In the late 1800s, a pharmacist (who also operated the soda fountain) working at the corner drugstore in Waco, Texas created something very special. He liked the way the drugstore smelled when he was mixing the different syrups with carbonated water … so much so that he tried several different syrup combinations until he could come up with a drink that echoed the scent. Finally, he created a drink that would become the oldest brand of soft drinks in the nation … Dr Pepper!
Today, you can visit the Dr Pepper museum in Waco and learn more about the history of this popular and long-lasting brand. And once you’ve sampled some Dr Pepper, you might find that you have enough “pep” in your step to do some exploring! If so, Waco is the ideal location – be sure to check out the Waco Suspension Bridge and the Waco Mammoth Site as you search for apartments in Waco!
Waco was founded in 1849 and is located on the Brazos River about halfway between Dallas and Austin on I-35. And while Waco isn’t nearly as large as the two cities flanking it, it is a dynamic, exciting city with plenty to do. Here’s what you need to know about living in Waco!
Things to Do in Waco:
If you have kids – and even if you don’t – start at the Waco Mammoth Site! Located along the Bosque River and covering more than 100 acres, this is a fantastic park with the fossils of about 16 Columbian mammoths. The site was discovered in 1978, but the site didn’t open to the public until 2009. The park is owned by the city (although efforts are being made to make the park a National Monument) and includes public tours, a souvenir shop, and educational tours. The fossils discovered at the Waco Mammoth Site contain the country’s only discovery of a nursery herd of Pleistocene mammoths.
Viewing the fossilized remains of these majestic creatures that roamed the earth 10,000 to 1 million years ago may inspire you to marvel at some of today’s animals. If so, head on over to the Cameron Park Zoo! Located along the Brazos River and home to more than 1,731 animals, Cameron Park Zoo includes a lemur habitat, a saltwater reef aquarium, native Texas habitats, a reptile house, an African lion display, and an Asian Forest. The zoo is situated in one of the largest parks in Texas – Cameron Park. The park is located near an intersection of the Brazos and Bosque Rivers.
If you enjoy unique museums, you’ll love renting an apartment in Waco, where you can visit the Texas Ranger Museum, the Mayborn Museum Complex, and the Red Men Museum and Library. The Mayborn Museum Complex is located on the campus of Baylor University. This is a natural history museum featuring walk-in dioramas, exploration stations, and a 13-acre historic village. The museum also features a traveling exhibit gallery, a store, and a theater.
The Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum celebrates the history of the Texas Rangers, a law enforcement agency that began in 1823 – making it the nation’s oldest law enforcement agency. The museum contains artifacts, memorabilia, and other items from the Rangers’ long history. The Texas Ranger Hall of Fame recognizes Rangers who died in the line of duty.
During the time leading up to the Revolutionary War, several secret societies formed to promote liberty. Those groups included the Sons of Liberty and the Sons of St. Tammany. When the Sons of Liberty protested the tea tax by dumping it overboard in the Boston harbor, they did so disguised as Mohawk Indians. Over the years, these two secret societies drifted apart. But in 1813, they got together again to form a new organization – the Society of Red Men. The Red Men Museum and Library contains the official history and memorabilia of this order, as well as a variety of other artifacts, including a bugle from the Gettysburg Battlefield and a blanket from the Apache leader Geronimo. The museum was established in 1991 and is part of the Texas Brazos Trail.
Waco is home to Baylor University, a private Baptist university that was established in 1845. Baylor is the oldest continuously-operating university in the state. The Baylor Bears compete in NCAA Division I as part of the Big 12 Conference. If you enjoy tailgating, you’ll enjoy doing so outside of the $260 million football stadium, which opened in the fall of 2014. This beautiful stadium is located on 93 acres near the Brazos River. The stadium can hold up to 45,000 fans.
Speaking of sports, Waco is home to the Texas Sports Hall of Fame! The Hall of Fame features a variety of athletes considered legends in Texas sports. Some of the inductees include Troy Aikman, Drew Brees, Roger Clemens, Bob Hayes, and Shaquille O’Neal. The Texas Sports Hall of Fame hosts special events, can be rented for private events, and features a gift shop.
If you enjoy fishing, you’ll love the largemouth bass, channel catfish, and blue catfish available in Lake Waco! The lake is located on the Bosque River and is a large reservoir roughly eight feet deep. The lake is managed by the Army Corps of Engineers and is also a popular area for swimming, boating, and camping. Several parks are located around the lake, including four campgrounds with RV, tent, and group camping facilities.
When the Waco Suspension Bridge was built in the late 1860s, it was an amazing feat. Materials were brought in by steamer, then by oxen-pulled wagons, for hundreds of miles. There were no other bridges across the Brazos River at the time, so the small village of Waco, founded in 1849, grew quickly to accommodate all of the new visitors who traveled to Waco to cross the river.
Today, the bridge that was essential to the cowboys and cattle-herds, the immigrants, and the stagecoaches is a local landmark and footbridge. It has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1971. The bridge features two parks. Indian Spring Park is located on the west side, while Martin Luther King, Jr. park is located on the east side. The Waco Riverwalk runs beneath the bridge and includes several bronze statues and other public art. Roughly seven miles of multi-use, lighted trails are included in the Waco Riverwalk, which stretches from Baylor University to Cameron Park.
What to Consider When Moving to Waco:
Although Waco is a relatively small city (it is Texas’ 22nd most-populated city), it is filled with interesting things to see and do. It is also the county seat of McLennan County and is a convenient halfway point between Dallas and Austin.
Downtown Waco wraps around the city’s iconic Waco Suspension Bridge. The Dr Pepper Museum is located downtown, as is the ALICO building, an office building dating back to 1910. Another landmark is the McLennan County Courthouse, which was built in 1901 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
There aren’t any official neighborhoods in Waco, but residents have given names to certain regions. Those regions are: Downtown Waco, East Side, North Side, and South Side. Each of these regions contains unofficial neighborhoods. North Side is home to Viking Hills, Mountainview, Brook Oaks, and Cedar Ridge. The South Side features a wide variety of shops and restaurants. It is home to the neighborhoods of Timbercrest, Carver and the unusually-named Ignorant Holler.
Why Waco Apartments Are Hot:
Deep in the Texas heartland, Waco is a unique city with a fascinating history. It is where Dr Pepper was created, and it is the location of the impressive Waco Mammoth Site. In addition to Baylor University, Waco is home to Texas State Technical College and McLennan Community College. Waco takes advantage of its riverfront location with several beautiful parks that offer a variety of outdoor recreation, including fishing, canoeing, kayaking, and paddle-boarding.
If you are considering renting an apartment in Waco, you’ll be close enough to Austin and Dallas for day-trips into either city, adding even more fun things to see and do. Waco offers a variety of shops, restaurants, theaters, and museums to explore, as well. To top it off, Waco offers several exciting festivals and events throughout the year, including Art on Elm Avenue, Brazos Nights, Celebrate Waco, Cinco de Mayo Fiesta, Heart o’ Texas Fair & Rodeo, Founder’s Day, and the Heart of Texas Wine & Food Festival.
Founded in 1845, Baylor University, a private, Christian university, is one of the oldest in Texas.
McLennan Community College opened in 1965 and is located on 200 acres near the Bosque River.
Texas State Technical College is a two-year technical school that was established in 1965.
Cottonwood Creek Golf Course is a public, par-72 course designed by Finger, Dye, and Spann.
The Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum celebrates the history of this unique law enforcement group.
The Waco Downtown Farmers Market is located along the river and features fresh produce and other vendors.