Hospitable honor

Fort Worth declared one of the South's best 'cities on the rise' by Southern Living

Fort Worth declared one of best cities on the rise by Southern Living

Fort Worth skyline
You don't have to convince us that Fort Worth's a rising star. Photo by benedek/Getty Images

Readers of Southern Living magazine are heaping praise on places around Texas, including Fort Worth.

In the magazine’s sixth annual South’s Best Awards, Fort Worth earns a No. 7 spot on the list of the South’s best cities on the rise. DFW neighbor Frisco sits at No. 11.

Southern Living defines "cities on the rise" as "smaller urban spots often overlooked. In these corners of the South, the classic trappings of a blend with the innovation of a bustling metropolis in a way that'll make anyone want to put down roots," they say.

Of Fort Worth, they write:

Anchored in old Texas spirit, Fort Worth has a firm grip on its roots even in the face of exploding growth. Its cowboy heritage shines through the arrival of a younger generation and recent revitalization. The Stockyards National Historic District is home to both classic honky-tonks and brand-new watering holes. The centuries-old area will show you where the West began while thrilling with a new entertainment district, Mule Alley.

Which up-and-coming cities outrank Fort Worth? Alexandria, Virginia (No. 6), Huntsville, Alabama (No. 5), Franklin, Tennessee (No. 4), Chattanooga, Tennessee (No. 3), Raleigh, North Carolina (No. 2), and Greenville, South Carolina (No. 1).

In the bigger category of "best city in the South," Austin earns a No. 6 ranking — the best showing of any city in Texas. Charleston, South Carolina, grabs the No. 1 spot.

Dallas lands at No. 12 and Houston, at No. 13.

“When it comes to Austin, to know it is to love it,” Southern Living observes. “It’s a city that combines the best of Texas barbecue with live music, swimming holes, and plenty of trails for hiking and biking, which means that Austin will keep you busy while offering up adventures every day.”

Aside from being praised as one of the best cities in the South, Austin is represented elsewhere in the South’s Best Awards. Torchy’s Tacos gets a nod as one of the South’s top “local favorites,” while Franklin Barbecue snags the title of the best barbecue joint in Texas.

In addition, San Marcos lands at No. 16 among the South’s best college towns, while College Station comes in at No. 11.

Elsewhere in Texas:

  • Fredericksburg nails down the No. 4 ranking among the South’s best small towns.
  • Port Aransas swims into the No. 14 position on the list of the South’s best beach towns.
  • San Antonio grabs the No. 8 ranking among the South’s best family getaways, while South Padre Island washes ashore at No. 10.
  • San Antonio’s Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort & Spa unlocks the No. 7 spot on the list of the South’s best resorts.
  • Conroe makes waves as the eighth-ranked beach town in the South.
  • Brazos Bend State Park, about 45 miles from Houston, sits at No. 9 among the best state parks in the South.
  • The Hill Country’s Bluebonnet Trail parks at No. 7 on the list of the South’s best scenic drives.
  • Three Texas breweries pour onto the list of the South’s best breweries: Deep Ellum Brewing Co. in Dallas at No. 6, Guadalupe Brewing Co. in New Braunfels at No. 7, and Weathered Souls Brewing Co. in San Antonio at No. 17.
  • Texas whips up four spots on the list of the South’s best bakeries: Naegelin’s Bakery in New Braunfels at No. 8, La Panadería Bakery Café in San Antonio at No. 13, Bakery Lorraine in San Antonio at No. 18, and Village Baking Co. in Dallas at No. 20. 
  • Space Center Houston appears at No. 2 among the South’s best museums, and the Dallas Museum of Art appears at No. 9.

The rankings were culled from a 2021 survey of Southern Living readers.

“No one knows this region better than the Southern Living audience, and that’s why we tap into their experiences and solicit their opinions every year to determine the South’s best,” Sid Evans, editor-in-chief of Southern Living, says in a news release. “This year’s deeply reported list is our most comprehensive yet, with some surprising new favorites as well as the classics that keep reinventing themselves.”