Waco, Texas, may not be the most popular travel destination in the Lone Star State, but it definitely has plenty of activities that will make your trip unforgettable. Waco is home to Baylor University, the home decor mecca known as Magnolia Market, and is known as the birthplace of Dr. Pepper. Those are just a few of the things that put Waco on the map, but there are also museums, outdoor recreation, and shopping to enjoy while staying in this Central Texas town. Embrace all Waco has to offer by experiencing these top things to do in Waco, Texas.
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Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum
The Texas Rangers serve as an important part of the state’s history. Therefore, it’s only fitting to have a hall of fame and museum honoring these Texas heroes. The Texas Rangers are law enforcement officers who lead major criminal investigations. The Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum features exhibits and memorabilia from the Texas Rangers, which have been in operation since 1823.
Dr. Pepper Museum
A true Texan can’t help but love the taste of Dr. Pepper, especially a Texan from Waco. Dr. Pepper was created in Waco by Charles Alderton in the 1880s, making it the oldest major soft drink manufacturer in the United States. Since Waco is home to Dr. Pepper, a museum surrounding the soft drink was erected for tourists and locals alike to learn more about the past and future of the beloved drink. At the museum, you can take a tour of the 100-year-old bottling plant and witness how the flavors of the drink are crafted. Browse the exhibits, learn about the history and quench your thirst at the soda fountain.
Magnolia Market at the Silos
Magnolia Market at the Silos has grown into one of the main attractions Waco has to offer. This market center is owned by Chip and Joanna Gaines, the stars of the HGTV show Fixer Upper. Magnolia Market isn’t just a hot spot for home decor, but also a great place to get a good bite to eat or simply enjoy the outdoors. Ten different food trucks are there to feed the shopping masses at the 50-year-old barn and silos. Stay at one of these top hotels near Magnolia Market for easy access to the shopping mecca.
Waco Mammoth National Monument
Explore a unique paleontological site at Waco Mammoth National Monument. Made into a National Monument in 2015, this five-acre area is home to the fossil remains of Columbian Mammoths, which were related to the Woolly Mammoth. The site is particularly special since it’s the country’s only recorded finding of a herd of Pleistocene mammoths. View the bones of both female and male mammoths, estimated at 67,000 years old.
Texas Sports Hall of Fame
Sports fans should not pass up a visit to the Texas Sports Hall of Fame while in Waco. Here, Texas athletes and coaches are honored through memorabilia exhibits and an interactive tour. This 35,000-square-foot space highlights more than 300 different Texas sports icons, like Roger Clemens, Darrell Royal, and Troy Aikman, among others. Not only does the museum touch on national leagues but also high school football stars too.
Cameron Park Zoo
Cameron Park Zoo is one of the top attractions to explore in Waco. Spanning 52 acres within Waco’s 416-acre Cameron Park, this zoo is home to more than 1,700 animals and over 300 different species. Visitors can stroll through the numerous natural habitats like the South American animal exhibit, the African Savanna exhibit, Bald Eagle habitat and many more.
Waco Downtown Farmers Market
If you are looking for something to do in Waco on a Saturday morning, head to the Waco Downtown Farmers Market. Not only can you get some great organic fruits and veggies, but also find local vendors selling handmade goods, wines, cheeses, flowers, fresh juice and more. Occasionally, there is live music. Also, a number of food trucks are set up selling anything from coffee to pizza.
After visiting the zoo, spend some time exploring the rest of Cameron Park. Perfect for a picnic or a run, this park is a great spot to embrace the outdoors in Waco. This 416-acre urban park has 15 miles of biking and hiking trails and is a budget-friendly spot to explore. Since it sits along the Brazos River, the area is quite scenic too.
Homestead Heritage is a unique place in Waco to find handmade goods, learn handy skills, and understand farming and agriculture. Homestead Heritage is more than just a place, it’s a community. Established in 1973, this agricultural, Christian-based community offers courses and sells goods. It promotes peace, friendship, and education on a picturesque piece of land in Waco.
Waco is home to Baylor University, therefore many visitors flock to Waco simply to attend college or a football game. This university is actually the oldest operating university in the Lone Star State. However, even if you’re not a student or a football fan, Baylor University has a lot to offer to the traveler. The grounds are worth a stroll or visit landmarks such as the Robbins Chapel or The Mayborn Museum.
BSR Cable Park
Cool off during the hot Waco summer at BSR Cable Park. This unique park is a water sports facility on a 12-acre lake. BSR is a great place to visit even if you’re not a water skier or wakeboarder. This spot is home to the longest lazy river in the world and three huge water slides. For those wanting to have some outdoor water fun in Waco, BSR Cable Park is the place to visit.