The Magnolia Silos. Oh lordy. Over Christmas, I made it to the promised land. We spent Christmas with my in-laws in Austin and on our last day, my sister and brother in law graciously offered to watch our daughter and dog so my husband and I could have a day trip to the Magnolia Mecca. To say it was amazing would be an understatement. Filled with inspiration, beautiful goods, and amazing sips and bites, Magnolia is definitely a bucket list stop and well worth the trip to Waco.
I scoured the web for tips before heading to the Silos to make the most of our visit. I found lots of good info but after spending a day there, I’m sharing my top 15 tips so you can make the most of yours too.
First, let’s get our bearings. There are 3 main areas of the Magnolia Empire in Waco:
- The Silos Property – Here is where you’ll find the coffee shop (Magnolia Press), upcoming furniture showroom, Silos Baking Co., Magnolia Seed + Supply (garden supply shop), the green space lined with food trucks, and the main shop, Magnolia Market.
- Magnolia Table – The breakfast and lunch restaurant that is located about 3 miles from the Silos (about an 8 minute drive and visible from I-35).
- The Little Shop on Bosque – The location of Joanna’s original store. Think of the shop as the Magnolia Outlet. It’s filled with clearance and scratch/dent items. The shop is about 13 minutes from the restaurant or 10 minutes from the Silos.
Magnolia Tip #1: Plan for the whole day
Not only will you want to take your time and enjoy everything there is to offer at the Magnolia Silos, restaurant, and shop on Bosque, just driving between those places I saw tons and tons of shops that looked adorable to check out. If you’re just making Waco a day trip like we did, block out the whole day.
Magnolia Tip #2: Decide in advance if you want to check out Magnolia Table for breakfast or lunch
(psst…it’s ok if you don’t!)
Here’s the deal, we didn’t check out Magnolia Table on our visit and I’m 100% totally ok with it:
- It’s not on the same property as the Silos (as mentioned above) so we would’ve had to time it to where we did that first to eat breakfast or leave the Silos to eat lunch there. I read the menu online and while everything sounded delicious, there wasn’t anything I was DYING to try.
- The wait times can be looooonnnngggg. I would rather spend my time playing a yard game in the lawn area or perusing the market for a third time.
- If you’re dying to try anything from the restaurant, Magnolia Table has a food truck at the Silos! That way you could still have a Magnolia Table dish without the drive and long wait.
If checking out the restaurant is a must, here’s what I suggest. They take reservations on Monday through Thursday so check out their website for more details if that works with your plans. Also, they list their wait times online so you can get a pulse on the wait before you decide to head there. During our trip, lunch time rolled around and my husband asked me if I was really really really sure I didn’t want to head to the restaurant. I checked the website and saw it was a 90 minute wait for 2 and quickly was comfortable with my decision to stay at the Silos!
Magnolia Tip #3: Don’t pay for parking
As you approach the Magnolia Silos, you’ll see tons of lots and signs charging to park. Don’t do it. During our visit, there was a Magnolia owned free lot behind the coffee shop but according to the website, that lot is now permanently closed while they expand the Silos property. They do mention that there are several free lots within walking distance to the Silos as well as a free trolley that picks up and drops off around Waco.
Magnolia Tip #4: Don’t panic if you see lines
Everywhere we went, we waited in a line. Every. single. one. I’m the first person to raise my hand and say I dislike waiting in any line BUT if I have to wait in a line, I want it to be a Magnolia line. There is friendly staff everywhere; monitoring the line, and answering questions with a cheerful smile on their face. Seriously, I guess I would be super happy too if my job was to work for the Gaines’ in Waco! The coffee shop, bakery, and market all had lines but every single one moved soooo fast. I don’t think we waited more than 15 minutes in any of them. I used that time to just snap photos and capture the atmosphere. As expected, Joanna is all about the details and the whole property shows it. For example, these were the window boxes lining the bakery. Glorious!
Magnolia Tip #5: Keep your eyes peeled for the concrete hand prints
Chip and Jo are famous for posting photos of their hand prints in the concrete of their latest project. While we were there, I found two; one set right outside the coffee shop and one set on the checkout counter in Magnolia Market.
Magnolia Tip #6: Pay for your items in the upper level of the market
Remember the lines I mentioned? For whatever reason, the checkout in the upper level had the shortest line every time I circled the store…which happened a lot. I didn’t want to miss anything, K? The lower level near Chip’s corner definitely had the longer line that snaked around. We checked out near the entrance on the upper level and were outta there in less than 10 minutes.
Magnolia Tip #7: Save your thank you card after checking out at the market
When you checkout at Magnolia Market, you’ll be given a card with a “thank you message” from Chip & Jo. This sweet card will get you an additional 10% off your purchase at the Little Shop on Bosque so don’t lose it! Stick it in your purse or pocket so you can save even more on some clearance finds.
Magnolia Tip #8: Ask for at least TWO bakery order cards
When you get near the door to the bakery, a friendly staff person will hand you a gorgeous cardstock order card and a small pencil. While you snake through the bakery inside, you mark down what you want, hand it to the cashier, pay, and they’ll call your name when your order is ready. Super efficient! Problem is, when you hand over your card, you don’t get it back. I realized this after I paid and there isn’t an easy way to snake back to where the stack is to grab an extra. I found a friendly fellow customer who was willing to grab one for me and pass it forward. Trust me, you’ll want one as a souvenir and as a reminder of all the yummy treats you bought.
Magnolia Tip #9: Buy enough baked goods for the next several days
Being from Wisconsin, I knew it would be quite a while before I got back to the Silos. I took advantage and ordered darn near half the menu. That day they had a cupcake promo where you got 4 pre-selected cupcakes for $12, saving $2 than if you bought them individually. The box included the Shiplap, Nuts & Bolts, and the two seasonal flavors; Campfire and Wonderland. I nabbed one of the boxes as well as the Strawberries ‘n Cream and Lemon Lavender. I also added the Cranberry & Orange and Prize Pig biscuits and two Silo cookies. Holy carbs.
My husband and I split the Prize Pig biscuit in the cafe seating area outside and I ate a Silo cookie on the drive home. The rest I wrapped in plastic wrap. The next morning, I had the Cranberry Orange biscuit for breakfast and it was just as fresh and crumbly as the Prize Pig the morning before. We shared some cupcakes bites with our family and the rest went into the freezer. I gotta say, they have frozen beautifully wrapped in a few layers of plastic wrap. I can’t wait to share a taste of the Silos Baking Co. with other family members who couldn’t join us. So, in summary, don’t just think about what you want to eat that day. Think ahead and you’ll have glorious breakfasts and sweet treats for days to come.
Magnolia Tip #10: Order everything that’s seasonal
I love ordering specials when eating out at restaurants. It’s a chance to try something new that probably won’t be available again anytime soon. We visited the Silos two days after Christmas so I was all about the holiday flavors. The bakery had a red velvet cupcake with peppermint buttercream icing and the Alabama Sweet Tea trailer was serving up a holiday cinnamon tea that was divine. Whatever season you visit, take advantage and try those limited time offerings.
Magnolia Tip #11: Bring a cooler bag with some ice packs if it’s a warm day
Unless you plan to hit the bakery at the end of the day, I suggest a cooler and some ice packs if you’re going on a hot day. Buttercream icing isn’t a friend of the hot, humid Texas summers so if you grab your goodies earlier in the day, stash them in a cooler bag in the car so you don’t need to lug them around or watch your precious cupcakes melt away.
Magnolia Tip #12: Definitely eat a meal at the food trucks & check out all the menus before ordering
I was blown away by all the amazing food trucks lining the lawn. Before ordering, I would highly suggest walking the perimeter and checking out all of the menus. My favorite? The Brisket Melt from Guess Family BBQ. Chopped brisket, melted cheese, caramelized onions, and house aioli on Texas toast. Holy moly.
Magnolia Tip #13: Get your beverage at the Alabama Sweet Tea trailer
My husband, being the good Texan boy he is, loves a good glass of sweet tea. I’m more of an unsweetened gal myself but whatever your preference, definitely get your beverage here. The choices range from Yankee (unsweetened), Mason Dixon (half un-sweet, half sweet), and Southern (sweet). They also had a holiday flavor (cinnamon) that I got and it was de-lish. The best part? The cutest lil’ souvenir jar ever. Refills are super cheap so quench your thirst as much as you want. Pro tip: These jars make a stellar smoothie cup when you get home.
Magnolia Tip #14: Don’t miss the Little Shop on Bosque
After visiting the Magnolia Silos, I wouldn’t leave town without stopping at the Little Shop on Bosque. You will see some sale merchandise at the market, but nothing like what you’ll find at the Little Shop. The property had a large outdoor area filled with baskets, signs, faux stems, vases, and t-shirts. Inside was a plethora of lanterns, wall art, clocks, wallpaper, and more. The prices were great and if you remember your thank you card, you’ll score an extra 10% off.
Magnolia Tip #15: Reward your husband with a beer at the Dancing Bear Pub
After spending the day carrying my bags, pulling out the credit card, and smiling in selfies, I searched for a local craft beer pub to thank him for indulging me for the day. The Dancing Bear Pub had great reviews and a really cool atmosphere when we got inside. The bartender had some fun Chip & Jo stories and it was the perfect way to show some appreciation for tagging along while I added a check mark to my bucket list.
I absolutely loved our time in Waco exploring the Magnolia grounds. It exceeded my expectations and I hope to return soon. I had loads of fun just capturing the day so here are a few more images from our visit.
Have you been to the Magnolia Silos? What was your favorite part and are there any tips you have too? I’d love to hear!