view of Brazos River with Waco Suspension Bridge in the background

A Couple’s Guide to a Romantic Weekend in Waco

view of Brazos River with Waco Suspension Bridge in the background
Sep 14, 2023

With historic charm and plenty of natural beauty, Waco is a delightful destination for a romantic weekend. And with its central Texas location, it’s within easy reach of Austin, Dallas/Ft. Worth, College Station, and the Killeen/Temple metropolitan area.

From date night on the water to wandering the stalls of a bucolic farmers market, enjoy a weekend of relaxation and reconnection in Waco.

Places to Stay for Your Romantic Getaway

For your Waco weekend, look for a hotel in the downtown area for easy access to everything on your itinerary. There are hotels here to suit a variety of budget and amenity preferences. Start with these options!

Friday Evening on the Brazos

Set the mood for your visit to Waco with a romantic river cruise. The River Cruise Tour by Waco Tours is a unique way to see the city, with over two hours of boating on the peaceful Brazos and Bosque Rivers.

Tours begin about an hour before sunset, between 5:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. depending on the time of year. Your voyage will embark at McLane Stadium and follow the Brazos to downtown Waco. The tour guide will point out some of the city’s iconic sites among the beautiful landscape as the sun sinks behind the trees. Your guide may also surprise you with a sweet Wacoan treat while on the water. (But we can’t say what…then it wouldn’t be a surprise.)

This excursion was ranked the #1 Best Boat Tour in North America by USA Today, both in 2020 and 2023! The River Cruise Tour does pause during the cooler months, so check their website for exact dates.

After your cruise, get a late dinner before retiring for the evening. At Twisted Root Burger Co., you’ll find delicious gourmet burgers made from beef, turkey, chicken, veggies and game. Share a grown-up milkshake with a shot of Baileys Irish Cream or Amaretto—ask for two straws so you can sip forehead-to-forehead.

Waco’s Twisted Root is inside a former playhouse, renovated with plenty of quirky charm. You’ll find walls lined with reclaimed wood, kegs repurposed into bar stools, and four big projector screens showing sports and music videos from the 70s, 80s, and 90s.

Saturday Hand-in-Hand in Downtown Waco

Spend your Saturday wandering downtown Waco and exploring the great outdoors on an idyllic horse ranch.

Morning: Farmers Market and Boutique Shopping

Start your day at the Waco Downtown Farmers Market, a year-round market that welcomes vendors from a 150-mile radius around the city.

There’s much more to browse here than fruits, veggies, and meat—although those are certainly available. Vendors vary based on season and their own availability. Enjoy a walking breakfast with a fresh coffee from the Kurbside Coffee booth and a sourdough cinnamon roll from Mike’s Makes. You may find dog bandanas and human scarves at Just Peachy Waco, floral jewelry and home decor at Remedy Design Shop, and handmade soaps and skin care at Happy Stuff. And there’s much more!

The Downtown Farmers Market is open on Saturday mornings from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. from fall through spring, and 9:00 a.m. to noon in the summer.

After you’ve seen all there is to see at the Farmers Market, walk a couple blocks to Spice Village for a little (or a lot) more shopping. Spice Village is a 30,000 square foot boutique emporium inside the historic 1908 McLendon Hardware Co. building. Around 40 independent shops share space here, selling everything from premium extra virgin olive oil to men’s and women’s clothing. Pick up a souvenir of your trip, like cute Christmas ornaments or handmade home decor.

Afternoon: A Unique Spa Experience

After your morning ramblings, stop for an elevated lunch at Czech-inspired restaurant and brewery Pivovar. Sit inside the old world-inspired dining room with exposed brick and gleaming brewery equipment on display. Or grab a table on the patio with views of the Magnolia silos. On the menu, you’ll find delicious “Czexan” eats, like their Classic Pocket Schnitzel stuffed with ham and cheddar cheese. Enjoy one of their house-made Czech lagers with your meal, or get a classic cocktail from the bar.

When you’re full, head to Pivovar’s Beer Spa for an hour of relaxation. Soak with your sweetie in side-by-side copper tubs, each filled with a blend of hops, barley, and beer yeast steeped in water. The treatment is said to smooth and hydrate skin. Order a beer flight or Czech wine flight to sip while you soak in the candlelight. Reservations required!

Evening: Sunset on Horseback

Sunset is the most romantic time of day. And a sunset horseback ride is sure to make you feel the love. At Brazos Bluffs Ranch, a 2+ hour sunset excursion takes riders through well-maintained trails to a scenic river overlook, just in time to watch the Texas sky put on its nightly display. Take a break for the provided refreshments—s’mores and hot drinks by a campfire in cooler months, and Dr Pepper floats in the summer.

Back downtown, visit beautiful Pignetti’s for authentic Italian meal in a stunning ___. In this beautiful space, weathered wood and vintage brick complement

Next on the agenda, enjoy the sounds of Waco at one of the city’s live music venues. While schedules vary by the day and season, there are plenty of stages around town to choose from. Look for country, rock, blues, folk, and more at the Texas Music Cafe, a Waco institution since 1997. Their music season runs from September to June, with summers off. At The Backyard Bar, Stage, & Grill, an outdoor stage hosts frequent live music. You’ll love the laid back vibes and cold drinks. Most Saturday shows require tickets, so check their website for details.

Before calling it a night, head to Dichotomy Coffee & Spirits for a nightcap, open until midnight on weekends. Their cocktail menu is extensive, with high-quality classics and inventive house specialties on offer. Try the Razz 75—house made raspberry syrup, gin, and lime, topped with bubbly prosecco. A seasonal cocktail menu rotates four or more times per year, so there’s always something new to try. For non-drinkers, ask for one of their delicious non-alcoholic cocktails.

Sunday in the City

Relax into a slower pace on your last day in Waco. Enjoy a farm-fresh brunch, a bit of history, and some of the city’s colorful street art.

Brunch at Milo is always a lovely way to start a Sunday. The restaurant is bright and cheerful, with enormous glass garage doors that let in the morning light. Their elevated soul food-inspired menu relies on seasonal ingredients from local farms, so it can change often. But you may find delicious fresh salads, smoked pork hash, and blue corn pancakes with Earl Grey maple syrup. And best of all? They take brunch reservations! So you can enjoy a leisurely Sunday morning without the wait.

After brunch, head to the Dr Pepper Museum for an educational and fun look at Texas’ favorite soda. Invented by a Waco-based pharmacist in 1885, the drink was originally only available at a local soda fountain. (To order, you’d ask for “a Waco.”) But high demand led to Dr Pepper bottling operations in both Waco and Dublin, Texas. While each city would love to claim the first Dr Pepper bottling plant, the Dr Pepper Museum says that the evidence is unclear on which holds that distinction. Regardless, Waco did open a dedicated Dr Pepper plant in Waco in 1906—the home of the current Dr Pepper Museum.

At the museum, you can follow the path of Dr Pepper from its invention through today. And make sure to get a drink from the old-fashioned soda fountain, included with your ticket. Add one of their signature flavors to your soda, or a scoop of Blue Bell for a Dr Pepper float.

Before leaving town, snap a few memorable photos in front of Waco’s colorful street art. The Public Art Map by Creative Waco is an interactive listing of the many murals and sculptures around the city. Consider stopping by “The Cactus Rose Mural” with cacti and pink roses, “Keep Going” which encourages exploration around Waco, or “Starry Night” after Van Gogh’s most famous painting.

Contact the Waco TPID

Waco Tourism Public Improvement District Corporation

424 Clay Avenue, #2343
Waco, TX 76706
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