Sometimes, you just need to get away from your daily life and treat yourself to a weekend that’s all about YOU. And Waco is the perfect place for it. This growing city is large enough to offer plenty to do, but small enough that you can avoid the stress of a major hub like Houston or Dallas.
This Friday afternoon through Sunday afternoon itinerary includes a mix of physical movement, creative expression, inspiration, and treating yourself well. You can do all of these things alone, or bring a friend or partner for a self-care getaway for two!
Friday: Manicures & Tapas
Start your weekend in Waco with an indulgent mani/pedi treatment at adorable Frenchie’s Nail Studio, inside the Sirona shopping center. Owner Vanessa Renee Skeen does fabulous nail art with unique, creative designs. Or just get a simple polish job—your nails will look better than ever after her careful attention to cut and cuticle. Sip on a drink from the coffee bar while you get buffed. Frenchie’s is a one-woman-show, so you’ll get Vanessa’s full attention and highly personalized service. Appointments required!
Once your nails are dry, enjoy a pre-dinner coffee or cocktail at Dichotomy Coffee & Spirits. They offer a full menu of espresso drinks, plus specialty cocktails like their take on an Old Fashioned with rye, aged rum, coffee syrup, and bitters. Take your drink to the rooftop to watch the sunset over the 1901 McLennan County Courthouse.
End your first day in Waco with European flair at Segovia Wine Bar. This Old World-style restaurant specializes in Spanish and Portuguese wine and tapas made from local ingredients whenever possible. Make a meal of small pintxos (small snacks served on fresh bread), artisan flatbreads, and tapas. The Patatas Bravas are a fan favorite—crispy potatoes topped with spicy house-made bravas sauce and garlic aioli. Accompany your meal with vinho verde, verdejo, tempranillo, or other lovely wines from the Iberian Peninsula. Most Friday nights feature live music as well!
Saturday: Museums & Massages
Dining out three meals per day while traveling can make you feel sluggish. So start your Saturday with a light breakfast at Oh My Juice like an açai bowl, avocado toast, overnight oats, smoothie, or fresh juice. With locations in downtown Waco and Woodway, you can find a spot no matter where you stay. If you visit the downtown restaurant, sit outside under the big umbrellas while you enjoy your breakfast and watch the city come to life.
After breakfast (or before, depending on when you wake up!), move your body at a local fitness studio to release endorphins and banish stress. At inclusive and welcoming Yoga 8, you can drop into a class for restorative or hot yoga, barre, or toning classes. Their minimalist studio is an ideal place to get centered for the day ahead. For a class with a beat, try Refit. Their signature class combines dance, toning, balance work, and flexibility for a sweat-inducing cardio workout to high-energy, positive pop tunes.
If you’d rather flex your creative muscles than your physical ones, try a workshop at Board and Brush. Most Friday evenings have a Pick Your Project workshop where you can paint a wood sign, tray, coat rack, box, or other wood decor with a personalized design from their expansive menu. What better way to get a souvenir of your Waco weekend?
Insider Tip: Board and Brush is BYOB, so feel free to bring your favorite beer, wine, or bubbles to enjoy while you paint.
Next, head to Lavish Slumbers for some self-care retail therapy. This adult slumber party-themed shop offers high-quality sleepwear, bath and body essentials, and creative workshops. On weekends, you can also attend the weekly Candle Lab workshop to make your own signature scented candle. And stop by Slumber Rollz onsite for a gooey cinnamon roll, coffee drink, or wellness mocktail (cocktails coming soon).
Revival Eastside Eatery is your next destination for a praiseworthy lunch. Enjoy sandwiches, 44 Farms beef burgers, and salads packed with veggies and protein, made with as many Texas-sourced ingredients as possible. Located inside an old baptist church, dishes sport topical names like the Old Pestoment, Prodigal Son, and Technicolor Dream Coat.
After lunch, spend the afternoon at one of Waco’s unique museums to refill your creative well. If you’re inspired by historic homes, we’ve got plenty! Visit the 1872 East Terrace House Museum, an Italianate villa with a ballroom for dancing and Waco’s first indoor bathroom. Or tour the Greek Revival Earle-Napier-Kinnard House, which has been restored to its 19th-century glory. You can still spot a couple of original light fixtures and even some original wallpaper! At the Earle-Harrison House, tour the only restored antebellum building in Waco, with stunning two-story Greek Revival columns and nearly six acres of beautiful gardens. Reservations required!
If you prefer fine art, check out the exhibits at the Martin Museum of Art at Baylor University. The museum highlights contemporary art from nationally recognized artists, students, and faculty. There’s also a permanent collection with photography, paintings, and sculptures spanning five centuries and six continents. Also at Baylor, the beautiful Armstrong Browning Library & Museum is dedicated to the lives and work of Victorian poets Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning. (Mrs. Barrett Browning wrote the famous sonnet that begins, “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways…”) The space includes 19th-century art and memorabilia, as well as a stunning collection of 62 stained glass windows.
Off campus, Art Center Waco presents exhibits primarily by artists with Texas roots, whether they were born here or relocated to the Lone Star State later in life. Exhibits change every few months, but past works have included paintings, canvas, textile arts, photography, and even calligraphy.
Finally, if the wonders of nature inspire you, visit the Mayborn Museum Natural and Cultural History Exhibits. Marvel at a massive humpback whale skull, a life-size recreation of a 28-foot-long pliosaur, and walk-in dioramas of Texas’ varying landscapes.
Once you’ve wandered one of Waco’s collections of art, history, or science, kick back and relax to let all those new ideas marinate. Book a massage at Pura Vida Facelogic Spa, a welcoming self-care retreat that offers soothing bodywork treatments. Book a 30- to 120-minute massage and add optional deep tissue work for muscle recovery or hot stones for extra relaxation.
For dinner in Waco, visit innovative Italian eatery Pignetti’s. This unique space combines old-school decor like a wood ceiling, wrought iron light fixtures, and a massive brick fireplace with graffiti-style art. Feast on rich lobster ravioli, classic ragù bolognese, lasagna with ground Wagyu beef, and premium aged steaks. You can also sip handcrafted cocktails, like an Old Fashioned with a smoky twist, and both New and Old World wines.
Sunday: Walk & Read
Start the last day of this self-care weekend with a cheerful breakfast at colorful cafe The Toasted Yolk. Their scratch-made menu features locally sourced eggs, bacon, and biscuits. Dig into omelets, pancakes, or “Arnolds”—their take on eggs benedicts. You can go light with a veggie-packed Garden Breakfast Bowl, or indulge in the Pork Chop Breakfast served with two eggs, buttermilk biscuit, and hashbrown casserole or grits.
Once you’re fueled with food and coffee, spend some time exploring Waco’s waterfront with a morning meander along the Riverwalk. Waco’s Riverwalk is seven miles of paved trails along both sides of the Brazos River, stretching from Baylor University to Cameron Park. If you prefer a more rugged walk, you can enjoy a robust hike in Cameron Park. Trails range from beginner to expert with varying elevations and difficulty of terrain. Lookouts like Circle Point and Lover’s Leap have lovely views of the river and surrounding woodlands.
Next on the agenda, visit Fabled Bookshop & Cafe, a local independent bookstore in downtown Waco. Browse the shelves and lose yourself in a great work of fiction, get inspired by one of the shop’s creative themed displays, or pick up a new journal where you can gather your thoughts. Stop by the children’s section for a bit of whimsy—you can enter through a Narnia-esque wardrobe. Get a literature-themed coffee from the lovely onsite cafe to sip while you thumb through your finds.
Not sure what you want for lunch? At slick food market Union Hall, you can treat yourself to just about anything that strikes your fancy. Visit Honest Juicery for a superfood-packed açai bowl or a filling smoothie, or Wacool Tacos & Tamales for tasty street tacos. Enjoy Vietnamese pho with rich broth and tender noodles from Pho My or lemongrass-marinated skewers and yakisoba rice from Cambodian restaurant The Blasian Asian. To drink, get a refreshing iced tea packed with antioxidants from Zuke’s Tea Bar, with a menu of over 30 options. You can even get some loose leaf tea to bring home with you.
Once you’ve had your fill, take your last looks at lovely Waco. Bring your new book or journal to Indian Spring Park along the river to read or write while you watch the river float by.
After a weekend of exercise and massage, delicious food, and inspirational museums, you’re sure to head back to your day-to-day refreshed and rejuvenated.