“There’s nothing to do in Waco.”
This was a common sentiment among me and my friends throughout college. When it came to the weekends (or weekdays for that matter), we would consistently find ourselves sitting around trying to figure out what in the world to do with our lives and our free time in Waco.
But much has changed in Waco in the past several years. Now, when I think about what to do at night or on the weekend the phrase is not, “What’s there to do in Waco,” but instead, “What part of Waco do I want to experience today?”
My family and I have a few go-to, tried-and-true Waco sites that we visit on a consistent basis, but I thought I would toss the net wide to others in our community and ask for their favorite things to do in our great city.
The response was overwhelming!
For several days, college students, young professionals, retirees, parents with kids and even new-to-towners shared their Waco favorites.
The list ran pretty long, so I decided to break it up into a few different categories including Off the Beaten Path Must Do’s, Local Eateries, and Overall Top Vote Getters. Check out the lists (keep coming back when you need some ideas).
Off the Beaten Path Must Do’s:
- Homestead Heritage
- Go there on Saturday mornings for breakfast (order the Sweet Potato pancakes – with angel kisses topping) and then walk around all the shops and observe people working at their crafts- woodworking, pottery, etc.
- Lake Waco Wetlands
- Visit the wetlands and take a beautiful scenic walk around the area that includes some incredible local wildlife.
- Slippery Minnow
- Catch some live music, watch the sunset on Lake Waco and enjoy a nice chicken sandwich.
- The Slippery Minnow is currently closed for the season, but will reopen in the spring.
- Lula Janes
- Owner Nancy Grayson started Lula Jane’s after launching the Rapaport Academy in East Waco. The food here is fresh, with one entrée to choose from per day and an assortment of delicious home-baked goods.
- World Cup Café
- Mission Waco launched the World Cup Café several years ago as a catalyst for economic development in the Northside neighborhood. Since that time it has become a hub for great conversations and down home comfort food.
- Common Grounds and Dichotomy
- If you need a little pick me up either early in the morning or late at night, these are your go-to places. Their styles could not be more different, but they are both great places to grab a nice hot drink and sit down for some cool conversations.
- Try Common Ground’s Cowboy Coffee for a caffeine boost, or Dichotomy’s pure cane sugar Dr Pepper paired with a shot of espresso for something new.
- If you didn’t know that breakfast tacos were such a thing, visit Lolita’s and order the Elefante and your life will never be the same.
- George’s, Viteks
- If you need to get in touch with your inner meat lover, then be sure to check out Vitek’s Gut Pak or George’s world famous chicken fried steak (or chicken).
- Dessert – Katie’s Custard, Heritage Creamery, Pokey O’s
- Your late night dessert cravings should never be neglected with this delectable assortment of dessert places in Waco. Whether it’s the harvest cyclone from Katie’s Custard or the ooey gooey goodness of an ice cream sandwich from Pokey O’s, you will be sure to find sugary goodness at one of these stops.
- Health Camp
- Health Camp offers some of the best burgers, fries and milkshakes in town. And don’t be deceived by the name…there’s nothing healthy about it, but it sure is good.
Top Vote Getters:
- Cameron Park
- In the heart of downtown sits the second largest inner city park in America (just after Central Park in NYC). This park boasts some of the state’s best mountain biking trails, miles of running trails, two disc golf courses, the indomitable Jacobs Ladder and incredible views from Lover s Leap and Lawson’s Point (ahem…).
- Cameron Park Zoo
- If you thought you heard a lion in the woods of Cameron Park, you’re not crazy. The Cameron Park Zoo is smack dab in the middle of the park and boasts an incredible array of animals including lions, tigers and of course bears!
- Baylor Campus
- Walk around campus, swing on the green and gold swings, see the new business school, run the bear trail, see the bears and enjoy the new Baylor Fountain on Fountain Mall.
- Farmers Market
- One of the greatest improvements in the life of our city over the past few years has definitely been the growth and development of the Farmers Market on the River on Saturday mornings. With live music and local goodness from some of our favorites like Cheddar Box, Sergios and Co-Town Crepes, this is definitely the place to be on Saturday mornings.
- Enjoy the Brazos
- With a river that runs through the heart of our city, it is definitely something worth exploring. Whether it is kayaking or catching some waves on a wake board behind a boat, there is plenty of fun to be had on the water.
- If you’re not one for getting wet, you can have a great time walking along the suspension bridge and riverfront trail and enjoying Indian Springs Park (just look for the cow statues).
Things that you should check out at Least Once:
- World Hunger Relief Farm, Mammoth Site, Dr Pepper Museum, Waco Symphony, Art Center of Waco and of course the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame.
- Magnolia Silos, In N’ Out Burger
As you can see, there are plenty of things to do in Waco. So go ahead and get out there, explore, invest in our beautiful city and bring others along with you!
By Josh Lawson, Director of Community Engagement