A Weekend in Waco, Texas
When I first moved to Waco in 2014 for college (Sic ‘Em, Bears!!), the first thing people from Seattle would ask me was “Umm..Where??” Now, it’s “OMG! Have you met Chip & Jo??” Thanks in large part to HGTV’s Fixer Upper, Waco is a rapidly changing town that was recently ranked #2 on TripAdvisor’s Travelers’ Choice awards for “Destinations on the Rise.” Waco, Texas also happened to be my home away from home for three glorious years during my college undergrad. Needless to say, I’ve spent a lot of time getting to know the ins and outs of Waco and I’m here to share how to spend 48 hours in my favorite Texas town.
where to stay
Waco isn't a huge town, so pretty much anywhere you stay you'll be close to all the hot spots. Here are some of my favorite Waco hotels:
Hilton Waco: The Hilton is located right downtown close to Brazos River and everything else you could wish for. With an outdoor pool it also makes it the perfect place to unwind on a hot Texas day.
Hotel Indigo: Also downtown, Hotel Indigo is another great option with a pretty cool indoor/outdoor pool.
Airbnb: There are hundreds of homes in the Waco area on Airbnb, some of which have even been featured on Fixer Upper! This is a great option if you are going with a large group of people. Use our Airbnb code for $40 off your first stay!
what to do
Shop: My guess is, if you're visiting Waco, you're visiting because of Fixer Upper! That means you'll want to check out their store, Magnolia Silos. The Silos are a great way to spend the afternoon. They're set on a huge lot with a great store filled with home decor, turf and swings to play on, and plenty of food trucks to keep you full. Just down the street from the Silos is my favorite store in Waco, The Findery. They have great decor, clothes, and so much more! It's less known than the Silos, so is a great escape from the crowds! Another Waco favorite is Spice Village. Spice is home to tens of vendors and stores selling a little bit of everything.
Art: Waco has tons of great murals throughout their streets. Some of my favorites include the “Waco Feels Like Home” mural behind The Findery, The Starry Night on 10th & Columbus, and “Dear Waco, We Love You” on the side of Shades of Shabby on La Salle Ave.
Parks: Waco is home to Cameron Park, a beautiful park with viewpoints, trails, playgrounds, and a zoo. It runs along the Brazos River which makes for a pretty walk. I say walk, because as a Seattlite surrounded by mountains, I was appalled that people would describe anything in Cameron Park as a “hike.” This was also one of Lauren’s favorite activities when she would she would come to visit me and she is the farthest from a nature lover.
Water: The Brazos River runs straight through Waco and can be a great place to paddle board or kayak with pretty great views of McLane Stadium, one of just three college football stadiums set on water.
Baylor: Enter the “Baylor Bubble” and transport yourself back to your college days! Visit the REAL bears on campus, Lady and Joy, and be amazed by the beauty of Armstrong Browning Library.
Football: If you’re visiting Waco on a weekend in the fall, a Baylor football game is a must. Watch the freshman run the line (and laugh when they fall), a classic Baylor tradition. Learn how to Sic ‘Em like the best of them and enjoy one of the few college football stadiums in the nation where you can “sailgate” beforehand.
where to eat + drink
Lula Jane's - Hands down my favorite breakfast spot in Waco. Their breakfast pie is to die for & everything is handmade in the kitchen. Keep in mind that they are closed on Sunday & Monday!
Magnolia Table - Chip & Joanna's latest Waco business venture is an aesthetically pleasing, made for Instagram breakfast spot, Magnolia Table. Give it a try & get the perfect artsy Instagram.
Rudy's - My favorite barbecue spot in Waco! Their pulled pork sandwich with sissy “sause” makes my mouth water just thinking about it.
Shorty's Pizza - A great local pizza joint that will be sure to remind you of your own college town. The pizza is good, as are the pizza pillows. Be sure to order a pitcher - they're individual size!
Twisted Root - I know, I know, it's a chain. But there isn't one in Seattle & Twisted Root is one of my favorite burgers. If you're a fan of trying new foods go there to try a burger with one of their exotic meats, such as ostrich.
Common Grounds - A great coffee shop known for their Cowboy Coffee. Common Grounds is in an old house with a huge backyard where they frequently hold concerts. Not a coffee drinker? Try their twist on an Arnold Palmer, a James Callahan.
Pokey O's - Pokey O's was an ice cream sandwich truck that just opened up their own store. Their cookies & ice cream make the most delicious sandwiches and are the perfect dessert on a hot Texas day!
Silos Baking Co. - If you're going to be at the Silos you simply have to try one of the cupcakes from Silos Baking Co. They are so incredible!
how to get there + around
Your cheapest option to fly to Waco is most likely to fly into Austin or Dallas and rent a car to drive. I'd recommend having a car in Waco anyway, so the car rental to get from either city won't add an additional expense. Public transportation isn't popular in Waco and I wouldn't recommend it as a reliable way to get around. Both Uber & Lyft are available in Waco if needed.
Waco is a town that stole my heart in college, and I hope you love it every bit as much as I did! Coming from a big city, there was nothing better than getting to experience some southern hospitality in a small town!