To most, Waco is a highway and nothing more. Just a pass-through, not a destination. But there is way more to this town than meets the eye, and to those who are willing to look a little deeper, Waco is much, much more.
Dr Pepper Museum
While you’re in town, you gotta go to the Dr Pepper Museum to learn how the oldest major soft drink on the market was invented in 1885. You’ll see original bottling equipment, old Dr Pepper ads and you can even grab a Dr Pepper Float at the old-fashioned soda fountain at the end! Soon enough, you’ll be a “Pepper,” too!
Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum
Head to the Texas Rangers Museum to learn all about the brave men who have been devoting their lives to keeping Texans safe since the first group of rangers protected the Texas frontier from Indians in the 1830s. You’ll see how the roles of the Texas Rangers have changed over time, and you can even pay homage to 30 Rangers who made significant impacts on Texas at the Hall of Fame.
Texas Sports Hall of Fame
Calling all sports fanatics: this is the museum of your dreams. Explore dozens of exhibits showcasing Texas’s top players in football, basketball, tennis and more. One of the coolest exhibits is the Southwest Conference Gallery and Cotton Bowl Exhibit, where you’ll learn the history of the Cotton Bowl and see the jerseys of some of the greatest college football athletes in one room.
Mayborn Museum Complex
Waco is full of history and a great place to brush up on all the details is at the Mayborn Museum on the Baylor University campus. You’ll find exhibits about Waco’s history as a Mammoth hangout to the various sea animal fossils found in the area. And if you’re more into experiments than history lessons, check out the hands-on science exhibits on everything from weather to simple machines.
The Waco Suspension Bridge
You can’t miss this Waco classic that’s been around since 1870. It was once the world’s longest single pass suspension bridge when it was built, but now it’s a great way to take in the beauty of the Brazos River and downtown Waco.
Baylor University Bear Habitat
Don’t miss taking a stroll around Texas’s oldest university, Baylor University which was started in 1845. Take a stroll on Baylor’s campus, check out Baylor’s Bear Habitat where they keep the mascots “Joy” and “Lady” and stop by the famous Pat Neff Hall.
You know what this is…it’s like a “Fixer Upper” Disney Land where you can buy every design thing you’d ever need, eat from local food trucks, hang out on the lawn or grab a cupcake from the bakery. It’s a really cool place!
Harp Design Co.
Clint Harp is more than just the beloved carpenter of “Fixer Uppers,” he’s an artist who handcrafts incredible woodworks. Stop by his store to see his crafted creations, from kitchen items to expertly carved furniture.
Waco Mammoth National Monument
One of the most amazing prehistoric discoveries was made in Waco, and YOU can tour it! This site is the only place in the world that a nursery herd of mammoths was discovered all together, and is still teaching us more about this extinct species.
Kick your day off with a caffeine jolt to the mouth at Common Grounds, a locally-owned coffee shop. Common Grounds has all forms of caffeine to fuel your day trip from classics like cold brewed coffee and espresso to specialties like iced coffees with peanut butter and chocolate. YUM!
If it’s soy burgers and salads you want…you won’t find them at this 60-year old burger joint. At Health Camp, the three main food groups are Burger, Cheeseburger and Bacon Cheese Burger. Of course, you must get some greasy fries on the side and for a definitely-not-healthy dessert, try their frozen custard that comes in amazing flavors like Chocolate Chip Cheesecake, Toasted Marshmallow, Peach and more!
George’s is a Waco classic that’s been serving massive burgers and chicken fried steaks to Baylor bears since 1930. Stop in to relax like a local after a day of trippin’ with an 18 oz. frosty beer (called a “Big O”) and a plate of chicken wings wrapped in bacon.
If you want pizza and secret hideouts, look no further than Poppa Rollos. You can try one of their specialty pizzas or create your own (I like mine topped with jalapenos!) And while the pizza’s delicious, the secret hideouts at the original location are epic…check the secret door near the phone booth and you might just find a bar!
True to their name, the “Fixer Uppers” Chip and Jo took the historic Elite Cafe, and turned into a new, yet still, iconic Waco restaurant. Stop in to try their farm-inspired menu with upscale comfort food and some of the best buttery biscuits you’ve ever had.
Silos Baking Co.
If you’ve ever wondered how Shiplap Cupcakes taste, you need to hit up this bakery, because (spoiler alert) they’re delicious. On the campus of Magnolia Silos is this little bakery where you can grab some treats to enjoy on the sprawling lawn outside.
You don’t have to be a college student to enjoy the hand-tossed, cheesy pizzas with gourmet toppings at this local favorite. Order a slice, or opt for the “Pizza Pillow” — meats, veggies and cheese all folded into a fluffy dough pillow — for a unique eat.
Enjoy some of the best mountain biking Texas has to offer at Cameron Park. Hike to the top of Lover’s Leap or Emmons Cliff to see breathtaking panoramic views of the Brazos and Bosque Rivers. While you’re at the park, check out the Cameron Park Zoo to say “hello” to the bears, giraffes and elephants. They even have Komodo Dragons!
BSR Cable Park
Surf, ski, and slide your way to fun at this cable park that has a little bit of everything. There’s a Lazy River, a Cable Park and a giant Surf Park, but one of my favorite parts is the Royal Flush — three huge slides that’ll shoot you through the air and splashing into the water!