Planning a Girls Trip to Waco and Magnolia
It may seem cliché at this point, but visiting Waco primarily to see Magnolia and get all the Joanna Gaines inspo should be a bucket list item for a girls trip! Even if you don’t love Chip and Joanna or Fixer Upper like we do, Waco is a growing city with lots to offer visitors. Plus, it’s an easy drive from both Dallas and Austin, which makes it a great destination to pair with one of those cities!
I was traveling on Mother’s Day this year, so to make up for it, I planned a mother/daughter trip to Waco and Magnolia. Originally, we planned to go somewhere fun within driving distance and do a weekend of shopping, eating and pampering. But in our planning process, my mom confided to me that she would really love to go to Magnolia. After looking into the cost of flights and hotels, we realized that it was a totally affordable trip at the time. So, we planned a 5 day trip, splitting it between Waco and then Austin for the weekend!
As I mentioned, Waco is an easy drive from both Austin and Dallas, so flying into either city works. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport is about 1 hour and 45 minutes, and Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is 1 hour 40 minutes.
Hotels in Waco
There aren’t a ton of hotels in Waco, but the area is growing and at least one was under construction nearby while we were there. We didn’t plan to spend much time in our room, so we weren’t super concerned with the hotel in Waco, and searched for the best combination of price point and location. We ultimately settled on Springhill Suites Waco, which was new and very nice. Plus, it was just a few minutes away by car from everything, and walkable to the Waco Trolley Line (although we were there in June and it was HOT so we aimed for minimal walking!).
Sample Waco Itinerary
Here is how we made the most of our 2 days in Waco! We definitely could have stayed another day to do more shopping and sightseeing, but we managed to fit a lot in during our time.
Our flight landed in Texas around 11:30am, and we grabbed our rental car and headed north. We stopped in Round Rock for a light lunch at Urban, and also grabbed donuts from Round Rock Donut on our way out, which is absolutely a must-do – they were truly some of the best donuts I’ve ever had! And, they’re known for their massive, oversized donut that you have to see to believe!
After lunch and donuts, we finished our drive to Austin, checked in to our hotel, and relaxed for awhile until time for dinner.
We enjoyed a fancy dinner on night 1 at DiamondBack’s, a delicious steakhouse, and I’m glad we went out to our nicest dinner the first night. After the other days we were in Waco, we were so hot and tired from all the walking that we certainly didn’t feel like getting fancy! We had yummy pre-dinner martinis before we were seated, and then ate entirely too much amazing food. The bread and butter served before dinner was absolutely perfect – trust me when I say you’re going to want to ask for extra butter!
On our only full day in Waco, we made it all about Magnolia! We started off with an early wake-up call so we could arrive to Magnolia Table for breakfast. Reservations are nearly impossible to get – I started trying weeks ahead of time and was never able to get a spot. So instead, we got there within the first hour of them opening and had a wait that was shorter than I expected. While we waited, we visited the Take Away + Market for a coffee and to browse the goodies for sale. Then, we sat in the shaded courtyard for the rest of our wait and planned out our day.
Once we got sat, we were excited to try all of the food! The pancake was definitely the best item that we sampled, and the grits were good, too. If you love tater tots or hashbrowns, you’ll love theirs! And of course, you have to try the biscuits made from Joanna’s own personal recipe.
After breakfast, we drove to The Silos and spent most of the day there browsing the many different stores and shops, as well as the beautiful grounds. They have a great shipping option, so you can shop by filling out a card and then have everything shipped directly to your home – so convenient but it can be dangerous, too. Here are the various areas and shops you have to see at The Silos:
Shops at the Silos: Enjoy stopping at several mini-shops with leather goods, clothes, kids items, bath goods, and even a men’s store.
Magnolia Home: The home store is a beautiful furniture store full of cozy home items in Joanna Gaines’ signature style. From luxe leather couches to fun vases and filler, this store has a little bit of everything.
Magnolia Press: Connected to Magnolia Home is this beautiful coffee shop that I fell in love with! Not only was the décor stunning, but the frozen latte was a unique but tasty drink to try – perfect on a hot, summer Texas day!
Seed + Supply: Wander through the mini garden and get inspiration for your yard at home, then head inside the garden shed to shop adorable planters, seeds and more garden goodies.
Magnolia Market: The shining jewel of Magnolia is the market, where you can shop the Magnolia brand in a beautiful space!
Silos Baking Co.: When your sweet tooth strikes, head to the bakery for fantastic baked goods. I tried the Oatmeal Cookie Pie and let me tell you, it was to die for!
Food Trucks: The grounds have quite a few food trucks to peruse for lunch. You have to get a sugary sweet tea from the Alabama Sweet Tea truck with the take-home glass (that’s perfect for iced coffees at home). We struggled making a decision on what to eat because everything sounded so good, but in an effort to remain *somewhat* healthy, we opted for the chicken salad sandwich from the Magnolia Table truck. We enjoyed lunch under a shade tree on the grounds and got in a few minutes of great people watching!
The Old Church: A continued expansion of the Silos grounds includes the restoration of a beautiful church from around Waco. It’s a great place to stop for a quiet moment and a cooldown when needed.
Katy Ballpark: Stop and take in the adorable mini ballpark and concessions stand. You can even head out on the field and start a pickup baseball game!
Once we finished our day at the Silos, we walked to the few shops and stores surrounding the grounds. The Findery, Jimmy Don’s iron shop, Iron Willow and Fox & Gray are all walkable from Magnolia.
After browsing those local shops, we drove around to visit some of the other shops from the show including Harp Design Co. and Little Shop on Bosque, the original home of Magnolia.
Once we finished shopping for the day, Mom decided she wanted to see the site of the Waco siege at the Branch Davidians compound. We drove outside of town about 20 minutes to the site, which was eerie to say the least. While there wasn’t much to see onsite, it was a beautiful drive that let us experience some of Texas hill country!
Finally, on the way back to dinner, we drove around Waco looking for homes that we recognized from the show! We ate dinner that night at La Fiesta and frankly, we were underwhelmed so I wouldn’t put it at the top of my list of places to eat.
On our last day in Waco, we checked out of our hotel and headed downtown to Café Cappuccino for breakfast. This was another attempt to eat healthy and it was delicious!
After breakfast, we headed to Homestead Heritage, something that wasn’t ever on our radar when we planned our trip but wound up being one of our favorite stops! My cousin told us about this unique stop the night before, and we decided to squeeze it into our itinerary. This agrarian- and craft-based intentional Christian community was such an amazing place with a general store, food market, quilting shop, an incredible restaurant where we enjoyed lunch and so much more! We also visited another beautiful coffee shop and a cheese shop that even included a cheese cave! We didn’t take anything with us since we were flying, but since returning home, we’ve ordered some of the cheese from the cheese shop, Brazos Valley Cheese. I highly recommend the truffle gold!
Finally, we toured the Craft Village, complete with skilled craftsmen in a variety of trades including blacksmithing, woodworking, basket making and quilting. The people that call this community home are true artisans that have perfected their craft. If you have free time during your trip, make this a stop – you won’t regret it!
Once we wrapped up our tour of Homestead, we headed south back to Austin for the weekend – stay tuned for my guide to Austin!
Things to Do on Your Trip to Waco
While we thought our trip was just perfect as it was, there are still a number of other things to see, do and eat when you’re in Waco. Here are a few of the things that were on our list that we didn’t get to:
- Waco Suspension Bridge – unfortunately, this was under renovation and completely covered while we were there.
- Spice Village – this huge building includes a wide collection of shops and vendors to browse selling every kind of good you can think of!
- Shop Downtown Waco – there are a number of other cute shops and specialty stores in the downtown area, but we ran out of time to see them all!
- Cameron Park – stroll along this beautiful greenspace along the Brazos River.
- Baylor University – the campus is beautiful and is a great place for a scenic drive or stroll.
Places to Eat
Here are the many other restaurants that came highly recommended but that we didn’t have time to try:
- Press Waffle Co.
- Harvest on 25th
- Cricket’s Grill
- Barnette’s Public House
- George’s Restaurant
- Cajun Craft
- Milo All Day
- Revival Eastside Eatery
- Union Hall
- Pokey O’s
- Heritage Creamery
- Lula Jane’s
I hope this helps you plan your perfect quick trip to Waco and Magnolia! If you’ve visited, share your favorite destinations with me in the comments!