- HGTV’s “Fixer Upper” couple, Chip and Joanna Gaines, are responsible for a huge spike in tourism to their hometown of Waco, Texas.
- Waco has been named one of the top travel destinations of 2018 by TripAdvisor.
- From the Gaineses’ Magnolia Market at the Silos to the Dr. Pepper Museum and a mammoth fossil site, there’s plenty to see and do in Waco.
Chip and Joanna Gaines have starred in “Fixer Upper,” one of HGTV’s most-watched home improvement shows since 2013.
The indelible husband and wife duo announced last fall that Season 5 of “Fixer Upper” would be their last as they shift focus to their growing young family.
Though the Gaineses may soon be disappearing from television screens across America, their hometown ambassadorship is strengthening nationwide.
In 2017, their expansive downtown Waco hub, Magnolia Market at the Silos, averaged 30,000 visitors a week – an annual total close to 1.6 million people, reports the Waco Tribune. That’s more than the Alamo, one of Texas’ best-known tourist attractions.
Meanwhile, hotel occupancy rates in Waco were 75% in the second quarter of 2017, according to the Waco Tribune, the second-highest in the state.
The Gaineses employ more than 600 people in Waco to help run their laundry list of businesses, including a 2.5 acre home-improvement hub, a real estate and construction company, two rental properties, and an upcoming restaurant, Magnolia Table.
Here’s everything you need to see and do in Waco:
Roundtrip flights from New York City to Dallas or Austin — the two largest airports near Waco — cost about $US150 right now. Both airports are about 100 miles from Waco.
Once in downtown Waco, you can’t miss the Silos. The Gaineses ‘favourite investment’ so far is a pair of rusted cotton-oil mill silos at the center of a 2.5 acre property otherwise known as Magnolia headquarters.
Source: Business Insider
On the Magnolia Market website there are tips for making the most of your visit to the Silos. Tip No. 1: The Silos are busiest during lunch hours, so come early or late in the day. The market is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and closed Sundays.
Source: Magnolia Market
There’s parking on-site, but it can fill up quickly. The free Silos District Shuttle drives patrons to and from outer parking lots.
At the Silos, a retail shop sells home goods and decor in Joanna’s signature style.
The Silos Baking Co. is full of sweet treats — many of Joanna’s own recipes — including the “Nuts & Bolts” cupcake, “The Silos Cookie,” and “The Prize Pig” bacon and cheddar biscuit. There’s also nearly a dozen food trucks on site serving local fare.
Before you leave the Silos, don’t forget to stop by the garden and Magnolia Seed and Supply for more Joanna-approved home and garden decor.
Less than 10 minutes down the road is Chip and Joanna’s latest Waco-based venture. The couple bought this 100-year old restaurant in 2016 and have spent the last year renovating it. Magnolia Table will open in early 2018 and serve breakfast, lunch, and brunch.
Believe it or not, there are other things to do in Waco that predate the Gaineses and “Fixer Upper.” In an interview with People Magazine last year, Chip and Joanna shared some of their favourite Waco attractions.
Their picks included Texas Ranger Hall of Fame, where you can learn about the Texas Ranger tradition, and the Hippodrome Theatre, which offers movies, concerts, and plays along with a full-service dining experience.
The Gaineses also suggest checking out the Dr. Pepper Museum where you can learn about ‘the nation’s oldest major soft drink,’ and the five-acre Waco Mammoth National Monument, where visitors can check out fossils of extinct animals.
Lastly, you may want to check out Chip and Joanna’s alma mater, Baylor University. Covering 1,000 acres, Baylor is the world’s largest Baptist university. The couple was named “Alumni of the Year” in 2015 for using ‘their national stage to focus a positive national spotlight toward Waco and Baylor.’