On the Road
When you think of Waco, two things might come to mind: Baylor and Magnolia. But in addition to these name-drop-worthy attractions, there are plenty of other reasons to put Waco on your list.
Here are 18 things to do when you’re in town:
Check out what Magnolia Market at the Silos is all about
Fixer Upper fans from near and far have been making the pilgrimage to the heart of Texas to see the Instagrammable empire built by Chip and Joanna Gaines.
And whether you’re a super-fan or not, it’s still worth the trip. Plus there's more than just the market — there’s a Magnolia Home outpost along with other Shops at the Silos. Grab a seasonal strawberry lemonade cupcake (or any number of other sweet treats) at Silos Baking Co. and caffeinate at Magnolia Press.
For brunch, Magnolia Table is just an eight-minute drive from the Silos.
Special events are also held regularly at the Silos’ big green lawn that’s equipped with lawn games, food trucks, and an outdoor stage. The upcoming Silobration from October 27-29, 2022, will feature daytime music, a roller rink, concerts under the stars, and more.
Browse the Waco Downtown Farmers Market
With the best local agricultural producers and artisan vendors within 150 miles of Waco, the market is a great way to spend a Saturday morning. Summer hours through August are 9 am-noon. There’s also a market hosted at the Silos on the first Wednesday of each month.
Walk on the wild side at Cameron Park Zoo
This award-winning natural-habitat zoo gets wild with its free-form surroundings and progressive attitude. The lush grounds, waterfalls, and natural shelters for the animals create a homey feel for species from around the globe.
See tortoises from the Galapagos Islands, birds from Africa, lions, Sumatran tigers, orangutans, Komodo dragons, and so much more.
Experience the natural treasure that is Cameron Park
Clocking in at 416 acres, this is one of the largest municipal parks in Texas. You’ll find towering live oaks, stunning bluffs overlooking the Brazos and Bosque Rivers, and a National Recreation Trail system. Mountain bikers, hikers, and equestrians share the park with disc golfers, picnickers, and bird watchers.
Hang ten at Waco Surf
As one of the largest inland surfing and water sports facilities in the country, this state-of-the-art surf and wakeboard water park features a two-acre lake that implements the PerfectSwell Infinite Ocean-designed, surf-generating technology.
There are also cabins onsite as well as Wedge Slides and the world’s longest lazy river.
Scope out the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame & Museum
Founded in 1968, this place is the official hall of fame, museum, and archives for the Texas Rangers, the oldest state law enforcement agency in the United States and a symbol of the American West.
Chill out at the Dr Pepper Museum
Learn all about the history of your favorite soft drink — and grab a Dr Pepper Float in a classic 1950s-style soda fountain — at this museum that includes the original 1906 bottling plant and the Kellum-Rotan building from the 1880s, one of the oldest buildings in downtown Waco.
Get a history lesson at the Mayborn Museum
Located on the Baylor University campus, this museum features both natural science and cultural history exhibits that focus on Central Texas with walk-in dioramas — including one on the Waco Mammoth Site — and exploration stations for geology, paleontology, archaeology, and natural history.
There are also 17 themed discovery rooms and a historic village that gives a glimpse into life in an 1890s community.
Channel your inner poet at Armstrong Browning Library and Museum
Also on the Baylor campus, this library and museum is dedicated to the study of the lives and works of Victorian poets Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning and houses the world’s largest collection of Browning material and other fine collections of rare 19th-century books, manuscripts, and works of art.
Explore the Waco Mammoth National Monument
It’s the nation’s first and only recorded discovery of a nursery herd of Pleistocene mammoths. The monument also includes a scenic trailway along with a breathtaking dig shelter that creates an atmosphere of an art gallery.
Natural light floods into the shelter from all directions and a suspended walkway provides a stunning overhead view of the mammoths.
Grab a drink at Balcones Distillery
With more than 40 internationally recognized awards, Balcones boasts world-renowned flavors that you can sample in the tasting room. Or take a tour of the distillery for fascinating insights into the whiskey-making process, from the grain silos to the copper pot stills from Scotland.
Splash around at Hawaiian Falls Waco
Open through Labor Day, this destination water park is 10 acres of fun with a wave pool, 800-foot-long lazy river, splash zones, and lots of slides including the six-story white-knuckler, Tempest Tower.
Ride off into the sunset at Brazos Bluffs Ranch
Saddle up for an unforgettable horseback ride or outdoor adventure at this ranch located at the point where the Balcones Fault, the longest fault line in Texas, and the Brazos River, the longest river in Texas, meet. With major ecosystems converging on the land, the flora and fauna is diverse and prolific.
Shop around at Spice Village
With more than 60 boutiques under one roof across 30,000 square feet in the iconic 1908 McLendon Hardware Co. building, Spice Village is a dream shopping experience with apparel, accessories, home decor, gifts, and more.
Get artsy at Art Center Waco
With rotating exhibits, classes, and events, the Art Center serves as a creative force in the community for teaching, displaying, promoting, and preserving vital, diverse visual arts that inspire the community and beyond.
Get social at Cultivate 7Twelve — and its speakeasy
The main gallery at this venue features monthly exhibits that showcase and sell the work of Waco’s many talented artists. Cultivate 7Twelve also hosts weekly figure drawing and workshops — and is home to the one and only Undercroft Social Club.
The BYOB members-only speakeasy is in the basement of the gallery, and day passes are available for non-members. Interestingly, the basement was once home to Ms. Keaton’s Bakery, which operated from 1917 to 1972 and was famous for its maple-caramel cream puffs.
Get concert tix at the Waco Hippodrome
Since 1914, the Hippodrome has been hosting a wide variety of Broadway-style plays and shows. Now, as a live music venue, you can listen in on any manner of artists playing rock, country, blues, soul, punk, roots, and more.
See why the Texas Sports Hall of Fame scores big
With more than 6,000 pieces, the TSHOF Museum is the first hall of fame in the nation with sports memorabilia from each inductee, dating back to the first class of 1951. Additional highlights include a Southwest Conference Gallery, Texas Tennis Hall of Fame, and the Texas High School Football Hall of Fame in addition to the Tom Landry Theater.
Discover more things to do in Waco here.