What to do with family and friends during graduation weekend

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    TCU graduation is a time to celebrate accomplishments with family and friends but also a time to say goodbye to Fort Worth.

    Here are the top places in Cowtown to entertain family and friends during graduation weekend:

    Photos, food and fun around TCU

    Taking pictures in the TCU purple cap and gown with cowboy boots is a senior tradition, according to students.

    Graduates and their parents are commonly seen around the campus commons or the botanic gardens taking pictures the day of graduation.

    The students taking pictures may need a new outfit and University Park Village recently opened new stores. This is a great place to spend that graduation money.

    After a day of shopping, Woodshed Smokehouse is a popular place in Fort Worth to go for drinks on the Trinity River.

    Blake Beckelman, a TCU alumnus, reflects on how he spent his graduation day last year.

    “I wanted my family to experience my favorite places in Fort Worth during graduation weekend,” Beckelman said. “After the ceremony, my family went to brunch at the Omni to open gifts and then we continued the festivities at my favorite spot in Fort Worth- Woodshed Smokehouse.”

    The weather in May makes for a good time to visit the Fort Worth Zoo. USA Travel Guide ranked the zoo fifth in the nation.

    Going to the Cultural District

    Fort Worth’s cultural district contains some of the top museums in the country, gourmet restaurants, live entertainment and abundant nightlife, according to West 7th’s website.

    The West 7th shopping center and Montgomery Plaza appeal to many TCU students and are popular places to take visitors. Graduates can choose from different restaurants and bars to take their families for the celebratory occasion.

    Kendall Deering, a fashion merchandising major who will graduate in May, said she wants to spend her graduation weekend showing her family around the places she and her friends spend the most time.

    “My whole family is coming in town so I want to show them around the West 7th area,” Deering said. “I will probably take them to brunch at Social House, dinner at Waters and end up at Bar Louie with my friends.”

    Deering also said when her grandmother is in town, they have a tradition of going to the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth.

    Fort Worth’s diverse collection of museums includes the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, the Kimbell Art Museum and the Amon Carter Museum of American Art.

    “There is a museum for everyone in Fort Worth,” Deering said.

    Country-fied in the Stockyards

    Attracting tourists from all over the world, the Fort Worth Stockyards is an iconic part of the city, according to the Fort Worth Stockyards website.

    Joe T. Garcia’s is a well-known Mexican restaurant with outdoor gardens and famous margaritas, according to Fort Worth residents. The restaurant allows reservations for large groups, which makes it a good spot for a graduation party.

    Billy Bob’s, named “the world’s largest honky-tonk,” is the place to take family members that are looking for the ultimate Cowtown experience that consists of dancing and live music.

    “My family loves to go listen to live country music at Billy Bob’s when they come in town,” said Beckelman. “It wouldn’t be a true Fort Worth visit if you didn’t.” 

    William Clark Green will be playing at Billy Bob’s May 8th and Steve Wariner will be playing May 9th. Ticket prices range from $10-$30.

    Nights in Downtown

    Centered around Sundance Square Plaza, Fort Worth’s downtown is filled with shops, restaurants, attractions and social life, according to Sundance Square’s website.

    Sundance Square, a 55-thousand-square-foot outdoor plaza, offers events all year round.

    The Fort Worth Water Gardens is another place to get graduation pictures taken.

    Bass Performance Hall is home to the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, Texas Ballet Theater, Fort Worth Opera and Cliburn Concerts. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram said it is like no other arts venue in Texas.

    Bass Hall will be featuring the Fort Worth Opera Festival graduation weekend, performing “La Traviata” and “Hamlet.”

    Connelly Weeks, a nutritional studies major who will graduate in May, said she will be taking her family to her favorite downtown restaurant Grace.

    “Grace has the best cocktails and desserts,” Weeks said.

    For Texas cuisine, the Reata provides a Southwestern atmosphere.

    “I went to the Reata rooftop for one of my friend’s graduation parties last year,” Weeks said. “It’s the perfect place to go for a great view of downtown.”

    Weeks said she plans on doing “girly things” with her mom, like shopping and getting her nails done, the day before graduation.

    “We are going to do whatever Connelly wants to do because it’s her special weekend,” said Weeks’ mother, Leighton Weeks. “Connelly’s dad and I are so excited for her to be coming home, but will miss our trips to visit her in Fort Worth.”

    After the craziness of graduation is over, Weeks said she will spend her last few days on campus saying goodbye to friends and packing up her apartment.

    “Even though I’m going back home to Little Rock, I will be making many trips back to Fort Worth,” Weeks said. “Living here has made my college experience one I will never forget.”