If you’ve never been to Waco before, then I hope this post inspires you to visit one of my absolute favourite places in Texas. With the vibe of a small town, but the cultural and eclectic diversity of a big city, Waco combines the best of best worlds, sprinkled with a generous helping of Southern hospitality.
Of all the hidden gems in Waco (and there are a multitude to choose from!), this has to be the most unusual and unique. Hidden below the airy gallery and studio of Cultivate 7Twelve in Downtown Waco sits this wonderful secluded members only club. When you head downstairs, you are instantly transported into what feels like an enchanted grotto worthy of a mention in a Harry Potter novel. There is definitely an air of magic that keeps the locals subscribing month after month. Whilst you must provide your own alcohol, the array of available mixers is long and the unique location is unrivalled. The space can also be rented out for private events and I can think of no place better to host a party!
There are various membership options offered, from a single day guest pass, to couple’s monthly passes and yearly memberships which include a private locker to hold your own assortment of alcohols, invitations to members only events, discounts to a vast assortment of classes and workshops and access to the Social Club on evenings Thursdays through Sundays.
To add a sense of exclusivity, there are Business Meeting memberships whereby the monthly membership includes unlimited guest passes; allowing one to carry out meetings in one of the most exclusive locations in town!
- Embark on a Blek Le Rat Scavenger Hunt throughout the city
Often cited to be an early inspiration to Banksy, the contemporary Parisian graffiti artist, “Xavier Prou” more commonly known as Blek Le Rat has made his mark on the thriving art scene in Waco, in more ways than one. Back in 2018 Le Rat painted six unique murals scattered around the cultural district in downtown Waco.
There are six Blek Le Rat murals scattered around the city of Waco, which makes for a wonderful scavenger hunt and a great enticing way to explore this vibrant city. A great starting point to this adventure would be from the mural of a violinist (Le Rat’s son), which is painted outside Dichotomy Coffee & Spirits, a chic bar that serves artisan coffee in the front half, and crafted cocktails in the back. Kick off your pursuit with a butterscotch latte or head to the back of the bistro for an Irish Coffee!
One of the murals, the selfie rat, perhaps a reference to himself, is one of the more challenging murals to find, located underneath the studio of Cultivate 7Twelve, in the exclusive Undercroft Social Club (as mentioned above).
A full list of the locations of the six murals is outlined below:
- Violinist – Front entrance of Dichotomy Coffee & Spirits – 508 Austin Avenue
- Selfie Rat – Undercroft Social Club (beneath Cultivate 7twelve) – 712 Austin Avenue
- Young Chopin – parking lot of Waco Running Country – 700 Franklin Avenue
- In Honor of Kurt Kaiser – Apex Coffee Roasters – 324 South 6th Street
- Young Picasso – Art Center of Waco – 701 South 8th Street
- Victor Hugo – Brotherwell Brewing – 400 East Bridge Street
Yes, you read that correctly. Situated just a stone’s throw away from the Magnolia Silos is the contemporary Pivovar, hotel, restaurant, brewery and spa showcasing a fusion of traditional Czech and Texas culminating in a unique luxury experience. The inhouse traditional Czech brewery specialises in bottom fermented Czech Pilsner lagers, a tipple that is at the forefront of this unique spa experience.
The first part of this unusual spa treatment involves bathing in the bespoke Czech lager that is brewed onsite, in one of the copper bathtubs at the spa. Guests are encouraged to forego showering after for at least 12 hours to reap the most benefits from the experience, a recommendation not often followed by many! The next part involves taste testing some of the bespoke lagers from the inhouse brewery.
I have always been fascinated with fossils, dinosaurs and just the idea of huge land mammals dominating the Earth; so undoubtedly the decision to visit the National Mammoth Monument was an easy choice for me, and it certainly did not disappoint. I was blown away by the sheer size of these fossils, perfectly preserved and showcased in one of the large buildings open to the public at the museum.
What surprised me the most upon visiting was the realisation that camels were living and thriving amongst the mammoths; a thought that had never even entered my head! Both mammoth and camel remains can be found side by side and having spoken to the extremely knowledgeable and passionate park guides, I was informed that the camels would often be recruited into the mammoth packs for security, much like donkeys and mules do for a herd of cows.
I’m sure when you envisage a surf park your immediate thought doesn’t go to that of inland Texas. But don’t let the distance from the ocean discourage you, this state of-the-art Surf Park can produce artificial waves of up to 150 per hour and attracts surfing professionals from all over the country. There are three wave settings, classified by their level of difficulty – beginner, intermediate and expert; and not to worry if you’ve never surfed before – the park offers private and public surf lessons so you really can make the most of your visit here. In addition, there is a lazy river, multiple water slides and a cable park where you can try your hand at water skiing or wakeboarding. This part of the park is unique in the fact that no boat is used, participants are pulled around the lake using a series of pulleys and cables at a speed of almost 19mph.
If you plan on making a weekend of it, there are now multiple accommodation options offered by the resort, including the highly coveted VIP Surf Suite which features two king bedrooms and sweeping panoramic views of the surf park. Please bear in mind that the surf park is only open seasonally (who wants to surf in frigid temperatures anyway?!); so if you intend to visit at the beginning of the season, be sure to follow their social media pages for updates on the exact opening days for the preceding season.
To see more of my adventures in Waco, be sure to check out my “Texas” highlights reel on Instagram @chase.the.rainbows