HGTV’s Fixer Upper has put Waco, Texas on the map and people come from all over the country to see the famous Magnolia Market in hopes of spotting Chip and Joanna Gaines. However, there are plenty of other fun activities in Waco that don’t involve going to the silos. And the best part, they’re all free!
These are the best free things to do in Waco!
Armstrong Browning Library and Museum
710 Speight Avenue | Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday
Home to the largest collection of English poets, Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, the Armstrong Browning Library is located on the Baylor University campus. Not only does this 19th century research center hold thousands of poems, it is home to rare books, manuscripts, and works of art. Outside, you can find a beautiful garden. Inside, stained glass, wood details statues, and paintings fill the rooms. The library is home to 63 stained glass windows that help history come alive.
1311 South 5th Street
Take a trip to the oldest continuously operating university in Texas while you’re in Waco! Baylor sits on a thousand-acre campus on the banks of the Brazos River and features stunning colonial architecture and fountains. Additionally, a habitat housing the mascot of the Baylor Bears is located on campus. The Bill and Eva Williams Bear Habitat is home to two sister bears, Joy and Lady, that can be seen daily from 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Indian Spring Park
101 North University Park
Indian Spring Park is home to three different attractions in Waco: the Waco Suspension Bridge, Branding the Brazos Sculptures, and the Riverwalk. The Suspension Bridge was built in 1870 and served as a Chisholm Trail crossing. One of the longest single-span suspension bridges west of the Mississippi, the Waco bridge was also built by the same builder as the Brooklyn Bridge in New York. Built in 2008, Branding the Brazos features large, bronze sculptures commemorating the cattlemen of the Civil War that crossed the Chisholm Trail at the Brazos River. For a scenic walk, visit the Riverwalk, a seven mile trail that loops along the banks of the Brazos River.
2601 North University Parks Drive
Cameron Park is one of the largest municipal parks in Texas, stretching 416 acres. The park features giant trees, two rivers, and breathtaking views off the cliffs on the trail. Park goers can partake in fishing, disc golf, picnics, and more. Jacob’s Ladder is a fun and challenging hike up 88 stairs in the park with scenic views at the top within the park.
Carleen Bright Arboretum
9001 Bosque Boulevard | Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday
Covering over 16 acres, this hidden jewel in Waco is devoted to botanical gardens. Find a pond with a waterfall, a rose garden, and more. Carleen Bright Arboretum is the perfect place for a peaceful walk for any age.
Brazos East Park
3516 North M.L.K. Junior Boulevard
Located right on the bank of the Brazos River, this sprawling park lends scenic views, access to the water, and more. Additionally, there are tons of horseshoe pits, great places to fish, and hiking areas.
Waco Mammoth National Monument
6220 Steinbeck Bend Drive| Open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday and Saturday
The Waco Mammoth Site is a dream for aspiring paleontologist! 24 Columbia mammoth fossils were uncovered in Waco in 1978 while paleontologists were searching for arrowheads and fossils near the Bosque River. Because this is the largest known site of mammoth fossils, a museum was built. Entrance to the museum is free, guided tours range from $3-$5 depending on age. Access to the Dig Shelter is by guided tour only.
If you do happen to want to see all the Magnolia related things you can do in Waco, they are all profiled here.
Looking for more fun, free activities around Texas? Check out these spots!