When we were first dating, we lived long distance (Darcy in New York and Dustin in Wisconsin). It was quickly apparent that Facetime dates of just sitting and talking to each other could only yield so much connection, and we wanted those quiet moments that make you feel like a couple. Moments snuggling, watching TV, going to the movies, or driving in the car were what we were missing.
So, in addition to our weekly Facetime dates, we also started scheduling TV dates. We would call at the same time every week to watch Fixer Upper together, spend some time “together,” and comment on what we thought of their renovations.
Really, it’s no wonder that we walk into a house and start dreaming of what to do to it together…it was one of the foundations of our relationship.
So, even though they aren’t on the air anymore, it’s no surprise that we feel a connection to Chip & Jo. I’ve read all of their books (I consult this one constantly), we’ve seen every episode of the show, and I even saw Joanna speak at a conference last year. Plus, we’ve been to Waco a couple of times. (And if you ever want someone to go with you, I’ll volunteer to go again.)
So, today, since Dustin is headed back to the Waco area for work, I thought I’d share my super in-depth, ultimate, only-guide-you-need guide to Waco for fellow Fixer Upper fans.
I’m not leaving any detail out, so buckle up, it’s a long one. But I want to be sure you have what you need to soak up all that Waco has to offer.
Ready? Let’s go!
Start at the Silos
Fixer Upper fans will feel their heart skip a beat as they approach and see the towering Silos—they look just like they do on TV!
The Silos consist of the Magnolia shop, the Seed & Supply shop (much smaller), the Slios Baking Co, Magnolia Press, and a collection of food trucks around the lawn.
You’ll recognize Silos Baking Co since there was an episode of the show all about that renovation.
Note that Magnolia Table (also renovated on the show) is not at the same location as the Silos, but you can reach it by Trolley if you only want to park once.
(Though I suspect they’ll be opening a restaurant at the Silos soon as well.)
Plan to have extra space in your suitcase, because the shopping at Magnolia is awesome! It’s so much fun to grab some Jo-approved housewares to remember your trip, and I always go a little nuts when we’re there.
From kitchen wares and faux florals to candles and t-shirts, to seasonal items like Christmas decorations, you’re sure to find something you need.
From a design perspective, don’t feel like you have to grab all of the farmhouse signs if they aren’t going to work in your home. There are plenty of more subtle pieces that will still give you a touch of Fixer Upper style while working with any decor. Think black and white sugar dishes or utensil crocks.
When you make a purchase, they do wrap it up nicely for you if it’s breakable. If you see larger or very fragile items that you need, you can usually find them online as well. Be sure to check the website before committing to fly home with a mirror as your carry-on.
The small back building (past the lawn) is the Magnolia Seed & Supply and has mostly the same things as the main store, with a couple of exceptions.
It’s a more garden-focused store, so if you’re a gardener it’s worth a stop, and even if you’re not, it takes 5 min to walk around, so pop over and see if there’s anything you like.
If you go into Silos Baking Co, there are a couple of shirts that are specific to there, as well as a rolling pin, etc. but it isn’t really shopping-focused.
It’s no surprise that Chip and Jo designed everything beautifully, so there are tons of places to capture your perfect Instagram shot.
Don’t miss the sign outside of the Magnolia Bakery. I love the slogan “Home Goods. Baked Goods. All Good.” It really is such a positive place and it feels like one spot in the world where things are “all good.”
You’ll also find a great sort of designated Instagram spot in front of the silos, where they set up a metal #milestomagnolia frame, which makes for a cute shot.
Don’t miss Magnolia Press, either. It’s the newest addition to the Silos and it’s gorgeous. The dark green exterior with copper accents is dreamy and totally an inspiration for our own home’s exterior.
Eating and Drinking
At the Silos, you’ll find a bunch of food trucks gathered around the back lawn. There are pretty diverse options, depending on what you’re looking for that day.
I recomend the H.O.T Dog House (because I love hot dogs), and Alabama Sweet Tea. You can also hit up the Magnolia Table food truck if you aren’t going to be able to make it to the restaurant.
Magnolia Press has specialty coffee drinks and a couple of pastries, with savory and sweet options—including chocolate cake, yum! And of course, Silos Baking Co has cupcakes and a few other pastries as well (like my favorite bacon and cheddar scone) as well as drip coffee.
When to Go
Unless you have a great affection for waiting in lines, you’ll want to plan your visit to the Silos at a smart time.
The busiest time at the Silos is around lunchtime, I would guess because of the food trucks and the fact that a good number of people visit as a day trip from Austin or Dallas.
The absolute best time to go, in my opinion, is at 4:30pm. Everything closes at 6 (though they let you hang around until 7) so this gives you enough time to check things out without crowds, and you can grab an early dinner at the food trucks.
The other best time to go is right away in the morning. The Silos Baking Co opens at 7:30 and that’s the best time to get pictures without people everywhere in them. One morning I went over at 7:30 and didn’t see another customer until 8:00.
The shops will open at 9, so you can hang around the courtyard outside the bakery, or wander about and take photos until then. Bonus, if you’re visiting in the spring or summer, it will be cool compared to the midday heat in Texas.
On weekdays, the crowds will vary, but I never found it to be *too* crazy, even at lunchtime. If you want to go for lunch, just try to avoid going right at noon.
Saturdays are much busier, and they are closed Sunday.
Pay attention to school holidays and events—we were there just before Baylor graduation and that Friday was a lot busier than it had been earlier in the week. The time around the annual Silobration will be positively packed.
Prepare for the Weather
If you plan to hang around at all after shopping, you’ll likely be hanging around on the lawn and at the tables outside of the bakery or coffee shop. Definitely plan to stick around and eat at the food trucks—they’re great—but plan on being outside.
That means hanging around in the Texas heat. Don’t worry, there are some areas with cover/shade and they have water stations, so bring a water bottle.
In cooler seasons, bring layers, because you’ll get cooler just sitting and eating than you would if you were moving around.
There are some lawn games to entertain kiddos if you’re bringing them, but dogs aren’t allowed on the artificial turf, so keep that in mind.
Which Bathrooms to Use
Yes, seriously. I promised you the ultimate guide.
The ones next to Seed & Supply are significantly larger and have multiple sinks, unlike the front ones.
There are also two individual restrooms inside of the Magnolia shop, to the left when you walk in (past the cash registers) that are super cute and generally not busy. I think people don’t realize they’re there. If you are looking for a gender neutral restroom option at the Silos, this is where you can find it.
What is Worth the Wait?
As I mentioned before, you’ll probably grapple with a line or two when you visit the Silos—you’re not the only one who loves Chip and Jo!
The longest line you’ll probably see is for the Silos Baking Co, which is the small bakery where you can get cupcakes, scones, and coffee. The line can snake down the street sometimes while everyone waits for a cupcake, but it does move very quickly.
Once you get inside, they have you fill out an order form, and then you just hand it to the cashier, pay, and wait for them to pack it up. It goes really fast because of the order form system.
The line will be the longest around lunchtime, and I’d say if it’s super long, go do something else and come back later. That said, if you want a cupcake right now, just hop in line. The sweets are excellent and the bacon and cheddar scone is phenomenal. Worth the wait!
There is also a Silos Baking Co food truck in the back on the lawn that has a limited selection (they don’t have the scone there). If you don’t care about seeing the space and just want a cupcake, go there instead.
You may also see a line at some of the food trucks—when I was there the first time, the Sweet Tea truck had a line because it was warm. This line also moved super quick and I loved the Sweet Tea so it was worth it to me. Plus, the mason jar it comes in is a good souvenir and refills are only $2—since we stayed just down the street, I came back all week.
Magnolia Table will probably have a significant wait time. Both times we went there, we arrived around 9am and ended up waiting about an hour. Do your best to get there bright and early or just prepare your tummy for a wait.
You can also check current wait times online here and it looks like they’re taking online reservations now, too! The wait here is well worth it as the food is absolutely amazing.
There is a little shop to look at while you wait, and you can get coffee there or at the other little coffee bar in the front. They let you in to use the bathroom while you’re waiting, of course.
Other Things to Do In Waco
Okay, we’ve covered the Silos and Magnolia Table pretty thoroughly at this point.
When planning your trip to Waco (especially if you’re daytripping from Austin or Dallas) Fixer Upper fans will need to plan extra time for additional shopping.
Fixer Upper Fans Shopping
Start by checking out Jimmy Don’s shop, which is sort of behind Magnolia Press, walking distance from the Silos. This is where you can find the metal signs from the show, including varieties that are small enough to pack in your suitcase. He’s there pretty frequently from what I can tell and he’s happy to talk, take pictures, and sign autographs if you want one.
Then, when you get back in the car, head over to Harp Design Co to see some awesome woodworking. This is a small shop but it’s worth a stop and it’s much quieter than the Silos so it’s a nice break. You can also peek at Clint Harp’s home, which was featured on the show, next door.
Finally, head to the Little Shop on Bosque. This was the original location of Joanna’s shop before her fixer upper days (she tells the whole story in this book). Now, they sell discontinued and scratch & dent items from the Magnolia shop at a discount here. If you’re into postcards like me, this is where they sell Magnolia postcards.
Pro tip: There is an Alabama Sweet Tea truck here as well, so bring your jar from the Silos.
More Waco Shopping
While you’re in Waco, you’d be remiss not to stop by The Findery. It’s not associated with the show, but it’s very much in keeping with the farmhouse style, and it’s just down the street from the Silos. They have housewares and clothing. Their second outpost, just a little further down the street, has more furniture and some vintage items.
Don’t miss the Spice Village as well. It’s on the Trolley Route from the Silos (one of the only worthwhile stops, in my opinion). It’s a really fun collection of little boutiques in a big warehouse space. From clothes to housewares to kid’s stuff, you never know what you’ll find. You can wander forever here.
Other Things to Do in Waco
Another thing to do in Waco is to check out the Dr. Pepper Museum. It’s rather small but jam-packed with information about Dr. Pepper and other sodas, as well. If you’re interested in advertising, how new products are made, or vintage soda pop merchandise, it’s worth a stop.
I’ve mentioned it a couple of times, but there’s also a Trolley that runs around Waco from the Silos. It makes for a nice quick tour to help you get to know the town and get your bearings, so I’ll count it as a “thing to do”.
There’s another Trolley that runs over to Magnolia Table, but that’s not really a tour route as much as transportation. The employees at the Silos will help you make sure you get on the right one.
Where to Eat in Waco
I’m going to be honest, we haven’t found much particularly good food in Waco when we’ve been there. I recommend having lunch at the food trucks at the Silos for sure, if only because it’s a fun experience. And you absolutely must do breakfast at Magnolia Table—it’s amazing.
Despite being affiliated with Magnolia, the restaurant is not at the silos, but it’s worth the short trip to try the delicious breakfast and lunch options.
I highly recommend the biscuits, which come with strawberry butter or sausage gravy. We’ve also loved the lemon lavender donut holes, tater tots, and avocado toast. And, I’m not even a big pancake person but the pancakes are amazing.
Viteks is a Waco BBQ institution. It’s a order-at-the-counter type of place, and you can also grab your food and take it to Freight next door (see below) if you want a drink. The most famous offering is the Gut Pack: Fritos, brisket, sausage, beans, pickles, onions and jalapenos all piled together. This is what you should order, trust me.
Where to Drink in Waco
Don’t plan on actually drinking at the Silos, because it’s a family place, folks. Plus Chip and Jo don’t drink, so it’s not really on-brand.
That’s not to say that Waco doesn’t have its fair share of booze for you, though!
After leaving the Silos, you can walk or grab a trolley ride to Balcones Distilling. Here, you can take a very interesting and informative tour to learn how they make their whiskey. At the end of the tour, you’ll get a chance to try the product, so come prepared and be warned—they’re known for strong spirits!
If you’re more into wine than whiskey, check out Waco Wine Tours or the Waco Winery Tasting Room.
There’s also a bar called Freight that we found on our most recent trip to Waco, and it’s tons of fun. They have good drinks plus lots of fun yard games to play. Be sure to check it out!
Where to Stay in Waco
Depending on the size of your group and how long you want to stay, you have a few good options! I stayed at the Indigo Hotel both times and it is very nice, with big rooms and a good restaurant downstairs.
Plus, it’s walking distance to the Silos—at one point one of the golf cart drivers (who drive people from their cars to the silos) even gave us a ride so we didn’t have to walk!
If you’re interested, though, you can find a bunch of houses from Fixer Upper available for rent on AirBnB. The shotgun house is a 1 bedroom within walking distance of the silos.
For a bigger crowd, Clint Harp of Harp Design Co rents out his house. As I mentioned, it was featured on the show and is right next to his shop. It can sleep 12.
Wow, you made it! I know that was a TON of information, but I truly hope it helps you have the best possible time in Waco. Have fun!