More than Magnolia: A Waco Visitors Guide

The Waco Hippodrome lights up downtown Waco. Photo credit: Baylee Versteeg

Savannah Cooper | Staff Writer

Over the last few years, Magnolia has become Waco’s most popular attraction, and because of that some people might think Magnolia is Waco’s only attraction.

That couldn’t be further from the truth. Waco is filled with hidden gems, all you have to do is venture out of the Baylor Bubble to find them.

The following is a list of Waco treasures in food, shopping, entertainment and adventure. There’s much more to do in Waco, but this guide will give you a taste of what this city by the Brazos has to offer.

Oh My Juice!

215 Mary Ave #101

At a past Fiesta Bowl game, Baylor alumnae, Denitia Blunt and Tierra Barber met and, unknowingly, Oh My Juice was born. Their blooming friendship, love for juicing and lack of healthy food options in Waco led the pair to create their own place.

For the first time visitor, order their No. 1 acai bowls that are packed with antioxidants and taste great.

“If we have a mission statement it would be, you can really have healthy food that tastes really good,” Blount said.

Lula Jane’s

406 Elm Ave.

Lula Jane’s is a cozy, hole-in-the-wall cafe in East Waco whose mission is to help community and economic development. Owner Nancy Grayson said she created the restaurant in 2012 with the vision of it becoming a community gathering point that serves the best food in town.

If you’re a first time visitor, there’s no wrong choice,

“We serve breakfast, lunch and baked goods we’re a three pointer,” Grayson said.

P.S. Line Campers, your milk and cookies come from here.

Health Camp

2601 Circle Rd.

As a joke, Jack Schaevitz created a restaurant that sells burgers, fries and milkshakes and called it Health Camp, the irony being that the only healthy ingredients are the fresh vegetables from the local farmers market. From 1948 to present day, Health Camp is now a historic Waco landmark that hasn’t changed locations or menu.

For the first-time visitor, diligent employee-turned-manager Ayanna Anderson has the ideal meal so you get the full Health Camp experience.

“Get the number one, which is our Super Burger. That’s what we’re known for, with a side of onion rings and a milkshake from one of our million flavors,” Anderson said.

Now that your tummy is smiling and you feel good, it’s time to look good with pieces from Waco’s stores.

Spice Village

213 Mary Ave.

Looking for several boutiques wrapped up into one? Spice Village is the perfect stop for you, filled with contemporary clothing, tasteful accessories and innovative home decor as well as Baylor gear.

Several TripAdvisor users spoke positively of Spice Villages and their products, saying Spice Village is an absolute choice for those who enjoy home goods and one-of-a-kind presents.

For a first-time visitor, look into their homemade and unique items that add a hint of Waco to your space.

The Findery

501 S 8th St.

The Findery is a family-owned- and-operated business that has the passion to serve others with their motto “Marketplace for you, your home, your style.” Greeted by a set-up that inspires customers, The Findery has something for every customer, regardless of age, price point or need.

“We’re more design orientated, rather than retailed orientated,” said Alison Sorley, native Wacoan, manager of operations and creator of Elevate.

With the small business personality on their side, the Findery will deliver something for everyone.

For the moments when McLane Stadium isn’t full of cheering Baylor Bears here are some entertaining places.

Waco Hippodrome Theatre

724 Austin Ave.

The Waco Hippodrome opened in 1914 and is a historic landmark in the heart of downtown that provides a unique entertainment experience. Despite being a Waco staple, the Hippodrome fell on hard times and in 2012, Casey and Cody Turner, along with their brother-in-law Shane, bought the property as a side gig. The theatre reopened in 2014 and became a monster, as Turner described it.

Collectively, the owners wanted to keep the Hippodrome tradition alive by keeping live acts and playing old movies for nostalgia as well as new movies.

“We wanted to play old movies too. Just because of the nostalgia, the scenery and the ambiance we have so many people say, ‘Oh, I saw my first movie here back in the day,’” Casey Turner said.

For the first-time Hippodrome visitor looking for a contemporary experience in a historical setting Turner suggests a movie with a great view to match.

“Friday night movie where you’ll be waited on or our happy hour with a picturesque view,” Turner said.

For Baylor students, the Hippodrome plays free movies for Movie Mondays with your student ID.

Waco Escape Rooms

711 Washington Ave.

Owners Jared Dauenhauer and Cory Dickman met at Baylor and became fast friends, which eased the transition into a business partnership.

Together with Lee Wilson, they created Waco Escape Rooms, a place that challenges the mind while also building relationships.

“We offer something fun to do on a Friday or Saturday night where you’re actually working together with people, putting puzzles together and communicating,” Dickman said.

You’re given an hour to escape and for the new players the first 10 to 15 minutes are tough since you’re getting accustomed to navigating the room. The Waco Room is the best one to try first because it removes the initial fear of the unknown. Throughout the four rooms, you’re given clues and puzzles with your team that lead you toward escaping.

Lastly, if you’re craving a Waconan style adventure, look here.

Baylor Marina

1512 S University Parks Dr.

The Baylor Marina epitomizes the phrase “hidden in plain sight.” The beginner-friendly marina offers

canoeing, kayaking and the most popular, standup paddleboarding on the Brazos.

For Baylor students, all that’s necessary is to bring yourself and your student ID. At the site, there are life jackets, boats and complimentary sunscreen along with a brief orientation.

The marina is a bit of an on campus oasis, Manager and Baylor alum Daniel Gezell points out.

“It kind of feels like your off campus, without going too far,” said Daniel Gezell.

Cameron Park

2601 Sturgis Rd.

This 416-acre park has something for everyone, from the outdoorsy adventurer to the casual picnic group. Named after Waco philanthropist and lumber baron William Cameron, this park has miles of trails for hiking, running and biking. Some special features of the park include Jacob’s Ladder for the ultimate leg workout, a Frisbee golf course and a 52-acre zoo.

BSR Cable Park

5347 Old Mexia Rd.

The world’s longest lazy river, a 16-foot Royal Flush slide and a concert venue are just a taste of what Waco’s BSR Cable Park has to offer. Open daily from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. the park has affordable pricing that grants all day access with no reservations needed.

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