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Plan A Girls Weekend In Waco, Texas

Updated: Apr 24, 2023



People usually know about Waco because of one of three reasons:

1) They live in Texas.

2) They attend Baylor University or have a child who attends Baylor University.

3) They love Chip and Joanna Gaines and long to visit Magnolia.


From my conversations, I would say the most popular one is the third. I mean, who hasn't heard of Chip and Joanna? Even if you aren't entirely sure who they are, you've likely watched one of their episodes or seen their Magnolia home goods line in Target.


But the Magnolia Market isn't the only thing you can do in Waco, and especially not the only place you can shop for home goods. Not to be stereotypical, but this makes it a great girls trip destination. So if you've always wanted to visit, perhaps it's time to grab your girlfriends, hit the road to Texas and plan a weekend of fun.



What You'll Find In This Post

Where To Visit


 

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Where To Shop

You can truly shop 'til you drop in Waco because there are SO many stores and markets. But where you should go depends on the type of shopping experience you like or the items you're looking for. This section will give you an idea of what the city has to offer those looking to window shop and those ready to spend a pretty penny.



Magnolia


Obviously, the most popular place to peruse is Magnoli. To give you some background, Magnolia is a 2-block shopping complex in the middle of Waco. Chip and Joanna have basically created their own little empire here. There are two tall silos marking the location, and you can pay to tour them. In the middle of the complex is a big, green yard where you can chill and a small baseball field if playing a game sounds fun while you're visiting.


Surrounding this yard are shops, including Magnolia Market, Magnolia Home, Magnolia Seed + Supply, Ferny's Retro Plant Shop, Chapter 1 (books and paper collection), No. 16 (modern and retro goods), Tried & True (jewelry, bags, accessories), Vie Bien Aimee (bath and body), and Reverie (women's clothing). I, of course, loved Chapter 1 because of all the notebooks and stationary.


And when it comes to food, you won't go hungry. The Magnolia Press Coffee Co. and Silos Baking Co. are open in the morning, and food trucks sit around the yard and are open at different times throughout the day. Off-complex, you can also have breakfast or lunch at Magnolia Table. Although my friend and I didn't have time to eat there, it was pretty booked, so I suggest making a reservation, especially if you have multiple people in your group or are there on a weekend.


Despite all of these things to see and do, my favorite place on the property is The Old Church. It was built in 1894 and is one of the oldest churches in Waco. Joanna had the abandoned building moved to the complex and renovated, and it's beautiful!



Homestead Heritage


This is most likely an unpopular opinion, but I thought Homestead Heritage was much more enjoyable than Magnolia. Honestly, though, it probably has to do with my style of shopping (which is the I-don't-like-shopping kind) and what I like to buy. While Magnolia sells pristine, manufactured items, Homestead Heritage sells homemade and local items, so no two are the same.


Homestead Heritage is its own complex out in the country. In fact, it calls itself "an agrarian- and craft-based intentional Christian community." And it's a big community. When my friend and I turned into the parking lot, we saw two buildings and were like "oh, okay, I guess that's it." But after we explored those, we drove further and our words turned into, "Oh, all this is it, too!?" There's actually so much to do, see and shop for that there's a map for the complex.


But let's start with the shops. There's a market, general store, sewing shop, pottery shop, woodworking shop, fiber crafts shop, basket shop, blacksmith shop, cheese shop and The Barn, which sells an assortment of things. What makes these stores even cooler is that you can actually watch men and women making the items you'll be buying. For example, in the fiber crafts shop, you'll see weavers, spinners and knitters creating rugs, pot holders, clothing, etc. Additionally, you can learn each of the crafts yourself if you want to by purchasing the necessary materials and/or taking a class. For instance, the woodworking shop had a 6-week course when I visited.


When it comes to what you can do at Homestead Heritage, in addition to watching the skilled workmen and women, you can grab something to eat and/or drink. There's Red Wagon Barbecue or Cafe Homestead if you want a meal, and a waffle restaurant is opening soon. Or there's a coffee shop or tea house if something to drink suits you better. You can also buy snacks and other foods at the General Store and Brazos Valley Cheese.


Don't forget to do plenty of walking while you're at Homestead Heritage so that you see everything, including the cheese cellar and the gristmill (it houses the tea shop), which you can tour. Using the walking paths, consider taking a look at the gardening and livestock areas. There are educational signs along the way, and demonstrations are going to be offered in the future.



Fabled Bookshop & Café


As a writer, I'm also a big reader, so although I may not love to shop in general, I'll definitely go into a bookstore. And I'll ALWAYS stop by Fabled Bookshop & Café in Waco when I'm in town for several reasons.


Firstly, the aesthetic is cute, organized and clean but not stiff. I also really like the logo, which has an Old English and fantasy feel, so I even bought a shirt. Secondly, I appreciate any bookstore where the employees offer book reviews and suggestions. You can find these throughout the shop. Finally, the children's area can be entered through a "Narnia wardrobe," and any bookstore that has that gets five gold stars from me!


(And, of course, there's a café too, but I wasn't able to order anything when I was there, so I can't comment on it.)


Other Shopping Ideas


I've only highlighted the biggest shopping spots and my favorite store so far, but there are plenty of other places to peruse. The Findery is catty-corner from the Magnolia Market. It includes several floors with home goods and furniture plus boutique clothing. Spice Village is a shopping area with a collection of items from more than 60 different small stores and boutiques. It's pretty overwhelming, but you might find some things you love there.


The list goes on from here, but those are the only other places I went in. So, do some research and figure out what other individual stores you might be interested in visiting.



Where To Visit

If you're not into shopping or like a little variance in your traveling, this section will give you all the top things to do in Waco, plus my opinion on some of them.


Dr Pepper Museum


I actually really enjoyed the Dr Pepper Museum, and I'm not even a soda drinker. There are several floors in the first building, and other activities in the second. You'll learn all about the history of bubbly drinks and Dr Pepper specifically, the people who made it what it is today, the evolution of Dr Pepper advertising and more. There are various hands-on exhibits throughout the museum for kids (and, in reality, adults too). You can also "invent your own soda," which I think is a fun activity for families, and buy a Dr Pepper float, which people of all ages enjoy.


Hours: Monday - Saturday 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Sunday 12 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Price: $10 for adults, children and other specific personnel range from $6-$8


Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum


In my opinion, you have to be pretty interested in Texas rangers to enjoy this museum. There are many photos and artworks about the various rangers over the years, artifacts and firearms and historical displays. Although the exhibits haven't been modernized, there are more than you expect when looking at the outside of the building. There's also a video and a gift shop.


Hours: Sunday - Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Price: $10 for adults, children and other specific personnel range from $0-$8


Waco Mammoth National Monument


I really wanted to go to the Waco Mammoth National Monument, but we ran out of time on my most recent trip. This site has mammoth fossils for viewing. You can go on a self-guided tour or a guided tour, during which you will learn about fossils, the Ice Age and the history of this site.


Hours: Sunday - Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Price: $6 for adults, children, other specific personnel and groups range from $0-$5



Some other places you can visit that we didn't have time for were the following: Texas Sports Hall of Fame, Mayborn Museum, Cameron Park Zoo, and Armstrong Browning Library and Museum.



Where To Walk

Some people may not think this is an activity worth putting on a travel blog post, but I find that a walk, especially on a girls trip, is one of the best ways to chat and enjoy each other's company. At least, it's a good idea to have a few spots on hand for those in your group who are early birds and active.


As mentioned above, Homestead Heritage is a nice area to walk, though you won't have as long of trails as some other places. Another option is the East Riverwalk, which is paved and has city views. If you're looking to be surrounded by nature, Cameron Park is absolutely beautiful. The trails are nice along the river, spacious but surrounded by woods. You can figure out the best way to get to it after you park by looking on AllTrails. You'll likely run into some runners and bikers early in the morning, but that means you'll also beat the heat.


There are a few other parks in Waco that are walkable, so have those in your group who are interested research their options.



Where To Eat

Per usual, I will never recommend a restaurant unless I've been there. So while this list might be short, I'll continue adding to it after my next trip to Waco (whenever that will be) because it obviously needs brunch recommendations. Yes, I went to a few more food places than this, but I also only include restaurants if I really enjoyed their food and overall experience. And, as always, this list does include dessert. ;)


Coffee


Magnolia Press: This coffee shop is hopping! Not only does it have good drinks (according to my friend) as well as baked goods, but it's also located on the Magnolia complex, so this is another reason for its many visitors. Consider grabbing a cup to go and begin exploring the the shops and other sites.


Lunch


Revival Eastside Eatery: This restaurant prides itself in selling food with Texas-sourced ingredients. And by food, I mean salads, sandwiches and burgers, and my burger and salad were delicious! Revival Eastside Eatery would be a hip lunch place to bring the gals. Just be sure to call ahead and reserve a table or be prepared to wait. And if you're interested in a fun fact, this restaurant's building actually used to be a church, which is why it's called Revival Eastside Eatery. But even better, its dishes are all named something Biblical, and some of them are pretty fun if I don't say so myself!


Lunch/Dinner


Clay Pot Restaurant: Although I don't have much experience with Vietnamese food, I really liked this restaurant. The meals are on the cheaper side but include large portions, and they were also brought out to us quickly. I had fried rice with pork, and I believe my friend had Clay Pot, which is basically vegetables and protein. But Clay Pot (the restaurant) also has egg rolls and spring rolls, dumplings, pho and other soups, and many more dishes to choose from.



Dessert


Heritage Creamery: I'm always on the lookout for great ice cream shops, and my sister recommended we try Heritage Creamery. It's located near Baylor University's campus (so good luck skipping out on the Freshman 15, college kids!) and also has a van for catering events that sits out front. You can order scoops, sandwiches, shakes, floats, pints and even cookies. The little shop is also on-trend with its ice cream flights. (Take a look at the photo above.) We ordered a flight with coffee, mint chip (which uses real mint), dark chocolate, and duck fat caramel (don't be deceived ... this one was really good). Heritage Creamery prides itself in sourcing locally and responsibly. I love that you can taste the freshness when you eat the ice cream.


Milk Bottle Cookies: This shop might have the biggest purchasable cookies I've ever seen, which is also why they're around $5 a piece. They're large in width as well as extremely fluffy yet doughy, so you can get sick off of one (though my friend and I did eat most of four of them in one night lol). And did I mention they're delicious? Milk Bottle Cookies offers many of the cookie staples, including chocolate chip, peanut butter, snickerdoodle, etc., but it also has a gluten-free cookie and changes its menu all the time to include seasonal options, which can be really fun.


Where To Stay

There were a lot of exciting and unique Airbnb options near Waco, but unfortunately, we were too late in grabbing one. But I would check those out first unless your group prefers a hotel. We stayed at Hyatt Place Waco, which was very nice and included a well-rounded hotel breakfast.



Potential Itinerary

This itinerary will likely appeal to big shoppers, but there are also some other activities scattered throughout, making it a great schedule for a girls weekend.


Friday


8 AM — Magnolia Press Coffee Co.

9 AM — Magnolia, Silos Baking Co., The Findery, and other shops

12 PM — Lunch

2 PM — Dr Pepper Museum

4 PM — Fabled Bookshop and Café

5 PM — Dinner (and however you want to spend your evening)


Saturday


8 AM — Cameron Park for a morning walk

9 AM — Downtown Farmers Market

10 AM — Brunch

12 PM — Homestead Heritage (if you get hungry again, you can eat here)

3 PM — Heritage Creamery for ice cream

4 PM — A Museum (your choice)

6 PM — Nice Dinner (get dressed up and go out!)


Sunday


8 AM — Breakfast (your choice)

9 AM — Final Activity (your choice)

Head Home


 

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