Last weekend, a good friend of mine, Emily and I decided to take a last-minute trek outside of San Antonio’s city limits. Our mission: find a few missing furniture pieces for her apartment, meet a cool celebrity couple and leave inspired by an unfamiliar place. We didn’t accomplish it all, but here’s a quick glimpse of our adventure!
Waco, Texas is a beautiful city with a small country town feel. With a population of about 125,000 Wacoans, the city sits exactly halfway between Austin and Dallas and is affectionately known as, “The Heart of Texas.” Home to Dr. Pepper, the Baylor University Bears and HGTV’s Fixer Upper stars, Chip and Joanna Gaines, Waco is a hidden gem filled with rich history, outdoor recreation, amazing food and welcoming small businesses. Whether you’re on the hunt for the perfect antique piece or the best selfie scene to post on Instagram, here are three must-stop spots while spending a weekend in Waco:
1. Magnolia Market
If you’re a lover of HGTV, one of your Top 3 shows is probably Fixer Upper! Chip and Joanna Gaines find, flip and design houses on the hit TV series and pride themselves in “making Waco beautiful one home at a time.” Chip and Joanna own several businesses in Waco that keep them busy between their four children and renovation projects. One of their businesses and one of the city’s largest tourist attractions is Magnolia Market at the Silos. With a little something for everyone, the Silos include plenty of shopping, gardening, home décor, games and delicious food that makes you feel right at home in Texas. Once we arrived in Waco from our three-hour long drive, Emily and I began the morning walking through the maze of a very crowded Magnolia Market sifting through an endless amount of beautiful home décor. The staff greeted us with smiles at the door and throughout the store hoping to help as many customers as possible on the busy December Saturday. From wreathes to table settings, paint colors, mirrors, candles and children room teepees, Magnolia Market had everything you needed, even an indoor FedEx store to ship purchases back the place you call home. Outside we found a huge lawn full of children playing, cornhole games and soccer balls bouncing between laughs from each side of the field, and a stage at the center set up for a series of holiday concert performances, “Christmas at the Silos.” We grubbed on delicious grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato basil soup at one of the many on-site food trucks, Cheddar Box and enjoyed coffee and hot chocolate from Common Grounds. We ran into the sweetest couple from Georgia in line at the on-site bakery, Silos Baking Co. They traveled all the way to Waco for their “Babymoon” (so sweet, right?), just one of many groups visiting the Silos that day. We could’ve spent the entire day there and I can’t wait to return. Though I’d suggest visiting during the week or during a less-popular season, Magnolia Market at the Silos is fun for the entire family! Can’t make it to Waco to see all Magnolia Market has to offer?
Check out magnoliamarket.com for their online store and more info about this beautiful place in Waco.
2. The Findery and [ware]house
After a few long hours at the Silos, we decided to do a bit more exploring away from the crowds and amongst the locals. About a block and a half away, we found a large brick building on the corner called The Findery. The Findery opened just last year when co-owner, Tiffany Fatheree expanded her previous shop, Jute to a new and larger location. Now located in the Percy Medicine Building originally built in 1908, the Findery was restored to its original state and renovated to the bright and soulful store that it is today. Upon entry, Tiffany and a few other employees immediately greeted us with warm welcomes and let us know about the many specials and sales happening up and downstairs. The scent of the space was invigorating and made me feel as if we’d just walked into an Anthropologie store as holiday tunes floated throughout. The floor was filled with home décor, kitchen and organization items, furniture and assorted clothing, jewelry and accessories. Tiffany reminded us to go visit the [ware]house if we had time, which as newbies, had no idea what the [ware]house was. She explained that it was a second, much larger store with tons more inventory of home décor and furniture pieces a few steps out the back entrance. As we stepped outside, we spotted the gorgeous mural on the back of the brick building that’s Instagrammed on a daily basis entitled, “Waco: City with a Soul.” Once in the [ware]house, we found more shutters, cupboards, ladders and reclaimed wood farmhouse tables and wall décor adorned in Christian scriptures and Southern staples like “Sweet Tea” and “Fried Green Tomatoes Served Daily.” If only I had a truck and more room in the bungalow, a few pieces would’ve definitely been on the road with us back to San Antonio!
3. Spice Village
Our last stop before heading back down I-35 to Round Rock, Austin and San Marcos was just as charming as our previous stops. Spice Village is a long-time local favorite and tradition in Waco, less than a mile from Magnolia Market at the Silos and The Findery. Jennifer Wilson founded Spice Village in 1997 to create a place for entrepreneurs and shoppers with a passion for unique home décor and gifts to connect. Originally built in 1908 located in a 30,000 square foot warehouse building downtown on the corner of 2nd Street and Franklin Ave., Spice Village houses over 90 individual shops under one roof including apparel, accessories, jewelry, Baylor and Texas gear, home décor, children’s clothing, games, vintage finds and gift items. No matter your style, interests or budget, Spice Village offers a unique shopping experience from the moment you begin climbing up their steep wooden staircase. The collection of shops has a country store meets boutique shop type feel. With so much unique merchandise throughout this shopping destination, I challenge you to escape in less than an hour and without two bags of goodies on your shoulders! The store was full on this busy Saturday afternoon and the line wrapped around the stationery section, but trust me, this place is definitely worth the visit and wait.
For more information and a look at their blog, visit spicewaco.com.
Waco has dozens of local shops filled with distinctive treasures that will warm your home and passionate, caring people that will warm your heart. Every coffee shop, antique store and local business greeted us with a smile and welcoming “Hello!” Whether you’re in San Antonio, Houston, Dallas or Austin, the short drive to Waco will have you wanting to blend in with the locals and leave the big city behind. Although Emily and I didn’t find everything we needed in during our weekend trip, we left feeling inspired and wanting to craft a room that left the same type of peace, warmth and tranquility that the city offered. Visit Waco. I promise you won’t be disappointed.