A parent’s guide to Waco: things to do and places to eat

By James Herd


It’s time to tidy up your room.

This weekend is Parents and Family Weekend, which means that campus will be filled to the brim with both seasoned veterans of the event, as well as first-time families of freshmen. The question to ask is “What is there to do in Waco, both on and off-campus?”

“I really, really appreciate Cameron Park. I’ve spent a lot of time there. It’s very close,” graduate student Cody Miller. “You can go hiking, walking along the river, or biking, or do a little picnic or barbecue; that’s always fun.” The 416-acre park is located near downtown Waco, just down University Parks Drive.

“One thing that’s cool about Waco that you’d be surprised of is, it’s actually got a lot of really great restaurants,” Glen Rose senior Matthew Dulcie said. “Consisting of Poppa Rollos, Food for Thought, Taco Z. There’s just a lot. There’s a variety of food places that you really wouldn’t expect in the Waco area that it just does extremely well with.”

Some other food spots include George’s Restaurant, Quaker Steak and Lube, and — but not limited to — Jake’s Texas Tea House.

Off-campus entertainment for both new students as well as new parents to see would be the Suspension Bridge, where students will often go ‘tortilla tossing.’

“On campus, there’s a variety of things such as the Bear Pit that you know obviously everyone loves going to,” Dulcie said. “A lot of different cool things on campus obviously are your BSB, your SLC, which on home games your parents can come in, or family can come in and they can work out for free in the SLC as a guest.”

“I know there’s the marina, which is really fun. You can go kayaking, and you can go paddle boarding. You can go canoeing. It’s a great activity for your friends to do,” Houston junior Jimmy Britven said.

He said there’s a great variety of sports to indulge in. “Playing university golf is awesome with a tennis ball; that’s really fun. You can play ultimate Frisbee. There’s always somebody doing something on campus, usually outside,” Britven said.

In downtown Waco, there is the Dr Pepper museum. The popular drink wac created in Waco and pre-dates Coca-Cola by one year.

The Legacy Cafe on Austin Avenue is also a nearby hangout for students and families, and it offers live music every weekend.

“[Legacy Cafe is] excellent, actually,” Britven said. “My friends actually know the owner of it, and whenever we go, it’s just a total blast.”

He said the cafe’s atmosphere is unbeatable in Waco.

“There’s actually a coffee bar there, [but] it’s more of like a coffee room. You get unlimited coffee as long as you’re hanging out there, so it’s like a bottomless cup. Their pizza is amazing too,” he said.

Despite it not seeming like there’s much going on in Waco, there’s always something fun to do if you look hard enough and in the right places.