Those who think Waco is only a college town Texans used as a pit stop between Austin and Dallas have seriously underestimated this gem. From one of the country's largest city parks to hip watering holes and top-notch dining and shopping (there's more than just Chip and JoJo's Magnolia Market home store), this town is more than worthy of a weekend getaway.
So, fill up the gas tank and make room in the trunk for all the treasures you'll be bringing back.
Wacotown has all your usual suspects of centrally located hotels. But for a town now known for home renovations, home rentals on Airbnb and HomeAway will put you in the right frame of mind for a weekend away from the real world.
At 416 acres, Cameron Park is one of the largest city parks in the U.S. Work up a sweat at Emmons Cliff, take a leisurely stroll around Lovers Leap, or pack a picnic to eat at Circle Point. Rent a kayak at one of several rental companies and spend an afternoon floating through the Brazos River. After a day outside, catch a flick at the historic dine-in theater Waco Hippodrome that first opened in 1914.
For a comprehensive tour of this small town, Waco Tours highlights the town history, Baylor University, beautiful homes, and winding roads all from the window of a tour van driven by a local guide. History buffs should view a nursery herd of Columbian mammoths from a suspended bridge at the Waco Mammoth National Monument.
If you only know one attraction in Waco, it’s probably Chip and Joanna Gaines’ home decor haven Magnolia Market at the Silos. Mitigate the crowds by arriving early. Spice Village has a collection of shops with home decor, stationery, fashion, and gifts in a 10-minute walk from the Silos. Chip and Jo’s friend Clint Harp has his woodworking studio-turned-storefront called Harp Design Co.
Steps away from Spice, grab lunch at the food trucks on Franklin Avenue and University Parks Drive. The brunch food at Mad Hasher Waco will help you carb load for all your exploring. The Grape is a modest little bistro with a hefty wine list and daily changing menu. Bangkok Royal, Baris, and 1424 Bistro please guests and locals alike.
Common Grounds is a coffee shop turned concert venue. Sip on a No Bull from the Cowboy Menu while listening to a some local musicians. The Backyard has a calendar full of well-known and local country artists with bar games, bar food, and (of course) a full bar. For a quieter vibe, Dichotomy Coffee & Spirits offers, as the name suggests, caffeine and alcohol. Sit on the roof for a sweet view of the city. Wine connoisseurs will find tasty vino sourced from family-owned growers and plenty of Instagram-worthy photos at Wine Shoppe.