the old barn

The Best Waco Visitors Guide : Get the full Texas Experience

January 28, 2023

This Waco Visitors Guide is packed with ideas for shopping, dining and entertainment in and around Waco, Texas

I have lived in Texas my whole life and been TO and through Waco many times.

Even so, never in a million years could I have imagined I’d be writing a guide to Waco, but here we go!

Now that Waco has become a Mecca that home decor lovers pay homage to, it seems like it’s a good time to share a little bit of what I know and have learned.

Whether you’re going to Waco for a girls trip, retreat, family reunion, antique hunting, or just being dragged along by your antique-hunting wife, I hope you find some useful tips in this post.

…and as always if you have ideas or tips to share, I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

As a proud native Texan, I love to share (and maybe brag a little) about this great state and all the unique experiences, flavors, and customs! If you love to get the LOCAL experience when you travel, this guide is for YOU!

In this post:

What to expect by season

Dining in Waco

Shopping in Waco

Where to Stay


Which Season?

Waco Visitors Guide : What Time of year to visit

There are certain times of the year you may prefer to travel to Waco, TX.

Different seasons offer different experiences.


Spring is a great time to visit Texas. The weather is nice and not as hot as summer. Usually Spring temperatures in Texas are in the 60s-80s depending on how early or late in the season. March can still be a little chilly in Waco, and May can start to get warm, but most days are quite pleasant.

Another bonus of visiting Texas in the Spring: the bluebonnets are blooming! Our state flower lines the highways from late March to early May. Ennis, Texas is known for their annual bluebonnet festival and is on the way to Waco from DFW. (More about bluebonnets HERE)


Summer in Texas is hot (and often humid). Come prepared with lightweight cool clothes, hats, and sunscreen.

With schools out, you may see more families traveling. The Magnolia Markets are very family friendly. (More about that HERE)

In the Summer, you may want to consider renting a house with a pool or on a lake near Waco.


Fall is a great time to visit Texas. Temperatures usually start to cool down late September, but for your best shot at cool weather, I suggest waiting until at least the 3rd week of October. November (and December) are often very nice in Texas too. Not too warm, not too cold.

The State Fair of Texas (in Dallas) usually runs Mid September-mid October and is definitely a TEXAS experience.


Y’all, it almost never snows in Waco, Texas, or even gets cold enough to snow. So, Winter is just as good a time as any to visit! The coldest temps are usually in January and February.

A green and brown rural landscape leading into a bright blue ocean and slightly cloudy sky, done in oil paints.


Waco Visitors Guide to Dining and Eating in Waco

I am ALL for experiencing local and iconic favorites when I travel. This list of my personal recommendations will give you a wide range to choose from and a few surprising places that are essential for out-of-state travelers. This is not an exhaustive list of every restaurant but it is a pared-down list so you can decide quickly and easily.

Magnolia Table

I just have 2 words: COME HUNGRY

(Or share with a friend.)

Not to miss: 2 more words: BUTTER FLIGHT …with a Basket of Biscuits.

Expect a wait for large parties and on weekends, or arrive early (at opening) to avoid a wait. They do have nice tents and covered seating for those waiting, and of course lots of photo ops around the building.

There’s also a small market on the opposite corner of the building from the host stand, where you can shop while you wait.

Reservations are available for parties up to 6 people, up to 30 days in advance.

Union Hall

Lots of small walk-up eateries where everyone can order and pay for their own meal.

Great for large groups or families who want different things.

There’s extra seating on the second floor, which we found helpful when visiting with a group of 12.

Inside Union Hall – one of 3 or 4 aisles with various eateries to choose from

Silos Baking Co.

On Magnolia Market property in downtown Waco the line usually wraps around the side of the building. On this day (line as shown in picture to the left), the line took about 20-25 minutes to get to order. Our orders were handed to us within 1-2 minutes after paying.

Want to skip the wait? you have 2 options:

  1. Get there as they open or arrive late afternoon, at about 5pm (they close at 6).
  2. Preorder 48 hours in advance for takeaway. You must order 3 dozen items for this option.

There’s a little bit of patio seating on the other side of the building.

My fave flavors: Silobration, Strawberries and Cream.

Hecho En Waco

If you’re from out of state, you need to have Tex Mex while visiting Texas! This is a great option.

Tex Mex with a fun atmosphere located within a short walking distance of Magnolia Market on 6th street.

Indoor and Patio seating.

Hey Sugar

Candy Shop with fun vibrant murals and photo ops.

Short walking distance from Magnolia Market.

Murals at Hey Sugar include a giant green gummy bear and jar of candy

Backyard Bar and Grill

You can catch awesome live music here in a fun atmosphere.

Dining by Category:

This is not a list of ALL the restaurants in Waco, but these are ones recommended by me and my very brilliant and helpful Instagram friends. You can skip to the category you’re looking for:

>>> American + Southern Restaurants <<<


Good food, Bar and Grill atmosphere.

Noteworthy because Pat Green, a Texas country music icon, wrote/sang a song about it.

I highly recommend listening to Pat Green and all the Texas Music artists while driving around Waco and Texas. Here’s a playlist for you!

Milo All Day

Southern comfort food is scratch-made using the best, Texas-sourced ingredients of the season. Reservations are available.

Olive Branch

Salads, sandwiches, and other bistro fare, bakery too!

Rudy’s BBQ

Texas is known for Bar B Que and Rudy’s does it so well in a down-to-earth, true-to-Texas way. They also sell bottles of sauce and rub to take home to your husband, who will then “need” you to go back to Waco again when he runs out… win-win!

Schmaltz Sandwich Shop

Delicious sandwiches, fresh salads and hot soups.

Tejun – Texas Cajun Restaurant

Local hotspot, with amazing food.

Twisted Root

Really good big burgers with lots of options, including bison or chicken as the protein.

Vitek’s BBQ

One informed/experienced Instagram friend says: ” Seriously Best BBQ, Get the Gut Pak!”


If you’re from out of state, you must experience this Texas treasure and the best fast food burger and fries in America.

I am a fan of the good ol’ Whataburger (#1 meal).

The ketchup is its own thing too …and now you can buy a whole bottle of Whataburger Ketchup at H.E.B.

>>> Coffee <<<

Common Grounds


Pinewood Coffee Bar

>>> Mexican + TexMex Restaurants <<<


Good Tex Mex option (When in Texas…) Pro Tip: When they bring your chips and salsa to the table ask for a side of Creamy Jalapeño (it’s not that spicy and its free), dip your chips in it…you’re welcome!

Hecho En Waco

Tex Mex with a fun atmosphere located within short walking distance of Magnolia Market on 6th street.


A TexMex legacy. The green sauce is my fave!

>>> Fast Food + Food Trucks + Food Hall<<<

Food Trucks inside the Magnolia Market courtyards

Lots of great options, the grilled cheese truck is a fave and of course, the Iced Tea truck- it’s $9 but you get to keep the cute XL glass jar and straw it comes in.


There’s only one fast-food restaurant worth mentioning. If you’re from out of state, you must experience this Texas treasure and the best fast food burger and fries in America.

The ketchup is its own thing too …and now you can buy a whole bottle of Whataburger Ketchup at H.E.B.

Union Hall

Lots and lots of walk-up/carry-out service counters. All kinds of foods, drinks, and desserts, even a bar.

>>> Bar & Grill <<<


Noteworthy because Pat Green, a Texas country music icon, wrote/sang a song about this place.

Backyard Bar & Grill

Great live music and an outdoor stage.

>>> Mediterranean + Italian <<<

Alpha Omega Grill and Bakery

Alpha Omega’s kitchen is visible from the seating area, allowing guests to experience the food being prepared. Fresh bread, pastries, and gelato are made daily.

With a self-serve style, the customer is able to choose a long-neck beer or a nice wine to pair with their meal. Inside or outside on our patio area in view of the historic Alico building lights.

Di Campili’s Italian Restaurant

Authentic Italian Experience with exceptional service, delicious food, and a family environment.

>>> Desserts and Pastries <<<

Czech Bakery

Located on I-35 in the town of West, TX just north of Waco, but it’s a must-stop for all Texas road trips and it’s on the way to and from Dallas/DFW if you’re going that way.

Kolaches and pastries! need I say more?

What’s a kolache? It’s ham or sausage or fruit inside a soft buttery pastry.

Alpha Omega Grill and Bakery

Alpha Omega’s kitchen is visible from the seating area, allowing guests to experience the food being prepared. Fresh bread, pastries, and gelato are made daily.

>>> Grocery <<<


Our beloved Texas grocery store chain, has great sushi, wines, cheeses, Whataburger ketchup, Blue Bell Ice Cream, Texas coffee, and everything else you’d expect to find at a grocery store.

What to Listen to as you drive around Texas

These songs are all by Texas artists and singer-songwriters and many are about the great state of Texas.


A visitors guide to great shops in and around Waco, Texas

Magnolia Market

Magnolia Little Shop on Bosque

Junque in the Trunk


Spice Village

Simply Irresistable


Things to do and see in and around Waco

Backyard Bar and Grill

Great Live Music with outdoor stage, bar food and drinks. Next door to The Findery.

Bluebonnets (In the Spring


Cameron Park and Zoo

2601 N University Parks Dr, Waco, TX 76708

photo of Jessica of Old Barn Design weraing a white and black triped shirt in front of a rustic barn door with balck hinges

Hello! I’m Jessica, wife to Cody, and mom to 2 boys and a girl, who are SO lucky because everyday with me is like an episode of carpool karaoke! They get a ride and a show! (What I lack in talent, I make up for in loudness and enthusiasm). I have a background in architecture and designed this home that we just built in a small Texas town. We self-contracted the build…and we are still finishing up a few projects. Oh! And our Floor Plans are available on this website. Most days you can find me on Instagram @the.old.barn so come say hi!

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