Conveniently located on I-35 in the center of Texas, just 90 miles from Dallas and Austin. Waco has long been known as the “Heart of Texas.” Named after the Waco Indian Tribe, the town was founded in 1849 and was the crossroads of Texas. The Chisholm and Shawnee Trails both came through Waco on their way to northern cattle markets. Today, Waco is a diverse, bustling city of 125,000 with a university, two colleges, over 40 hotels and 300+ restaurants. We are home to the famous Magnolia Market, owned by HGTV “Fixer Upper” stars Chip and Joanna Gaines.
Waco is also home of a lively cultural district. Discover open-air festivals and concerts by the river, top sporting events, a popular Saturday morning farmers market, “First Fridays” downtown, theater, movies, live music (of all kinds), rodeo, comedy, dance, art galleries, and a world-class symphony orchestra. You’ll see plenty of murals, sculpture, and public art, and if you are lucky, perhaps a pop-up art exhibit or open studio.
Waco has a thriving arts scene, including murals, sculptures, working artist studios, and much more throughout downtown and beyond. Waco’s Cultural District is bound by 11th St. to Garrison Ave, and Jefferson Ave, to Clay Ave. It extends across the Brazos River, down historic Elm Ave. The Waco Cultural District is a walkable, connected area with a concentration of cultural activity and encompasses Waco’s Historic and Main Street Zones on both banks. Murals, sculptures, artists’ studios, attractions, shopping, restaurants, and beautiful historic buildings are all part of this important district.
Waco is home to several recreational and outdoor attractions. Cameron Park is a 416-acre park, a gift of the William Cameron family, offers towering oaks, two rives, breathtaking cliffs overlooking the Brazos and Bosque Rivers, and a National Recreational Trail system. Mountain bikers and hikers share the park with disc golfers, picnickers, and bird watchers. BSR Cable Park is a state of the art cable park that allows skiers and wakeboarders to be pulled around 12 acres of lake by a cable system. The park also has a beach, a lazy river, and the famous Royal Flush water slide. The Cameron Park Zoo rests on 52 acres adjacent to the Brazos River. Lush native vegetation, splashing waterfalls, a picturesque lake and ponds surround the different natural habitats that are home to giraffes, lions, white rhino, and elephants. The Asian Forest features the critically endangered orangutans, Sumatran tigers, and Komodo dragons. Enjoy a 50,000-gallon coral reef saltwater aquarium and the playful river otters as they swim around the children who slide through the otter exhibit.
The City is the birthplace of Dr. Pepper, the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum and the Texas Sports Hall of Fame. Waco is also home to the Waco Mammoth National Monument, a 100-plus acre stretch of wooded parkland along the Bosque River. The site provides a glimpse into the lives of Columbian mammoth bones discovered in Waco along the Bosque River and is part of the National Parks System. It is not only brimming with Texas history, economic opportunity, and a rich variety of cultural experiences, it is also a major seat of higher learning with THREE major colleges in its city limits including: Baylor University, Texas State Technical College, McLennan Community College.