5 Things to Do in Waco after Magnolia Market at The Silos

(Updated March 2022.)

So, you made it to Waco’s holy grail: Magnolia Market at the Silos. When you’re done there, however, Waco still has plenty to offer. Here are just a few worthwhile options in the downtown and surrounding areas.

1. Grab a cup of coffee

Sure, Magnolia Press is open at the Silos but going a bit further afield will offer even more to appease your coffee fix and energize your exploration of Waco.

Dichotomy Coffee & Spirits, which helped launch Waco’s downtown revival, is only a few blocks away on Austin Avenue. Or, you can head over to relative downtown newcomer Lighthouse Coffee & Wine or BRÛ Artisan Coffee Works. Head a bit further south down Austin Avenue for Pinewood Coffee Bar or just across I-35 to Common Grounds, a favorite of Baylor University students.

2. Visit downtown Waco’s other specialty shops

Thanks to what locals call the “Magnolia effect,” specialty stores and shops have flourished in the last 3-4 years in the downtown area.

One place definitely worth going into is Gather, which has a thoughtfully curated collection of unique, well-made goods to equip your home for entertaining. January Letterpress has a wide range of custom greeting cards, journals, notebooks, and invitations designed and printed in-house. Just south of downtown in Waco’s Uptown you’ll find Sironia, a cluster of specialty shops and a cozy restaurant.

The perfect place to find treats to take home to the kids or anyone else with a sweet tooth is Hey Sugar. It seemingly has a million different types of candy plus more choices for bottled specialty sodas than you ever thought existed.

3. Enjoy a local meal

Sure, there are plenty of food options from a variety of chains along I-35 through Waco, but you’ll be rewarded by exploring options a bit more off the beaten path.

On Franklin Avenue between 5th and 6th is local favorite Clay Pot, which offers a variety of Vietnamese dishes. Or, a little further down Franklin from there is the upscale Milo All Day. Just a couple more blocks south is Alpha Omega, which is a bit more casual, with its Greek food and pastries.

To maximize your options, on Saturday mornings there are always multiple local food trucks at the Waco Downtown Farmers Market. Plus, the Union Hall food court has plenty of choices, including Koko Ramen, Roni’s Mac Bar, and Press Waffle Co.

(And for our latest takes on where to eat, check out Waco Insider food writer Angelica Mazé’s food and drink articles.)

4. Drink locally brewed craft beer

Texas’ arcane laws regarding craft beer have put the state well behind the rest of the country in developing a robust craft beer industry, but even so, Waco is currently home to multiple craft beer breweries well worth visiting.

Across the railroad tracks from Magnolia Market is the brewpub Pivovar, which makes a great Vienna-style lager. And over on Austin Avenue is the Waco Ale Co., which is already famous for its $6 Friday night flights. A couple blocks down from there on 8th Street is Southern Roots Brewing Company, which also has a great selection of pizzas and other food. Across the Brazos River from downtown is Brotherwell Brewing, a local favorite despite — or perhaps even because of — its rough-around-the-edges warehouse setting. A bit further afield, but only 100 yards or so from Magnolia Table, is Bare Arms Brewing, Waco’s oldest craft beer brewery.

Then again, if you like the harder stuff, Waco’s award-winning Balcones Distilling is just off 11th and Franklin. Book a tour of the distillery, try out a variety of whiskies in a flight or order a craft cocktail. Plus, they’re brewing their own beer now too!

5. Listen to live music

While Waco doesn’t enjoy the same reputation for live music as Austin, its neighbor just down I-35, there is a mix of venues that have bands just about every weekend.

Not even a block away from the Magnolia Market is The Backyard Bar Stage & Grill, which offers a healthy dose of modern country as well as older rock acts still making the rounds. And on Saturday nights, you can usually catch the Texas Music Cafe taping a new show featuring regional blues, rock, and jazz bands at Nexus Esports. Back on Austin Avenue, there’s Stay Classy Waco, and you can periodically catch bigger acts the beautifully restored Waco Hippodrome Theatre.

(Of course, to find out exactly who is playing where and when, you can always take a look at the Waco Insider‘s music listings.)

These are just a few of the many opportunities to choose from when you leave Magnolia Market at the Silos or even just explore the downtown Waco area in general. Feel free to leave us a comment below with your own recommendations you think people should also check out.

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Mark Roy Long's various incarnations have included college English instructor, book publisher, freelance writer, editorial content manager, and professional lawn mower. He is a devotee of craft beer, disc golf, and live music. A long-time Waco resident, he was tired of asking, “What’s going on around town?” and decided to answer that for himself... and anyone else who wanted to know.

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