Editor's note: What was Fort Worth reading in 2020? We are so glad you asked. Perhaps surprisingly, in a year dominated by "bad news" headlines, CultureMap readers clamored for stories about fun things to do (Christmas lights!), places to go (couples' getaways!), unique new businesses (Truck Yard!), and ways to navigate their lives (big highway closure!). Here's a look back at the 10 most-read CultureMap stories from the past year. By the way, you can read about all the most popular dining stories in their own list.
1. Don't drive I-30 to Dallas this weekend unless you absolutely have to. If readers were thinking about heading to Dallas via I-30 the first weekend of November, we warned them to think twice: The Texas Department of Transportation closed I-30, both east and westbound lanes, to do major construction on a bridge. Drivers were warned to expect big delays and encouraged to seek alternate routes. The word spread far and wide, as it became our most-read story of the year.
2. New drive-thru 'holiday light spectacular' to debut in 3 North Texas cities. In October, a new holiday lights event was on its way to brighten up 2020 for North Texas. "Radiance! A Holiday Light Spectacular" announced it would be flicking on in Weatherford, Frisco, and Decatur this holiday season. (It runs through January 3, 2021.) Radiance hopped on the hottest trend of the year as a drive-thru experience (see No. 4, below) and would be more than a mile long and take 20 to 30 minutes to complete.
3. Fort Worth billionaire reigns as the richest woman in the world. Fort Worth’s Alice Walton may keep a relatively low profile, but she’s got a high profile when it comes to her stature among the world’s billionaires. In March, a ranking from China’s Hurun Report put Walton at No. 1 among the world’s richest women and at No. 12 overall. Walton made a couple other appearances in stories this year: in September, she retained her status as the richest Texan and America’s richest woman in 2020, Forbes said; and in December, The Walton family once again reigned as the richest family in the U.S., according to Forbes.
4. The 7 best and brightest drive-thru holiday light displays in Dallas-Fort Worth. Like the Grinch that it is, coronavirus stole many things from us this year — but it couldn't dampen our holiday spirit. When it came to experiencing holiday lights, things were looking merrier and brighter than ever in 2020, thanks to the number of drive-thru Christmas light events that are decking pathways around Dallas-Fort Worth. (Some local light displays continue through this weekend.)
5. 5 relaxing couples' getaways an easy road trip away from Fort Worth. Whether couples had to spend their quarantines apart, or Mom and Dad desperately needed time away from the kids, a getaway-for-two was looking pretty good by late May. We rounded up five Texas destinations perfect for a quick, easy couple’s getaway, all offering vacation-caliber amenities with enhanced safety precautions.
6. Southwest Airlines takes off from Dallas with new Texas route for $29. In early December, Dallas-based Southwest Airlines wheeled out a new way to get to Houston — cheap. Beginning April 12, 2021, Southwest customers can fly between Love Field and Houston's George Bush Intercontinental, nonstop, for $29 one way. The new flights are part of Southwest's new service in and out of Bush in Houston.
7. Fort Worth's Alliance center lures in laid-back Truck Yard from Dallas. Alliance Town Center, the 900-acre master-planned community at AllianceTexas in far north Fort Worth, lured in a laid-back concept founded in Dallas: Truck Yard, an indoor-outdoor hang with food trucks, drinks, games, and space for pets. The new venture was announced in January, expected to open in fall 2020, but has not yet opened.
8. Master list of Fort Worth restaurants reopening dining rooms May 1. Armed with gallons of sanitizer, face masks, and in some cases, plastic table barriers, dozens of restaurants around Fort Worth made plans to reopen for dine-in service on May 1 after their coronavirus shutdowns. The State of Texas gave permission to restaurants, movie theaters, and malls to reopen, as long as they limited occupancy to 25 percent and followed strict regulations that would continue through the rest of the year.
9. Restaurant cocktail kits ease the booze blues in Fort Worth. In a spring when the virus had completely disrupted daily life, TABC loosened its reins on to-go cocktails thanks to a waiver issued by Gov. Greg Abbott. While there was still some grappling with what, exactly, the "mixed beverage" waiver meant, restaurants seized the day (and the revenue opportunity) by packing cocktail kits for drive-by customers; these were some of the best options.
10. Affordable new community with lazy-river pool dives into hottest area of Fort Worth. A master-planned community featuring 3,300 single-family homes and a resort-style “lazy river” pool would be coming to a booming area of Fort Worth, came the late summer announcement. An 1,100-acre neighborhood called Wildflower Ranch, near the Texas Motor Speedway at State Highway 114 and I-35W in far north Fort Worth, was unveiled August 6 by Houston-based real estate developer and investor Hines LP.