Last Updated on April 11, 2023
Waco, Texas, is a hidden gem in the heart of the Lone Star State. From its vibrant downtown scene to its beautiful natural attractions, Waco offers visitors a unique blend of history, culture, and southern hospitality. Whether you’re a fan of HGTV’s Fixer Upper or simply looking for a fun weekend getaway, Waco has something for everyone.
In this blog post, we will be exploring the best things to do in Waco and where to eat. We’ll start by taking a stroll through the Magnolia Market at the Silos, made famous by the beloved TV show hosted by Chip and Joanna Gaines. Then we’ll head to Cameron Park, where visitors can enjoy stunning views of the Brazos River, hike through miles of scenic trails, or take a thrilling ride on a mountain bike.
No trip to Waco is complete without indulging in some of the delicious local cuisine. From mouth-watering barbecue to farm-to-table fare, Waco’s culinary scene has something to satisfy every appetite. We’ll explore some of the city’s top dining options, from the iconic Vitek’s BBQ to the innovative menu at Milo All Day.
So, whether you’re a first-time visitor or a longtime resident, join us as we explore the best things to do and eat in Waco, Texas.
Eating and Drinking like Locals
If you think of Waco as a city with Baylor University or a certain home renovating couple, you’re likely to miss the fact that this Texas town is also a first-rate destination for those who love food and drink. There’s something for everyone, from a variety of classic Southern cuisines to one-of-a-kind dishes inspired by cultures all over the world.
Best Restaurants in Waco
The city has a wide array of delicious restaurants that serve up everything from traditional steaks and burgers to Cambodian jak and Jamaican jerk chicken! If you’re looking for a taste of something truly different, try Hecho En Waco. Located in downtown Waco, and you will find the best restaurants in waco in this area, this popular restaurant serves up authentic Mexican recipes from Mexico City, Puebla and Michoacan.
Another great way to enjoy a meal in Waco is at George’s Restaurant Bar. This casual spot is known for its hearty American fare and offers a friendly, laid-back atmosphere. The chicken fried steak is excellent, and the beer selection is solid.
While a few of these eateries may be a little pricey, the city has plenty of affordable options that will satisfy your hunger without breaking the bank. Check out the dining hall at Union Hall, which features dozens of locally owned and operated restaurants that serve up lunch and dinner daily.
Best Coffee Shop in Waco
You’ll find a handful of coffee shops in Waco, but if you can only hit one, go for Dichotomy. This caffeine purveyor has a wide range of creative coffee drinks, including the 1885, a blend of Dr Pepper and espresso. You can also find a wide assortment of pastries and snacks to munch on during your visit to this charming cafe.
Exploring the City’s Historic Sites
Waco is full of amazing historic sites that offer unique insight into the city’s past. Whether you’re a history buff or just interested in learning more about Waco’s culture and history, here are some historic sites that are a real treat.
- The former location of the famous Dr Pepper bottling plant is now home to the Dr Pepper Museum. This museum offers interactive exhibits, complete with old-fashioned soda fountains. The museum also has a gift shop and an outdoor courtyard to explore.
- The Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum is another great attraction in Waco. Here, visitors can learn about the history of the legendary law enforcement agency and its place in Texas culture. The museum houses artifacts from their past, including weapons and uniforms.
- The Waco Mammoth National Monument is also a must-see historic site in the city. Here visitors can explore an ancient dig site where fossilized remains of 24 Columbian mammoths have been discovered. It’s one of the only sites of its kind in the world.
- The Armstrong Browning Library is a must-see for those interested in literature. This library is dedicated to the works of Victorian poets Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Inside you can find first editions, manuscripts, and other rare artifacts related to their work.
Waco’s rich history is full of fascinating stories and sites, so no matter what you’re interested in there’s something for everyone to explore.
Taking in All of Waco’s Natural Beauty
Whether you’re planning a trip to Waco for the first time or you’ve lived here all your life, there are plenty of ways to get acquainted with this Texas city. This guide outlines the best things to see and do during your stay in this charming, family-friendly town.
Discover a city with a rich cultural history and a wealth of entertainment opportunities. Browse art galleries, admire massive colorful murals, shop at boutique clothing and home furnishings stores, and savor a taste of locally sourced cuisine at one-of-a-kind restaurants.
The historic Waco Downtown Cultural District is a lively hotspot where you can stroll along quaint two-lane streets and avenues or cycle through the bike trails and lanes. The area is a designated state cultural district and is filled with art galleries, museums, and events.
Take in the natural beauty of a scenic river trail that runs through Waco’s gorgeous countryside. The Cotton Belt Trail spans 2.5 miles and provides a glimpse of the region’s diverse landscape.
A popular tourist attraction, Cameron Park Zoo is located on 52 acres of wooded terrain minutes away from downtown Waco. It showcases hundreds of animals from around the world, including a wide variety of exotic and native species.
During your visit to the zoo, don’t forget to check out the Bear Habitat, the only enclosure at Baylor University that holds Association of Zoos & Aquariums accreditation. This facility allows visitors to see North American black bears in a natural habitat.
If you’re a fan of HGTV’s Fixer Upper, you won’t want to miss a stop at Magnolia Market, a home decor destination that resides in two historic silos. The market carries a wide range of furniture and home decor items, from fetching accent pieces to rustic kitchenware.
Enjoying Family-Friendly Activities
Waco is a great place to visit with kids as it has plenty of fun and exciting activities. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing boat cruise down the Brazos River, a day of adventure at the zoo or a family-friendly restaurant that serves delicious food, Waco has something for everyone!
One of the most popular things to do with children in Waco is visiting a museum. The Mayborn Museum Complex offers a huge range of exhibits for visitors to enjoy, including natural history, archaeology and paleontology.
Another place where you can spend quality time with your kids is at the Cameron Park Zoo. Located on 52 acres of wooded terrain, this zoo showcases hundreds of animals from around the world. You’ll get up close and personal with lions, tigers, orangutans, lemurs, capybara, and other exotic creatures, as well as many native Texas wildlife species.
You’ll have the chance to see a number of animals at this zoo, and you can also book special events like sleepovers and birthday parties. You can also take a guided tour of the property, which is a great way to learn more about these fascinating animals.
For a more unique experience, consider going on a safari tour aboard a pontoon boat. This two-hour ride will give you an entirely new perspective on the city and the surrounding areas, as you’ll be able to spot all kinds of wildlife along the way!
From visiting the beautiful Magnolia Market to taking a tour of the historic Dr. Pepper Museum, there are countless things to see and do in Waco. With its rich history, vibrant culture, and growing attractions, Waco is an exciting city that deserves to be explored.