When we started Wacobound two years ago, we started with a mission- to help change the perception of our city. Now, at the start of 2018, we’re pumped to say, not only has that perception dramatically changed, but the city itself is so much cooler than many of us ever thought possible. It feels like every day, there is something new to love popping up and quite frankly, it’s making our job pretty easy. So we decided to hit the streets and to hear from some of our fellow Wacoans. We asked them what their favorite things were about living in Waco and here they are- all 62 reasons to love living in Waco.
1. You can actually afford to buy a home in your 20s
While it may be getting a little harder these days, buying a home in the 100-200k range is still completely possible in Waco. Why waste paying more for an apartment when you can own your home and start putting equity away early on.
2. It only takes 20 minutes to get anywhere in town
Thanks to our population size, good infrastructure, and affordable housing near the downtown corridor, you can get most anywhere under 20 minutes. And let’s be honest, 20 minutes is being kind of conservative…
3. You can go see a movie for under $10
Can you really argue with that? No. This is honestly one of our greatest assets. You can easily stay on top of your pop culture game in Waco because you can afford to watch all the newly released films. And, pro-tip—if you still have your student I.D. you can go to these movies for a whopping $5. Yes, $5. That is all.
4. There are over 400 acres of park space in our downtown
Cameron Park is one of the better, not-so-hidden gems of Waco. Right smack dab in our downtown, we have 416 acres dedicated to conserving Waco’s outdoor beauty. You can hike or bike trails, play a challenging game of disc golf, or just hang in a hammock and enjoy the good weather. Make sure you wave hi to our park ranger and his horse as you head out on the trails.
5. We’re getting a minor league baseball team
One of the best things to ignite city pride is to have a team that everyone can get behind. No matter where you went to high school or college, you can be a fan of the Waco Bluecats. And we personally are extremely excited for this addition to our city… You better BELIEVE we will be sporting all their paraphernalia.
6. This place is so cool that wooly mammoths used to live here
Recently designated as a national monument, the Waco Mammoth Site is freaking cool. If you haven’t been, go check out some of our original residents and we’re confident you’ll agree.
7. New businesses are popping up everywhere
Go two blocks in downtown and I bet you’ll hit a new business, a new development, or something soon to come. This year already, we’ve had several new additions that we’re pretty pumped about. It definitely seems to be a great time to be a landowner/entrepreneur and if you don’t believe us, check out number 28.
8. We’ve been designated as a Cultural Art District by the State of Texas
Thanks to the hard work of many of our local organizations and spearheaded by the Creative Waco team, we recently were designated a cultural arts district. This is huge because now we have access to new public dollars that previously didn’t exist. Keep a lookout for new murals, art galleries, and art classes and events happening all across Waco!
9. Over 200+ events happen each year
Whether its the Silobration, the Texas Food Truck Showdown, Brazos Nights, or one of the many other events, it’s getting pretty easy to stay entertained in town. Stick around here and we’ll tell you which ones to go to!
10. Our zoo has a new baby lioness named Rae and a 1-year-old baby orangatangue named Razak
We know, this just arguably took the cake. Nothing is cuter than baby animals and we’d argue Rae and Razak are the cutest. Don’t believe us, go check them out for yourself.
11. We’re getting a 27-vendor food hall in downtown
Union Hall can’t come soon enough. Soon to be downtown on Franklin Ave, this 27-vendor food hall will be a huge win for the city. It’s going to be glorious.
12. Speaking of development, check out the plans for our Riverfront
The long-awaited Riverfront is finally underway. In phase 1 of 4, it won’t be long before we have a whole new array of attractions, third spaces, and venues to enjoy downtown even more.
13. You can buy coffee at Pinewood Roasters for just $2
Not only is this one of the coolest places to be as a young professional right now, it’s really affordable. $2 for a cup of coffee sounds absurd and it is, especially for how freaking good it is.
14. We are home to the Royal Flush at BSR
You’ve probably seen the video, and yes, it’s even better than it seems. BSR is already a super cool place to go hang out and wakeboard, but they’re also home to the famous Royal Flush slide which everyone needs to try at least once.
15. 75% of the snickers in the world are made in Waco
And that is the best kind of random fact that you can pull when you go back to see your family.
16. We are set to host an Ironman this summer
Thanks to the hard work of the Greater Waco Sports Commission, Waco will host it’s first ever Ironman this upcoming summer. If you thought Baylor’s Bearathon was hard, just hang on for this one.
17. We’ve got a baller Downtown Farmers Market
It is a well-established belief that you can measure a city’s vibrancy by their Farmers Market. And with this little fact in hand, we can confidently say that the growth of our market matches the growth of our city and we are immensely proud. Check it out, buy the local produce and try a puffle.
18. We’re getting big enough to have districts
Have you seen the uptown signs popping up? It’s up and coming and we are big fans of the whole concept. But, we have to admit the Bank District may, in fact, be our favorite. Why? Look them up and they will quickly become your favorite, too.
19. We’ve got the best whisky in the world
This is no exaggeration— Balcones Distilling is truly one of the best distilleries in the world, and they have the awards to prove it. Check out their tasting room, take a tour or attend one of their events. There’s always something going on and it is quite honestly one of our favorite things to do in Waco.
20. Nothing to “wine” about here
Our wine scene is growing every year. Not only do we produce our own, local wines from places like Valley Mills Vineyards, Kissing Tree Vineyards and the Waco Winery but we also import some pretty BA wine. The Wine Shoppe, located on Austin Ave, is home to one of the top wine importers in the state. He brings in wine from all over Europe to distribute to major steakhouses in Dallas and Houston, but because he’s from Waco he opened up a ‘lil shoppe for us to come and enjoy some heavy bodied Spanish imported Roses.
21. Brotherwells & Bare Arms
Not one, but two brewers grace us with their locally crafted goods. Just call us the new Brooklyn my friends. #dreams
22. Over 2 million people visit us a year
WACO OFFICIALLY PASSED THE ALAMO IN TOURISM. Let that soak in. #remeberthesilos
23. 90s bands are starting to love us
Did you see that Smash Mouth made a Waco visit? They weren’t the only ones. We’ve also had visits from Bowling For Soup and Five for Fighting (almost 90s, technically 2001 but close enough)
24. Over 100 food trucks call Waco their nomadic home
That means over 100 deliciously mobile treats bless us daily with their culinary talents. We’ve got greek, asian, bbq, and everything in between. Just go check out the Silos or Chowtown for yourself.
25. Speaking of food trucks, have you heard of the Texas Food Truck Showdown
It is actually a really big deal and pulls in 40 something food trucks from all over the state and beyond. You’re not going to want to miss it this year. It’s planned to be happening the same weekend as Spring at the Silos so that is gonna be a great weekend. Stay tuned.
26. Space X calls us home
Space X moved an entire branch to Waco (McGregor right outside of Waco), meaning there is a large population of cool Californians living in our midst. While they are rarely spotted due to their job, we think they’re about to come into the light, drink the kool-aid, and love Waco as much as we do.
27. The Riverfront is only the beginning
The Riverfront development has spurred other big projects into happening in our beloved city—If you haven’t heard of the Civic Center project yet, check it out. All we need to say is ‘urban forest’. If that verbiage doesn’t get you jazzed you’re not a true millennial.
28. Tim Ferriss thinks we’re a good investment
For those who know who this, you’ll understand how big of a deal it is. For those that don’t you should click here. Also, here’s the podcast where he says we are a good investment. Go to 1h 27min and listen for two minutes.
29. Farm to Table Dinners only cost $16
A new business called Cozy Dinners popped up at our new downtown art gallery, Cultivate 7Twelve, and is offering an evening of delicious food and tasty drinks and we are ALL about it. Anywhere else in the world this would cost upwards of $50.
30. Not one but two co-working spaces are in the works for downtown
The Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce is helping to pull together the big guns from around town to provide entrepreneurs in Waco many of the resources they need to get up and running—including a space to work from right in the downtown Waco area. And to further prove there is a big need for this in the city, a private investor is starting one as well! Both of these are going to be huge for Waco, just wait.
31. Brunch is becoming huge
We created a part one for a brief introduction into some of the great brunch spots around town. And since this article, we have discovered so many other brunch options, Pt. II is in the works. Stay tuned.
32. We don’t tailgate Baylor Football, we sailgate
That’s right. The riverside location of Baylor’s football stadium created a new medium of pre-game sail-o-brating. The Brazos is one of the most underrated assets Waco has to offer, and with sailgating, it’s finally starting to get the attention it deserves.
33. You can take Amtrak from McGregor to the rest of the US
Bet you didn’t know that we have a major Amtrack unit that can, quite literally, take you all over the country. We think train travel is highly underrated. It’s time for a comeback people, Europe does it and its awesome.
34. Czech Stop is right up the road
We are amazingly #blessed with 24/7 access to authentic, delicious fluffy Czech pastries just 15 minutes up the road. Some might say it is the ultimate midnight snack and mini road trip with friends.
35. We are only 100 miles from Dallas and Austin
Our central location was previously looked at as a mere pit-stop, but now it is considered to be one of our best assets. We are close to all the amenities of a big city, and to be fair, because of traffic it takes us about the same amount of time to get to Dallas as it does for someone to cross from one side of Dallas to the other. #mikedrop
36. Boutiques are kind of our thing
While we don’t have a mega-mall, we have a plethora of boutiques. Clothing boutiques, furniture boutiques, workout boutiques…we aren’t about mass production of generic brands. (although if that is what you’re looking for 7/10 Dillards has what you need…[email protected])
37. Higher education is expanding in Waco
Not only do we great universities like Baylor, MCC, and TSTC, but we also have on campus representation from places like Texas Tech and Tarleton through the University Center at MCC giving us a MASSIVE location advantage for higher education.
38. Dr Pepper was invented here
Plus there’s the museum for it. And the bears used to drink it. And it’s a REALLY big deal. And it was invented before Coke. That is all.
39. We have a drive through, alcoholic snow cone place
If you’ve never heard of Eskimo Hut, you’ll need to check it out this summer. It’s the place where your adulthood and childhood meet and scream for joy. Definitely worth the visit.
40. There is no shortage of local coffee
We have so many local coffee producers in the area it is truly a sign of a city that’s moving forward. After all, what better way to fuel progress than with a locally brewed cup of joe?
41. Lake Waco—it’s the best
There are so many amazing opportunities Lake Waco provides. Whether you’re into fishing, waterside picnicking or waterskiing—we’ve got a huge manmade lake that will surely meet your needs.
42. Have you seen the kind of sunsets we get here?
If you are ever in need of a fresh dose of natural beauty—just take a trip out to Lake Waco to watch the sunset. Texas is known for its big skies and you will not be disappointed.
43. This place loves dogs
From the Farmers Market to the H.O.T. Dog Park (the humor of the name is not lost on us) Waco not only allows dogs, it proudly showcases them. We’ve even had a First Friday “Pup Crawl” through downtown so that everyone can show off their dogs. It’s wonderful.
44. Growing young professionals population
Back in 2010, it was a rare choice to stay in Waco, now it’s not only a viable option but a good one. Just go to Pinewood Roasters for an afternoon to see what our Young Professional atmosphere looks like.
45. We’re a big town with a small town feel
You’re about 3 connections away from knowing everyone in the city, but we truly have crossed the mark from “town” to “city” creating a really cool juxtaposition that makes our mid-sized city the perfect place to meet just about anyone and everyone—without traffic.
46. Chains are coming (the good kind of chains)
The fact that we have an In-N-Out burger should not escape you. That is bigtime people. The Grease Pit is expanding rapidly and is including some top-notch options. We’re even getting a La Madelines.
47. We have waterfalls people
A simple indicator that there is more natural beauty in our city than people realize. Just take a little trip out to Crawford to see Tonkawa Falls and you’ll know what we’re talking about.
48. It is becoming a running city
The opening of the Waco Running Company confirmed our suspiciouns—Waco runs. We have ample amount of trail opportunities, a store to provide us with the latest and greatest equipment and a growing list of race options.
49. Bike friendly options
If biking is your workout of choice we have an ample amount of bike specialty stores, mountain trails through Cameron Park and so many open backroads for long trail rides you’ll think you’re in a whole other country.
50. Magnolia calls us home
This has obviously been huge for us. Magnolia has been monumental for our community and we love how passionate they are for helping this city. And it definitely doesn’t hurt that they converted some old corn silos into a bigger attraction than the Alamo. That’s pretty neat.
51. A growing nightlife scene
We were walking down Austin street on a seemingly quite evening when suddenly—a lively pedal tour filled with people zoomed by. Slowly, door by door, people are starting to recognize the need to keep the lights on downtown at night and our nightlife scene is growing slowly but steadily.
52. Apparently, there is more “snow” here than originally anticipated
We’ve had two snow incidents this year. It’s pretty bigtime.
53. ….and when it does “snow” you will inevitably get the day to yourself
Because, to be fair, not only are Texans not used to this white substance from the sky, but our roads are not built to remove the danger of snow. So for the safety of all—when the temps drop below 30 and there’s a chance for precipitation, it’s an at home work day for all!
54. The flowers in spring are quite beautiful
Not only do we have blooming bluebonnets, but we also have indian paint brushes, crape myrtles of varying colors and because Magnolia plants a tree in front of each house they flip, now hundreds of magnolia trees across our city.
55. We produce a plethora of handcrafted goods
From ceramic mugs and handcrafted jewelry to metal signs and wooden tables, #madeinWaco is a thing and you should introduce more of it to your life.
56. The music scene is diverse—and growing
We have folk music at Common Grounds, bigger names like Brad Paisley on Baylor campus, and a whole slew of country stars and 90s jammers at the Backyard and the Extraco Event center. Now, it’s grown to a whole new variety of music thanks to new venues, wine shops, and karaoke bars all around town. The music scene shows no signs of slowing down and we are so proud. So, so proud.
57. Tuesday $2 bowling
We think this epitomizes the affordability of living in Waco. AMF lanes on Tuesday night does $2 per game, $2 for shoes and $2 PBR…what are you waiting for?
58. Desserts, desserts, desserts
First, it was Pokey-O’s. Then, it was Heritage Creamery. Then, it was Hey Sugar. And then, we found out all about the cheesecake from The Grape….and don’t EVEN get us started on all the cupcake places. Your sweet tooth will never go hungry in this city.
59. Antique like a pro
If Joanna Gaines lives and antiques here, there’s a good chance you can find some quality stuff for yourself. Just take a drive down La Salle or along the highway to McGregor and you will find some quality antiquing options. And “like a pro” can be used as a colloquial hyperbole but seriously our city houses the #1 antiquing, LITERAL pro in the world so #shrugemoji.
60. You can get a manicure for $35
And let us clarify that it is not the bottom level option my friends—oh no. The “Posh” manicure including exfoliating scrub, full arm massage, cuticle care with aromatherapy AND a paint job is a whopping $35. Have we mentioned how affordable this city is?
61. The taco scene is incredible
We don’t like to play the comparison game over here, but we did watch a video about how a certain unnamed, capital city a little further south than was deemed the “taco capital of the world” and it was a video repeatedly showing torchy’s tacos. Not only do we haaavvvee a torchy’s tacos (shaboom.) but we also have a wide variety of true, authentic Mexican restaurants with true, authentic taco and burrito options.
62. You get to be part of the growth
This is arguably the most important part. At any point and time, you’re about two phone calls away from talking to someone who can make a change. Standing up a business is feasible because not only are there so many options for things to do for the city, but you’ve got all of the big guns pulling for you and trying to help you succeed. The Texas population is expected to double by the year 2040, and they’re expecting a big chunk of that growth to come to Waco.
So now is the time to really invest in this city. These are just 62 of the many, many reasons Waco is such a great place to live. Let us know your other favorites and just know, it’s only going to get better from here. #sicemwaco