On a week-long trip to Austin, our family took a daytrip to Waco and loved it! There are so many things to do in Waco, Texas that we couldn’t get them all accomplished in a single day…but here are our favorites. And of course…Magnolia Market and the Fixer Upper show was our big draw, so we’ve included eight amazing homes from the show that you can stay in while you visit!
EXPLORE THE SILOS
It’s no secret that Waco’s recent fame was brought about by the world’s most beloved TV couple on HGTV’s Fixer Upper. Magnolia Market and The Silo’s bring visitors from around the United States (the globe?!) as a way to celebrate Chip and Joanna. Here’s what to do when you visit:
- MAGNOLIA MARKET offers seasonal home goods. It’s a “Joanna Gaines” mecca. From candles to dishes, mirrors to cutting boards. You know the Magnolia Market section of Target? It’s like a Target store filled with just those kinds of things!
- MAGNOLIA HOME showcases full room collections: Living rooms, bedrooms, etc where you can see sofas, rugs and more available for order.
- SEED AND SUPPLY is for the garden lovers. The English garden out front is worth a stroll before heading in. I still travel in the RV with the air plants I purchased here (and no one knows they’re not real!)
- SILOS BAKING CO serves up delicious delicacies. Don’t even think about getting a cupcake…Just plan for a dozen! Need something to wash it down? Head to the window next door for a cuppa from MAGNOLIA PRESS.
- THE SHOPS are 6 different buildings with differently curated shopping opportunities, like baseball items, children’s kitsch and women’s clothing.
- MAGNOLIA TABLE is where the entire family can gather for a Southern home-cooked meal. If nothing else, go for some breakfast nibbles like seasonal donut holes, flavored butter samples, pimiento cheese and a pile of Jo’s buttermilk biscuits.
- If you’re looking for something more casual then opt for eating at one of several FOOD TRUCKS parked along the green. This is what we did, because it allowed the kids to climb, run, play corn hole and get the wiggles out. Large, comfy cushions and chairs outlined the green and the silos and sky made for an ideal lunch.
Pro Tip: Want the opportunity to go inside a Fixer Upper home? Try the FIXER UPPER TOUR OF WACO. On this guided tour you’ll explore some of the neighborhoods, houses, shops, landmarks, and structures featured on the show. A stop at Clint’s shop is included and sometimes you even get to go inside a Chip-and-Joanna-designed home on these Waco tours.
SEE FOSSILS AT WACO MAMMOTH NATIONAL MONUMENT
Can you imagine exploring Texas several thousand years ago and happening upon a 14-ft tall, 20,000 pound mammoth? It’s not too late to see their fossils at Waco Mammoth National Monument.
When you visit, be sure to plan for a guided tour. It begins at the visitor center where a ranger will escort you to the gig site where the fossils remain exactly where they were found. During your tour, you will learn about the Ice Age, how the fossils were discovered, and why this site is one of the most important paleontological finds in North America.
Once you see the dig site, you might also consider walking one of the two short trails here, or excavating your own “fossil.”
Pro Tip: You’re just up the road from the Baylor Museum Complex and the Zoo, so make a day of these three!
DRINK UP AT THE DR PEPPER MUSEUM
Take a walk through Dr Pepper’s history at this fun museum with multiple experiences. Our boys took part in a science experiment while visiting the Dr Pepper Museum, sniffing and mixing ingredients to make the perfect soda. There are also soda-tasting and soda-making add-on experiences. Be sure to also stop at the old-fashioned soda fountain here for a Dr Pepper float!
WALK THE WACO SUSPENSION BRIDGE
This fun pedestrian bridge is under 500ft long, and is a great way to get views of the Brazos River. It ends at Indian Spring Park, which is home to several festivals throughout the year. We recommend taking a walk across the bridge after visiting Spice Village (see more below) and then having lunch at Brotherwell Brewing’s outdoor beer garden on the North side — once you get across.
THINGS TO DO IN WACO: ENCOUNTER A ANIMAL AT CAMERON PARK ZOO
Cameron Park is a natural habitat zoo, which we adore. 52 acres line along the Brazos with waterfalls, lakes, ponds and vegetation that are an animal’s delight. ur favorite section is the Asian Forest, with orangutans, Sumatran tigers, and Komodo Dragons. Plan to spend at least a half-day; with over 300 species to see you’ll need all that time to soak it in.
Pro Tip: Cameron Park Zoo is an AZA Zoo on the reciprocal membership list, so if you are a member of another zoo in the uS be sure to see if you qualify for free or discounted admission.
BECOME A JUNIOR RANGER AT THE TEXAS RANGER HALL OF FAME AND MUSEUM
Like the Zoo and the suspension bridge, the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame is located along the banks of the Brazos River. Texas Rangers are a legendary piece of Texas history, and you can “go deep” into their world here, with art work, exhibits and more. We loved the Pop Culture gallery, with Lone Ranger memorabilia.
GO BACK IN TIME AT THE MAYBORN MUSEUM COMPLEX AT BAYLOR
After you take your Junior Ranger pledge at the Texas Ranger museum, walk along the river just a few blocks to the Mayborn Museum Complex at Baylor. Our favorite section here is the Natural History exhibit. From the humpback whale skull to the giant sea turtle skeleton, there is a lot to see here for your roadschooling adventure. You can also catch a view of Mammoth casts here, if you don’t get a chance to visit the National Monument.
SHOP YOUR HEART OUT AT SPICE VILLAGE
Once you’ve seen the museums and explored the outdoors, it’s time to pick up a few souvenirs and gifts – and Spice Village is where to make that happen. 60 artisan shops spread over 30,000 sq ft means you’re sure to find something for everyone on your list. Besides the cool shops, I love walking inside the building and soaking up the history. It’s located inside the historic McLendon Hardware store, which was built in 1908. You can smell the old pine when you walk in, and it sets up the perfect vibe for shopping.
JOURNEY THRU THE TEXAS SPORTS HALL OF FAME
We did not make it to the Texas Sports Hall of Fame on our last visit, but we’re hoping to go when we return to Waco. Football fan? Look for the Tom Landry exhibit… a Nolan Ryan exhibit for the baseball fans… and a George Foreman exhibit for the boxing aficionados.
THINGS TO DO IN WACO: GET YOUR SPLASH ON AT HAWAIIAN FALLS
If you’re planning a visit in Summer, add this water park to your list. Rides range from calm and collected to super intense…and everything in between.
GAME UP AND CHOW DOWN AT KINGS LANDING
Kings Landing probably won’t come up in many “thing to do in Waco” searches, but it’s a hole in the wall place we found by accident that was super fun! The front is a game store…but the back is a whole experience. Butter My Biscuit is the official name of the restaurant in back, and the food is great! While we waited for our food we played on an old Atari 2600, with about 30 games to pick from. There are tons of other old-school options…but when you’re as old as we are, finding an Atari 2600 is like finding gold!
WHERE TO STAY IN WACO, FIXER-UPPER STYLE
One of my personal favorites, this is The Bachelor Pad from Season 3! Inside, you’ll find an open living room, dining area, and kitchen with two islands. There is also a large tv room with plenty of comfortable seating. Outside, you can relax on the large covered back porch or play volleyball in the backyard.
Details: 10 guests · 4 bedrooms · 3 baths · Rental Info
This precious home is decorated like it was on the show. “Little House on the Prairie” is perfect for a quaint family gathering, girls shopping weekend or a fun Waco touring expedition. You’ll recognize it from Fixer Upper, Season 2 Episode 1.
Details: 9 guests · 3 bedrooms · 1 bath · Rental Info
This behemoth from Season 3 is located on a quiet street near Baylor. The layout provides a big open living space that is great for families (with kids) and big groups. If you love to cook, the kitchen is a great space to host.
Details: 8 guests · 4 bedrooms · 2.5 baths · Rental Info
Remember in Season 2, when Joanna did her first MCM? This is it! Located in the center of town, nestled in the wooded acreage of the Mountain View neighborhood, this property features a stunning view of the woods, a pergola covered patio with grill, an open floor plan, & a beautiful state of the art kitchen.
Details: 12 guests · 4 bedrooms · 3 baths · Rental Info
Divide and conquer! This house can be rented for groups of 2-12! The fenced yard has ample play space or room for entertaining large groups of people, big or small. Perfect set up for wedding parties or family reunions.
Details: 2-12 guests · 1-5 bedrooms · 1-4.5 baths · Rental Info
On Season 3, the Gaines family called this The Brick House. Originally built in 1927, this house has original hardwood floors and shiplap! The original brick is still exposed in the kitchen, adding the cutest charm to the home.
Details: 8 guests · 3 bedrooms · 2 baths · Rental Info
Details: 8 guests · 3 bedrooms ·3 baths · Rental Info
The house is perfect for a family or group here to see the sights of Waco! The master has a large bathroom with a walk in shower and a huge bathtub for relaxing! The second bedroom has local antiques from our favorite spots here in Waco.
Details: 8 guests · 4 bedrooms ·2 baths · Rental Info
PREFER A HOTEL? HERE’S WHERE TO STAY
MORE THINGS TO DO IN TEXAS
- TEXAS GETAWAYS: 11 AMAZING KID FRIENDLY WEEKEND GETAWAYS IN TEXAS
- SAN ANTONIO WITH KIDS: The 18 Best Things to Do in San Antonio With Kids
- SOUTH PADRE ISLAND: 20+ Captivating things to Do on South Padres Island
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