Restored Gulf Service Station in Waco

waco attractions downtown

We took a three day weekend trip to Waco, Texas in April, and thoroughly enjoyed it.

I had done some research on the Waco suspension bridge (built in 1870!) a few years ago and I was facinated by this wonder of engineering built so long ago.

It turns out a three day weekend is not nearly enough time to see everything we wanted to see. So we will have to schedule another trip.

If you're going to make a three day weekend out of it it's better to take Friday off rather than Monday. We found that many of the restaurants and antique stores were closed on Monday.

Since MOTOR Texas is all about the auto enthusiast perspective, I will start the list with automotive attractions.

Austin Avenue Cruise

waco attractions Coca Cola Bottling Plant

If you have never been to Waco before then I would recommend starting with a cruise down Austin Avenue.

Austin Avenue is a great street for viewing many of the beautiful old Waco buildings, such as the Art Deco Coca-Cola bottling plant building shown above.

You will also find the famous Hippodrome Theater, Jake's Texas Tea House, antique stores, restaurants and coffee shops on Austin Avenue, in the downtown area.

I would recommend starting at 18th street and taking a leisurely drive all the way to 3rd street, at the beautiful Waco City Hall building.

The second half of the cruise is to explore Elm Avenue. This is an older area of town that is still somewhat frozen in time.

From Austin Avenue, take a left on 3rd, then a right on Washington. This will take you over the Brazos River.

Note: this could be a good time to check out the Waco suspension bridge! Before you get to the black truss bridge on Washington, take a right on N. University Parks Dr. The suspension bridge is right there and you should be able to park on the street.

As yoy take Washing Ave. across the river, the road turns in to Elm Avenue. I would suggest cruising all the way to the tiny little cross street of Rotan, where there is an old abandoned gas station.

This little cruise could easily take you all day, and maybe even to the next day, depending on how much you get out and check out the various shops and restaurants.

Jakes Texas Tea House

Waco Attractions Jake's Texas Tea House

We were interested in checking out Jake's Texas Tea House as it has a vintage 1950s gas station theme. Even if they just sold ham and cheese sandwiches I would probably go to a place like this on a regular basis.

By the way, the term "Texas Tea" refers to crude oil.

Unfortunately we arrived there at 1:50 PM Sunday and their closing time was 2 PM. Next time.

Below is the description from their website.

"Texas home cooking worth leaving home for! Our desserts are baked fresh daily and vary from day to day. We have a daily lunch special during the week and amazing southern style, made from "scratch" meals. Saturday dinner is always an event! 1st Saturday of every month we have Elvis in the building and the 2nd Saturday of every month we have Marilyn putting on a wonderful show, the other Saturdays of the month we have Andy Jane or other musicians. We serve many TX crafted beers as well."

Location

Jake's Texas Tea House
613 Austin Ave, Waco, TX 76701
www.facebook.com/JakesTexasTeaHouse

Waco Suspension Bridge

Waco Attractions Suspension Bridge

The Waco suspension bridge is an attractive structure that is beautifully lit in the evenings. But the most fascinating thing about this bridge is the miracle of its construction. You can read more about the suspension bridge here.

Location

The Waco suspension bridge is located on N. University Parks Drive, between Washington Avenue and Franklin Avenue.

Vintage Gulf Service Station

Waco Attractions 1929 Gulf Service Station

We stumbled upon this vintage Gulf service station on our exploration of the city.

The service station was restored by two car enthusiast brothers, Gary and Randy Balusek. The restoration was finished around October 2014.

The Baluseks restored the building mainly to provide a place to work on their own cars.

Although the building looks like a museum, it is privately owned and as far as we know, tours are not available.

Location

The Gulf Service Station is located on the northwest corner of Washington Ave. and N. 15th St.

It is privately owned and as far as we know, tours are not available.

Gulf Service Station
1425 Washington Ave.
Waco, Texas

Dr. Pepper Museum

Waco Attractions Dr Pepper Museum

"The Dr Pepper Museum was founded in 1988 to educate and entertain the general public through the collection, preservation, interpretation, and exhibition of objects relevant to the history of the soft drink industry, and through that example, the free enterprise economic system. The Dr Pepper Museum & Free Enterprise Institute is a private, non-profit organization governed by a Board of Directors elected by its membership. The Museum and Free Enterprise Institute opened to the public in May 1991 and has hosted over 1,200,000 visitors."

  • Dr Pepper Company donated the historic building to the non-profit organization in 1988.
  • The Museum is housed in the 1906 Artesian Manufacturing and Bottling Company building.
  • The 100 year-old building is listed in the National Register of Historic Places as the "Home of Dr Pepper."
  • The Museum receives the support of Dr Pepper Snapple Group and its affiliated bottlers but is not owned or operated by them.
  • The Museum is also home to the W. W. Clements Free Enterprise Institute. The Institute was created in 1997 for the purpose of educating school children as well as adults about the economic system that underlies American life.

Location

Dr Pepper Museum and Free Enterprise Institute
300 South 5th Street
Waco, TX 76701
254-757-1025
www.drpeppermuseum.com/Visit-Us.aspx

goo.gl/maps/yhxQrLnonU92

Magnolia Market at the Silos

Waco Attractions Silos Magnolia

The silos wouldn't classify as an automotive attraction, but it's an attraction that's hard to ignore!

This place is impressive.

The place is super clean. Even with the crowds and lines, the employees were courtious and well trained to handle it. Everything is "designed", right down to the electrical conduit on the walls. In the grass (turf) play are they have swings, beanbag chairs, beanbag toss equipment you can set up where you like. They also have music at just the right volume, to round out the relaxed and peaceful experience.

Whether you like their show or not, these guys are a class act when it comes to business.

Location

Magnolia Market at the Silos
601 Webster Ave, Waco, TX 76706
magnoliamarket.com/silos/

Health Camp

Waco Attractions Health Camp

Burgers and shakes since 1948! Health camp, is a Waco attraction, mainly because it has survived all these years! It's also on the infamous Waco traffic circle!

The origin of the name "Health Camp" is as confounding as the name itself. According to an old newspaper article, the owner had a friend in the egg business. He stamped each egg with the words "Health Camp". So, for no good reason, he decided to use the name for his business.

I survived the traffic circle.

Location

Health Camp
2601 Circle Road, Waco TX 76706
www.health-camp-waco.com/

Elite Cafe

Waco Attractions Elite Cafe

This photo was taken in April 2017. The interior of the building has been gutted out, so it will be a while before it opens.

The Elite Cafe has been a Waco landmark for many decades.

Chip Gaines, of Fixer Upper, purchased the property, and Waco will soon again have breakfast. If they manage this restaurant like they do the Silos, this place is going to be amazing.

Location

Elite Cafe
2132 S Valley Mills Dr, Waco, TX 76706

More Waco Attractions

Here are a few more Waco attractions and restaurants that we have been to or might be interested in checking out on a future visit.

Cricket's Draft House and Grill

BEER HERE!

Good burgers, fish and chips, and 100+ draft beers!

Since we did most of our exploration on Sunday and Monday, when many restaqurants are closed, Cricket's ended up being our go to location for food, drink and rest.

Cricket's Draft House and Grill
Open 7 days a week 11 AM to 2 AM.
221 Mary Ave, Waco, TX 76701
www.cricketsgrill.com

Kim's Diner

American diner food.

A March 16, 2017 FB post notes that they have a car show from 6-9 pm and every third Sat of every month.

Kim’s Diner
2600 Waco Drive
www.facebook.com/Kims-Diner-945185355547430/

Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum

"In 1964 the Texas Department of Public Safety chartered the City of Waco, Texas, to construct and operate the official museum of the Texas Rangers. In return, the City of Waco agreed to commit 32 acres (130,000 m2) for a building site, provide an ongoing annual operating subsidy, and build and sustain a headquarters for Texas Rangers Company "F". More than three million persons have visited the historical center since it opened in 1968."

"The Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum is supported by the city of Waco. The costs are defrayed by admission fees, proceeds from art shows, and private contributions. A large part of the museum collection has been furnished from the private collection of the curator, Gaines de Graffenried of Waco."

Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum
100 Texas Ranger Trail, Waco, TX 76706
www.texasranger.org

Heart O' Texas Speedway

Heart O' Texas Speedway is a 1/4 mi oval dirt track located 7 miles N of Waco on I-35. The speedway races multiple classes every Friday night March-Sept!

Heart O' Texas Speedway
784 N. McLennan Drive
Elm Mott, Texas 76640
www.heartotexspeedway.com/contact.html
www.facebook.com/Hotspeedway

More Waco Attractions on MOTOR Texas

Wait, there's more! View ALL Waco Attractions in our database by category such as Historic Buildings, Roadside Attractions, Restaurants and more. Also view attractions near Waco!

Waco Attractions List


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Waco Attractions

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