My friend Heather and I were long overdue for some quality time together. We used to live only a few miles away from each other, but now my bestie lives over an hour away from the city (on a good day). Naturally, seeing each other is a lot more difficult.
Heather and her husband recently built a beautiful house in the suburbs and my husband and I are working on buying a house in Chicago. Plus, both of us are passionate about interior design and architecture. We knew a girls weekend getaway was in order and Waco, TX seemed like the perfect place! I mean, who doesn’t LOVE Chip and Joanna Gaines?!
Upon first glance, Waco might not look like it has much to offer, however Heather and I were SO busy exploring. We actually wished we spent more time there!
Special thanks to Texas Tourism, Waco Convention & Visitors Bureau, & Home2 Suites by Hilton for hosting us.
As always, all opinions are my own.
Waco is relatively equidistant from Dallas and Austin. We chose to fly into Austin. You will definitely need to rent a car, but the hour and a half drive is fairly easy. A woman we were sitting next to on the plane said if we needed to make a pitstop that we should pull over when we see Buc-ees. We didn’t need to stop when we passed it, but it’s known for having the cleanest bathrooms.
Where to Stay
We stayed at the Home2 Suites by Hilton Waco. We found this hotel to be modern, yet comfortable. Our room felt like a spacious studio apartment equipped with a kitchen, tons of storage, a living room area and nice bathroom. Complimentary breakfast was offered in the morning and coffee and apples were available all day long. The pool and fitness center did not disappoint. Other notable perks: free wifi, pets are welcome, and all the furniture is movable to truly customize your stay. Overall, I would highly recommend staying in this hotel.
If you are a Fixer Upper super fan, you might want to stay in one of Chip and Joanna’s homes! I’m pretty sure both are everyone’s dream house. FYI – you have to rent the entire house and they book VERY far in advance. Also, they do not come cheap. Expect to pay about $1,000+ per night, with a two night minimum.
What to Do
Chip & Joanna Gaines from Fixer Upper have truly put Waco back on the map. All of the locals love them and seem to really appreciate everything they’ve done. I assumed Magnolia Market would be really cute, but wasn’t sure if it would live up to all of the hype. Let me tell you – it far surpassed my expectations.
Silobration 2017, the third annual celebration of the Silos, was taking place the weekend we were there. I was absolutely SHOCKED at how many people attended this weekend long event. There were over 80 vendors and food trucks there. During the day, the event was free and guests were able to walk around, shop, enjoy the atmosphere, and eat lots of good food. I’d love to go back when there isn’t a special event. The lines were so long that Heather and I didn’t even get to go into Magnolia Market, The Bakeshop, or Seed + Supply.
Before you totally freak out that we didn’t go inside any of these places, you should know we were at the event for several hours. We had coffee from Common Grounds and enjoyed a cupcake from Silos Baking Co food truck (they sell the same baked goods as the shop). My basic self had the pumpkin spice cupcake and Heather enjoyed the campfire cupcake. The frosting was light and airy, yet also sweet and creamy. We couldn’t speak to each other for about 5 minutes. Haha.
The extra vendors that were there for Silobration were an absolute dream. Picture your favorite tents from your favorite street fair and imagine that times 80. There were literally NO bad vendors! Chip & Joanna – I don’t know how you do it, but everything you touch is perfection.
Waco Mammoth National Monument
Only a short drive from the downtown area is where you can find a nursery herd of Columbian Mammoths fossils in their original position from 67,000 years ago. Tours are every 30 minutes and last approximately 45 minutes to an hour.
Cameron Park Zoo
Cameron Park Zoo is so cute! The way the zoo is structured reminds me of an elaborate tree house. This is a great place to go if you want to fit in some extra steps on your trip while having a really fun time doing it or if you have kids. They were hosting a beer tasting event called Brew at the Zoo the weekend we were in town with the proceeds benefiting the animals that reside there.
Cameron Park is located right next to – you guessed it – Cameron Park Zoo! Haha. This park is beautiful. It’s a lush, scenic park where you can find trails to hike on, scenic spots to take landscape photos, and even an old staircase called Jacobs Ladder to exercise on. Take it from me – it’s wayyyyyy harder than it looks. 🙂
Take Lots of Insta Worthy Photos
Magnolia Market is a jackpot of drool worthy insta shots. It doesn’t stop there. Waco has a TON of photo op moments that make getting the perfect gram easy! Check out Austin Street near Klassy Glass – perfect if you need a liquid boost of confidence 😉 . Here you will find an awesome green door, an old theater, a candy shop, and a giant wall mural!
The shopping in Waco is unparalleled. A few of our favorite finds are Fox and Gray for the cutest clothes, Good Timber for custom home accent pieces, and The Findery & Warehouse at The Findery for the best furniture and home decor ever.
Where to Eat
I don’t know what it is about Texas, but almost every single meal we had was fantastic – as in loss of words, can’t form sentences, type of good.
- Common Grounds
- They are known for their Cowboy Iced Coffee, but we didn’t love it because it was very sweet. There are two locations. We went to the Container location at the Silos, however the original location looks amazing.
- Silos Bakery Co
- We grabbed cupcakes from the Silos Bakery Food truck, but many people we spoke to went to the bakery very early in the morning. Note: lines are always very long.
- Café Homestead
- We really wanted to go here, but unfortunately time just didn’t allow for it. When I go back – this will be at the top of my list.
- Food Trucks!
- We loved Club Sandwich, which is ironically asian!
- Hecho en Waco
- When you first sit down, the restaurant brings you chips, salsa, and bean dip. The bean dip was very bland – didn’t love it and we were slightly concerned about what the rest of the food would be like. Heather ordered the steak fajitas and I ordered the shrimp fajitas. We both agreed they were the best fajitas we’ve ever had in our life. Redemption made. We would also recommend the skinny marg.
- Shockingly, no one recommended this restaurant to us. Heather happened to come across it online. It was an upscale steak and sushi restaurant with a Chicago restaurant vibe to it. The waiter brought us homemade rosemary popover bread & homemade butter. Again – we had a loss of words with how good this bread was – perfectly browned on the outside, soft and doughy on the inside. The rosemary flavor was at just the right intensity. That butter deserves a blog post all for itself. I HIGHLY recommend this restaurant and advise you make a reservation in advance.
- George’s Restaurant
- George’s was recommended to us by several locals. It appeared a little too casual for our liking and opted for DiamondBack’s instead.
Heather and I spent about 48 hours in Waco and maximized our trip to the fullest. Our trip focused on fun + fitness and everything in-between. We loved the way our itinerary flowed. It was perfect for basic girls like us. 😉 Get your free itinerary below.
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