Waco and Central Texas


Located at the geographic heart of Texas, Waco is where the American South meets the American West--along the beautiful Brazos River. Several distinct regional cultures find expression in this city whose metropolitan population is approaching 200,000 in an ethnically and economically diverse community. Waco is equidistant between the Dallas-Fort Worth area and the state capital city of Austin, 100 miles in either direction along interstate 35. Evidence of a colorful past awaits visitors to Waco, which at various times since the 19th Century has been known as the "Geyser City," "Six-Shooter Junction," "The Athens of Texas," and the "Crossroads of Texas."

Originally the site of Native American village life, during the middle of the last century Waco has developed as a result of the cotton and other types of agriculture, railroad and other forms of transportation, higher education, military installations, and the advantages brought by light industry. A growing cluster of museums, including Strecker Museum at Baylor, the Texas Sports Hall of Fame, the Texas Ranger Museum, the Dr Pepper Museum, the Art Center, and several house museums in pre-1900 restored residences, provide major cultural attractions in a lively tourist industry. Indian Spring Park, near the historic Waco Suspension Bridge across the Brazos, is the setting of summer concerts open to the public. Waco is served by four TV stations, and numerous local radio outlets. Shopping malls also lure both residents and visitors, and excursions to other cities are easy drives from Central Texas.

Transportation to Waco is easy to arrange. In addition to being served by Interstate 35 and several federal highways, the Waco Regional Airport brings large numbers of visitors via regular American Eagle flights from the Dallas-Ft. Worth International Airport (DFW). The Waco Streak offers shuttle service from DFW to Waco several times each day. Amtrak travel is available at a small depot in the town of McGregor, a short 20 miles west of Waco. Once in Waco, intercity transportation is available to all by municipal bus and trolley services, the latter of which links the Baylor campus with museums, the new Cameron Park Zoo, and downtown.