Friday was spent in Fort Worth, Texas. We checked out of the hotel in Dallas and checked into the Hyatt by the airport, which is between the cities of Dallas and Forth Worth. This meant we were closer to Fort Worth and also able to catch our early morning Saturday flight to Chicago without having to be up at some ridiculous time.

After checking in, we hailed a sedan limo (because it was $5 more than a cab) and headed over to Fort Worth. I must say that Fort Worth was what I was expecting to see in Texas. The pace of the city is slower, there was much more green space, it was easy to find cowboy hats, belt buckles and cowboy boots; and, there were lots of things for tourist to see and do.

Fort Worth’s success is because of their adoption of the Fort Worth Downtown Revitalization Project. A decade ago the people of Fort Worth realized the importance of their downtown nightlife and did something to try to preserve this. And, rather than seeing crime, violence and an empty downtown core at night, in Fort Worth you see the red-brick sidewalks jammed with people going to movies, stopping for coffee, enjoying dinner and browsing in bookstores.

I’m told that some of the favourite spots include the AMC theatres, the European style Nancy Lee and Perry R. Bass Performance Hall, the Barnes & Noble bookstore, and the plethora of coffee shops that are scattered around the core. And, as icing on the cake, there’s free parking and a security presence that makes sure people are safe as they spend their evening out on the town.

Most of the credit for this downtown revitalization goes to the Bass brothers (oil money) who spearheaded the development of Sundance Block (after the Sundance Kid), a popular two-block stretch in Fort Worth which consists of restored 19th-century buildings. While travelling through this area it reminded me or a cross between something you would find in Europe and the French Quarter in New Orleans, but without the crime.