My mom, sister and I have always daydreamed about going to Magnolia in Waco, TX. Then one day, we sort of looked at each other like, “Well why the heck not!?” And we booked our tickets! We left Friday and returned Monday and it was a perfect amount of time. We wanted to do all the things—shop Magnolia, hang out in The Silo District, be a tourist in Waco, antique shopping, breakfast at the new restaurant, Fixer Upper house stalking, all of it! It ended up being the perfect itinerary with zero waiting in lines. We couldn’t have asked for a better trip.
Day 1 (4 pm Arrival) – Silo District, Magnolia Market
We stayed at an Airbnb in downtown Waco (right across from the Hippodrome) and it was perfect walking distance (5 mins) to the Silos and other sites around town. As soon as we set down our bags, we set off for the Silos to check it out, knowing they’d be closed at 6 pm. The place was relatively empty and we had room to roam to stake everything out. And of course there was plenty of time to stop inside Magnolia Market! Yes, you’ll shop at the Market many, many times throughout your stay! It’s impossible to see it all in one trip… it is ginormous. Magnolia Market (where you can see everything in person from their online shop) is the white building in the photo below.
For dinner, we stopped at Hecho in Waco for the best margarita I’ve ever had and the food was delicious! There’s a great patio and we spent a lot of time there. There’s also some shops that share the same building, but they’re not great. Don’t waste you’re time if you’re in a rush!
Day 2 – Silos Baking Co., Classic Waco Tour, Harp Design Co., Shopping and Fixer Upper Homes
Day 2 was our first full day. We started at 7:00 am and headed first to Silos Baking Co. Getting there early is key—we saw the line forming around 8 am every day and this line is looooong. So get there before 8 am and you’ll be great. And even if you are waiting in a line, they’ve got all kinds of tricks up their sleeves to make the line go fast. Each person waiting in line gets a little card to fill out their order, so by the time you get up to the counter you’re ready to order.
Once we got our goodies, we had about an hour before our tour started (more on that in a minute) so we took some time to eat breakfast and take some photos in front of the famous sign! And of course see the giant line outside Magnolia Market, waiting for the doors to open at 9 am. Here’s the trick with that—there is no real need to wait in the pre-opening line for Magnolia Market. There is plenty (PLENTY!) of room inside for most crowds, so don’t feel like you have to wait in line each morning. You’ll be able to walk right in around 9:30. And yes, we did a little more shopping!
Next up, the tour! This is the tip that we really took to heart—do the Classic Waco Tour as your first big “thing.” It helps you get the lay of the land and you can judge what you’d like to go back and see later on in the trip. It was AWESOME. So fun, so informative and they treated us like family. During the 2.5 hours, we saw everything from downtown Waco, Baylor, Cameron Park, Fixer Upper houses, Harp Design Co. and more. Probably the best part was the frequent stops to shop and sip. Nothing like having a bus pull up outside Common Grounds coffee shop (and Heritage Creamery next door!) and having the host get you whatever you want! One small warning—it is a very Christian company (as is every business in Waco it seemed!) so the tour is started with prayer. Just FYI in case that’s not your thing.
With the tour over, we grabbed a quick lunch at Torchy’s Tacos (get the Mexican Street Corn…. omg!) and we went back and checked out awesome shopping spots we spotted along the way along Austin Avenue like Salvage Sisters, Junque Queen, La Grange, and Christi’s Interiors… modern farmhouse decor galore! From there we drove over to 8th Street for even more shopping (The Findery is amazing! And has two locations!) and stopped back at Heritage Creamery for awesome ice cream. Most stores close early (between 4-6pm) so don’t wait too long into the afternoon!
The adrenaline was still pumping at this point and we were way too amped to call it a night, so we hopped in the car and did our own self-guided tour of Fixer Upper homes, using this website. I won’t list the addresses of the houses here for privacy sake, but that website will give you everything you need.
On the way back to our Airbnb we grabbed In n Out… this location is the furthest east location in the US so we didn’t want to miss the opportunity!
Day 3 (Sunday!) – Waco Suspension Bridge, Branding the Brazos Park, Spice Village, Dr. Pepper Museum, More Fixer Upper House Hunting
The Silo District, including Magnolia Market, is 100% shut down on Sunday (they don’t call Waco the buckle of the Bible Belt for nothin’!) so we used Sunday to take in all the Waco sites. We started at the Waco Suspension Bridge (we’ve all seen it a million times in Fixer Upper shots!) which is a foot traffic-only bridge… this was especially fun for me because it was designed using cables from the Roebling Company, the architect of both the Roebling bridge here in Cincinnati and the lesser known Brooklyn Bridge. 🙂 Branding the Brazos Park is right in front of the Bridge and I will tell you—25 life-size sculptures of cattle is somewhat alarming. Especially because it seems as if they are charging right towards you. We had enough history at that point (ha!) and headed right to Spice Village, which is this incredible 3-level shopping and flea market extravaganza. We saved this especially for Sunday because we knew it was one of the rare things open on Sunday. Tons of cute stuff–mostly new, trendy items with a couple of booths devoted especially to more antique finds. Lots of clothes, Waco gear, home decor, you name it… they had it! This is where I picked up our Waco ornament and some Waco shirts for the kids.
We had lunch at Olive Branch, rested our feet a bit and then walked down to the Dr. Pepper Museum, where we took a tour of the facility, watched a cute little presentation and had a couple of Dr. Pepper ice cream floats. Yum. I will say, the Dr. Pepper Museum is somewhat run down and not exactly exciting. If you’re in to history, especially advertising history (me!) it’s worth it, but if not, skip it!
We had a bit of time to spare before dinner, so we headed back to the Airbnb to grab our car and do some more Fixer Upper hunting using the same website. We even drove out to the Barndominium, which is now outfitted with Fort Knox-level security so forget about getting remotely close! We also tracked down Chip and Joanna’s house… we drove by (they removed the “Magnolia” arch above their driveway for privacy’s sake) but again, it’s on a super busy main country highway with lots of security. I won’t post their address because, duh.
For dinner we headed to The Backyard and it was the perfect spot to relax outside, eat great food and listen to live music after a long day. The crowd was so fun (big Baylor student crowd!). This was in April, so the Texas heat hadn’t hit yet and it was absolutely glorious.
Day 4 (Monday!) – Magnolia Table, Magnolia Market, Harp Design Co.
Our last day! We made a big bet that if we waited until Monday (vs. a weekend day) to do Magnolia Table we would have much more luck and WE. WERE. RIGHT. If you’re headed to Magnolia Table on a weekend morning we were told to expect a 3-hour wait. One hour to get your name in to the host and another two hours to wait for an actual table to sit down and eat. Uhm, no thanks. So we waited until Monday, headed there around 7:30 and we got seated in about 20 minutes (yes, on a Monday at 7:30 am there was still a 20-minute wait. Ha. Granted this was two weeks after it opened but still!) It was the perfect amount of time because we were able to stop explore the outside patio, grab a coffee and do a little shopping in the Take Away area. Yes, it’s as stunning in person as it looks on TV. And the food was absolutely incredible, with huge portions. A must-have order are Jo’s biscuits that she makes so often in the episodes. After Magnolia Table, we headed back to the Silo District (I was expecting Magnolia Table to be next to the Silos/in the Silo District, but it was in an entirely different part of Waco, in the main downtown area) and ran into Magnolia Market to do some quick shopping. On the way to the airport we stopped at Harp Design Co again (last time there was a 5-minute stop as a part of a tour) and I grabbed a few things for the boys’ upcoming big boy room makeover. Then it was back to Austin to head home!
Other Fun Observations & Tips For Your Stay
- Shipping – Want to purchase larger items at Magnolia Market? No problem. Shipping fees are on the house (which is relatively new! wahoo!) but you will need to pay FedEx, which has a booth right there in the store, for packaging your item. It cost about $12 to pack a medium-sized box. There’s also a post office nearby, but you’ll have to come ready with your own packaging materials.
- Flights – We flew into Austin then made the almost 2-hour drive to Waco. Avoid high-traffic times as Austin is a city like every other and the roads become very congested. We flew Allegiant, which has a very big presence at the Austin airport and made getting there and back a breeze.
- Waco – Waco as a whole is still very much a mess of a town. They still haven’t quite regained their strength after the giant tornado in the 1950’s and it shows. Building are dilapidated. Our tour guide mentioned that Chip & Jo could flip a house every day for 10 years and still not be done flipping Waco around. Many of the Fixer Upper homes were in crumbling neighborhoods, while others were not.
- Location of Magnolia Table – Magnolia Table is nowhere near The Silo District. Magnolia Table is very much in the commercial part of Waco, next to shipping strips and chain restaurants. I had no idea! It’s about a 10-minute car ride to Table from The Silo District.
- Privacy of Fixer Upper Homes – Because of the popularity of the show, the homes are getting a ton of attention. These homes are in private neighborhoods, on quiet streets. I urge you to please be very respectful of owners’ privacy. We did drive by, but we never stopped. Any photos were taken from inside the car. Clint Harp and his family no longer live in the Harp House due to all of the attention. And of course it doesn’t help that the home is right next to the also-popular Harp Design Co.
- Sundays – I mention this above, but Waco nearly shuts down on Sunday! Plan accordingly.
- Chip & Joanna’s Home – Chip & Jo’s personal home is not located in Waco and was about a 20-minute drive from The Silo District. I had no idea they were not close by! It is hard to find as they’ve removed the Magnolia entry arch, but it’s right off a busy highway. And yes, very much in the middle of nowhere like they say on the show!
This was very fun to write, and very fun to relive as I wrote. I hope you go and if you do, enjoy your time there!