After watching HGTV’s “Fixer Upper” since its first episode and becoming one the millions of Americans who feel like they know Chip and Joanna Gaines personally, going to see the property they lovingly redeveloped in Waco, now known as the Silo District, was high on my bucket list.
I felt like I’d already been there thanks to the couple chronicling each redevelopment project on their show, but there’s something about seeing all of it in person that was just, well, pretty cool. It was almost like looking at a house online via a virtual tour and then getting to cross the threshold. The property was everything I had hoped it would be: the grounds were beautiful, the shop was chock full of fun items that celebrate and showcase Joanna’s iconic taste, and every employee we encountered seemed as if working for the Gaineses was their dream job.
We happened to be there on a crisp, cool, sunny December-in-Texas day. Parents were sprawled on the grassy area soaking in the much-needed sunshine, while kids frolicked and played. We heard that the property was so popular and busy that the crowds could make a visit more trouble than it was worth, but we didn’t have that issue at all. The property was buzzing with people who had come from everywhere to take selfies in front of the landmark silos and other buildings that are so familiar — and to take home a few cherished items from the market.
Just an hour or so from Dallas and 90 minutes from Austin, the city of Waco is easily accessible by the interstate, and the Silo District is easy to find – just minutes from I-35. So if you find yourself needing a girls getaway or just want to see it for yourself, here are our top choices of what to do and see at the Silo District.
What to See & Do at the Silo District in Waco
Start your tour of how the Gaineses have begun to reinvent the town of Waco at ground zero: The Silo District. The property encompassing two city blocks is where Joanna first saw — and had dreams of renovating — two large, abandoned grain silos built in the 1950s by the Brazos Valley Cotton Oil Company.
The silos’ site houses the massive Magnolia Market, which sits inside the property’s renovated 12,000-square-foot grain barn. There’s also a large, public green space, the Silos Baking Co., a food truck park with picnic tables, the Magnolia Feed + Supply Store and a small garden.
Although the actual silos anchor the property and serve as one of the city’s major landmarks, they are currently not open to the public. According to the Magnolia website, the Gaineses haven’t yet finalized what the interior of the silos will be, but knowing Joanna, she will come up with something amazing. While at the Silos, grab a spot on the lawn, enjoy some food from one of the many food trucks and do a little shopping in the market and Magnolia Seed + Supply.
Silos Baking Co.
At the corner of the Silo property sits a small white house that has been turned into a bakery serving up cupcakes and cookies made from Joanna’s personal recipes. Silos Baking Co. had the longest line we encountered during our visit, so we jumped in it to see if it was worth the wait. Surprisingly, the line moved fast, and we barely had time to gawk at the beautiful interior of the shop. I remembered the herringbone pattern used to lay out the bakery’s flooring when the renovation was featured on the show, and I wanted to see it for myself. I hardly got to absorb the beauty of it before it was our turn to order.
We got a sampling of cupcakes, including strawberry, chocolate and the “classic” cupcake as well as a chocolate chip cookie. Every crumb was devoured, and we licked the frosting off our fingers. Even the chocolate chip cookie was the perfect combination of crispy and gooey!
Magnolia Press Coffee Shop
Although you can buy coffee in the bakery, we wanted to stroll down to the end of the next block to visit the Magnolia Press Coffee Shop for a cup of joe. This allowed for another gawking session at the attention paid to every single detail, right down to the perfect shade of forest green paint on the building’s brick. The space is much larger than the bakery with ample room to spread out and study, read, or hang out on the massive patio with friends over a delicious cup of coffee.
Little Shop on Bosque
Once you’ve seen all the fun at the Silos, jump back in the car and head over to Little Shop on Bosque. Fans of the show will remember that this was Joanna’s original store she opened in 2003, where her design business began to flourish. The store closed a few years later, but the building housed the couple’s construction business before it was reopened as a store nearly a decade later. Although much smaller than the Magnolia Market at the Silos, Little Shop houses discounted and sale items and is a great spot to pick up a souvenir from your time in Waco.
RELATED: 48 Hours in Fredericksburg
Harp Design Co.
Just a minute or two down the road from Little Shop on Bosque is woodworker Clint Harp’s original woodshop, which is now a retail store. Full of fun wood items imprinted with his signature “H,” as well as other fun home décor items, candles and table settings, Harp Design Co. is also worth a stop. And next door is the Harp House, which fans will remember is the home Chip and Joanna renovated for Clint and Kelly Harp. The couple has since moved, but the home is available for rent via Airbnb.
The one Magnolia entity we didn’t visit was Magnolia Table. It’s one of the spots I was hoping to see, remembering the amazing transformation of this old restaurant from the episode of “Fixer Upper” that chronicled it from old to new. We called on our way into Waco to see if we could reserve a table. The restaurant doesn’t take reservations, and the lady on the phone said the current wait time was nearly two hours. We decided to head on to the Silos and would circle back to the restaurant. But at the Silo property, Magnolia Table has a food truck, so we ordered Joanna’s Famous Chicken Salad, which came with a cool aluminum can of Magnolia water and a bag of chips. Although we didn’t get to see the renovated restaurant because we simply ran out of time, we did get to try a sampling of the food.
The Silo District currently occupies two city blocks, but it’s evident the Gaineses aren’t finished yet. There’s plenty of space for expansion, and there are plenty of beautiful old buildings in disrepair, just begging to be “fixer-upped.” An employee at Magnolia Press told us there were additional plans for the Silo site, including a whiffle ball field and even a church, but as of press time, we weren’t able to confirm that those are solidified plans.
Regardless of what’s next, we can rest assured that it will be just as fabulous as everything else Chip and Jo have touched!
To learn more about Magnolia — including the market, restaurant, coffee shop and more — visit magnolia.com. All photography by Melonee Hurt.
Find more amazing Southern travel destinations in our travel section. Click HERE!