I’ve been a self-proclaimed HGTV junkie for as long as I can remember, but no other TV personality or couple can touch my love for Chip and Joanna Gaines. I was originally born just outside of Houston, TX, so even though I grew up on the east coast for most of my life, going south always feels a little bit like home to me. The familiar twang, the iced tea, and the slower pace sinks in, and before I know it, I’m leaving on a jet plane but still saying “y’all” and classifying fried pickles as a vegetable. I had never been to Waco, but I couldn’t wait to touch down in the home of Magnolia Market and my favorite TV couple. The verdict? The Silos are everything you want them to be and more.
Stepping onto the Magnolia property feels a lot like stepping into a much more beautiful and well-designed (but just as wholesome) Disney World. There’s something for all ages, and it quickly becomes clear that the market is so much more than just a shop. The sprawling lawn boasts picnic tables and an array of food trucks (where I spent most of my time when I wasn’t shopping), lounge chairs, and toys with little ones happily running about with a football. An upbeat, perfect playlist streams through the entire property, and on the other side of the lawn, you’ll find Magnolia Seed Supply (which totally made me wish I had a green thumb/any urge to garden other than purchasing all of the adorable gear), and of course, the bakery.
Here, I’m telling you the best ways to experience all that Magnolia and Waco has to offer, from one Fixer Upper fan to another.
Where to Stay
Like any good fan, I had high hopes for staying at the Magnolia House until I realized that it’s actually an entire vacation rental, and isn’t available to book on a room-by-room basis. It also books up months and months in advance and was definitely out of my budget, since I didn’t have a large group to travel with. So, if you’re jonesing to head to the Silos ASAP and/or you don’t have eight people to travel with to make it an affordable option, never fear. Your dream to stay in a home covered in shiplap is still an option.
Grab a few of your fellow HGTV addicts and book a more budget-friendly home featured on a previous season— the perfect way to experience the Gaines’ hometown like a true local.
Shotgun House, $325 (Sleeps 4)
Industrial but charming and quaint at the same time — it’s the perfect place to sort through all of your Magnolia goodies at the end of a long day.
Mailander House, $250 (Sleeps 4)
This home was featured in Season 1 of Fixer Upper, so it automatically has a soft spot in our hearts. The Joanna Gaines designed kitchen will ensure you never want to leave.
The German Schmear House, $340 (Sleeps 8)
This property sleeps up to eight people, so feel free to bring your entire family, or make it a fun girls trip with your best college buddies.
Downs House, $350 (Sleeps 4)
I mean, can you imagine a better porch to fuel up with coffee before touring The Silos? I think not.
Where to Eat + Drink
The food scene in Waco is like the perfect jeans and white t-shirt: it’s not trying too hard, but it’s always damn good. I came away with a list of favorites in the 48 hours I spent in Waco, but don’t forget to save room for the array of food trucks right on the Magnolia property.
This cozy spot in Downtown Waco can be whatever you want it to be: a cozy coffee shop to recharge during the day, or the perfect spot to grab a glass of vino and forget about how much money you spent on ALL THE PRETTY THINGS at Magnolia Market. A super friendly waitstaff and a really great spinach artichoke dip make stopping at this place a no brainer.
When I heard that Chip was a devoted customer to Viteks BBQ, I knew I had to give it a go. His favorite dish is anything but healthy, but who needs it to be? Go ahead and get the Gut Pak, and don’t even think about the calories.
This farm-to-table restaurant is out in an even quieter part of town, and it’s exactly the kind of spot you imagine Chip and Joanna taking their kids for lunch on a Saturday afternoon. The rustic vibe is warm, friendly, and beautiful all at once. It closes at six, so don’t plan on this for a late dinner spot, but rumor has it that the biscuits and gravy are pretty much perfect.
Dedicated viewers of Fixer Upper will remember the owners of this coffee shop from Season 2. Their charming, twinkle-lit coffee shop is located near Baylor University, but they also have a food truck version right on the Magnolia property for those in a time crunch. I got the Cowboy Coffee, which has a dash of their “secret sauce” and it didn’t disappoint.
Pretty, sleek design with dozens of wines sourced from small growers — it’s your perfect neighborhood wine shop, right here in Waco.
What to Know
If you can swing it, go during the work week.
Magnolia Market isn’t exactly a well-kept secret, and the crowds will be much less overwhelming if you’re able to go during a weekday afternoon. It’s a huge property, so there’s plenty of elbow room, but who doesn’t want to shorter food truck lines and first dibs on all of Joanna’s latest finds?
You need to read The Magnolia Story before you go.
Okay, so maybe you don’t HAVE to, but I read Chip and Joanna’s book cover to cover on my flight to Waco, and it 100% enhanced my trip. I loved being able to visualize and reference all of the spots they talked about that got them to where they are today, and it made me even more excited to see their old stomping grounds. I felt like I could see their story and history all over Waco, which made the trip all the more special.
They have a FedEx Shipping station on site!
I was able to fit a lot of my purchases into my carry-on with me, (namely the candles, which I am 100% obsessed with and can be purchased online!), but I shipped a magnolia wreath for my grandma (a fellow Fixer Upper fan!) right on site thanks to their FedEx station, so be prepared to go ALL OUT with your purchases.
You can find something in every price range.
The products at Magnolia aren’t exactly cheap, but there’s definitely something for everyone. From candles and t-shirts to actual furniture pieces (although most of the shop is made up of accessories), you can enjoy yourself whether you’ve got $20 to spend or $200.
The bakery line will be long, but worth it.
Even during a weekday afternoon there was a line for the bakery but you simply can’t go all the way to Waco and not stop by the Silos Baking Co. Aside from the fact that the decor is amazing (obviously), the treats REALLY are incredible. Most people go for the cupcakes, but I had the savory bacon and cheddar biscuit and it was completely worth whatever amount of cellulite it gave me.