Miles to Magnolia: Visiting the Silos
The hashtag #milestomagnolia is an understatement in my case as I traveled 4,669 miles all the way from the northwest of the UK to Waco Texas. Since I've been living in the UK for the past 2 years, I actually missed out on the whole Fixer Upper HGTV gold and it wasn't until a visit to my parents this past fall that I discovered, fell in love with, and binge watched it all. Sadly, I only caught onto it after the series already finished but the silver lining...SO MANY EPISODES TO WATCH. It doesn't take long to fall in love with Chip & Jo, an affect they seem to have on literally everyone which is why my husband and I found ourselves saying things like "I wish we could just be friends with them" "I wonder what Chip & Jo are doing right now" "what would Chip & Jo do?". Creepers much?
I also had no idea about their range at Target (since that's another thing the UK is sorely missing) so when we turned the corner to the Hearth & Hand collection, I dropped everything that was in my hands and immediately spazzed out about every item. I then forced my husband to fit a wreath into our suitcase, insisting it was impossible to find one similar at home. I stand by that decision.
When we came back to the US again this February with plans see my brother in Houston, I made it priority that we head to Waco. I mean I'd already come so far, I couldn't let a 3 hour drive stop me. So myself, my mom, aunt, sister-n-law and niece packed ourselves into the car for a girls day road trip to Waco...here's what you can expect...
Waco isn't a major city so if you're nervous about what driving to the silos will be like, don't. There wasn't any heavy traffic or confusing roadways, just your average ole roads. There is free parking on the street around the silos (just double check where you've parked is in fact free). Chances are though, unless you get there super early, you won't find any street parking. Not to worry, the church across the street will allow you to park in their parking lot for $10. We didn't find it difficult to find a spot but this could be a different story if you're visiting at more of a peak time. I'm sure no matter when you go, there will be clear signage on places you can park!
As you walk up to the silos, you'll likely already see a line to get into the bakery. Don't be deceived or put off by this. The shop is only small and is a carry-out style so things move quickly. I strongly recommend the cupcakes and would have really enjoyed a whole one... if my husband hadn't "accidentally" eaten my other half (it was literally war). Save the bakery for on your way back to the car so that you're not stuck walking around with your baked goods. Well, that's assuming you're buying in bulk to take home. If you plan on eating them right away, then by all means, don't let me tell you when you can buy your cupcake!
The "grounds" take up about 1 square block. It's like a fun-zone for adults but also fun for the kids. Obviously, the two massive silos, which BTW you don't go in. I thought maybe this was where the shops were. Am I dumb for thinking that? Just in front of the silos is a stage where they have hosted concerts in the summer time (sigh, wish I could just live there). Then you'll see a good sized turf of grass with black and white stripped bean bags, corn hole and space for the kiddos to cartwheel to their hearts content. The perimeter is lined with food trucks you could only dream about. Mac & Cheese with bacon and gouda, sweet tea by the mason jar, popcorn and so much more.
In the far corner of the grounds, you will see Magnolia Seed + Supply, the garden shop. Inside are lots of pots, plants and garden items with some other home goods sprinkled around. I'm pretty sure everything you see in here can also be found in the market so don't feel like you have to buy it right then and there.
This isn't your average hometown "market". It's BIG and easily overwhelming so take your time, make a few laps. I spent my first lap just looking, deciding what I wanted rather than trying to walk around with a bunch of stuff. It's set up a lot like Anthropologie (which makes Joanna's latest partnership with them make so much sense). Everything is beautiful and most things are breakable so think about that when considering bringing your kids. I left my son at home with daddy this day because I wanted to be selfish and the day be for ME (us mom's deserve a "me" day don't we?). While it was "baby friendly" in that there were elevators, ramps and baby changing areas, I don't regret my decision as there was so much around that his promiscuous paws would have been all over. Not to mention I needed full concentration for my day in heaven.
There are 2 parts to the market, the front part is very staged and decorated while the back lower portion is more like a large warehouse (but obviously still beautiful). This is where you will find a lot of larger items, a men's section, all the T-shirts and baby things (which I have to admit was only a very small section and slightly disappointing). There are check-out lines in both portions of the market and the lines move quickly. The staff are insanely friendly and clearly make an effort to make you visit an experience, as they know you've all likely traveled many miles to be there.
Also, if you or your husband/wife are of Military status, you will receive 20% off your purchase.
Did you guys know there is a warehouse? As in a separate shop to the market at the silos?! Apparently, their original shop was just a small house which has now become their warehouse where they offer all of the discounted merchandise. If you make a purchase at Magnolia Market, the cashier will likely tell you about it. The address is on your receipt and if you show your receipt during a purchase at the warehouse, you'll get 10% off! It's about a 10 minute drive from the Silos. I was able to snag a few items I had seen at Christmas for a great price!
If you're planning on visiting the silos, I'm not sure if that then means you plan on staying IN Waco or will just be doing a road trip for the day? I will say from what I saw, outside of visiting Magnolia, I'm not that there is much else to do/see. The surrounding area (especially where the Warehouse is located) is pretty run down and could use some of Chip & Jo's talent so don't be disappointed if you expected to arrive to a town with rows and rows of already "fixer upped" houses. If you do plan on staying in Waco for more than just the day, I recommend looking into what other tourism opportunities are around so that you aren't disappointed. By the way, if you are a fan or have not yet tried In-N-Out Burger, there's one just around the corner from the silos so now's your chance!
What i bought
I knew going into this it was going to be like a kid in a candy store and I was going to have to pace myself. I did several laps and took my time in the market because I could very easily get carried away and spend more than my house is even worth. I would say things were not cheap, but in most cases were reasonable. Now like every woman who comes back from a day of shopping says "want to see what I got?!"
Magnolia Established Mug $24
I love this mug. It wasn't cheap and I would never normally spend $24 on a mug BUT I did come all this way, so I wanted something to remember my day by and what better than a mug I can use every day. I also loved that it's handmade by the same artisan that Jo has commissioned for work on episodes of fixer upper, so it's a nice feeling to support another local maker. If you're looking to save a little money, there was another mug for $18 but was not handmade (and was made in China)
Waco Shirt $26
Can you really leave without this shirt? They had several different designs but this one was definitely the most popular. My sister-n-law and I had to opt for a medium as the smalls were all sold out. People were actually standing around hoping they would bring more sizes out. The other designs are nice too but I specifically wanted this one, as it was the one Jo so often wears on the show. (PS they're already pre-shrunk so get as close to your size as you can)
Capital Gaines "Smart things I learned doing dumb stuff" By Chip Gaines $22
I got this book for my husband. I wasn't 100% sure if he'd like it but I know he likes to read and had a long plane journey ahead so I gave it a shot. Not only had he read almost the whole thing in just a couple of days but he said it is one of the best books he's ever read (and he reads a lot!). I asked him what was so good about it and he said he loves a good underdog story. I think I'll have to read it for myself now!
Magnolia Farms Hat $26
Now this one I got for my dad. If anyone knows my dad, then you know you'll likely never see him without his hat on. It's like his signature accessory (next to his 1970s mustache). There are a handful of different designs and if you're looking for one for yourself, I suggest you try them on. I was considering getting one for myself, but I have a small head and therefore the hat has to be "just right" for me to feel like I can maybe sorta get away with wearing it and not looking like a dork.
Tulum Tree Skirt $40
I SNAGGED this baby up for such an amazing price! I think it was originally about $200? Maybe a little less. Either way, I got a DEAL. Yes, maybe buying a tree skirt in February was a little silly but I wasn't going to miss out on the chance to have something this amazing for so many Christmas' to come!
I also got some amazing faux greenery garland that looks SO REAL. I would love to share a photo of it with you but can't find it online and it's already been packed away with my Christmas decor, but don't you worry, Ill be sure to show it off in another 9 months! I paid only $20 for it too. If you have ever looked at buying good looking wreaths, garland or greenery, then you know that's a great price!
can't get to waco to visit the silos?
If you can't get to Waco to visit the silos yourself, you don't have to miss out entirely! Everything (or at least most things) offered to buy in the market are also available on their website (and you can get 15% off when you sign up with your email). Additionally, you can shop their Hearth & Hand Collection at Target which I think is a really great abbreviated assortment of things like what you'd find in the market (but it's NOT the same items as what is in the market).
Q: What's a must see? What is not worth taking the time to see? How much time should we allow?
A: The obvious answer here is that the silos are a must see. The grounds in general are the main attraction and the reason you've likely come all this way. There isn't anything I set out to see that I thought was a waste of time. I think the little bit of time we spent standing in line at the bakery was still worth it and shouldn't be missed just because of the wait. Try and take it all in as much as you can. Hopefully you will get a nice warm sunny Texas day and can enjoy the food carts (sweet tea cannot be missed), sitting outside, and just enjoying the space. I knew when I got there is wasn't something I wanted to rush through, after all, this was a girls day! I think we comfortably spent about 3 hours on the magnolia silos site which included leisurely walking and nosing around, taking photos, checking out all the food trucks, having some lunch on the benches, several laps of the market and visiting the bakery. The only way I could see you spending much more time here than that was if you wanted to bust out the corn hole boards and really make a day of it.
Q: Best things to go see when you have limited time?
A: We only spent about 4 hours in Waco. We went straight to the silos and spent about 3 hours here and about another hour was spent getting to, shopping around and purchasing things at the warehouse which is not on the same site as the silos, and then going to in-n-out after. I can't speak to what to do/see in Waco as a city outside of visiting Magnolia. What I can say is that of the things we did do, if you are looking to shave time down even more, skip the warehouse. We were more just curious and love a good bargain but really there wasn't anything there that you'd be missing. A lot of the stuff at the warehouse was out of season (so Christmas stuff in my case) or damaged pieces that are currently in the market store. We didn't go to Magnolia Table because we just didn't have that kind of time and it wasn't on our "must-do" list. If it is a must for you, I strongly recommend making a reservation in the interest of time and saving you from disappointment. I really enjoyed my baked goods from the bakery but I suppose if it's peak season and the line is around the block with a crazy long wait, I suppose this is something you could also give a miss. But if you can carve out the time for a cupcake, do!
Speaking of cupcakes...let's end with some cupcakes, shall we?
I want to make a special note that we did NOT visit Magnolia Table. I am under the impression that if this is one of the things on your to-do list, it's wise to make a reservation in advance! If you aren't able to do so, there is a Magnolia Table food truck on the silos site with an abbreviated menu which has to be better than nothing!
Have you been to the silos? What did you think? Tell me below in the comments and if you have any questions I didn't answer, let me know!