Make your next gathering uniquely Waco. 

The world was officially introduced to Waco when Chip and Joanna Gaines began filming their uber-popular home renovation series “Fixer Upper.” But Texans recognized the city’s charms long before the couple inspired relationship goals and interior design trends. The self-proclaimed “heart of Texas” was founded in 1856 and is the birthplace of Dr Pepper, actor and comedian Steve Martin, former Texas governor Ann Richards, and columnist Ponce Kiah Marchelle Heloise Cruse Evans—better known as Heloise of “Hints from Heloise” fame. 

Today, Waco offers up a quaint setting for a destination meeting or event with one-of-a-kind venues and excursions to choose from. 

Uniquely Waco Meeting Venues

Located in historic downtown Waco, the Dr Pepper Museum is a fun option for your next gathering. Spaces include the 1,528-square-foot Hillcrest Conference Center that accommodates up to 100 guests; President’s Board Room with seating for 40; Foots Clements Theater with room for up to 45; and Museum Courtyard that holds a maximum of 1,000 and can be tented for inclement weather. Groups can opt to have tours of the museum added to special event experiences along with handmade treats from the on-site Frosty’s Soda Shop & Peggy Pepper’s Emporium.

Waco is also home to the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum that adjoins John Knox Texas Ranger Memorial Center, one of the most popular event venues in the city. The 6,000-square-foot building is located on Waco’s Riverwalk and can accommodate up to 400 guests for a seated dinner or 600-plus in a theater-style seating layout. A staging kitchen is available for outside catering, and free parking is available on-site. For evening events, arrangements can be made for tours of the hall of fame and museum.

Texas Sports Hall of Fame showcases some 350 Texas sports legends, including golfer Fred Couples, football coach Jimmy Johnson, Olympian Michelle Carter, boxer Jack Johnson, and multisport athlete Babe Didrikson Zaharias. The venue has a variety of spaces, including the Great Hall that is ideal for groups not exceeding 350; Tom Landry Theater that seats up to 90; and SWC Gallery that has a capacity of up to 125.

Uniquely Waco Group Experiences

What’s the point of a destination meeting or event if your guests don’t get out to experience the destination? Fortunately, Waco has plenty of things for group outings and post-meeting options for attendees to do on their own. 

In 1978, Paul Barron and Eddie Bufkin decided to spend the day searching for arrowheads and fossils along the Bosque River. What they found instead was much larger: the femur bone of a Columbian mammoth, which roamed the area during the Pleistocene Epoch, more commonly known as the Ice Age. Subsequently, the remains of 16 mammoths were discovered in the area now known as Waco Mammoth National Monument. While the attraction is reopening in stages due to the pandemic, trails are open for exploring as are the dig center and bookshop, albeit with modified hours of operation.

Waco’s Baylor University is the oldest continuously operating university in the state. It is home to Martin Museum of Art featuring nationally and internationally renowned artists and Mayborn Museum Complex offering natural science and cultural history focused on central Texas.

No destination meeting or event in Waco would be complete without a trip to Magnolia, the latest venture of the aforementioned Gaineses. The destination attraction includes Shops at the Silos, Magnolia Home, Seed & Supply, and Little Shop on Bosque. Silos Baking Co., food trucks and Magnolia Table are among the dining options, and public events often are held on Magnolia’s grounds. For diehard fans of the show, the Waco Convention and Visitors Bureau designed Magnolia Trail, a self-guided tour of the locations mentioned on “Fixer Upper.

Planners looking for a destination with an array of venue types, all catering to small-scaled meetings, and fun after-hours entertainment need look no further than McKinney, located just 30 miles north of Dallas. Whether historic, nature-based, modern, or situated in a Croatian village, McKinney’s venues are designed to meet your needs and exceed your expectations.

 

Engage with peers and leaders in Plano, Texas, during this learning and networking event.

The Texas Association of Convention & Visitor Bureaus has announced the location of its 2023 Winter Conference. Attendees will gather in Plano, Texas, from January 17-20, 2023. The yearly event gives destination marketing organization staff and leadership the opportunity to learn from expert presenters, meet industry mentors, and find camaraderie in an atmosphere of learning and innovation.

 

Event hosts can choose whether the view rotates or stays put.

The iconic Reunion Tower in downtown Dallas will soon welcome a new restaurant, Crown Block steakhouse. Reunion Tower restaurants have been renown over the years for their slowly rotating view of the city. However, owners and husband-wife business partners Kim Canteenwalla and Elizabeth Blau have chosen to keep the dining area stationary. The previous restaurant, Wolfgang Puck’s Five Sixty, spun 360 degrees, but it closed in 2020 during the pandemic.