Sing weekend in Waco is nuts. For those of you who are not familiar with Sing, it’s Baylor’s largest annual production of singing, dance, costumes, and sets put on by almost every greek group on campus. Each organization spends months putting together a 7-minute performance to represent their group and it’s extremely competitive.
The coolest part about it is that it is truly a big deal. Did you know it’s one of the largest off-Broadway productions in the country? And while it may seem like an odd concept to outsiders, it truly brings in so much Baylor spirit and camaraderie that you’d be shocked. People literally fly back from across the country to root on their organization.
What’s great about it is, it’s student led and student produced. Meaning that the university somehow, a long time ago, got a bunch of their most influential students on campus to put together a choreographed, musically and visually pleasing 7-minute act to present to their fellow students and not be embarrassed by it.
And because it is such a big deal in the Baylor sphere, these students also bring in their families from all over the country to come watch their performances. Meaning, Waco gets a little crowded for the two consecutive weekends. But what that also means is, it’s a great time to show off Waco! Whether you’re in sing or watching it, if you’re looking for ways to entertain your family and friends while they’re in town this weekend, here’s a list for you.
If you have limited time, but want to show your out-of-town guests how cool Waco is, take them to the businesses currently occupying the end of 8th street. Common Grounds and Heritage Creamery truly make one of the trendiest strips in Waco. And with their new friend Westside Pizza Co in the back, it’s becoming somewhere you can basically spend all day. Whether you need a morning pick me up, an afternoon slice, or a late night dessert, this corner has you covered.
Spice Village pleases everybody. It’s a collection of local vendor boutiques and it has something for almost everyone. You can set the whole family free in this store and they’ll be able to find something to fall in love with.
Roots Boutique is another example of how truly trendy Waco is becoming. They stock Free People clothing and we love it.
Venture your way up to Washington Ave and you’ll stumble across Gather. This new shop is everything you might hope for in a downtown Waco boutique. They have handmade mugs and more from Black Oak Art as well as a medley of great home decor to modernize any house.
After you’ve finished up at Gather, walk on over to Wildland Supply Co right next door. It’s trendy, intentionally minimalistic in a beautiful way is we are so proud to have it in our city. Stop by, take your mom, take your sister and check them out, you will be impressed. They may or may not have recently been the hosts of a Darling and Magnolia mashup event which let’s be honest, is probably one of the coolest things thats happened in town.
I think we all know Magnolia is a great way to show off Waco innovation and creativity and blooming prettiness. Take them, show it off proudly and eat at all the food trucks. Other activities include Cameron Park, Cameron Park Zoo, The Waco Mammoth Site and the Dr Pepper Museum. And to be fair, they’re on all these lists because they’re all awesome.
Hiking in Cameron Park is a way to show all outsiders that Waco, is not in-fact, flat. The Cameron Park zoo has all the major animals to provide shock and awe and is so well landscaped that you don’t feel like you’re in Waco. The Waco Mammoth site is a NATIONAL monument, so yeah show that bad boy off. And the Dr Pepper Museum is bright, interactive, festive and fun.
If you’re looking for a non-commital-leave-whenever-you-want activity, take your family to the Farmers Market.
Breakfast is always a good idea
You can’t go wrong with taking your family to breakfast or brunch. Any of these places will be phenomenal options and will get your family appreciating Waco immediately. Downtown locations like Olive Branch, Lula Jane’s, Cafe Cappuccino and The Hippodrome are a delicious go-to decision. If they’re too crowded, think outside the box with places like Barnett’s, Moroso’s Wood Fire Pizzeria, or the Milo Biscuit Company food truck. And if you truly want to escape the crowds, check out the Coffee Shop Cafe in McGregor and you will not be disappointed.
If you need quick caffeine, Waco has truly incredible coffee places. Don’t go to Starbucks while you are here, go support our local coffee shops who go all the way to Costa Rica to ensure that they produce a good brew. Pinewood Roasters is brewed locally and is trendy and delicious, Common Grounds provides the sweet nectar that is Cowboy Coffee, Dichotomy is a chic, sophisticated brew that makes you feel trendy just walking through the doors, and Bru is an espresso bar served out of an elevator that is just too cool.
Local lunch favorites
Waco is great at lunch. Taking your family places you can only find at lunch is a great way to help them appreciate the city. Food trucks like Milo Biscuit Company, Cheddar Box, Mad Hasher and Crazy Horse all provide phenomenal food without a wait that’s too long, making them great options for in-between actives. If you want to sit down, places like Schmaltz, The Olive Branch and Alpha and Omega are all great options for light, yummy food that won’t bog you down for the rest of the day.
Dining like a Wacoan
This list can get long really quickly. To be brief, we’ll only list a couple of our local favorites. Downtown locations like Ninfa’s, The Hippodrome, Portofino’s and Coaches give you and your family a great downtown experience to show off Waco. You can never go wrong with taking your guests to George’s, La Fiesta or Mama Baris. If you’re trying to escape the crowds and looking for exotic foods, D’s Mediterranean Restaurant is secluded and delicious, and Bangkok’s interiors will surprise even the strongest of skeptics. If you’d like to wine and dine your guests, Diamondbacks’ award-winning steaks are never the wrong answer.
Firstly, we’d like to encourage you to take your family on an evening stroll through downtown. Slowly but surely, more and more spaces are being filled up and the lights are staying on a little later. Go take a walk on Austin Avenue and see for yourself.
Secondly, we advise you to track down some dessert. Track down Pokey’Os like a true Wacoan, walk by Hey Sugar and pick from a variety of sweets or get some gourmet ice cream from Heritage Creamery. Any of these options are a crowd pleaser and a good Waco experience.
And finally, while Scruffs holds a special place in many Baylor student’s hearts, it may not be the place to bring your mother. She might, however, be interested in visiting the Klassy Glass Wine Bar and Bistro to sip on some locally produced wine or enjoy the crafted cocktails from Dichotomy, or she may enjoy some exotic wines from the Wine Shoppe. If you’d like to show your parents a “college” type bar, Dancing Bear Pub is a great way to show them college without “rager” (if you know what I mean) and they have some of Waco’s Craft Beers your dad can enjoy.
And do your friends a favor and let them know about this article. It’s an interesting phenomenon one experiences when they have people come into a town they love and they suddenly draw a blank on where to take these people to show off the said town.
Friends don’t let friends draw blanks. Spread the word, go forth and show off our great city!