We don’t have cable, but we got Sling and a Roku last year so I could lay around and watch HGTV while I was pregnant and miserable. That is a totally factual statement. I began by binge watching this show- Fixer Upper– about a couple who lives not far from us in Waco, TX who fixes up older homes and turns them into magazine-worthy abodes. I fell in love with their style, and what was most unexpected was our whole family found a show we like watching together.
Our kids have grown up around us doing our own renovations and decorating projects in this house and our last. Soon, they were begging us to “please, buy a fixer upper!” like we could just work on it on the weekends with all our free time.
Joanna and Chip Gaines of Fixer Upper recently opened Magnolia Market At The Silos in the heart of Waco, which happens to be about a 2-hour drive from our house. It’s a decor shop, outdoor play area, food truck park, and bakery. We didn’t have much planned headed into spring break last week, so, on a whim, I decided to take 3 of the 4 kids there.
It’s worth noting that I opted to leave the 3-year-old at home. He had preschool that day. I don’t think it would have been possible to manage him there along with the 2 month old, plus an 8 and 6 year old.
We were only there for a few hours, but I came away with some tips for going back based on our experience and on research I did prior to visiting.
Go early on a weekday. I was nervous it was going to be bananas since it was our spring break, but I think we lucked out that a lot of other schools near us didn’t have SB until the following week. Still, even at 10:30 on a Wednesday, it was starting to get crowded. The week after we left, I was headed back through Waco on a Tuesday and thought I’d stop off (it’s really not far from Hwy 35) to take a break and do some shopping with just the baby this time. IT. WAS. INSANITY. I don’t know if there was something special going on or if it was just that it was about 5 pm and that’s a crazy time? I could see the crowds from blocks away. I didn’t even bother looking for a parking spot. We just got back on the highway and kept driving.
I’ve not been on a weekend yet, but a lot of my friends told me not to even bother because of the crowds on Saturday and Sunday. If you can’t avoid those days, definitely plan to get there and park before they even open.
You don’t have to pay for parking! Well, maybe you don’t. Give the free parking lot a look first! The first parking lot I passed on my way there was the First Baptist Church, and it was $10 to park. 2 of the lots were already full! (This was on the Tuesday morning trip there.) I started to freak out. Then I drove in front of the Silos and took a right on 8th street, and there was an inconspicuous entrance to the free parking lot. It was probably only half full. And it connects to the grounds! I don’t know why so many people paid $10 to park at a place a block away when this was sitting half empty.
Go to the bakery first. As the day went on, the line for the bakery seemed to get longer and longer. It moves fast, and you can fill out an order card while you’re in line, but if you don’t want to wait outside forever (not very many people can fit inside the tiny bakery itself), go sooner than later.
Don’t skip the bakery! They have great coffee, and the cupcakes are seriously delicious. My favorite flavor was Red Velvet, but the Lemon Lavender was also a lovely and unexpected surprise. Of course, you can not go wrong with vanilla on vanilla, aka Shiplap.
The cupcakes seem to travel well. We ordered extra to bring home. They packed them nicely in a cardboard container, and even after strolling around for a couple hours and a 2 hour ride home, they came out of the box flawless. Now, we were not there on an exceptionally hot day, so keep that in mind. If you want to eat them onsite, there is a sweet little patio area right next to the bakery.
Browse the online shop before going to the actual store to get an idea of what you may want to buy, and what to budget. I don’t know if everything on the site is in the store and vice versa, but everything I found online that I wanted to look at in person was there. Browsing the actual store was a little chaotic. Granted, I had 2 kids and was pushing a stroller, but it would still be good to go in with an idea of what you want.
There is an elevator that takes you downstairs, which is super helpful to know if you’re pushing a stroller or just can’t handle stairs (and crowds) well. It’s in the far right corner on the top level.
The bottom level has a lot more merchandise, including the “Magnolia” and #Demoday branded stuff, like hammers, coffee mugs, shirts, hats, etc. That was the stuff we bought because I felt like I could get a lot of the other decor items for less at a place like Hobby Lobby or Target. I mean, not exact replicas in most cases, but similar. I also didn’t have a ton of room in the stroller to store this stuff while we walked around, so it really cut down on what we could buy.
They sell more garden stuff over in the actual garden at the Magnolia Seed + Supply shop. It’s a little easier to get in and out of.
And there’s also this cool corner for the kids to play in.
Plan to grab lunch at the food trucks, but watch the lines closely. We started in line for the Cheddar Box, but it was looking a little long, and the truck right next to us – 900 Pizzeria- seemed much shorter and the kids wanted pizza so we hoped over there. We chose poorly. There was a reason that line was short. It was moving super slow. The pizza was great! But we had to wait a long time for it. Luckily, the kids passed the time swinging.
Bring sunscreen and water. You’ll probably be spending most of your time outside and there’s not an abundance of direct shade. They sell water, of course, but I prefer to save my dollars for cupcakes and bring my own bottled water.
Plan to make a day of it. People were playing football and soccer on the artificial grass, there’s quite a bit of seating, or you can just sit on the perimeter of the grass. And if you feel like you’ve seen all you care to at The Silos, you can walk to a few other Waco shops that are just steps away.