Your toes will tap all weekend. That's reason enough to visit the Stockyards district, but there's more. Its cobblestoned artery, Exchange Avenue, has plenty of shops and restaurants to peruse during the day. And after dark, the twang of steel guitars spills from saloons and dance halls, producing an irresistible soundtrack.
Friday--Ease Down Exchange
First order of business: Look like a local. To navigate these waters, you need the right duds, so step inside M.L. Leddy's Boot & Saddlery, which has held a corner of Main and Exchange since 1941. You'll probably spy manager Mark Dunlap creasing a cowboy hat in a small fog of steam. Straw hats start at $35, but Leddy's specializes in custom hats ($125 to $3,500) and boots (starting at $500).
Across the street, Maverick Fine Western Wear features apparel and accessories for both men and women. We really liked the Western and American Indian-made jewelry, from earrings to belt buckles.
Check in after 3 p.m. at the Stockyards Hotel. From reproduction Remingtons to cowhide-covered chairs, the lobby is slathered with Old West decor. Its greatest amenity, however, is its location--you'll find everything in the Stockyards within walking distance. (Rates start at $169;  625-6427 or www.stockyardshotel.com.)
For other lodging options, try a chain hotel. We suggest SpringHill Suites, near the city's Cultural District. (Rates start at $89;  878-2554.)
For dinner, head to Cattlemen's on North Main Street and baptize yourself by fire at the area's best steak house since 1947. The chef mans his charcoal grill in front of the dining room. Try the filet mignon ($17.95) or Heart O'Texas rib eye ($24.95).
Now that you're truly ready to boot scoot, start with the most famous of 'em all, Billy Bob's Texas. At 127,000 square feet, arguably the world's largest honky-tonk, Billy Bob's goes on for days. While a disco saddle spins above the dance floor, lines of locals hop, slide, and spin through the “Boot Scootin' Boogie," “Wishful Thinking," and “Who's Your Daddy?"