I recently took a day trip to Waco, Texas with some long-time friends to visit Magnolia Market at the Silos. You will have to forgive the lack of photographic evidence.
If you are unfamiliar with the Magnolia Market, you need to look no further than HGTV. Magnolia Market is the brainchild of Chip and Joanna Gaines, stars of the show, Fixer Upper.
Personally, I am not a super fan of the show. I’ve picked up a few episodes while waiting on my physical therapy appointments as the hospital always had HGTV on their televisions. I was well aware of who they are and what they do. They own a construction company where he takes care of the renovating, and she takes care of the design elements. They are both very personable on their show and entertaining.
I have lived in Texas most of my life. I was born on Lackland AFB, San Antonio, Texas and lived there until fifth grade. I lived a year in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and then finished my middle through high school years in Grand Prairie, Texas. After I graduated high school, I lived on various military posts as an active duty soldier, and as an Army spouse. In the end, I always came back home to Texas.
Waco was always just a pit stop on I-35 to me. Anytime I traveled south, we stopped in Waco. Traveling south from the Dallas metroplex, Waco just happened to be the perfect stop to stretch your legs and grab lunch. For some of you, you only know Waco by the more recent scandals at Baylor University or their moments of college sports glory. For others, the only time you’ve ever heard of Waco was the Branch Davidian raid back in the early 90s. And, then, let us not forget the biker gang brawl/shootout with over 200 involved and a few deaths at Twin Peaks. Waco has had it rough. With the exception of the University and its immediate surrounding area, parts of Waco look frozen in the 80s.
Then, Fixer Upper happened in 2013. Joanna started building her merchandising empire, and slowly, Waco started coming back alive.
What to Expect
I went on a Saturday. Big mistake. When we arrived just shortly after Magnolia Market opened for the day, the line wrapped around the building. It reminded me of Six Flags except there wasn’t a cool ride at the end of your wait. My friends who visited twice during the week told me that there was little to no wait on both of their visits during the week, so you may want to consider that in your plans.
Harp Design Co.
My friends had also taken the tour (yes, they have tours), so they knew of other shops we could visit that was associated with the show while waiting for the line to Magnolia Market to die down. We hopped over to Harp Design Co. to check out their merchandise. If you are a fan of wood pieces, this would be the place for you. The shop was decorated in beautiful seasonal pieces for the fall. This would be a great place to pick up a gift for the outdoorsy decorator in your life. Very beautiful cutting boards, plate chargers, and other wood pieces. If you want a custom $2,000 table, this is the place for you.
Little Shop on Bosque
Little Shop on Bosque is the original location of Magnolia Market. At one point, they closed it only to reopen it in 2018 as their slightly-damaged/last chance location. You can pick up items as a good discount. It is a very small shop, but because it was not a part of the main location, traffic to this shop is lighter.
JDH Iron Designs
After our visit to Harp and Little Shop, we headed over to JDH Iron Designs‘ trailer. They’re in the process of finishing out a store front, so be expecting that soon. Jimmy Don was sitting in his truck taking care of a phone call. The very, very nice lady running the trailer (I don’t want to assume it was his wife, but I think it was) flagged him down and brought him over. My friends had purchased some pieces earlier in the week and wanted to get them autographed. Jimmy Don was very friendly and posed for pictures and signed all of the pieces my friends purchased. He took the time to tell his story and answer some questions. Just really good people, so if you go, and you get a chance to visit with Jimmy Don, you should! The metal work speaks for itself. They create some really nice pieces.
We went out for lunch and headed back to Magnolia Market around 2:00 p.m. There was still a line, but significantly shorter than first thing in the morning. I think it took us maybe 20 minutes to get in, but they did provide covered shade. The store is very upscale and nice. I ended up picking up Joanna’s two cookbooks, a t-shirt, an enamel pin, a postcard, and a fridge magnet so I could take advantage of their special. If you spent $100, you got a free Chip’s Backroads soy candle. Yes, I got suckered into spending a whole lot more money than I intended! The candle smells great, though!
Magnolia Press Coffee Co.
After we were done shopping at Magnolia Market, I grabbed an iced sugar-free vanilla latte from Magnolia Press Coffee Co. It was okay. Nothing to write home about, but if you’re on the grounds and need a pick me up, it is priced comparable to Starbucks, so no surprises to the wallet!
As of late September, their summer construction was still in full swing. Currently, Magnolia Market is expanding and improving their grounds. Due to the construction, the food trucks, lawn area, and Seed & Supply store were closed. I recommend visiting Magnolia Market‘s website before visiting to grab an update on attraction availability.
Unfortunately, you’re not going to get a straight answer from me, because I feel that a single answer in this situation is not exactly fair.
Do you have out-of-town/state guests? If the answer is yes, this would be a perfect place to get some retail therapy, grab a bite to eat, and learn a little bit about Waco. They do have tours that you can take out-of-towners on and get the scoop about Fixer Upper and the houses that they worked on. The Silos District really is the perfect size to make it an all-day affair without too much travel.
Are you a fan of Chip & Joanna’s work? If the answer is yes, you will also enjoy your time at Magnolia Market. The merchandise is very much in line with Joanna’s style. If you’re also a fan of the custom metal and wood work that Joanna uses, you can visit those shops as well. If you are not into farm style shabby chic, you might find Magnolia Market a wasted trip. Their home merchandise is very much in line with shabby chic. Think lots of soft colors, embellishments like tassels and scallops, LOTS of “word” decorations (think “family” wall hangings, and motivational sayings), and wood accents. If that isn’t your bag, baby, Magnolia Market is not the place for you. I suggest browsing their website and determining whether the trip is worth it for you. Part of the enjoyment is finding something to buy, but that may be difficult if you aren’t into shabby chic.
Do tourist traps bother you? If the answer is yes, you will probably not enjoy Magnolia Market. It is definitely a tourist trap. As a family friend told me, “They are VERY proud of their brand.” In other words, expect to pay more just because it is part of the Magnolia branding. We had lines. Now, take into consideration that occupancy was being monitored due to COVID and their on-going construction. My friends did tell me that lines were much shorter or non-existent right at opening during the work week.
For me, it was an enjoyable day trip, but not because it was Magnolia Market. It was because I was with out-of-state friends who let me tag along and spending time with them made the experience enjoyable. As a person who is not a huge fan of the show or interior decorating, it was just okay. Without the company of friends, I would have been rather “meh” about the whole experience. I don’t have $2,000 to spend on a table, or $200 on a basket that looks like a paper bag you get from the Piggly Wiggly, or $60 on a wooden serving plank that I would literally never use. It honestly just made me feel bad about myself and the fact that I suck at interior decorating and as much as I would love that clean, polished looking home, I would rather have a new mirrorless camera. To each their own, right?
That being said, I would still like to return to try the bakery (the line was around the building) and maybe see the final product once construction is complete. Despite it not “being my thing”, I did not feel like it was wasted time. I can check it off my bucket list and move on.
Also, I apologize for the lack of pictures. Since I was with friends, I didn’t want to be rushed in taking the perfect pictures. It was also so packed that there wasn’t any way I could get good, clean photos without random people in them. If I do go back when construction is complete, hopefully, I will have that new mirrorless camera I was talking about and I can do a revisit post with the proper photography. Thanks for being understanding!