Pop your Baylor bubble

Students should step off campus to experience Waco, from downtown to Lake Waco, and enjoy their new “home away from home.” Grace Fortier | Photographer

By Erianne Lewis | Arts and Life Editor

When I first came to Baylor, I remember someone saying they lived in Baylor, not Waco. I was confused by this because I thought that Baylor was the college and Waco was the town, but it seemed I was mistaken. I, as many people do, succumbed to the Baylor bubble.

Waco is more than just Baylor, but it’s up to you to go out and explore outside of the Baylor bubble, especially since Waco is your new “home” — at least during the school year. So I’ve made it easier for you by compiling a list of some of my favorite restaurants and things to do around Waco.

Restaurants

1. Cajun Craft | 601 S. 11th St.

When I first stepped into this restaurant back in January, I immediately felt at home. I grew up eating Cajun food for almost every single meal, because my parents are from Louisiana. I love this place for many reasons, but the fried shrimp special holds a “special” place in my heart.

2. Clay Pot Restaurant | 416 Franklin Ave.

The love I feel for this restaurant is indescribable. It’s probably not good that I’m writing this while I’m hungry either. If you’re in the mood for some Vietnamese cuisine, then look no further. Clay Pot has it all, from bubble tea to noodle bowls to rice platters. In addition to the excellent cuisine, the service has always been impeccable every time I’ve gone.

Coffee Shops & Study Spots

1. Lalo’s Coffee Pastries | 1500 Colcord Ave.

I tried Lalo’s with some friends at the beginning of this semester and I fell in love. Not only are the prices fair, but they also offer a student discount, which is wonderful. I also tried one of their pastries and it was delicious. I think this could be a good study spot or just somewhere to talk with friends.

2. Common Grounds – Woodway | 7608 Woodway Drive

Now before you deep sigh because I added Common Grounds on this list when it’s literally on campus, hear me out. The Woodway location stands on its own entirely. Although it is about a 15-minute drive from campus, I stand by the fact that it is worth it. The location not only offers more options than the Bill Daniel Student Center and Eighth Street — for my soy milk lovers, it’s offered here — but the atmosphere is just divine. This location is also shared with Slow Rise Pizza, which has amazing wings.

Antique & Thrift Shops

1. Laverty’s Antiques Furnishings | 600 N. 18th St.

This is a hidden gem, not only because of its location and the amazing staff, but also because of its hours. This antique shop has plenty of unique items to choose from for affordable prices. I went for the first time a couple of weeks ago and I snagged an old camera bag that I have decided to wear as a purse. I had to hold myself back from buying everything that I saw. I would recommend checking out this shop, but make sure to look on their website before because they are only open sporadically.

2. Central Goods | 1701 Franklin Ave.

This is a new vintage and antique home decor shop that just opened and it’s like a thrift store times 1,000. It is an indoor market that offers items from various vendors in their own individual sections. I really enjoyed this place because there is so much to choose from. I also like how each vendor made their section fit a certain aesthetic. Depending on the vendor, the items can be pricey, but there are things within all price ranges. You just have to­­­ know where to look.

These are only a few of the amazing places Waco has to offer that are not just around Baylor. Support some local businesses, try new food places — really start to immerse yourself into Waco. You may be surprised what you find outside the Baylor bubble.