If your group wants to discover the large part of Texas history that has to do with cowboys (and cowgirls), cattle and the Wild West, the Stockyards in Fort Worth is where they need to throw their lassoes. This self-contained, 125-acre site was the U.S.'s most important livestock center (maybe Kansas City would argue this point), beginning life in 1876 (the Stockyards were officially commissioned in 1893) when the railways first came. It ceased operations only in early 1981, after a century of pioneering legacy that the Stockyards commemorates today. Indeed, it is the United States' last remaining stockyards, one so many history-minded groups are drawn to the Stockyards venues.
A mile south of Fort Worth Meacham Airport (for corporate jet traffic), close to the Trinity River, five miles north of the center of Fort Worth and 20 miles southwest of Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), the Stockyards venues are obviously perfect for groups wishing to mix business with classic Americana. One unique group venue is the Cowtown Cattlepen Maze: 5,400 square feet of cattle pens formed into a maze, which is constantly being reorganized, just in case you come back here often and memorize the layout. If you want to see Man vs. Bull, head to the Stockyards Championship Rodeo on Fridays and Saturdays, housed in a relatively small area that also has two halls of fame, the Texas Cowboy and the Texas Rodeo Cowboy.
There are only four hotels at the Stockyards, with the 101-room Hyatt Place Fort Worth Historic Stockyards and 52-room Stockyards Hotel best suited for groups. (The 11-room Stonehouse Hotel and eight-room Miss Molly's are better suited for those seeking quieter Western ambiance.)
The culinary emphasis at the Stockyards venues, not surprisingly, is on the West, with barbecue and steak high on the agenda, but also with a fair sprinkling of Mexican and Tex-Mex. Billy Bob's Texas loudly announces that it is the world's largest honky-tonk, and, indeed, it can cater to up to 5,000 people and regularly hosts internationally celebrated country music stars. Riscky's, with three locations here, has been making great barbecue since 1927. As for steak, the name Cattlemen's Fort Worth Steak House pretty much says it all, and its Chisholm Trail Room (not the only group space here with that name) seats 125 persons. Not all is whoops and hollers, though, for this is where chef Tim Love started his success story, at the Lonesome Dove restaurant, and it can cater to groups of up to 400; Love also has the second of his Love Shacks here (the other one is in Fort Worth's Cultural District).
All average costs based on U.S. Government Per Diem rates as published by the U.S. General Services Administration.
Dallas-Fort Worth International (DFW)
Approximate taxi fare: $65 USD
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