Joanna and Chip Gaines have really left an impression on not just me, but an entire nation. Thanks to a little show called Fixer Upper, the Gaines’ managed to create a farmhouse empire and do it all within a decade. It’s so easy to buy into their aesthetic or jump on some shiplap bandwagon, but for me it’s more than that.
When Fixer Upper first aired, it was refreshing to watch a show that had family at the center of it. To see a dynamic couple shower others in generosity and thoughtfulness through their renovations – giving the whole city of Waco a facelift in the process. I loved how personable they seemed and how they were unflinching to represent their faith so openly. In the last few years it’s been amazing to not only see how they’ve been blessed (and grown), but also how they’re paying it forward within their community.
For years I have always wanted to visit Magnolia Market and the Silos and for years the opportunities just slipped by. You see, my husband was born and raised in San Antonio and my in-laws still call it home. Each Christmas (and anytime we can fit it in) we fly in and get to spend a week hanging out and enjoying southern comforts like Bill Miller’s bucket of sweet tea, the freshest tortillas and Tex-Mex you could dream of, and good ‘ole Whataburger. It wasn’t until last year that I really wanted to make heading to Magnolia Market a reality and I’m thankful we finally made it!
Miles to Magnolia
Knowing Waco has become one of the biggest tourist attractions in recent years also brings crowds and lines. A lot of lines. This does depend on the time of year or even time of day one plans to visit, but knowing a little and preparing yourself is key. Or at least it was for me.
We left San Antonio sometime in the morning and made our hours long drive past Austin and made it to Waco by mid/late afternoon. We decided to stay right down the street at the Blue Indigo hotel, which was within walking distance of the Silos. We checked in, got settled, then got on our merry little way.
When walking up I could see it was bustling and bursting at the seams with people. It was impossible to get into the bakery and the line for the market wrapped around and around (possibly hours to even get in). The grounds had everyone posing for photos and ultimately, I didn’t get to see very much. As a slight claustrophobic, this wasn’t an ideal way to spend the day at Magnolia and so I told my husband and mother-in-law that I was okay with leaving. So, we made our way back and decided to grab a bite to eat at a local steakhouse for dinner before preparing to get on the road to head back to San Antonio in the morning.
Although my first trip to Magnolia wasn’t what I had planned AT. ALL., I was grateful for the chance to even set foot there. Yes, the crowds were intense and it took away from my overall experience, but it was great to just take it all in at the same time.
The following morning we woke up and thought to do a little drive-by just to say our goodbyes before heading home. However, we noticed something pretty special and that changed our whole experience. No crowds. Just one line beginning to form at the bakery.
We quickly realized that getting to the Silos early in the morning was the key time to make our visit. Parking, thankfully, was quick then we jumped in line (to at the very least get some hot coffee and Jo’s famous cupcakes for the ride home).
Silos Baking Co.
It’s quite chilly in the morning in December in Waco, so I was thankful the wait didn’t take long. I loved how seamless their ordering process was and the employees were so friendly and ready to help us. When we got closer to the front entrance we were greeted and handed a paper menu and a pencil to place our order. After we got inside and made our way to the cashier we handed over our order and paid. That simple.
I do have to say that their coffee and cupcakes are completely worth the hype and wait. The cake is so moist and flavorful and the icing isn’t too sweet, in my opinion. We ordered a few different flavors and pastries to take with us and I can affirm that making the time to enjoy something from Silos Baking Co should be on your list of things to do.
Going around any special time of year, especially Christmas, is always a fun time to just wander and to take it all in. Yes, you can go with a set of ideas of what you want to do: hit up the popular IG photo op areas or browse the market, but I couldn’t recommend more just to wander and let the experience just unfold as it will.
There are plenty of things to see such as their food and drink trucks, their Seed & Supply garden area, and lawn chairs to sit and enjoy your coffee and cupcakes. There’s also some lawn games, which Grey loved to explore, to keep the kiddos busy while the moms wandered about.
After walking around outside for a bit we decided to head into the market to look around. Thank goodness there was no line, so we got in effortlessly. Everything they have in the market can be purchased online, so I wasn’t terribly interested in buying anything that day. However, I do have a little tradition of collecting Christmas ornaments from our travels and so I picked up a ball ornament to add to my collection. Also, I found the cutest shirt for Grey that would be a little keepsake from our trip to Magnolia.
I don’t have many photos from inside the market (no doubt you’ll be able to find plenty on every lifestyle blog ever) since I was busy looking around. It, again, was nice to just wander and see what all they had. I’m always so impressed with how Joanna’s design fingerprints can be found in every detail of this place. It’s all so seamless and gives you the warm and fuzzies when you’re visiting – like you’re being invited into Jo’s own home.
Overall, I am so happy we were able to make it to the Silos and it just goes to show that sometimes you need a little faith that the trip you’ve been thinking about for years would pan out. It felt a little disappointing at first, just because of the sheer number of people that visit everyday, but I’m so thankful that we decided to drive by that next morning. We had such a lovely time wandering and enjoying each other – taking photos and browsing the market.
Once we got on the road we thought to take a detour to Magnolia Table (which is at a separate location) in the hopes we could get a spot without having to wait forever. Having a toddler doesn’t really allow us to wait for long periods of time and after seeing the line we decided to forgo it this time around. I’ve heard amazing things about their restaurant and perhaps should we ever make it to Waco again we’ll give it another try.
Until next time…
What we’ve learned:
- expect lots of people and lines at all times and be willing to wait in said lines for up to hours at a time.
- determine ahead of time what you’re willing to stand in line for.
- plan to visit in the early morning for less of a crowd.
- book a hotel within walking distance to save on time trying to find parking.
- for toddlers, bring a carrier backpack instead of a stroller.
- plan, but be flexible.
- most importantly: make sure to enjoy the space you’re in and the people you’re with!
For more tips, Magnolia has their own advice on enjoying your time and getting the most out of your visit here.