The absolute last thing I did pre-rona shelter-in-place orders was visiting a friend in Dallas. On the way to Dallas I spent the day in Waco. Waco is on I-35 about halfway between Austin and Dallas. From either of these cities it is a fun day trip.
If you are coming from Austin and have never been to a Buc-ee’s you should definitely stop at the one in Temple. Buc-ee’s is a Texas experience for sure. It is like the Walmart of travel stops. They say everything is bigger in Texas and that even includes the travel stops. The first time I went to Waco I was with a friend and we went into Buc-ee’s and by my facial expression the employee working the door said ‘welcome to Buc-ee’s for the first time’. It’s a crazy place. If you’ve never been do stop and just take it in and maybe get some road trip snacks while you’re at it.
Magnolia Market at the Silos
Chip and Joanna Gaines pretty much put Waco on the map with their famous HGTV show Fixer Upper. Or at least put it on the map for me. Magnolia is fun and can keep everyone in your group entertained. The shop itself has some home decor, but most everything is branded in some way. I am currently not in the place to be buying a whole bunch of home goods. I do not own a home, and I am moving with only my car in a month. I did buy some cute fabric wall signs while I was there. Despite not buying much I did enjoy walking around and seeing different pieces with a more rustic feel. Personally I don’t think I will have a farmhouse style house. But I do like some of the more rustic, natural feeling home decor pieces.
They also had a huge selection of branded t-shirts. Personally if someone asks me about going to Magnolia I’ll show them a picture. Like I don’t need a t-shirt to like prove I was there. But if that is your thing know that you will have plenty to chose from.
Since I last visited in 2017 they have also added a seed and garden store. It is on the same property, but not in the same building as the home goods. In front of the seed store is a beautiful garden. This was fun to walk through and look at all the plants they were growing.
For those who do not want to shop there is the lawn. The lawn is fun because there is plenty to do. There are picnic benches, lawn toys, corn hole, as well as food trucks. I mean who doesn’t love food trucks. During my first visit my friend bought a blended watermelon at one of the food trucks. I had never heard of a blended watermelon before this. They literally cut a hole in the watermelon and blended the insides. The best part is she didn’t finish it and buckled it into the car seat for the ride home. Goodness I love that woman! This last time I bought a sweet tea in a souvenir glass. Usually I don’t opt for those, but the other option was plastic and this one I will more likely use than others. It’s cute and has a straw.
Because they have thought of it all…there is also a bakery on the property. It is called Silos Baking Company. I forget where I heard it, but I believe they have some gluten-free products. I have never felt the need to stand in line to figure that one out. The line goes out the door and around the corner. If your family or friends are already standing in line maybe give it a try. I don’t know how much time the employees will have to answer questions about cross-contact and procedures. Just be aware of that. And if you have success let me know in the comments, so others can learn from your experience!
Parking is a bit crazy. There are some parking lots close that come with a charge. There is also street parking in some areas not too far from Magnolia. That is what I did this last time. I just drove a few blocks away and found a street parking spot. There were no time limits, and no fee for this parking. I had to walk a little extra, but that was not a problem for me.
So Magnolia is great, and probably the main attraction that is bringing you to Waco. But there is much more to Waco than just Magnolia. So let’s dive into some of the other fun places I found on my day trip!
Fabled Bookshop and Cafe
This was honestly probably my favorite shop I found while in Waco. And I know, I’m a nerd and I love bookstores. And despite loving to read I still have not switched to an e-reader. The real deal feel of books is just spectacular. I am thankful that after a full day of shopping I stumbled across Fabled Bookshop and Cafe.
Independent bookstores are few and far between these days so it was wonderful to get to visit one. As you walk in there is seating so you can chill with the books, read a chapter or two before committing, or visit with friends, or even just escape the Texas heat. They also have a whole cafe. After having a huge sweet tea I did not feel like I needed any more caffeine and I needed to drive the rest of the way to Dallas so a glass of wine was not a good option either. Had I had longer I definitely would have sat down and enjoyed a drink.
So as far as books they had a great selection. This is where I picked up my copy of Christy Harrison’s Anti-Diet. They had some other titles I was interested in as well. Unfortunately with moving soon, I am trying to keep my book collection to a minimum and when possible utilize the library. They also had a pretty decent sized kids section. It looked pretty fun in the kids room as well. Although I did not spend much time in their as I don’t have kids to shop for.
I did not spend too much time here as I was gearing up to finish my journey, but again I am so glad I found it. It is a very nice place and I hope they are able to stay in business for a long time.
Fox and Gray
Fox and Gray is a boutique women’s clothing shop. It was adorable and I even tried on a few pieces of clothing. This is not normal for me. I am really bad at buying things for me, especially clothes. It has recently been a mission to update my wardrobe. Unfortunately neither of the things I tried on worked for me. They did not fit exactly right and therefore I did not feel super comfortable in them. So I did not buy them. Because why buy clothes that don’t fit right or feel comfortable? Despite this I do suggest going in and seeing for yourself.
As a boutique shop I imagine they did not have any plus sized options. I understand that I do have thin privilege and can shop at most stores because of this. Others do not have this privilege and often cannot shop at many of these smaller boutique style shops. Other items they sold include jewelry and some home decor pieces.
For me it was nice going in and taking the time to actually shop around. While I was there I was the only one in the store. The employees did make sure I was taken care of, but were also very into their conversation between themselves.
I love supporting small local shops and despite not finding anything I wanted while I visited I want to bring awareness to this shop. So that if you are visiting and may be in need of some clothes you can look them up and visit for yourself. It was not too far of a walk from Magnolia and I just read the about page on their website and it is adorable. Go give Fox and Gray a visit when you are in Waco and support the smaller businesses of this adorable town.
Oh My Juice
I had some trouble finding food in Waco to be honest. I was not prepared at all. Like I did not even have snacks and that is not normal. Thankfully on my walking adventure of the town I found Oh My Juice.
Oh My Juice is a juice bar that also serves salads and other quick small meals. After finding Oh My Juice I was very indecisive in what I wanted to eat. Many of the options seemed safe and when I asked questions the employees were knowledgeable. I ended up ordering a smoothie, and pesto zucchini noodles.
For as hungry as I was this was not enough. All of it tasted pretty good and I really enjoyed the smoothie. Of course at this time I forget which one I purchased. The pesto zucchini noodles were also good, but at the time not very filling and satisfying. I really needed a more hearty meal at the time. At another time it may have been a better option. But despite all of that I did not have any problems with gluten. I felt good after eating and for the remainder of the day so that is an extreme positive.
So if you want a smoothie, juice, or light bite to eat this is definitely worth it. They seem committed to serving their customers high quality products and providing great customer service.
Savage Finds Antiques
I am not into antiquing at all. But I know there are people who enjoy finding and buying items that are older and have more of a history. I visited the Savage Finds Antique shop while in Waco and it was fun looking at all the different items they had. I also find their name to be pretty entertaining. Mostly because the kids I live with in Texas love to use the word savage.
From what I understand finding what you want while antiquing can be a long process. While I don’t have any experience most of the items on display looked to be in good condition. They had a whole display of old post cards which was fun. I collect post cards when I travel so I enjoyed that. They also had some other random finds like girl scout badges. As well as some more practical items such as silverware and furniture.
Spice Village was a unique shopping experience. Within one large space on the second floor of the building there are many shops. With each different shop you get a totally different feel. Throughout the store there was a bit of everything. Clothing, souvenirs, home decor and more. That is what makes it so fun. As you walk through you can see all the different aesthetics of each shop. This is what makes the experience at Spice Village so unique and entertaining. I thoroughly enjoyed walking around Spice Village and seeing all the products for sale.
Although the space is relatively open each shop represents an individually owned businesses. Despite that you pay for everything in one place. I don’t exactly know how that works because I did not buy anything while I was there. And they do not have anything about it on their website.
If you find something you like some of the shops do have online shops. This may be something to look into. This way the shop owners and creators could get more of the profit. And if you are just visiting then it could get shipped to your house instead of taking up space in your luggage. Double win. Truly this is something to consider.
Of course I believe the owners of Spice Village deserve to have the life of their dreams. But often times small businesses have trouble staying in business. If we can make sure they get the most profit when we buy their products I think that is thoughtful and powerful. Just something I thought about and you might think about as well while shopping here or at other similar places.
Overall I would recommend. Some of the items made me laugh, others made me reminisce on my time living in Texas. With so many different products many feelings were had while browsing.
Weekend Pop-Up Markets
Besides the bookstore this was my favorite. Some vendors can get spots on the lawn at Magnolia. But many local Waco shops cannot afford to pay the fees. On top of that I learned that you have to be invited to be a vendor. Many local small businesses will never have that opportunity. Although that is the case they do capitalize on the properties near by and foot traffic by having pop-up markets.
The day I was in Waco there were two different markets with lots of vendors. Each of the markets was within walking distance of Magnolia. And they were totally awesome. Some of the vendors overlapped, but not all of them. I had a wonderful time walking around the vendors tents. It was fun because I was not looking for anything specific.
I did end up buying a few things from a few different vendors. One was called Klae Design Company. They make handmade clay jewelry. I had a great conversation while browsing the selection of jewelry. They were also putting together some pieces while I was there which was interesting to see. I ended up buying a pair of earrings which I am obsessed with. Normally I don’t wear dangly earrings. And I honestly don’t know why. The ones I bought are flowers with stripes and so adorable. I unfortunately have not had a place to wear them out to, but can’t wait until I can. Until then I’ve been wearing them while at home to get used to the dangly feel. I highly suggest checking their products out. I am so happy with my purchase even though I was a bit nervous when making it.
The other vendor I bought from was Scents Be Mine. This is a natural bath and beauty product business. I had an amazing conversation with the owner about climate change and small actionable changes we as individuals can make to help the environment. We discussed packaging of soaps and beauty products as well as the chemicals used in these products. It was amazing discussing these topics with her and learning how she got into the business. Originally I had not intended to buy anything, but after such an amazing conversation I knew I needed to support this business. And she was so generous even making sure I found the biggest soap bars as she cuts each by hand. This interaction embodies why shopping small matters. Knowing who you buy from is magical and I wish more people felt that way. If you are in need of some new body products I do suggest Scents Be Mine. Each of the soaps I bought smell delicious and my skin feels so wonderful after using them!
In the current times I imagine many of these weekend pop-up markets are probably not happening, or happening at a much smaller capacity. If you are in Waco do keep an eye out for them. You may find something incredibly beautiful, or have spectacular interactions with real small business owners or others who believe small business is important.
I enjoyed my day in Waco very much. Sometimes it is nice to get out and do things on your own and with no agenda. If you are visiting Waco soon I hope you take the time to visit some of the smaller businesses that make Waco so amazing. Again Magnolia is a fun experience, but I say don’t spend all of your day there. Walk around, take a tour, walk into random shops. The small businesses are what make a small town and if you are already there you should take the time to visit them and buy from them when you find something that you desire and will have a use for.