The 2.5 hour road trip from Houston to Waco is rather easy. You pass through many small towns such as Riesel and Marlin but College Station is about half way and offers everything including Texas A&M University.
College Station was our first stop before the 24 hours in Waco.
Burger House - 3310 S College Ave.
No hassle, easy menu, fresh buns, quality burger in a college spot. I imagine that if I went to Texas A&M that they would have got a good bit of business from me over four years.
Once we got into Waco we headed to campus and picked up little sis. We then headed out and got lost in Cameron Park.
By far was my highlight of the visit. Nothing beats real nature and although it’s a city park, Waco has done a phenomenal job of not over developing the area.
On the way home from the park we picked up ice cream cause my girls have sweet tooths from hell. It seems like there's an Insomnia Cookie spot on every campus now. Life's all about balance and life is short so it's dessert before dinner.
On the way to get food I made the crew stop by and get a close up on the ALICO Building. I will include more about its history below.
Dinner was a stop at the Route 77 Food Park & Bar to get in on the Taquisa Waco food truck.
We ventured out to a Baylor student late night spot called Shorty's Pizza Shack where the youngins get pitchers and cheap slices. Pizza was average but all college pizza seems to be. The atmosphere was ideal and fit right in for a college spot.
Sunday morning in Waco was getting coffee and checking out where little sister has classes on campus. The campus is definitely flexing the financials as its probably the nicest campus overall that I've been on.
On the way home we messed around with maybe the best burger in Waco, Texas. We will have to try more on the next visit to contest. The real hand punched potatoes fries are for real! No skipping on the fries. Gourmet burger chain with a come as you are atmosphere.
Texas Ranger Museum
Other places that will be on all the Waco things to do lists:
Baylor Football Game @ McLane Stadium
Waco Hippodrome Theatre
Dr Pepper Museum
Waco Paddle Co.
The Mayborn Museum
Waco Mammoth National Monument
Waco Downtown Farmers Market
You might need a little more than 24 hours in Waco, Texas but its what we had as we visited little sis in her last semester at Baylor University. The small city definitely has character and you can see the new tourist revenue and Baylor University making a difference in the city's growth and development. Waco sits along the Brazos River so what's not to enjoy about that. in the 1800's the city was used as a cattle bridge crossing site for the Brazos River and then the economy relied on cotton. Magnolia Market at the Silos is in Downtown Waco and surrounds two 120 foot silos from the 1950's. These silos were used by the Brazos Valley Cotton Oil Company. Most of the recent growth of Waco comes from the boost of tourism that was born from the Magnolia Group. The Magnolia group draws an estimated 30,000 visitors per week. The repurposed silos shows the shift from a hardworking clue-collar community to now growing as a tourist and college town. You still see the remnants of old Waco and there are still plenty of abandoned buildings that need repurposing.
Waco's history is also intertwined with the World Wars. There was the construction of two military bases, Rich Field and Camp MacArthur. Camp MacArthur took up 10,700 acres and brought many engineers and workers to the city of Waco. Rich Field was a $2 million dollar base that was part of Woodrow Wilsons $640 million expansion of the Army's air division. The site site of Rich Field is now were Waco High School sits.
When you arrive to the city of Waco, Texas it is impossible to not notice the 22-story historic ALICO Building. The 22-story building is surrounded by the otherwise short and unassuming downtown Waco. we pulled into the parking lot to get a close-up. The building was constructed in 1911 and has seen many changes since then. It is currently the tallest building in Waco. Back in the early days when it was built it was the tallest building in the Southwest. Although it no longer fits the definition of a skyscraper today, the ALICO is the oldest "skyscraper" still sitting pretty in the state of Texas. Up until 1929, the ALICO skyscraper was the tallest structure south of the Mason-Dixon line and west of the Mississippi River. It is now operated by the American-Amicable Life Insurance Company of Texas (where ALICO comes) and the large illuminated ALICO sign was added in 1966 to the top of the building. There was a F-5 tornado in 1953 that gutted much of downtown Waco and killed 114 people. The ALICO building was only damaged cosmetically but structurally sound and never lost power. The building became a sign of strength and hope for the city in years following the 1953 tornado. The surviving building was designed with a steel frame while most all building were still built with just concrete.