18 Totally Free Things to Do in Fort Worth

Get your fill of Fort Worth without breaking the bank at museums, concerts, and more.

Fort Worth Stockyards
Fort Worth Stockyards | Ceri Breeze/Shutterstock
Fort Worth Stockyards | Ceri Breeze/Shutterstock

The 12th largest city in the country, Dallas’ lil’ sibling Fort Worth is loaded with all the trappings of a major metroplex and offers plenty to do, whether you’re a local or just passing through. If you want to hit the town without spending money, however, that can also be arranged. Because peppered between all the bars, restaurants, and cash-mandated activities, you’ll find wallet-friendly museums, outdoor adventures, live music, and other ways to occupy your time without draining your bank account. These are 18 fun, fulfilling, and completely free things to do right now in Fort Worth.

Sundance Square
Sundance Square

The popular downtown open-air venue hosts live musical acts each Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evening. Sit and stay awhile, or let it be your soundtrack as you flit between the bars lining the communal green space.
 

Trinity Trails
Trinity Trails | Megan McHatten/Shutterstock

The Trinity River and its tributaries are flanked by 100 miles of mixed-use trails, so you can walk, jog, or cycle to your heart’s content while enjoying the pastoral landscape. You can even ride a horse on several of those trails, just in case you happen to bring a horse.

TRWD - Tarrant Regional Water District
TRWD - Tarrant Regional Water District

That same river is prime real estate for paddle boards and kayaks, outfitted with multiple launch points along the way. There are a handful of places to rent a vessel, or bring your own for a carefree day on the mellow waters.

Fort Worth Herd
Fort Worth Herd

The Herd, Fort Worth’s self-proclaimed “world’s only twice-daily cattle drive,” goes down each day at 11:30 am and 4:30 pm. Relive the Old West as you wave at ranch hands and Texas longhorns meandering through the Stockyards National Historic District.

Water Gardens
Water Gardens | Megan McHatten/Shutterstock

Built in 1974, this urban oasis sports multiple pools and cascading water features, plus tiered steps that let you walk above the water without getting wet. Fun fact: The gardens also made a cameo in the sci-fi blockbuster Logan’s Run.

Amon Carter Museum of American Art
Amon Carter Museum of American Art

Kill a few hours without spending a dime at the always-free Amon Carter Museum of American Art, which features homegrown artists from the 18th century to now. That includes Mr. Carter’s personal collection of paintings and sculptures by icons Frederic Remington and Charles M. Russell.

Sid Richardson Museum
Sid Richardson Museum

Here you’ll find more by Remington and Russell, plus other creatives who masterfully captured the American West, with paintings depicting trail drives, cowboys, and other romantic remnants from Texas' storied past.

Kimbell Art Museum
Kimbell Art Museum

Special exhibitions cost money, but the Kimbell’s permanent collection is free to view. Displays range from pre-Christian-era Egyptian artifacts and Italian Renaissance paintings to mid-20th-century sculpture, so getting bored is highly unlikely.

The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth
The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth

If cutting-edge expression is more your cup of (free) tea, head to the Modern on Fridays, when admission is on the house and the stately doors stay open until 8 pm.

River Legacy Park
River Legacy Park | Everett Szurek/Shutterstock

Perched along the banks of the Trinity River, River Legacy Park is home to hundreds of unique wildlife species—and, supposedly, ghosts. Hike into the park and look for the Screaming Bridge, where locals have reported seeing and hearing all manner of unnatural phenomena, then head to Hell’s Gate, which may or may not be haunted by Civil War soldiers with a Confederacy-sized chip on their ghastly shoulders.

Heritage Trail
Heritage Trail | Pablo/Flickr

If the ghosts were any indication, Fort Worth is full of fascinating lore. Get your fill by meandering along downtown’s Heritage Trail, which is marked with bronze plaques detailing historic events from Old West gunfights to the establishment of the city’s first electric trolley line.

Billy Bob's Texas
Billy Bob's Texas

Slip on your boots, don your best 10 gallon hat, and head to the world’s largest honky tonk for free line dance lessons every Wednesday at 7 pm and Saturday at noon. A cold beer might cost a few bucks extra, but after a time or two around the dance floor, it’ll be well worth the added expense.

Artspace111
Artspace111

Artspace111 converted a landmark 1911 building into a gallery devoted to showcasing the work of Fort Worth’s most inspiring makers. Stop in to see rotating exhibitions, or check out the gallery nights to hobnob with the artists themselves.

Near Southside, Fort Worth
Near Southside, Fort Worth

Kick off your weekend at Friday on the Green, a once-monthly concert series hosting free outdoor shows from May through October. Bring a blanket and snacks, stake out a patch of lawn, and get down while a handful of area bands proudly take the stage.

Pack your swimsuit, because after you work up a good sweat mastering the mountain bike trails that criss-cross this scenic park, you’re more than welcome to cool off in the cascading waterfall stationed near Lake Worth.

William Campbell Gallery
William Campbell Gallery

There’s more to modern art than Jackson Pollock and soup cans. The William Campbell Contemporary Art gallery has been championing modern artists since 1974, stocking a diverse assortment of media including paintings, photography, prints, ceramics, and sculpture.

Stashed a short drive north of Fort Worth, this 20,000-square-foot skate park features bowls and rails to test your mettle—or to watch other people test theirs from the comfort of your park bench.

Visit Fort Worth
Visit Fort Worth

This vintage-style bus is a convenient way to get around downtown. It’s free to ride, runs daily until 10 pm, and stops at plenty of the area’s most coveted attractions and restaurants enroute from the Convention Center to Sundance Square.

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Kevin Gray is a freelance writer and editor covering all things food, drinks, and travel. He’s written for The Dallas Morning News, Forbes, Liquor.com, Men’s Health, and Wine Enthusiast, and his extensive home bar is turning into a real Hoarders
situation.