Day Trips: Magnolia Market, Waco
In four short seasons, home improvement show becomes biggest tourist attraction in town
Magnolia Market at the Silos is the shrine to Waco chic, attracting thousands of fans of the HGTV show Fixer Upper. Joanna and Chip Gaines took the abandoned cotton storage towers and turned them into a retail space and park.
Devotees of the television show make the pilgrimage to Waco to shop for ceramics, plastic flowers, garden gnomes, and T-shirts as seen on the home improvement show. In back of the warehouse-sized store is a large Astroturf play area with lawn games and swings hanging from old industrial rails. The former loading dock to the two rocket-shaped silos is a stage for outdoor concerts.
Around the fenced park are a dozen food trucks. Add to this the Silos Baking Co., with a long line of patrons trying to fit into the small former office of the cotton merchant, and no one needs to go away hungry. A large covered pavilion with picnic tables next to the playground offers plenty of shade from the Texas sun.
Carla Pendergraft with the Waco tourist bureau says that Joanna and Chip have become the biggest tourist draw for Waco, bypassing such stalwarts as the Dr Pepper Museum, Texas Ranger Hall of Fame, and Mammoth National Monument. Although the house-rehabilitating couple generally keep a low profile, Carla says locals often recognize them driving around town in their Chevy SUV.
The tourist bureau has a self-driving tour to Fixer Upper sites around town on their website at wacoheartoftexas.com/visitors/shopping/magnolia-shopping-tour.
Magnolia Market is at 601 Webster, a short distance west of I-35. The houses on the show are private residences and not open to the public. For more info, go to magnoliamarket.com.
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