with the Magnolia homewares from Instagram and Pinterest (Southern charm meets Scandi living) so when I discovered that they had in fact renovated two huge silos in Waco into a bit of a tourist destination; which included their store full of fancies, a bakery with sugary goodness and food trucks in a cute market setting- we just had to go. Chip and Joanna Gaines are the brainchild behind this and became a TV sensation in the US thanks to their show Fixer Upper, renovating homes and then the Silos; I finally watched some episodes when we were in Texas too!
Whilst we were here for the afternoon and it turned into a beautiful sunny day, it would have been rude to not sample the food. We settled on some great hot dogs which turned out to be so yummy that we bought another two… we were on holiday after all! Post lunch lull we lounged around on some amazing stripe bean bag chairs and watched lots of families playing ball games on the lawn- they have craters full of all sorts of balls to keep the little ones entertained which I thought was great. I even got involved with some throwing and catching alongside the other families, followed by some swings (my inner child was happy).
Once we realised we were the only adults without children playing we decided to go be grown ups and get coffee, and some cake (we did try to resist!) from the Silos Baking Co. There was a rather large queue for the bakery but it moved quite quick and whilst queueing you were given a menu to select from so it helped pass the time deciding. The bakery is known for its unique cupcakes or muffins if you are British; all topped with a thick, swirly frosting so a treat to the eye. Sadly for me being lactose intolerant I couldn’t eat these, so settled on a cinnamon swirl which was so good!
Once you throw in obligatory visit to the large market which is full of the most amazing homewares; think Scandinavian minimalism, with a dash of home comfort to really create that ‘hygge’ feeling then you are sure to leave there inspired and with a full tummy- what more could you ask for from a perfect day?
Be sure to check out the amazing store at magnoliamarket.com
Next stop Houston!