Waco is often associated with Baylor, but there’s far more to this town than their University. Gifted with gorgeous scenery and a blooming population, Waco is a growing city that has yet to disappoint. With some wild eateries and great brews paired with even better views, Waco has something for everyone, from the history buff to the interior design diva, making the town a must-stop for anyone passing through.
Magnolia Market at the Silos
The gem of Downtown Waco is the Magnolia Market. The two 120’ tall silos that Chip and Joanna Gaines purchased and transformed have become a Waco staple, and people will travel hours just to see them. If you’ve ever seen an episode of “Fixer Upper,” and liked what you saw, welcome to your new home décor paradise.
The shopping complex is more than just a retail store, however. The market is also home to a food truck pavilion as well as gardens, a lawn, and even a bakery! Before you go, you’ll want to check out their website to see if they’ve got any fun events going on, like Silobration in October or Christmas at the Silos. The store itself is famous for its plethora of farmhouse-style decorations and gardening necessities. Make sure you block out an hour or two for this one, if not longer, because it can eat your time up faster than you might think!
Jake’s Texas Tea House
This ain’t no tea room, as those at Jake’s Texas Tea House will be quick to tell you. Though “Texas tea” has earned its respect in the food world (because we do flavored sweet tea right, y’all), that’s not where they got the name for the restaurant. That actually comes from a different type of Texas tea, which was first used to describe the Lone Star State’s prime product, crude oil, in the 1960s.
Around here, dinner is delivered in a unique way, with “home cooking worth leaving home for.” Breakfast and lunch are served “unleaded,” just your regular fill-em-up. Dinner, however, is served “leaded” and full-on family style. With a vintage feel and a gas station theme that will make you smile and feed your nostalgia, this is the perfect place to grab some great Southern grub.
Dichotomy Coffee and Spirits
“Dichotomy” is a fitting title for this two-in-one power punch of an eatery. On one hand, you have some of the best coffee in the United States, and on the other hand, you have cocktails that are out of this world. They’ve got your AM and your PM covered, which makes it a one stop shop for whatever itch you’re currently trying to scratch.
The owners wanted a place they themselves would want to go to, and everybody else seemed pretty keen on Dichotomy’s booze and brews approach as well. As the first coffee shop in Texas with the Modbar Modular Espresso System, you’re guaranteed the perfect espresso, but that’s not the only thing they do well. Try a lovely cappuccino, one of their fresh pastries, or a Dichotomy old fashioned made with their house coffee syrup!
Dr. Pepper Museum
Did you know that Dr. Pepper is the nation’s oldest major soft drink? Well if you didn’t hear it from us first, you would have definitely heard about it at the Dr. Pepper Museum. If there’s anything Texas has Waco to thank for, it’s the sweet little soda we all know and love. Most Texans can’t imagine a day without having a sip or two of the state’s favorite fizzy drink, and that’s what makes this museum such a treasure in the Lone Star State.
The “Home of Dr. Pepper” is 100 years old and was once a bottling plant, but it fell into disrepair over the years. The building was eventually donated in 1988, and seeing an opportunity for forward growth in the community, restoration efforts began in 1990. Enjoy three floors of exhibits (which change regularly) as well as a soda fountain. If you’re a fan of the best soft drink around, there’s also tons of photo ops around the museum to help you show off your favorite soda!
Buzzard Billy’s Swamp Shack
The first restaurant to open in Downtown Waco is also one of its coolest to this day. Located across from Baylor’s McLane stadium and quite literally on top of the Brazos River, this funky little spot is a Waco favorite, and it’d be a shame to not pop in for some interesting appetizers and a great view.
Offering both Cajun and American favorites, Buzzard Billy’s not only has some unique food, but a unique style to match. With a swampy nautical theme blended with Americana pieces, you’re sure to find something new on the walls every time you look up. Try to catch a meal closer to sunset, because once you’re finished, you’re going to want to take a walk out on the deck to catch some beautiful river scenes and feed the fish, turtles, and ducks that loyally hang out under the restaurant!
Bare Arms Brewing
Bare Arms Brewing takes beer seriously, drawing inspiration for their name from the idea that if you’re truly passionate about something, you shouldn’t be afraid to roll up your shirt sleeves and go out there to work for it with all you’ve got. This bar is for the dreamers who just need to unwind at the end of another long week of making it work, y’all.
The brewery wasn’t even originally their plan, but after enough people said, “Hey, you guys should start a brewery,” owners Keith Collier and Justin Veach started listening. From what was originally a home-brewing operation grew one of Waco’s favorite watering holes. With a family friendly atmosphere and 10+ varieties on tap, you’re sure to have a fun time. Pick out one of the board games laying around or even try your hand at cornhole while you sip on a brew made with elbow grease and heart!
Waco Mammoth National Monument
It’s not everyday you run into the site of the largest known concentration of mammoths dying from a potentially reoccurring event, but that’s exactly what happened when Paul Barron and Eddie Bufkin, who were searching for arrowheads and fossils near the Bosque River in 1978. Believed to be caused by multiple flash floods, the mammoths in this collection of fossils most likely got trapped inside the steeply sloping and muddy embankments that ultimately led to their demise.
The paleontological site was officially made a national monument in 2015, and since its opening to the public, has drawn in visitors from around the country looking to find a piece of the Pleistocene Epoch. There’s more than just Colombian mammoths to see, however. Researchers have also found a camel amongst these giants! Bring your curiosity, because there’s far more to see than we can tell.