Editor’s note: What was Fort Worth reading in 2019? We are so glad you asked. Here's a look back at the 10 most-read CultureMap stories from the past year. From the dimming of a favorite Christmas-lights attraction to a big HGTV home giveaway, these stories intrigued readers throughout the year. There are many top dining stories we didn't include, by the way, because they got their own list. Read about the most popular arts and entertainment and society stories in their own lists, too.
1. Dallas-Fort Worth's most enchanting holiday lights display will go dark for 2019. In June, it was announced that one of the merriest and most popular holiday events in Dallas-Fort Worth would skip this year's yuletide. Sadly, "Enchant: World's Largest Christmas Light Maze & Market," which had illuminated Arlington for two holiday seasons, would be going dark for 2019. Organizers cited construction projects related to Globe Life Park and Globe Life Field as the reason. Fortunately, the beloved Texas Christkindl Market did return the area and even unwrapped a new gift — an ice rink.
2. Where to eat in Fort Worth right now: 5 hot new restaurants for November. This year, Fort Worth was crowned the 13th largest city in the United States — that's a lot of mouths to feed. Knowing we're in the middle of a growth spurt, corporate concepts have been landing in Fort Worth, with fast-casual service, open kitchens, and bottomless mimosas. But the heartbeat of the city's dining scene is the mom-and-pop restaurant, typically run by those who know, live in, and love Fort Worth. For the November edition of our monthly Where to Eat feature, we brought news of five new family-run spots.
3. Where to drink in Fort Worth right now: 5 hottest new patios to sip outdoors. Will the weather be chilly, warm, rainy, or sunny today? The answer in Texas throughout April was “yes.” But despite unpredictable outdoor conditions, it was the season for patio-sitting-and-sipping, and there were several new options around town ready to wet the whistle. For the April edition of our monthly Where to Drink roundup, we offered five of Fort Worth’s hottest new patios for spring 2019.
4. Where to see beautiful bluebonnets in the Texas Hill Country in 2019. Spring was wildflower season in Texas. While bluebonnets enjoy the most fame — and the title of official state flower — Texas Hill Country landscapes offered a number of other abundant blooms. In time for spring break getaways in March, we offered top spots for wildflower-viewing through the Hill Country.
5. The most dazzling Christmas light displays around Fort Worth in 2019. Entire streets, blocks, parks, and major attractions throughout North Texas had flipped the switch on this year's festive yuletide decor by early December. Here we presented the biggest, best, and brightest commercial and neighborhood Christmas light displays around Fort Worth in 2019.
6. 8 best new restaurants in Fort Worth vie for top honors — vote now. The 2018 CultureMap Tastemaker Awards, our annual event honoring the best in local food and drink, included awards to top chefs and restaurants and a party in April, emceed by renowned chef Dean Fearing. We reserve one category, Best New Restaurants, for readers to decide, via our Tastemaker tournament, a bracket-style competition where eight new restaurants go head to head. Here we presented the nominees who were vying for the title. (And here's who won.)
7. Fort Worth billionaire retains crown as richest person in Texas for 2019. Walmart heiress Alice Walton of Fort Worth remained the richest person in Texas, according to the Forbes 400 ranking, released in early October. What was really astounding, though, was that her estimated net worth skyrocketed by more than $6 billion in just one year.
8. You can win this Roanoke house in HGTV's latest smart-home sweepstakes. Texas is where it was at for the 2019 HGTV "Smart Home," an annual sweepstakes in which the grand prize is a newly built, fully furnished home, along with a 2020 Mercedes Benz GLE and $100,000 from LendingTree. The 2019 Smart Home was in Roanoke, and to get a shot at winning, folks could submit entry's through HGTV's website in the spring.
9. Fun new golf-themed entertainment complex swings into far north Fort Worth. A massive new golf-themed entertainment center officially got in the game in far north Fort Worth. BigShots Golf broke ground October 29 in Champion Circle on 11.4 acres near Marriott Champion Circle and Golf Club. Just the second BigShots in the country, when it opens, the "eatertainment" venue will have 56 driving range bays on two stories, plus many more amenities.
10. This is the salary you need to afford rent in Fort Worth right now. What did it take to afford to live in Fort Worth this year? Surprisingly more than elsewhere in Texas — and the U.S. — according to an April report on rental affordability. Apartment List analyzed the 100 largest U.S. cities to find the minimum gross income needed to afford a local apartment. Fort Worth landed on the affordable end of the spectrum, but still came in as the sixth most expensive spot in Texas.