Beyond the Silos: Do Waco Like a Local

Feb 28, 2024

Major attractions like the Magnolia Silos have put Waco on the national and international map. But that’s just the start. From charming coffee shops to specialty boutiques to magnificent music, the city is packed with things to do.

These local favorites and off-the-beaten-path attractions make Waco a delight for residents and visitors alike.

Dining & Drinks

Waco may be deeply rooted in Texas, but its culinary scene stretches around the globe. From gourmet coffee to Indian cuisine to summery shaved ice, there’s something for everyone to love.

World Cup Cafe and Fair Trade Market

At World Cup Cafe and Fair Trade Market, you can get artisan crafts along with your morning coffee!

This shop was opened by Christian nonprofit Mission Waco to help revitalize the North Waco neighborhood. They serve specialty coffees made from Fair Trade beans, plus breakfast and lunch. Get a hearty bowl of veggies, potatoes, and eggs, or build your own omelet just how you like it.

On the market side, you can shop for Fair Trade items made by artisans who earn a livable wage. Find home decor, jewelry, stationary, bath and body items, and more. Get a vanilla latte and wander the store to pick up gifts for family and friends.

Check their social media and website for periodic events like cooking classes with the chef and crafting workshops!

Moroso Italian Ristorante

For Neapolitan pizza and Italian eats, locals love Moroso Italian Ristorante. This family-owned restaurant was founded by the grandson of Italian immigrants, and they pride themselves on authentic flavors of the old country.

Try bruschetta topped with whipped ricotta and baby heirloom tomatoes, bronze-cut bucatini with family-recipe meatballs, and house-made butternut squash ravioli in brown butter sage sauce. Or sample the Neapolitan pizzas cooked to a perfect crisp in a wood-fired oven, topped with fresh Italian ingredients.

The bar whips up a weekly cocktail special, so there’s always something new to sip. And they offer a full menu of Italian wines by the bottle and glass.

This is one of Waco’s favorite spots for romantic date night or a unique brunch! You’ll want to try their take on eggs benedict, topped with crispy pancetta and pesto hollandaise.

Bitty & Beau’s

Diversity-forward coffee shop Bitty & Beau’s is on a mission to fight stereotypes. At this small chain, front-line employees have developmental disabilities like autism or Down syndrome, or a traumatic brain injury. It’s part of the shop’s purpose to provide employment opportunities to these hard workers who are often shut out from other jobs.

The Waco location has a full menu of coffees and drinks, from drip coffees and mochas to frappes and smoothies. Don’t be surprised if you encounter spontaneous dance parties, sing-a-longs, and big smiles—this is a place where the good vibes are contagious.

Health Camp

If you’re after a classic burger or old-fashioned milkshake, head to Health Camp. This Waco diner with the tongue-in-cheek name has been around since 1948 when it opened as a “mobile canteen”—a precursor to the modern food truck—with a brick-and-mortar opening in 1949.

Health Camp hit on a winning formula for their juicy burgers and has kept things pretty consistent for the past 75+ years. You can get a single or double Health Burger (plain burger), a single or double cheeseburger, a bacon cheeseburger, or a plant-based Beyond Burger. They also have fries, tots, onion rings, and 37 different flavors of shakes and malts!

If you need further proof of Health Camp’s mid-century cred, Elvis Presley himself used to come here when he was stationed at Fort Hood in 1958.


Pinewood in the Austin Ave area is a coffee shop, public house, and day-to-night gathering place for Waco locals and visitors alike.

Get caffeinated at the coffee bar with traditional espresso drinks, seasonal concoctions, and drip coffee made from house-roasted beans. At the public house, sample from the rotating menu of draft beers, seltzers, and ciders, featuring local Waco brews. They also offer organic wines by the glass and bottle, and a grab-and-go fridge stocked with plenty of craft beer.

This welcoming spot has a cozy vintage feel, taking inspiration from the early- and mid-20th century with lots of natural wood, houseplants, and big windows. At any given time, you could find students and professionals working over coffee, hopheads trying the newest IPA on draft, and live jazz in the courtyard under the shade of a massive oak tree.


Family-owned Saffron is one of Waco’s top picks for irresistible and authentic Indian and Pakistani food. You’ll find all the familiar dishes you love, like tasty samosas and butter chicken. They also offer some you may not have heard of. Try the karahi goat, an aromatic dish of goat meat, fresh tomatoes, traditional herbs, ginger, and garlic.

Satisfy your sweet tooth with shahi kulfi—traditional Indian ice cream made with cream, cardamom, and sugar. They even have Indian and Pakistani sodas, like Zeera Cola flavored with cumin!

The menu at Saffron is 100% Halal and 100% delicious. Check out their brand new location at 2305 Marketplace Drive, as of January 2024.

Coco’s Shaved Ice

Few things are as refreshing as a frosty shaved ice on a hot day. Locals love to cool off at Coco’s Shaved Ice, a colorful stand offering finely shaved ice in dozens of flavors like Georgia peach, piña colada, and ruby pomegranate. You can get a sugar-free syrup on your ice, or add fresh banana, mango, or other fruits to your cup. They also have ice cream—get a scoop, a waffle cone, or a waffle bowl topped with whipped cream, sprinkles, or Oreos.

Drive through for a quick pickup, or get out of the car and walk up to the window so the kids can play on the playground after they finish their sweet treat.

Note: Coco’s is closed for the winter season and will reopen on March 1, 2024. 

Cha Community

Asian American couple Devin Li and Jaja Chen founded Cha Community as a place to bridge cultures and create community, as well as expressing their love of boba tea and the Chinese and Taiwanese dishes they’d grown up with. Within just a few years, they went from a little pop-up at the Waco Downtown Farmers Market to a mobile boba truck to a brick-and-mortar cafe where they could share the flavors of their childhoods.

Cha Community is an adorable space with Chinese lanterns, colorful seating, wall murals, and plenty of natural light. Stop in for a delicious boba drink like Vietnamese Coffee or a Strawberry Matcha Latte. You can also get lunch and dinner at the shop, like their beloved dumplings, scallion pancakes, steamed pork buns, and Braised Pork Rice Box.

If you can’t get enough dumplings, you can pick up a dumpling folding kit (with all the ingredients, plus an instructional video on folding and cooking) or frozen dumplings to-go at the shop. You can also find Cha Community’s food truck each Saturday at the Waco Downtown Farmers Market on Saturday mornings.


Pick up handmade goods, secondhand books, vintage vinyl, and so much more at some of Waco’s lesser known shops. Get gifts for friends or gifts for yourself!

Brazos Books

Locally owned Brazos Books is a used bookstore for the bibliophiles in your life. Browse the cozy stacks for pre-loved books at practically unbeatable prices, with most books going for between $1 and $6. Find perfectly floppy paperbacks or pristine hardcovers of some of your favorite titles.

You can even trade in select books for store credit. Think hot new reads and beloved classics. Make sure to say hello to Stephen the shop dog—he makes frequent store appearances!

Eastside Market at Brotherwell Brewing

If you’re lucky enough to be in Waco on the third Saturday of the month, put a trip to Brotherwell Brewing’s Eastside Market on your itinerary.

Each month, the brewery invites local makers and artisans to share their goods. Browse booths of jewelry, bath and body products, vintage clothing, art, home decor, fragrant candles, and so much more.

With live music, food trucks, and plenty of great Brotherwell beer, it’s a joyous celebration of community and creativity.

Bankstons Comics and Collectibles

Visitors who clamor for comics will love Bankstons, Waco’s comic and toy emporium since 1985. They offer a massive selection of new, classic, and Silver Age comics, from the original Superman to new anime.

They also offer toys from all your favorite stories like Star Wars, Marvel, and popular comics, plus baseball cards and memorabilia. This is the place to indulge your inner child.

And if you have some duplicates or need some quick cash, they also buy collectibles!

Waco Downtown Farmers Market

Shop the best of Central Texas from local farmers, producers, and artisans at the Waco Downtown Farmers Market. Browse the booths for fresh produce, meat, and dairy; homemade jerky and specialty cheeses; home decor; jewelry; bath and body products; baked goods; and more.

The markets also host live music, turning this shopping experience into a community festival. Pick up a hot coffee and baked goodies so you can snack while you shop!

Visit the larger Saturday market at 500 Washington Ave, open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. year round. Or stop by the Wednesday evening market at 200 E. Bridge St, open from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., operating seasonally in spring and fall.

Spin Connection

Beef up your vinyl record collection Spin Connection, a locally owned and operated record shop. Discover something new playing over the speakers while you browse, and ask the staff for suggestions—they’ll steer you in the right direction.

Look for jazz, classic rock, indie, R&B, hip hop, pop, and more from eras past as well as new releases. If they don’t have what you’re looking for, they can order it for you!

And if you’re brand new to vinyl—or just want to upgrade your setup—they can help you with fully serviced vintage stereo equipment.

Hey Sugar Candy Store

Life is sweet at Hey Sugar Candy Store. This regional micro chain is a sugar heaven, with delicious treats for kids (and adults) of all ages. Fill a bag with candy by the pound like Jelly Bellies, gummies, and hard candies. Or choose chocolates, peanut brittle, fudge, and truffles from the glass case.

If you want to try something truly unique, hit up the soda fridge. They have some jaw-dropping soda flavors like ranch dressing, black olive, and buffalo wing! (Don’t knock it ‘til you try it.) They also offer homemade milkshakes, malts, and homemade ice cream from Southlake-based TX Creamery, which is also owned by the Hey Sugar crew.


We all know and love our Baylor Bears and the Magnolia Silos. But there’s plenty more to do in Waco!

Disc Golf in Cameron Park

Cameron Park is one of Waco’s best-beloved community hubs, with lovely hiking areas and scenic overlooks. Tucked among the hills and towering trees, 23 holes of disc golf are waiting to be played.

The basket holes on this par-71 course are distributed in both open and tree-lined areas, creating a variety of challenges. The course is free to play, and welcomes players of all skill levels.

Cameron Park isn’t the only place to practice your power shots! There are also courses in Brazos Park East, Dewey Park, and Trail Blazer Park.

Waco Rage Room

Feeling frustrated? Work through it at Waco Rage Room, where you can destroy and smash to your heart’s content. Take a hammer or baseball bat to old electronics, furniture, or a car windshield. Or simply toss plates and glasses against the wall for the satisfaction of the crash. They provide protective gear like goggles and gloves for protection from flying debris. Plus, they have Bluetooth speakers that let you control your own soundtrack.

Reserve a solo sesh, a date night, or a group visit so you can break stuff with your besties or colleagues. For larger groups, book a party package with enough stuff to smash for everyone.  You can even BYO breakables! Sounds like a good way to get rid of unwanted mementos from an old relationship…

If you prefer creation over destruction, you can schedule time in the Paint Room. You’ll fling special UV paint around the space to make your mark. Kids love it! And everyone will get an 11” x 14” canvas to take home.

Waco Symphony Orchestra

Waco is a small city with big city amenities—including a professional symphony. The Waco Symphony Orchestra presents some of the best traditional, contemporary, and pops music, from Beethoven and Mozart to modern-day composers who explore music in new and exciting ways. For over 60 years, the WSO has featured acclaimed and award-winning artists, including Yo-Yo Ma, Renee Fleming, Itzhak Perlman, Chris Botti, Branford Marsalis, Lyle Lovett, Henry Winkler, and Art Garfunkel, to name a few.

Some performances even expand into creative multimedia. Their March 2024 performance of Dvorak’s New World Symphony, for example, will be accompanied by breathtaking visuals of space and the cosmos provided by NASA. Experience this and their other performances at Waco Hall on the Baylor campus.

Texas Ranger Hall of Fame & Museum

Among Waco’s many great museums, the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame & Museum is a unique addition to the city.

The Texas Rangers are the nation’s oldest law enforcement agency, and a legendary symbol of Texas and the American West. At this special site, you can browse Texas Ranger memorabilia  like antique weapons, clothes worn by rangers, art depicting their exploits, photography, and writings. You can even find pop culture artifacts like Lone Ranger memorabilia and western pulp magazines from the 1940s and 1950s.

Step into the history of the Old West and learn what it took to wear the badge!

The Waco Hippodrome

The one-of-a-kind Waco Hippodrome is one of the locals’ favorite spots to catch a show. Built in 1914, this historic theater once welcomed vaudeville and silent films. Today, it hosts live performances from local, regional, and national artists. You can get tickets across genres like rock, country, blues, soul, punk, roots, and more, plus stand up comedy for a laugh-filled night on the town.

Contact the Waco TPID

Waco Tourism Public Improvement District Corporation

424 Clay Avenue, Suite 2343
Waco, TX 76706
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