Friday 22 November 2019
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businessinsider - 14 days ago

I traveled to downtown Waco, Texas, a Fixer Upper fairytale land bursting with rustic charm and tourists shopping for home goods

I spent a day in Chip and Joanna s hometown of Waco, Texas, where the Fixer Upper duo opened Magnolia Marketplace at the Silos. Since the market s opening in 2015, Waco has seen a significant rise in the number of tourists it sees each year. Tourists come to Waco, Texas, from all around the world to see the Silos and shop at the city s many home goods stores, like the Findery and Magnolia Market. Downtown Waco s attractions date back to before Fixer Upper, though. Stops at historic places like the Dr. Pepper Museum are also a must. Here s an inside look at this fixed-up Texas neighborhood. As a former Texan, I know Waco as the small city that is half-way between Dallas and Austin, Texas.

But fans of the HGTV show Fixer Upper know it for its abandoned silos-turned-marketplace called Magnolia Marketplace. The market opened downtown in 2015, and Waco s tourist count has been increasing every year since. In 2018, Waco saw 2.6 million tourists. Source: Business Insider, Waco Convention Visitors Bureau, Magnolia

I was one of those tourists in October 2019. While visiting family in Austin, Texas, I took a Flix Bus from Austin to Waco.

Five bucks and two hours later, I was in bear country. Waco, Texas, is home to the Baylor Bears football team at Baylor University — the biggest Baptist college in the world. Source: Baylor, Britannica

I took a Lyft from south Waco ...

... to the Silo District in Downtown Waco, a town square with food and shopping, all with a rustic theme.

The Silo district has its own free trolley that stops all over downtown Waco, so shoppers can easily get from store to store. Source: Magnolia

The trolley is on a flag-stop route, meaning if you see a moving trolley that you want to get on, all you have to do is flag down the driver.

I got on the trolley at Magnolia Marketplace at the Silos ...

... and when I saw a sign that said both candy and soda, I decided to get off the trolley at the next stop.

The establishment was called the Sweet Station. The building served as a gas station in the 1920s and was renovated in 2019 to accommodate a new business — sugar. Source: KCENTV

I came in for a soda. This is only about half of the selection of soda available at the Sweets Station.

Overwhelmed by the choices, I went with the bubbly beverage I already knew was good.

I paid $2.17 for my refreshment and continued on my journey.

When I walked outside, I noticed this little message on the side of the building. I thought it was a nice touch. But it wasn t the only mural in the area.

Just across the street, a larger and more colorful mural defines Waco as a city with a soul. The mural used to say Waco feels like home. The new phrase comes from eight articles from the early 1900s that describe Waco as a city with a soul. Source: Waco Tribune-Herald

The mural is behind the Findery — a home goods store that opened in 2015 and is featured on Fixer Upper. The building was used for a drug store in the 20th century called Percy Medicine. Source: Waco History, Waco Today

The Findery sells all things related to homes, including antique furniture. Source: The Findery, Waco Today

Tourists from all over the world come to Waco to shop at the Findery for their homes. The Findery has had customers from as far as Singapore shop at their store in Waco, Texas. Source: Waco Today

Some customers even travel by van to get the most out of their trips to the Findery. A couple drove all the way from Ontario, Canada, and stuffed their van with goods to take home. Source: Waco Today

Another couple visiting Waco reportedly canceled their flight home and rented a large vehicle to drive all their new furniture and decor back home. Source: Waco Today

But despite its global impact, the Findery is a family-owned business ... Source: Waco Today

... and it feels like one too. They even have recipes and suggestions next to some of their cooking products.

After my trip to the Findery, I headed back to the Silos, which are just a block away from the Findery.

And that s when I realized the Silos were more than just a store.

Magnolia Market has a bakery, food trucks, and a stage.

The marketplace seemed pretty busy for a Monday.

To me — a 23-year-old renter who spends money on everything but home goods — Magnolia Market was pretty much the same as the Findery, except bigger.

They sold a lot of Magnolia souvenirs, like these mugs.

Even on a Monday afternoon, there was a line at check-out.

After window shopping at Magnolia Market, I headed towards Silos Bakery, where the line was out the door.

And not only that — people were even posing for photos in front of the door. A lot of the bakery s guests are tourists. Source: Waco Tirbune-Herald

The bakery was an instant hit when it opened in June 2016, and clearly the hype is still there. Source: Waco Tribune-Herald

Chip and Joanna s new coffee shop Magnolia Press was much easier to access, though, maybe because its a block away from the Silos.

I was surprised to find the coffee shop so calm compared to the bakery after I learned that Magnolia Press just opened in October 2019. Source: Delish

After my trip to the Silos, I explored more of downtown Waco, where many abandoned houses and buildings have renovation plans.

The fixed-up homes are easy to spot in downtown Waco ...

... especially because they re next to houses that look abandoned.

While Chip and Joanna aren t fixing up houses anymore, someone is. Abandoned houses in downtown Waco have signs that read This home is coming soon. Source: Magnolia

Some homes had succulents out front in true Texas style.

My downtown stroll led me to another home goods store called Interior Glow ...

... where I saw candles with pictures of Chip and Joanna from Fixer Upper on them.

I eventually reached the Dr. Pepper Museum, which has been a Waco staple since its opening in 1991. The admission is $10 for adults. Source: Dr. Pepper Museum

The Dr. Pepper Museum is located in Waco because Dr. Pepper was created there. In fact, Dr. Pepper used to be referred to as Waco because Waco was the only place you could get it! Source: Roadside America

I ended my Waco journey in Austin Avenue District in downtown Waco.

After a long day of walking, I stopped at Coffee Dichotomy and Spirits for a latte.

I wasn t too surprised to find that even this coffee shop had been fixed up. Source: Dichotomy Coffee and Spirits

This coffee shop was designed by local businesses, artists, and artisans. It certainly captured the rustic charm in all the home goods stores I had been in that day. Source: Dichotomy Coffee and Spirits

I sat and sipped my lavender latte, which set me back $4.16 ... Source: Dichotomy Coffee and Spirits

... and wandered up to the rooftop deck ...

... where only one person was sitting on this Monday afternoon. It was a peaceful way to end my day in downtown Waco.

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