What do you do when you’re in Austin, Texas, your husband is working, and you have an entire day to yourself (and a rental car at your disposal). For me, that answer is obvious: you take a solo day-trip to Magnolia Market at the Silos in Waco, Texas!
I have long been obsessed with the tv show Fixer Upper, and I love Joanna’s “country-chic” aesthetic (even though it doesn’t really fit in a Florida home, unfortunately). Ever since watching the episode about creating the new space for their market, and rehabbing the silos, I’ve wanted to go there, but I never imagined I’d have the opportunity. I mean, Waco is kind of in the middle of nowhere! I went with Husband on his business trip to Austin the week before Christmas when I was off school, and discovered that Waco is about an hour and half away from where were were staying.
The drive there was a little more than I was expecting — construction going on the entire way — but it was easy enough to navigate, and the Silos are not too far off the interstate. There isn’t really parking at the Silos, but there was plenty of street parking a few blocks away, so I parked for free and walked down. (I noticed the church across the street was also offering more adjacent parking for $10 too.) The area around the Silos is mostly warehouses and a school, which surprised me. I guess I was expecting a bunch of cute little shops, but no such luck. Maybe something like that exists in another part of downtown Waco?
The Market and Silos were even prettier than on the screen! You can see the two towering Silos from blocks away, and there is so much beautiful greenery when you walk up to the complex that it’s like a little oasis tucked into the warehouses around it. It was fairly busy for a random Tuesday at around 11:00am, but it didn’t feel too crowded, and the stores had several register areas that were fully staffed and well organized, so I never had to wait in line.
The Market is quite large, with little display areas set up throughout. I thought it would be like a flea market with one-of-a-kind finds, but it was really a curated selection of home products and Magnolia merchandise, more like the home section of an Anthropologie. There were lots of irresistible little items, so I got some holiday shopping knocked out. Most of the items were reasonably priced, and I was more limited by what would fit in my suitcase to fly home. (They do have a counter for mailing things, if you’re really wanting to get something large.) For myself, I got an enamel Magnolia mug and a wooden bookmark.
In addition to the main Magnolia Market, there is a small garden shed that sells garden supplies, and in the area around it are raised beds growing all variety of flowers and vegetables. They were actually harvesting some of the veggies while I was there! In the middle of the compound, families were playing frisbee on the central lawn, and kids were swinging on swings, just as Chip and Jo described in their original vision of the place. Christmas music was playing over the speakers, and there were a bunch of spots to take photos, like a #MilestoMagnolia sign, some Christmas-themed displays, and an entire section of Christmas trees in front of the Silos and Magnolia sign.
There were also a bunch of food trucks! They surround the perimeter of the central lawn area, and all of them are local favorites. Only a few were open at 11am, but I chose one with farm-to-table breakfast sandwiches. I ordered a sweet-tea-fried chicken biscuit (with a bunch of other things on it) that was even better than it sounds. SO delicious. I sat at a picnic bench under a covered area, and there were many more benches so I’d imagine everyone would have somewhere to sit and eat even when it gets busy. There were also lights strung overhead everywhere, so I bet it is beautiful at night!
Before I left, I had to hit up Chip’s Bakery! It’s pretty small inside, but well-organized and had even more cute souvenir items you could purchase. An employee handed me a little card and a pencil, and I checked off the cupcake I wanted (the “Shiplap” aka vanilla) and a cup of Common Grounds coffee. There were also a selection of cinnamon rolls and pastries. After going through the line to pay and pick up my cupcake (only a minute or so), I found a little table just outside the shop to sit and enjoy it.
After I finished my cupcake, I snapped a few final photos and headed back to my car, around 1:00. I was actually in the car driving for longer than I was there, but I still think it was so worth the drive! I got lots of fun little souvenirs, a great meal (and dessert), and got to see a place I’ve wanted to visit ever since I had heard about it.
Even if Chip and Jo weren’t there, I still got the sense that they had a part in each carefully crafted detail. It’s a place full of love and warmth, and I highly recommend making the journey as soon as you can!