Waco is a beautiful city known for some of the wildest and most fascinating events in recent state history, many involving religious occurrences or natural disasters.
It is also known for the many Waco attractions related to popular television, sports, and higher education.
But what should you add to your vacation list?
Here are our picks for the top 33 best and fun things to do in Waco, Texas.
1. Waco Mammoth National Monument
The Waco Mammoth National Monument is probably the most famous among places to visit in the city, which is why it’s at the top of this list.
Its story is steeped in history and it is the world’s first known and discovered Columbian mammoth nursery herd and the biggest collection of this species to have been found dead from one natural disaster.
What is that natural disaster?
A mudslide that occurred a whopping 68,000 years prior!
The discovery that would lead to the site’s uncovering was made by two random individuals!
These two men were walking along the Bosque River, looking for arrowheads, in 1978.
As they scoured the area, they spotted a bone that was unusually large in size.
They brought it to the Baylor University near the river, and this led to an archaeological dig that would unveil this amazing collection of 24 Columbian mammoth remains from the ice age.
It is believed that sudden floods and a mudslide resulted in the death of all these beautiful creatures at once.
The nursery herd of mammoths, comprised of 19 adult females and their offspring, are hypothesized to have been caught in floods.
Given the positioning of the fossils, it is further inferred that the adults tried to save their young by raising them above the mud, but failed.
Since it was first discovered, the site has revealed other mammal species too, like a large cat and a prehistoric camel.
Some appear to have died in the first mudslide, and others are dated later.
Though some of them and 16 of the mammoths were brought to be held at Baylor for protective storage against deterioration, many fossils are still available to view at the site itself.
The pavilion where the rest of the fossils are is climate-controlled, holding the still dirt-caked fossils beneath.
It opened in 2009, and you can walk along the pavilion to gaze down upon the remains in their magnificence.
The excavation site itself is off-limits and more digs are continually occurring, as it is believed that many more fossils may be unearthed in this general area!
In 2015, the mammoth site was declared a National Monument.
Address: 6220 Steinbeck Bend Dr, Waco, TX 76708, United States
2. Armstrong Browning Library
The Armstrong Browning Library is a bit of a hidden gem, but it’s also easily among the best things to do in Waco, Texas.
It was set up to study the work, lives, and legacy of Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, two famous English writers.
Their poems and writings are studied as literary classics today.
The Armstrong Browning Library is home to the largest collection worldwide of Browning works.
Multiple exhibits have been set up that tell tales of the prolific and talented couple, as well as the stories of those close to them.
Twice or thrice annually, the Armstrong Browning Library does something amazing – they prepare temporary exhibits that feature rare book, artwork, and stained glass collections dating back to the 1800s!
Even the building of the Armstrong Browning Library is fascinating.
It is designed in the Italian renaissance style, with lots of regal gold accents and beautiful shows of opulence.
Entry to the library is free and there is a gift store for souvenirs and a garden to relax in.
It’s easily a must-visit for literary lovers in Waco!
Address: 710 Speight Ave, Waco, TX 76706, United States
3. Spice Village
Spice Village is situated in the downtown area of Waco, near to the more commonly known Magnolia Market a few streets away.
Set in a restored Waco Hardware Building warehouse that dates back to 1908, it is home to 60 unique boutique stores.
Each shop is fascinating and may sell modern or vintage items, with arrays including accessories, houseware, apparel, gifts, home decor, pet items, and antiques.
Spice village opened in 1997 and has since been welcoming quirky and curious shoppers of all kinds.
The variety here is so vast that it’s just a lot of fun to browse every one of the quaint, welcoming stores to find treasures and curiosities that will tickle your fancy.
Bold, vibrant colors across Spice Village also makes it one of the more photographable Waco attractions.
Address: 213 Mary Ave, Waco, TX 76701, United States
4. Dr Pepper Museum & Free Enterprise Institute
Did you know that Dr Pepper is the oldest major soft drink syrup and concentrate manufacturer in the country?
In fact, it was in Waco, Texas, that the soda was first produced and sold in America.
It’s even considered the “national” drink of Texas, so it makes sense that the Dr Pepper Museum and Free Enterprise Institute is one of the tourist attractions not to be missed!
The museum is situated in a building that was once the Artesian Manufacturing and Bottling Company, and it opened up in 1991 for visitors.
The bottling company itself was the first building that was made for the purposes of Dr Pepper bottling and the structure has lots of history itself, dating back to 1906 and being used for Dr Pepper until the 1960s.
Believe it or not, the Dr Pepper Museum and Free Enterprise Institute is not actually operated or even owned by the parent company of Dr Pepper or the Dr Pepper Snapple Group, though it does receive some financial support from them!
It’s actually a private non-profit organization with a mission of entertainment and education.
Its aim is to teach visitors and the public about the economics of the country and the history of industries.
The Dr Pepper Museum preserves, collections, exhibits, and interprets all sorts of items related to the legacy and life of Dr Pepper.
It is a part of the National Register of Historic Places and is packed with fun features like an old-school soda fountain, a gift store packed with souvenirs, and three exhibition floors.
On the other hand, the W.W. Clements Free Enterprise Institute aims to educate youth about the economic systems of the United States, using the soft drink industry as an example and model of manufacturing, developing, marketing, and other steps in production and consumption.
It also hosts an exhibit regarding the late W.W. Clements and his life philosophy.
Address: 300 S 5th St, Waco, TX 76701, United States
5. Magnolia Market at the Silos
Anyone who watched HGTV has probably heard of the Magnolia Market at the Silos, and for many people, it’s among the best when it comes to places to visit in Waco due to its fame and pop culture significance alone!
Magnolia Market at the Silos was founded by Chip and Joanna Gaines, a pair of stars of HGTV.
It is a community space and retail store with a unique concept.
It sits on 2.5 acres of land and boasts a large barn and two silos.
The market itself sells a wide range of different products, ranging from furniture and home decor to merchandise for the hit HGTV show Fixer Upper.
There is also a bakery on site that sells all sorts of treats and baked goods made with Joanna’s own favorite recipes.
For mood options, head to the lawn to sit down for a picnic or buy something from the food truck.
There are also fun activities and games held on the lawn!
Address: 601 Webster Ave, Waco, TX 76706, United States
6. Waco Downtown Farmers Market
In this city in Texas this weekend?
Don’t miss the Waco Downtown Farmers Market!
Since 2011, this farmers market has been providing locals and tourists alike with fresh produce and plenty of other offerings.
This includes plants, fresh drinks, alcoholic beverages, gourmet treats, artisanal cheeses, handicrafts, and more!
As you browse, you’ll be treated to live music that serenades you as you shop.
In the area, there are also lots of great stalls to buy lunch or brunch that you can then enjoy at the picnic tables that overlook the McLane Stadium and Brazos River.
With between 35 and 40 vendors setting up shop each Saturday, you’ll get the full local taste of food trucks, artists, farmers, and other locals providing all sorts of unique wares!
It’s undeniable that this downtown farmers market should be on your list of what to do!
Address: 500 Washington Ave, Waco, TX 76701, United States
7. Cameron Park Zoo
The Cameron Park Zoo is situated within its titular Cameron Park, taking up 50 acres of space.
It was established in the year 1955 and is home to over 1,700 different animals from about 300 unique species.
It aims to provide fun, family-friendly recreation and education to the public with its diverse exhibited animals!
Animals displayed at the Cameron Park Zoo are all housed in natural environments.
There are lemurs, Komodo dragons, orangutans, lions, otters, and even Sumatran tigers, as well as numerous animals from Africa and Asia.
There are also lots of animals here that are native to Texas.
Open year-round, the Cameron Park Zoo hosts a number of animal-themed activities and can even cater to private events like weddings, parties, and sleepovers.
It’s definitely one of the points of interest in Waco to bring your family to!
Address: 1701 N 4th St, Waco, TX 76707, United States
8. Waco Hippodrome
The Waco Hippodrome first opened as a vaudeville theater in the year 1914.
Today, it has evolved, turning into a movie theater and live event space, though one thing hasn’t changed – it’s still a spot for entertainment in Texas and one of the places to go if you’re in the mood for a performance or film!
Over the last century, the hippodrome has undergone its fair share of reconstructions, name changes, and alterations, but its historical significance has only grown.
Its current repertoire involves live theater, first-release movies, trivia nights, stand-up comedy shows, classic films, film festivals, dance performances, concerts, and more.
This hippodrome sits on Austin Avenue and provides full-service in-theater dining!
There is also a full-service bar that looks out over the street beautifully and a restaurant on the mezzanine.
Address: 724 Austin Ave, Waco, TX 76701, United States
9. Waco Suspension Bridge
The Waco Suspension Bridge stretches across the Brazos River and is one of the city’s crucial landmarks.
It’s one of the reasons that the city grew and became well-known, moving from a little town to a thriving, bustling metropolis.
Before its creation, it was dangerous and difficult to cross the river, and ferries were the only real way to get to the other side.
The bridge used almost 3 million bricks in its construction, which took place in 1870.
The process was grueling and time-consuming, as its construction site was in a remote spot.
The closest town with skilled artisans was more than 200 miles away and the closest railroad was 100 miles away!
Despite the struggle, work was eventually completed, making it the first suspension bridge in Texas.
In 1971, more than a century later, the city government decided that it was time to make a switch, and the bridge was closed to vehicular travel and only open for foot traffic and pedestrians.
This was due to the modernization of building techniques that meant newer, more efficient, and safer bridges were now an option.
Today, this suspension bridge is one of the city’s best tourist draws.
It sits between Martin Luther King, Jr. Park and Indian Spring Park and is often host for community events, activities, and festivals.
Address: 101 N University Parks Dr, Waco, TX 76701, United States
10. Mayborn Museum Complex
The Mayborn Museum Complex was opened in 2004 on the grounds of Baylor University, Waco.
It is a family-friendly natural history museum that is fun and engaging to kids while providing information and education to visitors of all ages!
Packed with activities, the Mayborn Museum Complex mostly makes use of walk-in dioramas, interactive exhibits, and hands-on attractions for its permanent showcases.
It has 16 discovery rooms, all uniquely themed, geared towards children.
It also boasts a historic village that spans 13 acres as an open-air attraction brought in from Liberty, Texas.
Other loved things to see at the Mayborn Museum Complex are the mammoth showcases, the Design Den that allows for all sorts of innovative and exciting hands-on creations, and the Cabinet of Curiosities that is packed with items brought in from the Strecker Museum.
Address: 1300 S University Parks Dr, Waco, TX 76706, United States
11. McCulloch House Museum
The McCulloch House Museum is owned by the Historic Waco Foundation and is one of the best ways to get an authentic glimpse into the forgotten older life of this Texas city.
The house itself was built by Josiah Caldwell, a local physician in 1866, as a home for himself, his wife, and their five children.
Changing years would see a number of renovations that added space, rooms, and architectural features.
The McCulloch House was a crucial part of the city’s social scene.
Locals, celebrities, and tourists would know of it and stop by, and it is now a museum open to the public.
Apart from numerous family heirlooms, the house also boasts an interesting thing to add to your list of what to see: watercolor paintings made by a local artist named Charles H. Cox.
Address: 407 Columbus Ave, Waco, TX 76701, United States
12. Waco Tours
If you’re looking for fun things to do in Waco that will let you experience the city in a more local fashion, look no further than the Waco Tours.
It’s a great way to get shown the area by a local who truly knows the heart and soul of the city!
There are multiple tour types available for you to choose from.
The standard tour is called the Classic Waco tour.
This tour lasts two and a half hours and brings you throughout the city’s most notable attractions.
It’s a good option to get your bearings on tourist locations and eateries, and you may even get some discount coupons when the tour is over.
Another popular tour is the Texas Experience Tour, where you’ll ride on horseback to learn all about cowboy history and culture.
A River Cruise brings you along the Brazos River at sunset so you can relax and enjoy the view.
You also have the option of bundling tours together for a lower price and more experiences.
Whatever you choose, it’s a great way to get a feel of the city!
Address: 215 S University Parks Dr Suite #104, Waco, TX 76701, United States
13. Cotton Belt Trail
If you’re looking for a place to get some exercise in Waco, try the Cotton Belt Trail.
Basically, if you don’t want a full park experience and only need a single trail, this is a good option.
It runs for about two and a half miles and is situated along the picturesque South Bosque River.
Aside from being one of the more nature-driven Waco attractions, the Cotton Belt Trail also offers beautiful, stunning sites that make it a great place for photographers.
Interestingly, the trail is set on the run of an old railway line.
This gives it a little extra whimsy and charm!
14. Texas Sports Hall of Fame
Sports lovers in Waco should definitely stop by the Texas Sports Hall of Fame.
As its name suggests, it honors local athletes who have left a significant mark on the world of sports and athletics.
In fact, this is the first state to have its own Sports Hall of Fame, so it’s one of the tourist attractions you shouldn’t miss!
Constructed in 1951, this Sports Hall of Fame was created by a sports editor.
Getting inducted requires becoming nominated for a ballot and then receiving the highest votes.
Among the inductees named are those who have played for the Houston Astros, Baylor University, San Antonio Spurs, Texas A&M, and Dallas Cowboys.
Visitors to this Sports Hall Of Fame will be able to view all sorts of fun, interactive exhibits, with video clips showcasing the biggest sporting moments in history and even exhibits that let you compare yourself to sports greats!
There’s no denying that this is one of the spots in the city that any sports fan shouldn’t miss!
Address: 1108 S University Parks Dr, Waco, TX 76706, United States
15. Dichotomy Coffee & Spirits
Whether you’re into coffee, alcoholic beverages, or both, Dichotomy Coffee & Spirits is one of the best places to visit for artisanal and gourmet offerings of the sort in Waco.
The unique company is popular among locals and tourists alike and offers a selection of artisan cocktails and delicious rare coffees!
The coffee menu at Dichotomy Coffee & Spirits is packed with iced and hot drinks alike, each made with American-roasted coffee beans.
The bar, on the other hand, provides handcrafted cocktails and delicious spirits in impressive variety.
Often, special events, live music, and other activities are hosted here, too!
Address: 508 Austin Ave, Waco, TX 76701, United States
16. Earle-Napier-Kinnard House
The Earle-Napier-Kinnard House dates back to the year 1868 when only 700 individuals lived in this city in Texas, which was then nothing more than a village.
It serves as an exemplary specimen of Greek revival design, with beautiful architecture that will take your breath away.
It boasts a pale pink exterior made of brick, pillared porticos, and a banister that looks like ironwork but is actually wooden!
There’s more fun to be had with the Earle-Napier-Kinnard House, too, as much of the original furniture still remains inside.
You can take a guided tour for 30 minutes if you make an appointment in advance, or simply pay the admission fee and explore on your own.
There’s also a children’s playhouse outside which is also historic, added to the home in 1881.
If you’re into architecture, history, or curiosities in general, add a trip to the Earle-Napier-Kinnard House to your list of what to do in Waco!
Address: 814 S 4th St, Waco, TX 76706, United States
17. Texas Ranger Hall of Fame & Museum
The Texas Ranger Hall of Fame & Museum is the Texas Rangers’ official museum and has been since 1968, as appointed by the state’s Public Safety Department.
Since that year, it has been sponsored by the city of Waco and is now one of the top points of interest in the state, welcoming over three million guests since its grand opening.
The Hall of Fame and Museum takes up 30 acres and was actually first named Fort Fisher, after a Ranger camp that was set up in the closeby area.
It boasts a traditional hill country design to match the 19th-century state trend.
The museum itself has two mission statements, both involving the education and instilling of appreciation for the Rangers and the objective of serving as a historical archive of the Rangers and their history.
The Hall Of Fame is a fantastic memory to the Rangers who have contributed to the service of this law enforcement organization.
It also has a memorial roll of all Rangers that have passed away during their duties between the years 1823 and 2004.
Address: 100 Texas Ranger Trail, Waco, TX 76706, United States
18. East Terrace Museum
The East Terrace Museum is yet another fun house museum in Waco, looking out over the stunning Brazos River.
This historical home has magnificent Italianate architecture and was once owned by an industrialist named John Wesley Mann.
Part of what makes it among the more fascinating places to see is that its design is rather unusual for the state.
Within the house, a lot of the original furniture it held remains, a reminder of the past and what life in those times was like.
Some of the more notable pieces of furnishings include a pier mirror in a Victorian style and a beautifully crafted wooden desk.
Private tours are by appointment only, but the house is open for admission on Sunday afternoons, so why not head there this weekend?
Address: 100 Mill St, Waco, TX 76704, United States
19. Red Men Museum and Library
The Red Men Museum and Library is owned by the Texas Red Men Foundation, Inc. and has the purpose of holding and showcasing a wide range of artifacts from history and boasting a library that is centered on the history of Waco, the Civil War, and the Second World War.
For history nuts, it’s one of the places to visit, for sure!
The building that houses the Red Men Museum and Library is specifically constructed to bear resemblance to the Monticello plantation of Thomas Jefferson.
It holds a number of fun and interesting exhibits, like a complete National Geographic magazine collection that scales from 1888 to now, a desk that was once owned by famous former Vice President Aaron Burr, and a bugle discovered on the Gettysburg battlefield.
Address: 4521 Speight Ave, Waco, TX 76711, United States
20. Old Branch Davidian Swimming Pool
The Branch Davidian religion, though it still exists now, had the height of its popularity and notoriety in the 1990s.
It is now mainly known only as The Branch because of the unfortunate negative legacy of one of its former leaders: the titular David Koresh.
David Koresh is perhaps most known for the 51-day standoff that he held with the FBI at the site of what is now simply the Old Branch Davidian Swimming Pool in Waco, Texas.
That pool is all that remains of the event, which ended in tragedy, and that pool is one of the more unusual things to see in the city.
In February 1993, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms had suspicions that Davidians were collecting and illegally stockpiling weapons.
The FBI and local police tried to enter the compound of the Davidian building in Mount Carmel in an attempt to test their suspicions, and that’s when Koresh and his followers opened fire on them.
The ATF and even the military were called in to help.
It took 51 days for the standoff to be resolved, which required tear gas to be thrown into the compound to force the Davidians out of hiding.
Gunfire, grenades, and armored vehicles were used, eventually resulting in 76 deaths of the Davidians, including Koresh.
Fire from the battle eventually caused the entire complex to be burned to the ground, leaving only what we now call the Old Branch Davidian Swimming Pool, made of poured concrete and custom-fitted.
It lays empty now most of the time, with a monument close by with the names of the deceased.
Address: 1781 Double EE Ranch Road, Waco, TX 76705, United States
21. Lake Waco
If you’re looking for relaxing stuff to do that is famous not just in the city, but across Texas, then Lake Waco is a great option.
This man-made lake is a reservoir that offers lots of water-related activities and outdoor excitement but in a laid-back and accessible manner.
The lake boasts seven ramps for boats and a marina, making boating one of its chief popular things to enjoy.
Hiking trails, walking trails, and campsites add to the variety of options for ways you can spend your time here.
No matter what the season, there’s sure to be something that this lake offers for recreation!
Address: 3801 Zoo Park Drive, Waco, TX 76708, United States
22. Hawaiian Falls Water Park
It’s a great spot for family-friendly, summer excitement with your kids.
It’s one of Waco’s most famous water parks and is known throughout the state, offering 10 acres packed with excitement!
Among the things that you can do at the Hawaiian Falls Water Park include the Keiki Kove for kids, the two 65-foot slides that free fall down, a high-speed mat called the Pineapple Express, the Kona Kooler for floating and relaxing, and even Cabana rentals!
Address: 900 Lake Shore Dr, Waco, TX 76708, United States
23. Bill and Eva Williams Bear Habitat
It is even home to Baylor University’s two black bear mascots, a pair of biological bear sisters named Lady and Joy!
Their full names are Judge Sue “Lady” Sloan and Judge Joy Reynolds.
Lady is named after 12th Baylor President Dr. Robert B. Sloan’s wife (the “First Lady” and Joy is named after 11th Baylor President Dr. Herbert H. Reynolds’s wife, Joy.
Bears who live at the Bill and Eva Williams Bear Habitat all get to thrive in natural habitats with waterfalls, caves, and trees.
Most days, the Bill and Eva Williams Bear Habitat is open from morning to night, with special events and the weather occasionally changing its operation times.
It is a Class C Zoo as licensed by the USDA.
Address: M P Daniel Esplanade, Waco, TX 76706, United States
24. McLane Stadium
McLane Stadium is the football stadium of the one and only Baylor University, and it is the home stadium of the titular Baylor Bears.
Watching a game at this stadium is a lot of fun, and even if there isn’t one playing, this is still one of the places to visit if you’re a sports fan thanks to the offered tours of the grounds.
Each tour takes about 90 minutes, bringing you through the locker rooms, press room, and other similar spaces.
You’ll also learn all sorts of behind-the-scenes knowledge as well as informational tidbits about the McLane stadium’s history.
Address: 1001 S M.L.K. Jr Blvd, Waco, TX 76704, United States
25. Lake Waco Wetlands
The Lake Waco Wetlands are so named because of the aforementioned lake’s impact after it was raised by 7 feet.
In 2001, the wetlands were made in Texas to protect the ground around them.
It is a crucial habitat for many species of flora and fauna, including insects.
Spanning 180 acres, the wetlands hold all sorts of fascinating spots.
The plant nursery, which takes up 6 acres of land, is one of them, as a home for aquatic flora like water lilies, bulrushes, and duck potatoes.
The rest of the wetland can be easily explored via raised walkways and paths, and there are even birdwatching platforms raised above the ground that offer great observatory views of the entire expanse.
While you’re at the wetlands, something you should add to your list of what to do is to check out the education and research center.
It teaches guests all about the importance of the habitat the wetlands provides as well as the different species that call it home.
Address: 1752 Eichelberger Crossing Road., China Spring, TX 76633, United States
Planning a road trip around Texas? We’ve got you covered! Why not visit Houston, El Paso, and Fort Worth? If you do plan a trip, here are some Houston attractions, some fun things to do in El Paso, and some fun things to do in Fort Worth!
26. The Findery
The Findery is one of the many points of interest in Waco, Texas that is actually mostly a unique and interesting store.
Located on the corner of 8th and Webster, The Findery sells all sorts of fun and interesting items.
It sits in the Percy Medicine Building, which is about a century old!
Multiple vendors sell their wares at The Findery.
It mixes classic, vintage, modern, and handmade items in one eclectic and curious mesh.
The Findery’s main vendor is Jute, which is also the owner of the outlet.
It sells home decor and furniture in a mix of industrial and vintage styles for both function and elegance.
Other vendors, such as Hinge, Wild and Free, Serenity, and Congress Clothing, sell jewelry, gifts, clothing, and candles.
Address: 501 S 8th St, Waco, TX 76706, United States
27. Harp Design Co.
Waco, Texas is the home of HGTV’s Fixer Upper.
If you’re a fan of Jo and Clint’s show, you’ll know that Clint makes all sorts of pieces that go wonderfully with Jo’s designs.
It’s at Harp Design Co. that Clint’s works are showcased, displayed, and even sold.
It’s one of the best places to go if you love their talent!
Pieces here are all one-of-a-kind, made with exquisite craftsmanship and unique perspectives.
Custom furniture, woodwork, and novelty furniture are all on display.
Next door to the site, you’ll see a home that is now a Bed and Breakfast.
That was once Clint’s house!
Address: 808 N 15th St, Waco, TX 76707, United States
28. Carleen Bright Arboretum
The Carleen Bright Arboretum is one of the most beautiful places to visit near Waco, Texas, and is also one of the few natural ones.
It is, essentially, a nature preserve, with 16 acres of ground to its name, 8 of which are beautiful botanical gardens.
Four different zones are present at the Carleen Bright Arboretum.
They are a nature trail that leads through a forested area, an eastern garden, a western garden, and a special wedding lawn with a pavilion.
Events of all kinds are hosted in different venues on site throughout the year.
Address: 9001 Bosque Blvd b, Woodway, TX 76712, United States
29. Homestead Heritage Craft Village
Looking for some nice places in the US?
You can’t go wrong with the Homestead Heritage Craft Village in Texas.
Located 16 miles from Waco, it’s full of fun things to see that it’s worth the extra travel time and is a common spot for tourists in the city to head to.
It’s free to enter and is a great hub for learning, shopping, and sightseeing.
Walking through Homestead Heritage Craft Village gives you a unique glimpse into local culture and artistry, and you’ll get the chance to talk to all the artisans, who are excited to discuss their craft.
Whether you’re after baskets, pottery, furniture, baking mixes, sweet treats, or delicious meals at Cafe Homestead.
The latter has a pretty big waiting list and is famous for its scrumptious offerings.
Planning to buy some crafts?
Be ready to spend a lot!
Items sold here are far from “affordable” due to their high quality, unique touches, and handmade charm.
They’re worth the money, but not for those on a budget!
Address: 608 Dry Creek Rd, Waco, TX 76705, United States
30. Waco Civic Theatre
The Waco Civic Theatre is the best place in the city to catch live performances, whether during the day or at night.
It was formed by residents as the Waco Little Theatre in the 1920s, with its original iteration running its business from 1925 to 1936.
In 1945, the Little Theatre cooperated with the Drama Department of Baylor University to draw up plans for what would become the Civic Theater.
After its creation, it would go on to be considered one of America’s best-designed buildings of its kind in 1963.
Renovations and additions are added continually, even till now, ensuring it is always up-to-date but never loses its old-fashioned charm.
Many different kinds of shows are put on here, ranging from local art events, hilarious stand-up shows, children’s theatre troupe shows, and even Broadway musicals.
It has been host to productions like Steel Magnolias, The Wizard of Oz, Shakespeare in Love, and Newsies.
Address: 1517 Lake Air Dr, Waco, TX 76710, United States
31. Lev’s Gathering Place
A trip to Lev’s Gathering Place may be unorthodox, but it’s clearly one of the most fun things to do in Waco.
It’s an especially nice treat for those who like gospel music, but it’s a pretty entrancing experience no matter your religious beliefs or musical taste.
Lev’s Gathering Place is a listening room that is home to the Black Gospel Music Restoration Project’s (BGMRP) whole archive.
The project is carried out by Baylor University and has a pretty interesting history.
It all started when Robert Darden, a gospel music scholar, and journalism professor, wrote an opinion article in the New York Times.
In it, he lamented the slow and steady loss of gospel records of history.
This prompted Charles Royce, an investment banker, to contact Baylor and Darden with financial offerings that would be enough to save and preserve those records.
The BGMRP was officially established in 2007 and has worked to save and record as much gospel music from the genre’s golden age as possible.
It relies on donations and loans to transfer vinyl records to digital files, restoring the timeworn sound to high-quality delight.
It now has thousands of 45s, 78s, and LPs from all sorts of famous voices and artists, such as Mahalia Jackson, and even many from less renowned performers like the Mighty Wonders.
Records are handled by engineers in a basement room, then returned to owners.
If they have no owners, they are carefully stored in a climate-controlled environment.
All of the BGMRP’s music is available to listen to online, as well as its details and information.
Some of the collection has even made its way to Washington DC‘s National Museum of African American History & Culture.
For a more intimate listening experience, head to Lev’s Gathering Place, which is in Baylor University’s library.
Stained glass windows and pews allow for an engrossing and immersing listening experience through headphones and iPad kiosks.
It’s truly a delightful experience all around.
Address: 1312 S. 3rd St, Waco, TX 76706, United States
32. Martin Museum of Art
The Martin Museum of Art is one of the most fun and wonderful Waco attractions for art lovers.
It is, once again, operated by Baylor University, Waco – specifically its art department.
It is home to about 1,300 works of art in its permanent collection alone, and its temporary exhibits provide even more to admire.
Works displayed range from those from known artists to those from lesser-known talents.
Multiple events are held yearly and the Martin Museum of Art also hosts classes on studio artistry and art history.
Admission is free, which is a big bonus!
Address: 60 Baylor Ave, Waco, TX 76706, United States
33. Lee Lockwood Library and Museum
The Lee Lockwood Library and Museum is one of the tourist attractions that provides something a little out of the ordinary.
Once upon a time, it was the Waco Scottish Rite of Freemasonry’s headquarters, and that’s what the building was actually originally built for!
The Lee Lockwood Library and Museum has three floors packed with all sorts of exhibits, each one providing fascinating facts about Freemasonry and its history, both pertaining to the United States and the rest of the globe.
Some history of Waco is also discussed here.
Admission to the Lee Lockwood Library and Museum is free.
It is also possible to rent out spaces within for private events, with halls that can host up to 500 people at a time.
This is undoubtedly one of the greatest hidden gems in the city.
Address: 2801 W Waco Dr, Waco, TX 76707, United States
Exploring other areas of Texas? Why not check out some of the best things to do in South Padre Island?
Start Planning Your Trip To Waco
Waco is packed with all sorts of exciting sights and spots, ranging from the artistic to the historic and from the sporty to the unusual.
There are HGTV famous locations, museums packed with specific historic facets, natural areas for relaxation and exploration, and lots of opportunities for shopping and dining.
You’ll have no shortage of things to enjoy and discover here, so buckle up.
With any luck, this list has helped you determine which of the top things to do in Waco, Texas you’ll be adding to your itinerary for your next vacation!