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A few days ago, my daughter and I headed to Fort Worth, Texas. After a one-year delay, it was finally time to see a gymnastics competition in person! (see this post)
Most people think of Dallas and Fort Worth as one big city. But in reality, my family lives kinda “far” from Fort Worth. It takes us at least an hour to get there, assuming no traffic. We rarely visit Fort Worth because there is usually bad traffic to get there, plus we have almost everything we could need or want on our side of town. So really, our trip to Fort Worth was a little more than a staycation for us.
I used Hilton Honors points to book a night at the Hampton Inn & Suites Fort Worth Downtown. The location was perfect–close to Sundance Square and the Fort Worth Water Gardens. It was also just a few miles from Dickies Arena, where the USA Gymnastics Championships were taking place.
This was the nicest Hampton Inn I’ve ever stayed in. I’m not sure if it is still new or recently remodeled, but the hotel was so clean and pretty (and also very “Texas”). The staff was very friendly, too.
In addition, the hotel had a full hot breakfast. It’s almost as if we traveled back in time to 2019. I’m talking about make-your-own Texas-shaped waffles with chocolate chips, sprinkles, chocolate sauce and whipped cream. The buffet had hot items, an assortment of breads, cold items…everything!
If we ever have a reason to stay in Fort Worth, I will definitely be booking this hotel again.
The Main Event
After we checked into the hotel and got settled, we headed over to Dickie’s Arena for the gymnastics competition. I had never been to Dickie’s before, as it’s only been open a few years. It’s a very nice arena. I felt like we were in an upscale mall, with the white furnishings and fancy chandeliers.
Before we arrived, I received an email from Dickies that I should download the Verifly app to answer health questions to save time at check-in. I did that, but it turns out that nobody was checking.
As soon as we entered the arena, the excitement was palpable.
The gymnasts were warming up. We spotted Simone Biles, the favorite to win and the G.O.A.T., fairly quickly.
We took our seats. We were in a top section that said it was sold out. However, there had to be less than 15 people total in our section. Plenty of room to space out.
I was surprised that this event had an MC and entertainment for the audience. You never see that on the TV broadcast. The MC got the audience super pumped up for the start with dancing, lights, etc.
Then, the competitors marched out and an announcer introduced all of them. After a quick warm-up period, the competition started.
We were seated right above the balance beam, and we also had a good view of the floor exercise mat. We relied on the Jumbotron to see details on the vault and uneven bars.
In case you haven’t seen the news, Simone Biles made history by winning her 7th national championship. She was amazing to see in person. She crushed the competition.
We stayed to watch the award ceremony. USA Gymnastics gave out medals to the top 8 in each apparatus as well as the top 8 in the all-around competition.
My daughter had a lot more fun than she anticipated. She was literally screaming at times because she was so excited!
Touring Fort Worth
After sleeping off our excitement at the hotel, I had hoped to spend the morning seeing a few things in the area. We were just a 5-minute walk to the Fort Worth Water Gardens and Sundance Square. Unfortunately, the weather had other plans. It was storming. We couldn’t have even donned umbrellas and toughed it out due to lightning.
Instead, we opted to have lunch at the famous Joe T. Garcia’s Mexican restaurant. We had been there a few times before. If you’re in Fort Worth, it’s not to be missed!
The rain never let up, so after lunch we went back to our house in the burbs of Dallas.
I am so glad we went on this little staycation. The experience was way cooler than we thought it would be. Adding in an overnight stay in the city made the experience even more special (thanks, miles and points!). I’d like to do more of these staycation trips with my kids in the future.
Nancy lives near Dallas, Texas, with her husband and three kids. Her favorite vacations include the beach, cruising and everything Disney.