Waco is home to a number of districts showcasing the richness of the places and people that call the city home.
25TH STREET CORRIDOR
Over the past two decades, the 25th Street Corridor has transformed into a thriving Latinx cultural district, home to shops, eateries, and festivals that celebrate this heritage. Visitors can shop and savor treats from pan dulce through paletas, or enjoy authentic Michoacána cuisine. A hub for creatives, local artwork adorns the walls of Rufi's Cocina, host to the Waco Poets Society's open mic night and local arts organizations, the Waco Art Forum and the Central Texas Artist Collective also call the corridor home. Festivals draw participants from the entire Waco community. The La Navidad Latina street festival takes place every year around Christmas, closing a portion of the corridor to traffic to create a pedestrian-friendly area complete with dancing and street vendors.
AUSTIN AVENUE DISTRICT
Austin Avenue, a major thoroughfare through Downtown, is steeped in Waco's past. Historic buildings mix with modern designs. Markers accent the street, telling stories from Waco's past — noting duels, information about the city's earliest residents, or deadly tornado touchpoints. Boutiques stand alongside restaurants, entertainment options, and residential lofts. On the first Friday of every month, visit Austin Avenue for special deals and performances featuring music groups of all kinds, karaoke, and more, or enjoy dinner and a movie at the iconic Waco Hippodrome Theatre.
WACO DOWNTOWN CULTURAL DISTRICT
The state-funded Texas Commission on the Arts recognizes communities through cultural district designations that actively seek to cultivate vibrant artistic life and local creative opportunities. The City of Waco has received this special designation. Waco’s Cultural District overlays portions of districts bounded by streets including Austin and Elm Avenues, along with the Silo District. The district is designed in a way that encompasses museums, art galleries, public art, performance venues, and restaurants serving locally produced cuisine, as well as stores selling locally designed and manufactured art, crafts, home furnishings, clothing, and jewelry. Attractions include a thriving farmer’s market, diverse festivals, live music, exhibitions, poetry readings and events for the whole family.
ELM AVENUE DISTRICT
Historic Elm Avenue is located in the heart of East Waco. Once home to Paul Quinn College and The College View Court-Hotel (featured in The Negro Motorist Green Book) which served as a loose basis for the movie The Green Book), Elm was a major thoroughfare for African American businesses, community members, and travelers before desegregation. After desegregation, several mainstay businesses remained but, over time, the area became an underutilized asset. The Elm Avenue District is experiencing a resurgence as diverse new businesses, hotels, eateries, festivals, and infrastructure improvements continue to develop. Elm Avenue's community connection and heritage are evident through vibrant murals on business exteriors and public spaces, as well as the redevelopment of the historic Quinn Campus into a community hub, including a charter school, community YMCA, and the African American Chamber of Commerce. Just minutes away from Waco’s bustling downtown, Brazos River, Doris Miller Memorial, and community parks, Elm Avenue offers a variety of shopping, experiences, history, and culture.
LASALLE AVENUE DISTRICT
With roots as a booming local business area, in recent years, this district has been transformed by an influx of housing. Now, many Baylor University students and longtime Wacoans call this district home. Up and down this two-mile corridor, unique businesses, including dining options and antique stores, can be found. Visitors to the corridor can tour Baylor University’s beautiful campus or the historic Oakwood Cemetery, the final resting place for Texas governors, university presidents, inventors, educators, athletes, and veterans from as early as the Civil War. Recent efforts from local entrepreneurs, property owners, and community leaders have kickstarted an economic development movement for the LaSalle Avenue District, with community efforts currently underway to make this corridor a family friendly destination.
Home to the iconic Waco Suspension Bridge and populated with a variety of restaurants, shops, and opportunities for fun, the River District takes its name from the Brazos River that flows through the heart of the city. This district features some of Waco's best parks, recreation and public art, including the Branding of the Brazos installation in Indian Spring Park, and the Sculpture Zoo that lines the Riverwalk. It is home to two major shopping complexes (the River Square Center and the Stone's Throw Center), stand-alone businesses and food trucks. Shops include clothing boutiques, furniture shops, and places to rent or purchase outdoor gear, including bicycles, paddleboards and kayaks.
With its collection of warehouses, former headquarters of industry and, of course, the namesake silos, the Silo District has a distinctly industrial feel. Without question, its largest draw is Magnolia Market, home to the iconic silos at Webster Avenue and 6th Street, a bakery, coffee shop, and additional features currently under development. The area boasts a diverse roster of attractions, from the historic Dr Pepper Museum to the shops at Mary Avenue Market.
Uptown district is an area with a distinguished past and a growing future, this district, starting around 11th and Austin Avenue, enjoyed a mid-century heyday as a business district and still is home to small local shops today, although the area is now known for its unique blend of urban living with easily accessible activities and entertainment. The area mixes residential blocks, loft-style living alongside coffee shops, farm-to-table restaurants and retailers.