20 Best Things To Do In Waco

Although it used to be known as a college town, there are now are plenty of things to do in Waco, TX! It has recently grown into quite the tourist destination (thank you, Chip and Joanna Gaines...) and it's a pretty popular place for real estate investment as Waco's value just keeps going up and up and up.

And if you're a local Waco resident or maybe a Texas who happens to be drive through on the drive from Austin to Dallas, you're in luck. Waco is actually full of great restaurants, fun breweries, adorable book shops and boutique stores, and a massive destination shopping market.

The Silos have become a symbol of the city's revitalization, but there's so much more to Waco! Have you seen the prehistoric wonders at the Waco Mammoth National Monument? Or the rich heritage of the Texas Rangers at the Texas Ranger Museum? I love to just take a leisurely stroll across the historic Waco Suspension Bridge, and maybe walk by some of the critters in the Waco sculpture zoo. And, of course, foodies have an ever-growing list of restaurants to try. There are plenty of things to do in Waco, TX!


Waco is more than just a city; it's a destination that captures the essence of small town Texas. You'll experience a blend of Southern hospitality and culture paired with adventure.

Whether you're traveling with family or friends or as a solo explorer, Waco invites you to uncover its many hidden gems, making it a place you'll want to return to time and time again. Here are 20 of the best things to do in Waco.

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20 Best Things To Do In Waco

1. Visit Magnolia Market At The Silos

Magnolia Market

Magnolia Market at The Silos in Waco, Texas, is a pretty popular and iconic destination. If you're like me, you first heard about it from watching the popular HGTV show back in the day.

This market is now drawing visitors from across the country and around the world. It is the brainchild of Chip and Joanna Gaines, the dynamic duo from the hit HGTV show "Fixer Upper." The Silos is essentially a complex that includes Magnolia Market, a shopping destination that reflects Joanna Gaines’s style, and a variety of eateries, including Silos Baking Co., known for its cupcakes and other tasty treats.

The Silos have become a symbol of Waco's revitalization, transforming a once-neglected industrial area into a  gorgeous, modern hub.

Vie Bien Aimee

Magnolia Market isn't just a shopping paradise! Sure, you can find one-of-a-kind items to take home as souvenirs, but it's also a community-building space that often hosts family-friendly events. Visiting Magnolia Market is a great things to do in Waco with kids! There's a spacious lawn and picnic area, perfect for enjoying a leisurely meal from one of the nearby food trucks or playing corn hole with family and friends.

If you love taking pictures, The Silos are beautifully designed and landscaped, so it's a great spot to get some iconic Waco photos.

They also offer seasonal events, workshops, and live music performances. For instance, every October they host an event called “Silobration,” complete with live music, special vendors, and more. (Check their calendar for more details about special events.)

When you’re looking for fun things to do in Waco, keep in mind that the silos can get crowded, especially on Saturdays. If you can, try to visit on a weekday for a less hectic visit. Oh, and they don’t have any on-site parking, so you'll have to find a spot on the street and be prepared for a short walk.

WEBSITE | 601 Webster Ave, Waco, TX 76706

2. Dr. Pepper Museum

Dr Pepper Museum

The Dr. Pepper Museum in Waco, Texas, is a unique and very “Texas-y” attraction! It's somewhat of a rite of passage for those of us who grew up in Texas. 

The museum celebrates the history and cultural significance of the beloved soft drink, Dr. Pepper. Established in the birthplace of this iconic beverage, the museum is a fun experience for visitors of all ages! Kids love it, but plenty of adults will walk through and enjoy it just as much as the kids. 

The Dr Pepper Museum was officially opened to the public in May 1991. It's located in the Artesian Manufacturing and Bottling Company building, which was the first facility to produce Dr. Pepper back in 1906. (Yep!)

Dr Pepper Museum

The museum honors the history and legacy of this famous carbonated beverage and its cult-like following of Texans. It features a bunch of exhibits like Dr. Pepper memorabilia, bottling equipment, lots of interactive displays, and artifacts that explore the evolution of Dr. Pepper. 

By the way, make sure you don’t miss the old-fashioned soda fountain!  You can enjoy classic Dr. Pepper floats and other treats.

I recommend planning about 1-2 hours for the experience. (Little ones will probably peak at 1 hour). There's also a gift shop where you can visit after the tour to look for Dr. Pepper merch and other cute souvenirs.

Dr. Pepper Museum is open year-round except on Easter, Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day. The ticket price to enter the museum is $10 for 5 years old and above and free for kids aged 4 and below. Of course, check the website for any price changes. 

WEBSITE | 300 S 5th St, Waco, TX 76701

3. Check Out Craft Breweries

Brotherwell Brewing

Waco has recently starting seeing some growth in their craft beer scene. Gone are the days of needing to go to dive bars to get your beer fix - now you can visit from a selection of local breweries making a wide selection of craft beer.

Here's a map + guide to all the craft breweries in Waco. 

If you want to check out the OG in Waco's brewery scene, head to Bare Arms. It was Waco's first craft brewery, and they have a steady following of local customers who adore their craft beer. They have a nice menu of BBQ-fusion food, burgers, and sandwiches.

Waco Ale Comapny

For live music and an on-site tasting room, Southern Roots Brewing Company is a fun place to visit. They're known for their southern hospitality, delicious pizzas, and welcoming taproom. The menu has a pretyt diverse lineup of beer staples as well as cider and mead available.

Another award-winning craft brewery (+ distillery!) to visit in Waco is Balcones Distilling, which is known as the creator of the original Texas Whisky. Whisky is obviously their thing, but they also have beers on tap. They offer Waco tours where you can get an inside look at their production process, including the mashing, fermenting, distilling, and aging of their spirits, and then enjoy a tasting of whisky and/or beer afterward. 

And finally, Pivovar is the most sophisticated beer drinking spot in Waco for craft beer nerds. They specialize in a true Czech beer drinking experience, complete with their restaurant offerings, hotel, and beer spa. Here's a better look inside Pivovar. 

4. Go Shopping at Spice Village

spice village in Waco

Shopping at Spice Village in Waco, Texas, is a true Waco experience! It's a treasure trove of handcrafted goods, and a glimpse into the heart of the city's central Texas culture.

This vast marketplace houses over 60 boutiques and shops under one roof! It’s a one-stop destination for a diverse range of products. From southern home decor and clothing to jewelry, bedazzled gifts, and specialty foods like hot sauce and more, you'll find a wide variety of items here that are perfect for gifts and souvenirs.

One of the coolest things about Spice Village is that they're dedicated to promoting local artisans and small businesses. So most of the items you’ll find here are handcrafted and 100% unique. So if you're shopping for that perfect gift that captures the essence of Waco and Texas, you very well might find it here!

WEBSITE | 213 Mary Ave entrance located at 2nd &, Franklin Ave, Waco, TX 76701

5. Tour Baylor University

Baylor University

Sure, high school students are probably rolling their eyes because a college tour is essentially just more homework, but touring Baylor University is a fantastic experience that offers a glimpse into a prestigious academic institution and its beautiful campus!

Baylor University has a rich history dating back to 1845. The picturesque campus showcases architectural beauty and a sense of tradition. Did you know that Baylor is the oldest continually operating university in the state? Yep! It's 178 years old, which is pretty old by Texas standards.

The campus is nestled along the Brazos River and boasts lovely green spaces and a combo of historic buildings and modern facilities. It's a beautiful place to explore with kids if you’re looking for a kid-friendly thing to do in Waco! 

They allow prospective students and their families to schedule an in-person campus tour. The guided tours are led by knowledgeable and passionate students of Baylor. This is the way to go if you're hoping to get insights into the university's history, traditions, and student life. 

Aside from the tour, the Baylor University campus also often hosts cultural and sporting events, like art exhibitions, music performances, and, of course, their Division I athletics. So make sure to check their event calendar to see if there's a game or event taking place during your visit.

A visit to Baylor University is really just a great addition to your Waco itinerary. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes because this is a pretty large campus! 

WEBSITE | 1311 S 5th St, Waco, TX 76706

6. Waco Mammoth National Monument


Visiting the Waco Mammoth National Monument is definitely one of the most unique experiences you can find in Waco! This gem offers a fascinating glimpse into prehistoric history. It’s home to one of the largest collections of best-preserved Columbian mammoth fossils in the world…and it’s right here in Waco, TX! 

The monument is set in a gorgeous location near the Bosque River, surrounded by natural beauty. It's a great spot for picnics, hiking, and enjoying the outdoors. 

The monument offers guided tours that provide a better understanding of the site's history, the excavation process, and the significance of the findings. Visitors can explore an active paleontological dig site and witness the ongoing excavation of these ancient giants. So if you are interested in paleontology, geology, or natural history, this place is for you!

You can learn about the Ice Age, the flora and fauna of the time, and the science of paleontology through exhibits and guided tours. The staff is very knowledgeable and passionate about sharing this prehistoric story.

Both kids and adults are welcome on the site and can participate in educational programs, or engage in hands-on activities.

Although the general entrance to this park is free, you are required to pay to enter the Dig Shelter. Here are the fees:

  • Adults (18-61): $6
  • Seniors (62 and older): $5
  • Military (with ID): $5
  • Youth (Ages 4 - 17): $5
  • Infants & Toddlers (Ages 3 and under): Free
  • Group Attendee (20 people or more): $4

It’s open from Sunday to Saturday from 9am- 5pm but closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day.

WEBSITE | 6220 Steinbeck Bend Dr, Waco, TX 76708

7. Cameron Park Zoo

One of the best things to do in Waco with kids, Cameron Park Zoo is another cute place that's located along the Brazos River.

Cameron Park Zoo has been thoughtfully designed to replicate the animals' natural habitats as closely as possible. Its focus on naturalistic environments makes animals live comfortably and provides a more immersive experience for visitors.

And it’s not just about passive sightseeing at Cameron Park Zoo! They offer educational experiences and unique opportunities to connect with wildlife from around the world. In fact, it’s home to a diverse number of animals from various continents, including African lions, Asian elephants, South American jaguars, and North American black bears. There are only 300 species in the zoo, but all in all, there are more than 1,731 animals.

Visitors can also join in educational programs, talks, and interactive exhibits that promote a deeper understanding of the animal kingdom and the importance of wildlife preservation.

The zoo is really an excellent destination for families. Kids are going to enjoy playgrounds, splash pads, and interactive exhibits designed to engage and educate young visitors.

Ticket prices:
Adults- $16.00
Senior- $14.00
Children 3-12 years old – $12.00
Children 2 & under – Free*

As with all of the popular things to do in Waco, be aware that the zoo can get crowded on weekends and during holidays. Weekdays are a great time to go for a less crowded experience!

WEBSITE | 1701 N 4th St, Waco, TX 76707

8. Waco Suspension Bridge

Waco suspension bridge

Although it won’t take very much time, exploring the Waco Suspension Bridge is a cool things to do during your day in Waco. 

It was completed in 1870 and was the very first suspension bridge built across the Brazos River, serving as a vital transportation link in the late 19th century. Today, it's an official Texas Historic Landmark and holds a special place in the hearts of Waco residents and history enthusiasts. 

The gentle sway of the bridge, a characteristic feature of suspension bridges, adds more fun to your visit. If you love capturing stunning nature photographs or you simply enjoy the serenity of the river, then it is a great spot for you.

Aside from the history and beauty it provides, the bridge also serves as a connection between downtown Waco and Indian Spring Park. You can also take a leisurely stroll from downtown to the park or vice versa, making it a convenient way to explore Waco's urban center. Of course, there’s no admission fee to visit the bridge, so you can walk on it anytime.  

WEBSITE | 101 N University Parks Dr, Waco, TX 76701

9. Check Out Some Waco Coffee Shops

pinewood coffee bar

Leave it to a college town to have some really great coffee shops! Waco’s coffee shop scene has expanded quickly in the past decade, offering unique places to experience locally roasted coffee beans.

Lots of these places have a cozy and inviting ambiance, making them the perfect spots to relax, catch up with friends, or work in a calm atmosphere. 

Waco's coffee shops are hubs for the local community. They frequently host events, live music performances, and open mic nights, creating a vibrant social scene. So if you're looking for something fun to do in Waco, you might find an event at a coffee shop! 

If you are planning to get your coffee in the city, make sure to stop at Pinewood Coffee Bar. It's a local roaster that has a really cool midcentury building. I've written about it here and declared it to be the best coffee shop in Waco. Pinewood's baristas are skilled and passionate about their craft, ensuring that each cup is brewed to perfection. Stop by and give it a try! 

And then if you want to check ou the OG coffee shop in Waco, head to Common Grounds. It's located on Baylor campus. It’s one of the most iconic and coolest coffee shops in Waco, known for its laid-back atmosphere, eclectic outdoor seating, and sugary-super caffeinated bevs to keeps students energized for any all-nighter study sessions. They also host live music events throughout the year. Expect to see lots of Baylor students in there with their laptops. 

And if you’re looking for a slightly more sophisticated coffee experience, Dichotomy is the place to be. They offer a selection of craft coffee and signature cocktails. If you like sitting outdoors, they also have a rooftop terrace with a beautiful courthouse view. 

Whether you're seeking a quiet corner to work, a friendly spot to chat with friends, or a pick-me-up during your travels, Waco coffee shops are a cool way to experience this city's culture. 

10. Horseback Riding at Brazos Bluffs Ranch

Did you know that Waco has really good horseback riding? Horseback riding at Brazos Bluffs Ranch offers visitors an opportunity to connect with nature, experience Texas's rich history, and create cherished memories. If you’re spending more than a day in Waco (say, a short or long weekend) and have some extra time in your schedule, this is an excellent thing to do in Waco. 

The ranch's stunning location along the scenic Brazos River provides a gorgeous backdrop of rolling hills. It's kind of that quintessential Texan scenery. 

What makes it a fun and memorable activity in Waco is its inclusivity—riders of all skill levels, from beginners to experienced equestrians, are welcomed, and expert guides make sure you’re going to have a safe and fun experience. You can also choose what horseback journey you want, including their 90-minute or 2 to 2.25 hours of horseback riding. So if you're a total newbie when it comes to riding, no worries! You'll still enjoy this. 

As you explore the ranch's vast terrain, you'll cross creeks, wind through dense woods, and maybe even encounter native Texas wildlife!

After doing your shopping at Magnolia Market, seeing the busy Baylor campus, and checking out some restaurants, horseback riding is a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life. It’s a great Waco activity for families, couples, and groups, with the ranch offering private rides and the option to host special events. 

For an easy visit, be sure to make reservations in advance, dress appropriately, and don't forget to take advantage of the stunning photo ops! 

WEBSITE | 7007 Gholson Rd, Waco, TX 76705

11. Waco Surf


Waco may be a landlocked city, but Waco Surf brings surfing to the city. This is a great place for all the  surfers out there!

It’s one of the largest inland surfing and water sports facilities in Texas, offering an exhilarating and unique experience to Waco. 

Whether you're an experienced surfer or a beginner, you can catch waves and ride the surf in a controlled environment. It's the perfect place to learn or perfect your skills, and the consistent waves provide an approachable experience for all levels.

You can relax by the water, watch others surf, or simply soak in the Texan sun while enjoying the atmosphere.

If you're a novice, the park provides really great instructors who can help you get started. Aside from surfing they also have a waterpark, cable park, and food and drinks area.

This is a year-round, family-friendly activity that caters to all skill levels, making it a fantastic addition to your Waco itinerary. Just be sure to make reservations in advance, especially on weekends and during peak seasons.

WEBSITE | 5347 Old Mexia Rd, Waco, TX 76705

12. Texas Ranger Museum

Texas Ranger Museum

Calling all history buffs! Spending your time at the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum in Waco, Texas is an enriching experience. This museum allows visitors to delve into the fascinating history and legacy of the Texas Rangers.

The museum boasts a diverse range of interactive exhibits. From authentic artifacts like guns, badges, and the clothing of Rangers to immersive dioramas and video presentations in the theater, you could spend a couple hours here. (Especially if you're the type of museum visitor who likes to read every little thing! There's a lot here.) 

Texas Ranger Museum

The Texas Rangers have played a significant role in shaping the history and culture of Texas. The museum provides a unique opportunity to explore their remarkable legacy, showcasing their contributions to law enforcement, frontier justice, and maintaining peace in a rugged and often lawless land.

They’re open from 9 am to 5 pm but closed for Thanksgiving, Christmas & New Year. They also have a gift shop...in case you’re not all “shopped out” from visiting Magnolia Market!

For admission, adults are $10, children (6-12) are $4, children under 6 are free, seniors (60+) are $8, and anyone with a Military ID is $8.

WEBSITE | 100 Texas Ranger Trail, Waco, TX 76706

13. Camp Fimfo


Waco is renowned for its stunning natural landscapes, and Camp Fimfo RV resort + campgrounds take full advantage of its surroundings. Nestled in a pretty greenspace, it offers views for days and exciting activities.

Whether you're into outdoor activities like water sports or just hope to unwind in a calm setting, the resort's natural beauty is an attraction in itself.

Camp Fimfo Resort caters to a wide range of interests. From bird feeding and outdoor sports to water sports and zip lines, there are plenty of outdoor activities to choose from!

If relaxation is on your agenda, the upscale RV sites are an easy place to stay for a few nights. They also offer boutique cabins and comfy tent sites.

Kids love this place because they provide facilities and programs designed for kids like a water park, pool, and playground! Plus, Camp Fimfo often hosts special seasonal events.

Looking for budget-friendly things to do in Waco? Camp Fimfo might be a great fit for you. They have lots of offers that you can enjoy on a budget. Tent camping starts at just $49 per night, and you’ll have access to the Guadalupe river for some fun summer swimming.

All in all, Camp Fimfo Resort is a haven for nature lovers, adventure seekers, and those looking to unwind in the great outdoors. {Photo: Camp Fimfo}

WEBSITE | 1000 Chickadee Ln, Waco, TX 76708

14. See a Football Game at Mclane Stadium

McLane Stadium

Seeing a football game at McLane Stadium is not only a crazy fun sports experience but also an excellent way to immerse yourself in the vibrant Waco culture

Built in 2014, McLane Stadium is Baylor’s football stadium that seats 45,000 fans. It has comfortable seating, excellent sight lines, and first-class hospitality services. It's located on the northern edge the Brazos River, and you'll see it every time you drive north on I35. 

If you plan to visit Waco around a game that interests you, make sure to check the schedule, whether it's college football, high school games, or other sporting events. For tickets, make sure to purchase them in advance, especially for high-demand games. Ticket prices vary depending on the game and seat location.

WEBSITE | 1001 S M.L.K. Jr Blvd, Waco, TX 76704

15. Paddle Board in Waco

Brazos River in Waco

Paddle boarding in Waco is not only a fantastic way to explore the beautiful natural surroundings, but it's also a fun outdoor activity to throw into the mix after lots of shopping and eating! 

Waco is fortunate to have plenty of bodies of water which offer excellent spots for paddle boarding. The quiet waters and warm weather make Waco a great spot to SUP or kayak. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced paddler, this sport can cater to all skill levels.

There are plenty of paddle board rental shops in Waco that offer different types of boards, from standard paddle boards to kayaks and even pedal boats.  The two most popular locations for paddle boarding in Waco are the Brazos River and Lake Waco. 

16. Eat At Some Waco Restaurants

Eggs at Milo All Day in Waco

No, it’s not quite on the national food map just yet…but the food scene in Waco is quickly expanding and it’s becoming its own food destination!

Waco has a diverse restaurant scene that showcases Texan and Southern eats, as well as a variety of other types of cuisine. 

Of course, eating at restaurants when you travel isn’t just about eating delicious food; it's also a cool way to immerse yourself in the local culture and culinary scene.

One of the most famous restaurants in Waco, founded by Chip and Joanna Gaines of HGTV's "Fixer Upper" fame, is Magnolia Table. If you're visiting on the weekend and hope to get in for brunch, make a reservation! It’s best known for its farm-fresh, Southern-inspired menu. 

And who would say no to a steak dinner?  Onethirthyfive Prime specializes in top-notch steaks, and their menu typically includes a variety of cuts. It's a destination for Waco residents who appreciate fine dining.  

And if you ask about that restaurant that every local loves, it’s Milo All Day (commonly known as Milo.) The design is absolutely adorable, and the restaurant provides a comfortable and laid-back ambiance. Whether you're looking for a casual brunch, a cozy dinner, or a relaxed lunch, Milo is a popular spot for both locals and visitors. Every weekend, many locals line up here to dine in (especially when there's a Baylor football home game!)

17. Waco Sculpture Zoo

Waco Sculpture Zoo

Not to be confused with the Cameron Park Zoo, the Waco Sculpture Zoo is free, open all day every day, and...made entirely of sculptures! 

The anicaml sculptures here are strategically placed along the river, allowing visitors to view them as they're traveling along the river path. Whether you're strolling, cycling, or enjoying a riverside picnic, you can enjoy the beauty of this art. 

The Waco Sculpture Zoo features 28 artworks that vary in style, form, and materials. These sculptures represent animals found in Cameron Park Zoo or native to the region.

Waco Sculpture Zoo

The sculptures are now a part of the City of Waco's public art collection, which is very cool! The installation process, led by the City of Waco, showcased the city's commitment to promoting art in public spaces. (Good job, Waco.)

This ambitious project is the result of collaborative efforts from Creative Waco, local and national artists, private donors, and the Waco community.

Visiting the Waco Sculpture Zoo is an opportunity to connect with nature, culture, and art. It's a wonderful addition to Waco's vibrant arts scene and offers a fun way to spend time outdoors while exploring the creative expressions of talented artists from across the United States.

WEBSITE | 407 N University Parks Dr, Waco, TX 76701

18. Lake Waco

Lake Waco is a reservoir nestled behind a dam situated to the west of the city of Waco. It has 77,000 acres of surface water and 60 miles of shoreline, so the lake provides a nice backdrop for various outdoor adventures.

The Texas water and the serene environment make it an ideal place to escape the city and enjoy nature, and it’s only a 20 minute drive from downtown Waco and Baylor University!

The lake offers a wide range of outdoor activities. It's a popular destination for locals and tourists alike. Boating, fishing, swimming, and hiking are the most popular options available. You can rent boats or bring your own and spend a day on the water, or explore the hiking trails around the lake if it’s a nice day.

Lake Waco is actually a very popular fishing spot in Central Texas. Anglers come here to catch a variety of fish species, including catfish, bass, and crappie. Here's a fun fact: the largest catfish caught from here was 59.5 pounds! Wowza!

Aside from fishing and boating, the surrounding parkland is also home to a range of Texas wildlife. Birdwatchers will appreciate the opportunity to spot various bird species, and you might even catch a glimpse of deer, raccoons, and other local wildlife.

Visiting Lake Waco is an excellent way to connect with nature and enjoy the outdoors in Waco. 

19. Fixer Upper Tour


Ok, this can’t be a complete guide to things to do in Waco Texas without mentioning the show that has recently made this town famous! 

Waco is home to so many houses and properties that have been transformed by Chip and Joanna Gaines. Some of these homes, often referred to as "Fixer Uppers," are open for tours, giving visitors the opportunity to witness the remarkable renovations and design transformations showcased on the tv show.

There are actually several tour companies in Waco that offer different Fixer Upper tour packages, so research and choose the one that suits your interests and preferences.

A Fixer Upper Tour is perfect for the true fans that want to immerse themselves in the world of the popular HGTV show "Fixer Upper," hosted by Chip and Joanna Gaines. 

A tour often includes a visit to the famous Magnolia Market at the Silos (mentioned earlier). So if you’re doing a Fixer Upper tour, you might want to hold off on visiting Magnolia Market on your own until the tour takes you there…unless you want to visit it twice! 

These tours can get pretty popular, so book in advance if you’re able.

20. Tour Balcones Distilling

Balcones Distilling

Balcones is an award-winning distillery, and it's located right in the heart of downtown Waco! This is one of the most famous whisky distilleries in Texas, so visiting it and touring the property is a bucket list item for many whisky aficionados.

Make your tour reservation in advance, especially if you're stopping by on the weekend. If you arrive early, you can enjoy a flight or do some shopping in the tasting room. They also have beer on tap here - Balcones has a micro brewery component in addition to whisky! There are typically about 4 beers on tap.

Tours last about one hour, and your guide will provide an in-depth history of Balcones and an explanation of the whisky-making process, from grain to glass.

At the end of the tour, guests get to enjoy a guided tasting with other tour participants. It's a really fun activity to do in Waco, great to experience year-round, and highly memorable!

WEBSITE | 225 S 11th St, Waco, TX 76701