Editor's note: What was Fort Worth reading in 2021? We are so glad you asked. In another year dominated by "bad news" headlines around the world, CultureMap readers clamored for stories about intriguing people (Alice Walton, in particular), fun things to do (drink on rooftop bars!), and aspirational living (own a fairytale castle!). Here's a look back at the 10 most-read CultureMap stories from the past year. By the way, you can also look back at the top dining, travel, arts, and entertainment stories; most memorable theater experiences; and best and worst movies of the year. Onward to 2022!
1. Fort Worth billionaire loses crown as wealthiest person in Texas, Forbes says. Eclectic entrepreneur Elon Musk, now of Austin, officially knocked Walmart heiress Alice Walton of Fort Worth off her longtime perch as the richest person in Texas. On April 6, Forbes released its 2021 list of the world’s billionaires. Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, landed at No. 2 globally with a net worth of $151 billion. He sat at No. 31 in last year’s ranking. But don't cry for Walton because ...
2. Fort Worth billionaire and family reign as the world’s richest clan. In September, it was hardly a surprise that America’s Walton family, including Fort Worth billionaire Alice Walton, was named the world’s richest family. What’s truly stunning is how much their wealth had grown in the past year — by more than $23 billion. In once again crowning the Waltons the world’s richest family, the Bloomberg news service reported that their collective fortune had risen by $23 billion in the past year due to the climbing stock price of the Walmart retail chain.
3. New chain with crazy discounts opens first Texas store in Arlington. Discounts were going down in Arlington with the arrival of Crazy Cazboy's, a buzzy discount superstore that opened in a former Tom Thumb at 5425 S. Cooper St. on March 26. Crazy Cazboy's is a membership-only store that sells just about everything including electronics, food, health & beauty, pet, baby, and sporting goods.
4. Where to drink in Fort Worth right now: 8 rooftop bars with breathtaking views. It’s hard not to have fun on a rooftop, especially when cocktails are involved. Look up and feel free as a bird. Look out and witness breathtaking cityscape views. In May, we rounded up eight of Fort Worth’s best rooftop bars — a mix of new hot spots and old favorites — to enjoy a drink in the breeze while surveying the horizon. (The No. 1 rooftop restaurant in the world is headed to Fort Worth soon, too.)
5. H-E-B reverses mask decision for customers throughout Texas after backlash. In early March, H-E-B, the largest grocery chain in Texas, reversed course and began requiring — rather than recommending — that customers wear masks inside its stores, including Central Markets. Amid backlash from loyal customers, H-E-B issued a statement March 5 saying customers, employees, and vendors would still have to put on masks even after the statewide mask mandate ended on March 10. Previously, it had said only employees and vendors would be required to do so, not shoppers.
6. Rooftop bubble bars with igloos return to Dallas-Fort Worth for Christmas holiday. Dallas-Fort Worth's coolest bar phenomenon of winter 2020 came back: Rooftop "bubble bars" featuring cozy igloos returned around Thanksgiving, with installations at three area hotels. Also referred to as garden igloos, these "bubbles" are like plastic caves, like a geodesic dome, where you can hang out and imbibe under the winter sky, protected by your bubble from the elements.
7. Rule this fairytale castle south of Fort Worth for a princely $6.5 million. A five-story fairytale castle on Lake Whitney that easily could be a fixture at Disney World or along the Las Vegas Strip hit the market for $6.5 million in March. The 10-bedroom, 15-bathroom Parsons Castle — complete with a drawbridge and moat — is in the Lake Whitney town of Laguna Park, promoted as the Getaway Capital of Texas.
8. Where to see the most spectacular Christmas lights around Fort Worth in 2021. The magic came back. After a dimmer holiday celebration in 2020, the Fort Worth area lit up, merry and bright, for the Christmas season once again — from towering trees that twinkle and shine to dazzling drive-thru displays and immersive walk-thru experiences. This was our 2021 guide to the biggest, brightest, most spectacular Christmas light displays in the area.
9. Affluent Fort Worth neighbor cashes in among country’s richest communities. The quiet, mansion-dotted enclave of Westover Hills was one of the most well-to-do towns in the country, an April study confirmed. The affluent Fort Worth neighbor ranked No. 5 among the wealthiest suburbs in the United States. RenoFi, a marketplace for home renovation loans, studied data for more than 600 suburbs of 50 major U.S. cities to come up with its list.
10. Babe's steakhouse cousin Sweetie Pie's Ribeyes opens in North Richland Hills. It was more than five years in the making, but Sweetie Pie's Ribeyes, a new steakhouse that's a sibling to the beloved Babe's Chicken chain, finally opened its doors in North Richland Hills in April. The concept specializes in ribeye steaks, obviously, but also fantastic baked potatoes and pot pies, as well as the usual conscientious cooking for which Babe's is known.