Sundance Square is a shopping and entertainment district in the heart of Fort Worth. It is bounded (more or less) by 2nd, 5th, Throckmorton, and Calhoun streets. Handy landmarks for downtown orientation are the Tarrant Co. Courthouse at the north end of Main St. and the Convention Center and Water Gardens on the south. Follow signs to downtown from either I-35 West or I-30.
The area code is 817 and the zip code 76102 for sites listed unless otherwise stated. All sites are wheelchair accessible unless otherwise stated.
Pick up a handy, free aerial map at the Visitors Information Center (see below), or write to Sundance Square, 512 Main St., Ste. 1500, Fort Worth 76102; 339-7777; www.sundancesquare.com.
The helpful folks at the CVB Visitors Information Center provide maps, brochures, and other information on the city's many attractions, accommodations, restaurants, and events. Stop by the center, corner of 4th and Throckmorton, Mon-Fri 8:30-5, Sat 10-4. Or write to 415 Throckmorton, Fort Worth 76102-7410; 336-8791 or 800/433-5747; www.fortworth.com.
The elegant Sid Richardson Collection of Western Art, 309 Main St., also provides information, maps, trolley tickets, and the like. Hours: Tue-Wed 10-5, Thu-Fri 10-8, Sat 11-8, Sun 1-5. Admission: Free. Call 888/332-6554; www.sidrmuseum.org.
The Fort Worth Transportation Authority (known as the T) operates the Longhorn Trolley, which runs on an every-20-minutes schedule between downtown, the Stockyards (2.5 miles north of downtown), and the Cultural District (2.5 miles west). It makes several stops downtown; a good place to board is in front of the Sid Richardson Collection of Western Art. Cost: $2 one way.
Beginning in late Oct., the Trinity Railway Express will link the downtowns of Fort Worth and Dallas. The interurban will operate between Dallas' 1916 Union Station and Fort Worth's new Intermodal Transportation Center, at 9th & Jones. T Web site: www.the-t.com.
Classic Carriages operates moonlight tours on a first-come-first-served basis Fri-Sat nights from the Renaissance Worthington Hotel. Hours: 7:30 p.m.-10:30 p.m. Cost: $25 for a 15-minute ride for 4 people, $5 for each additional person (4-6 adults fit in a carriage). Longer and custom tours also offered; you can even rent an enclosed French Royal Coach. Call 336-0400.
Clara Ruddell operates Cowtown Walking Tours. Downtown tours, complete with historical photos, begin at the courthouse and end near the Water Gardens. Cost: $6, $4 age 65 and older. Reservations required. Call 214/693-5915.
Parking is plentiful (surface lots and garages) and free on weekends and daily after 5 p.m. Sundance Square offers free parking on weekdays through a "Park, Shop, and Dine" program; participating businesses display a window sticker.
Ten-room Etta's Place is the only B&B downtown. Rates, including full gourmet breakfast: $125-$165. One room is wheelchair accessible. Parking nearby (validation of garage receipts provided). Write to 200 W. 3rd St.; 654-0267.
Downtown hotels include: Ashton Hotel, 610 Main St., a new 39-room luxury boutique hotel in the 1915 Ft. Worth Club building; 332-0100. Courtyard by Marriott, 601 Main St., in the revamped Blackstone Hotel, one of Fort Worth's great hotels in the 1920s boom; 885-8700. Clarion Hotel, 600 Commerce, 332-6900 or 800/CLARION. Radisson Plaza, 815 Main St., the refurbished Hotel Texas, where President John F. Kennedy gave his last speech before his fateful trip to Dallas; 870-1200 or 800/333-3333. Ramada Plaza, 1701 Commerce St., in the old Plaza Hotel; 335-7000 or 800/272-6232. Renaissance Worthington, 200 Main St., the luxury hotel built by the Basses to begin downtown's renewal, and the site of Grady Spears' newest venture, The Chisholm Club; 870-1000 or 800/HOTELS-1.
Sundance Square has more than a dozen restaurants. Those mentioned in the story are Angeluna (upscale global cuisine; 215 E. 4th, 334-0080), Chop House (steaks, chops, sea-food; 301 Main, 336-4129), Coffee Haus (coffee, pastries, sandwiches; 404 Houston, 336-5282), and The Flying Saucer Draught Emporium (200 foreign and domestic beers, sandwiches; 111 E. 4th, 336-7470).
Look for the following books in your local library or bookstore: Fort Worth: Outpost on the Trinity by Oliver Knight (Texas Christian Univ. Press, 1990), Hell's Half Acre: Life and Legend in a Red-Light District by Richard F. Selcer (TCU Press, 1991), Cowtown Moderne by Judith Singer Cohen (Texas A&M Univ. Press, 1988), and Fort Worth, A Frontier Triumph by Julia Kathryn Garrett (Encino Press, 1972 and TCU Press, 1996). Let the Angels Play, the inspiring and beautifully illustrated story of how Bass Performance Hall came to be, is available for $9.95 in the theater's Great Hall Shop, which opens one hour before curtain time and remains open until the performance ends.
From the August 2001 issue.