Waco is a city in the Blackland Prairie region of north central Texas, in the United States of America.

Delivery truck in Waco, Texas



Founded in 1849 near the site of an abandoned agricultural village of Waco Indians, Waco rose to prominence in the 1870s as a major junction for the transport of cattle; by 1871 between 600,000 and 700,000 head of cattle had passed through the city. As time progressed, Waco's location at the crossroads of major railroads and its location on the Brazos River helped the city grow and thrive. It is now home to approximately 125,000 residents, with 260,000 in the greater Waco MSA area. Waco has a number of worthwhile attractions.

The Colias Brothers founded the downtown Elite Café in 1919, which was open twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. This original café partly burned in 1929 then closed in 1961. Between 1929 and 1961, the Colias brothers opened a second Elite Café on Waco's famous Circle, the famous roundabout in town. The roundabout connects Interstate 35, LaSalle, Valley Mills, and Highway 77. The café was as busy as ever at its new location and eventually turned into the Elite that we know and love today.

Waco came to the world's attention, and is still remembered by many people, for the February 28, 1993 stand-off between federal agents (FBI, ATF) and the Branch Davidians, a Seventh Day Adventist offshoot religious group, led by David Koresh, the sect's leader. It resulted in the deaths of 86 people. The incident took place 15 miles outside of Waco, though - not in the city itself. When asked about the incident, most residents will answer; just realize that generally Wacoans are tired of the subject and would rather talk about something else.

Waco is best known in Texas for being the home of Baylor University, the largest Baptist university in the world, chartered during the Republic of Texas.

Get in

By plane

Passenger service into Waco goes through Waco Regional Airport (IATA: ACT). American Airlines provides flights into and out of Waco.

By car

Waco is on I-35, thus allowing easy access by car from Dallas and Austin. On I-35, it is a 90-minute drive south of Dallas, and a 90-minute drive north of Austin. State Highway 6 is the preferred route to reach Waco from Houston, a three-hour drive.

By bus

Waco has a Greyhound bus terminal located in the center of downtown.

By train

The closest train terminal is an Amtrak station in McGregor, a small community 15 miles west of Waco on highway 84.

By boat

The Brazos River flows through downtown Waco and empties into the Gulf of Mexico. Reaching Waco by boat will be a challenge due to the shallowness of this river, along with frequent dams and falls.

A more practical (and entertaining) way of reaching Waco by boat would be to launch a kayak or canoe at the Lake Whitney dam, (approximately 40 miles upstream) and float downstream to Waco.

Get around

The easiest way to travel around Waco is by car. The city of Waco does run a Waco Transit public transportation system, however, it has a limited number of stops and only runs during the daytime.




Although Waco is a relatively small city, it does have a moderately rich theatrical life. There are several companies that produce performances throughout the year, including the Waco Hippodrome, Baylor University Theatre, McLennan Theatre, and Waco Civic Theatre. The Waco Children's Theatre offers a theatrical outlet to local children during the summer.


  • Sunday Sounds. Sunday Sounds is a concert series by the Waco Symphony held on Sunday afternoons at 3:30PM Thirty minutes prior to each show, attendees can learn about the lives of composers and their music in the adjacent concert hall. After the show attendees can visit with the symphony musicians and enjoy refreshments provided by the Waco Symphony Council.





Since Dr. Pepper originated in Waco, it is the "primary" drink to try. "Dublin Dr. Pepper" is made using the original sweetener, pure cane sugar which makes it different than other soft drinks because basically everyone switched to high fructose corn syrup because it was much less expensive.


Bed & Breakfasts

Stay safe

Waco has a reputation for a higher-than-normal crime rate for a small to medium size city. Visitors should exercise normal caution. That said, most violent crime occurs in residential areas, away from most areas visitors may visit. If you do find yourself in such an area (usually for dining), use normal caution. Drive with the doors locked, do not draw attention to yourself, and do not make prolonged eye contact (i.e. stare at other drivers).

It is strongly advised not to be at Cameron Park at night unless you are with a large group.

Waco, and Texas in general, is not frequented by pedestrians as much as a lot of other places. If you decide to walk, be careful, as the drivers are not used to pedestrians and may not see you.

Tornadoes are not a frequent occurrence in Waco, but when they do hit, they tend to be very strong. Do not panic if a tornado warning is issued. If such a warning is issued, turn on the local news and keep updated. The weatherperson will explain what cautions need to be taken, and who should take them. If the weatherperson, any hotel staff, or public officials give you directions, follow them. It should go without saying that you should not go outside during a tornado. See the Tornado Safety section for more information.

Go next

Routes through Waco

Dallas/Fort Worth Hillsboro  N  S  Temple Austin
Dallas/Fort Worth HillsboroMerges into  N  S  Cameron Schulenburg
Abilene Coleman  W  E  Fairfield Mansfield
Quanah Clifton  NW  SE  Bryan-College Station Houston
END  W  E  Jct N Corsicana

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