10 Things To DO in Waco texas
Sic Em’ Bears! That is what the students of Baylor University. I know this because I went to Baylor University. This makes me a professional regarding things to do in Waco, Texas. I paid big bucks to live in Waco, Texas, for a few years, and one thing I miss about this lively city is that Waco, Texas, has no shortage of things to do. I will give you, the college kid, locals insight into the best 10 things to do in Waco, Texas.
How to Get to Waco, Texas?
You have 3 options to get to Waco, Texas. First is the most popular. You can fly into DFW or Lovefield in Dallas, Texas, and drive to Waco. This is about a 2-hour drive. If you do this option, you will save money by flying into a major airport. However, you will be spending that money on a rental car. Waco is not a public transportation city. You need a vehicle to get anywhere in this town. They do have Uber and some things within walking distance. Overall, you will need a rental car no matter what.
The second option is to fly into the Waco Regional Airport. Flights here are more expensive and less common. However, if you choose this option, you save yourself the 2-hour drive from Dallas. I was always jealous of the wealthy students at Baylor who could fly out of this airport. RIP, my broke college self.
The third option is what I usually did when going home for breaks, take a road trip! There are several fantastic road trips that you can plan as you drive to Waco, Texas. You can design your own or check out this list of the 10 best road trips in the USA and see if any of these fit your route.
Waco, Texas, is rich in history and culture, offering a unique blend of modern attractions and old-world charm. From scenic parks and museums to shopping and dining destinations, there is no shortage of things to do and see in Waco. Here are 10 things to do in Waco, Texas.
1. Magnolia Market at the Silos:
You will not believe me when I say that I went to Baylor University simply because I love the Gaines family. They were not the only reason, but they were the ones that introduced me to Baylor University. This famous shopping destination, owned by Chip and Joanna Gaines, features a variety of home decor items, clothing, and gifts.
The fixer-upper couple turned an old, ugly silo lot in downtown Waco into a beautiful, esthetic, family-friendly shopping center. Magnolia Market is a unique experience because it is a million-dollar company. Still, they keep the small-town feel Waco, Texas, gives. This place is the complete package when it comes to must-see destinations. Not only is every inch of this lot stunning to look at and take photos with, but there are also so many free activities and yummy food.
As I write this, all the fantastic memories from visiting the Magnolia Market are flooding my mind. On a sunny day, watch kids play on the field as you sit on a swinging bench eating the most delicious cupcake you have ever had from Magnolia bakery. I have decided to do an entire post about this place. It has been added to my list! To summarize all the things to do here:
Shop the Magnolia products. These things are expensive but super high quality. I loved to browse the clearance section right before the checkout. Sometimes you will find a great deal there.
Sometimes, when a brand is super famous, they do not have to worry too much about if the food at their store is all that great. The Magnolia Bakery is to die for. They have the best cupcakes and sweets. The line will be long but so worth it!
Get ready for the cutest restaurant ever and the yummiest southern food in the city. Reservations are not required, but you will be grateful if you make one. Tourists, locals, and Baylor students will wait to snag a table at this yummy eatery. I like to get pancakes here. If you do not want to wait in line, you can order food for pick up. However, part of the experience is eating at this perfectly designed cafe.
Check out events at the Silos. The Gaines throw the best events with big-name talent. Spring at the silos is a fun experience, and you must stay for the show! Get there early because the entrance line is long even with a ticket, and there will be booths with many boutiques you will want to check out.
If you are staying in Waco with a large family, consider the Magnolia House. This Airbnb is run by the Fixer Upper couple and is pricey but beautiful. Check out the listing here.
2. Dr. Pepper Museum:
Waco is a Dr. Pepper City, and they are proud of this fact. Baylor University hosts a weekly Dr. Pepper hour for students to come to get Dr. Pepper floats. Take a step back in time and learn about the history of the iconic soft drink at this museum, which features exhibits on the company’s past and its place in American culture. There is not much to say about this museum except that everyone is obsessed with it for some reason.
Can I confess to you my biggest kept secret while at Baylor? I only had Dr. Pepper after I moved out of Waco. Usually I am not a big soda fan, and I grew up in a house where we never drank caffeine. Please keep my secret. I do not want to get kicked out of the Baylor club. When I was pregnant, I had Dr. Pepper for the first time, and I will agree that it is the best soda out of all the options.
3. Cameron Park:
This scenic park is excellent for picnicking, hiking, and bird-watching. It features a large lake, playgrounds, and picnic areas. I love a short hike here as a good workout because it is just stairs up a hill. If you want a challenge, then Jacob’s ladder is for you. On one of our first dates, my husband and I ran up this trail. We were going to show off our fitness to each other and run this 3 times. After one time, we both were done. I recommend taking it slow and enjoying the experience.
You also can check out the Cameron Park Zoo. On my first night in Waco, my dorms hosted a dinner at the zoo, where I made my college friend group. After the zoo, we went to my friend’s dorm room and played Mario Super Smash Bros.
4. Waco Suspension Bridge:
This historic bridge is a must-see for visitors, offering stunning views of the Brazos River and the city skyline. This bridge plays a massive role in my love story. After my husband and I first met, we wanted to go somewhere we could walk and talk. We found ourselves at this bridge, and we stood on this bridge talking about life until 3 am! This became our spot to go and talk about life. Eventually, this is where my husband and I took our engagement photos! How romantic, right?
I recommend going to the bridge at sunset so you can get the best views of the lights on the bridge as the sun sets over Waco. This is one of my favorite things to do in Waco, Texas.
5. Mayborn Museum Complex:
This museum is dedicated to the history and culture of Texas. It features interactive exhibits, historical artifacts, and hands-on activities for visitors of all ages. This is a fun museum because it is interactive.
After the museum, please walk over to the Mclane Stadium. The bridge between the stadium and the museum is essential to all Baylor students because it is the path everyone takes to get to a Baylor football game. Texans love their football.
6. Waco Escape Rooms:
Are you looking for a fun time while in Waco? There are so many things to see and keep yourself busy with. Remember to have fun. You will love Waco Escape Rooms. I had a blast escaping a room with my friends in college. There are different options available for you but make sure you make a reservation as time slots are limited. You can check their website for availability.
7. Waco Farmers Market:
This weekly market is excellent for buying fresh produce, baked goods, and handmade items from local vendors. Local farmers, bakers, craftsmen, and more come together Saturday mornings at 9am. The Wacos Farmers Market has become so successful that they have extended the market to Wednesday nights. While at Baylor, I volunteered at this farmers market on several occasions.
8. Lake Waco & the Brazos
Lake Waco is a man-made lake located in Waco, Texas. It was created in the mid-1920s by damming the Bosque River for flood control and recreational purposes. The lake covers approximately 6,620 acres and is surrounded by parks, campgrounds, marinas, and nature reserves, making it a popular destination for outdoor activities such as fishing, boating, swimming, hiking, and camping. Lake Waco is also home to several fish species, including catfish, bass, and sunfish, making it a popular spot for fishing enthusiasts.
Lake Waco is where my husband proposed to me. The sunsets on Lake Waco are beautiful. I have some fond memories of bonfires and smores on the shore of Lake Waco.
You can rent water equipment, spend a day on the lake, and have a picnic on the shore or at a park. Lake Waco is a drive outside the downtown area, but it is worth the trip to see some scenery. Lake Waco will show you that Waco is much more than just a college town. Waco is actually huge and is made up of various communities outside of the university.
The Brazos River
The Brazos River is a major river in Texas, running from its source in the Texas Panhandle to the Gulf of Mexico. It runs through Waco, Texas, providing water for industrial, agricultural, and recreational use. The river is a popular destination for various activities such as fishing, boating, kayaking, and canoeing. Additionally, the river provides a vital water source for the city of Waco and the surrounding areas, supporting agriculture, industry, and communities. The Brazos River is also home to several parks and campgrounds along its banks, offering visitors the opportunity to enjoy the river’s scenic beauty and participate in outdoor activities.
One of my favorite things about my time at Baylor is paddle boarding down the Brazos river. This is a calm river with many coves to explore. You can bring your own supplies or rent water activity equipment. I remember one time venturing into a cove full of turtles on logs.
9. Spice Village and Downtown Waco
This is such a fun boutique shopping center. Park at the free parking out front of Spice Village and explore. You can spend an hour or two looking around at the stores and grabbing food. Before you head into Spice Village, pick up a drink at Oh My Juice! This was my favorite treat while in college. I would be what I would splurge on after a challenging exam or a rough day.
Grab a cookie and Milk Bottle Cookies. While I was at Baylor, a student made these delicious cookies, and she would sell them on special occasions. She started doing a pop-up randomly throughout the week. Eventually, she would post on social media that she had cookies and would be sold out within minutes. By the time she graduated, she had her own cookie shop. That is a real success story of someone doing what they love.
10. McLane Stadium:
Catch a college football game at this state-of-the-art stadium, home to the Baylor Bears. When I was at Baylor, the football team never won a game. In recent years they have gotten much better. Despite the quality of the players, Baylor knows how to throw a football game. Classic game day snacks, tailgate parties, and the Baylor Line exist. The Baylor Line is a tradition at every home game. All the freshmen put on special gold jerseys and storm the field before the game starts. Students line up hours before the game to try and be at the front of the line. It is fun to participate in as well as watch.
McLane Stadium also offers movie parties, cookouts, festivals, and more. Check out the events calendar here.
Bonus Thing To Do:
Take a self guided tour of the Baylor campus. This university puts big dollars into making their campus beautiful. Just walk around and explore the beautiful buildings. Take a look at the SLC and see the rock climbing wall that sits in the center. Stop by the Baylor Sciences Building that is designed as the shape of a bear paw. Most importantly stop by and see the Baylor Bears! Not the students, but actual bears that live on campus.
I am feeling nostalgic about my years in Waco. This is not the most beautiful city to visit or the biggest. However, the people are what make Waco so great. No matter how big Waco gets, it still has the Texas small-town feel that everyone loves. Waco is a city of opportunity; for me, it was a city where my life changed forever. I hope you can feel my deep memories and love for this city. Thank you for reading my list of the top 10 things to do in Waco, Texas. Enjoy your time in Waco, Texas.
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