There is no denying, Chip and Joanna Gaines’ little show Fixer Upper put Waco Texas into living rooms across America. However, the charming city was a dot on the map long before HGTV rolled in!

In full disclosure, our family planned our trip to Waco based 100% on visiting Magnolia Market. Like many people, it was our reason for going. However, what we found while we were there is that there is SO much more to Waco Texas than just the Magnolia empire!

First of all, the city of Waco is huge. It’s full of trees, parks and rivers. And there’s so much Texas charm that you won’t ever want to leave!

Naturally, the time we spent in Waco revolved around our Magnolia Activities including…

Breakfast at Magnolia Table: Opens at 6AM. And you need to be there at 6AM unless you want to wait hours to eat!

Provisioning At Magnolia Bakery: Yep, we pretty much went straight from breakfast to a bakery. But in order to avoid the long lines later, we purchased some goodies (at 7:30AM when it opened) to save for later. Because, yes, we were stuffed after we left Magnolia Table!

Shopping at Magnolia Market: Let’s not fool ourselves. This is why most people want to visit Waco. And, of course, you should spend time at the market. But also plan to hang out in the fun courtyard under the silos.

For more information about visiting all things Magnolia, read: Tips For Visiting Magnolia Market.

Now let’s dive into the rest of Waco Texas…

  1. Parks: To us it felt like there was a park or walking trail just about everywhere we went in Waco. Truly, the city is full of great space to get out and enjoy the outdoors. A river runs through the city and adds to the beautiful, natural ambiance.
  2. Dr. Pepper Museum: Did you know that the popular beverage was created and first sold in Waco? If you love Dr. Pepper and/or learning studying history- going through the museum is a “must.” Even if you opt out of the museum tour, you can still visit the old fashion soda fountain to enjoy some original recipe Dr Pepper
  3. Waco Mammoth National Monument: Hands down, this was my kiddos favorite part of Waco! In fact, it’s one of their favorite places we’ve ever visited. This is one of the newest additions to the National Park System. You are able to view a dry creek bed with lots of mammoth fossils. And, one of the coolest parts- this is an ongoing discovery. Paleontologists are actively working!
  4. Cameron Park Zoo: This is a super cute little zoo. There are over 1,731 animals spread out in a neat little zoo setting.
  5. Antique Shops: This may not come as a surprise to anyone, but all the awesome antique shops and flea markets that Joanna shops at on Fixer Upper are real places. The Waco area is full of these hole in the wall spots to shop.
  6. Baylor University Activities: There is a gorgeous college campus right in the heart of Waco. And, of course, like most major universities- there are a ton of activities. Sports fans might be particularly drawn to take in a game.
  7. Suspension Bridge: This Waco bridge is the oldest suspension bridge in Texas. The pedestrian-only bridge spans the Brazos River. It was originally constructed in 1870 to provide cattle a safe way to cross the river. 
  8. Texas Ranger Museum: Waco is the official city that preserves the history of the Texas Rangers (and no, we’re not talking about the baseball team!) The Rangers are the nation’s oldest law enforcement agency and this museum is full of all sorts of facts and memorabilia.
  9. Art/Sculptures: There is so much awesome art in Waco Texas. A lot of it is featured along the river walk or in city parks. You can also find specialty stores like Harp Design Co (featured on Fixer Upper.) 
  10. Texas Sports Hall Of Fame: Of all the things Texas is known for, sports is at the top of most lists. This all-sport-encompassing center provides a rich history of Texas sports. It includes a special kids area and a great section dedicated to the SEC and high-school football.

This list should keep you pretty busy- whether you’re spending a day or a week in Waco Texas!

Also, if you still feel like you need more to do, I have two final recommendations:

  1. Drive around: Our family had the best time looking at real estate in Waco. We loved getting lost down neighborhood roads and trying to spot houses we’d seen fixed up on TV.
  2. Eat and Drink: The Waco restaurant scene is awesome. Do not eat at a chain restaurant while in town! There are too many great local places. Additionally, Waco has several awesome breweries.

What inspired you to visit Waco?

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You may also enjoy reading:

The Most Family-Friendly National Parks You Need To Visit NOW

Three Days Of Texas-Sized Fun

Renting A Car For Travel: Pros, Cons and Worst Case Scenario 

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