Moving to Waco

Experience a captivating journey as we lead you through the unique charm of Waco, Texas. Utilizing our comprehensive guide, we'll explore the ins and outs of relocating to this vibrant city. Known for its rich history, thriving arts scene, delectable food, and a warm, neighborly feel, Waco is more than just a relocation spot. It's a life experience! So let's dive into the adventure of what moving to Waco truly entails -- effortlessly blending the ease of small-town living with a buzzing urban vibe. Welcome to the prelude of your Waco journey!

Moving to Waco, TX landscape image

What to Know Before Moving to Waco


1. Waco is More Than Just Fixer Upper's Playground

While it's true that Chip and Joanna Gaines put Waco on the must-see map thanks to their HGTV show 'Fixer Upper,' there's so much more to this Texas city. Waco boasts an extensive list of fun activities, from water-based adventures on the Brazos River to hikes around Lake Waco or at Cameron Park. If you're an art lover or a history buff, you'll feel right at home with the numerous museums, art galleries and iconic historical sites to check out.

2. Affordable Housing and Low Cost of Living

Waco is known for its affordable living, making it a great place for young professionals, families, and retirees alike. The median home price is significantly lower than the national average -- which the Gaines family may have slightly skewed upward -- and the low cost of living here will keep your pockets lined. Everything from healthcare to groceries to transportation is less expensive than other places.

3. Hopping between Austin and Dallas is a Cinch

Located approximately midway between Austin and Dallas, Waco offers the opportunity to enjoy a quieter lifestyle while still having big city amenities within reach. With just a 90-minute drive, you can take a day trip to either city, enjoy their bustling social scenes or stunning attractions, and be back in time for bed.

4. Got a Sweet Tooth? You'll Fit Right In

One lesser-known gem about Waco is that it's home to the 'sweetest' factory around: the Dr Pepper Museum. Recognized as the 'oldest major soft drink in America,' Dr Pepper was invented right in downtown Waco in 1885. Visitors can explore this three-storey museum, learn the history of this well-loved soda, and even make their own fizzy concoction!

5. Education and Employment Opportunities Abound

Waco is home to Baylor University, a top-ranking private Christian institution with a substantial impact on the local economy and culture. Other educational institutions include McLennan Community College and Texas State Technical College. There are also many notable employers in the area, such as Providence Health Center, L3Harris, Allergan, and Sanderson Farms, among others.

6. The Infamous Waco Siege

A piece of Waco's past that's often obscured is the infamous 1993 'Waco siege.' The Mount Carmel Center, about nine miles outside Waco, was the site of a 51-day stand-off between the United States government and a religious sect known as the Branch Davidians. Today, the grounds act as a solemn memorial for those who lost their lives in the conflict, with a small visitor's center for those interested in learning more.

From affordable living to great job opportunities, from fascinating history to toothsome treats, Waco has so much to offer. It's a city big enough to boast unique attractions but small enough to feel homey, warm, and welcoming. Just make sure you learn how to pronounce it correctly before you arrive. It's 'Way-ko,' not 'Wacko!' Welcome to Waco, the heart of Texas!

' What to know before moving to Waco, TX image
See the 10 Best Movers Nearest You
(Unbiased) Ranking of the top movers in every city.

Pros and Cons of Living in Waco

Pros of Living in Waco

Affordable Cost of Living

In comparison to other major cities in Texas like Austin or Dallas, Waco offers a considerably lower cost of living. The affordability stretches over various sectors like housing, utilities, and groceries, allowing residents to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle without breaking the bank.

Rich Cultural History

Waco is well known for its rich cultural and historical background, including the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum, and the iconic Dr. Pepper Museum. This gives residents a wealth of opportunities to explore and gain insights into the past of their city and state.

Outdoor Recreation Opportunities

Waco, with its natural resources like Lake Waco and Cameron Park, presents numerous outdoor recreational activities. Residents can enjoy boating, hiking, picnicking, and bird watching, all within city limits.

Easy Accessibility to Major Cities

Being conveniently situated between Austin and Dallas, residents of Waco have the privilege of easy accessibility to these major cities. This means they can enjoy the amenities and job opportunities of larger cities while retaining the comfort of a smaller town.

Growth and Development Opportunities

Waco's recent development has seen an economic uplift and increased business opportunities. Besides, the city is home to Baylor University, a highly reputed educational institution, offering great educational prospects.

Cons of Living in Waco

Hot, Humid Climate

The climate in Waco can be intense, especially in the summertime. The high temperatures coupled with the humidity might not be for everyone and can make some outdoor activities difficult to enjoy.

Limited Nightlife

For those who enjoy a vibrant nightlife, Waco might be a disappointment. The city is comparatively quiet, with a limited number of bars, clubs and late-night haunts, which can be a downside for younger folks and social butterflies.

Limited Public Transportation

Waco does not have a robust public transportation system. Therefore, it can be challenging for those without a vehicle, making a car a near necessity for getting around the city efficiently.

Higher Crime Rate

Compared to the national average, Waco has a somewhat higher crime rate. This includes property crimes such as burglary and theft, which may be a concern for new residents considering safety factors.

Comparatively Lower Salaries

While the cost of living in Waco is lower, so are the average salaries compared to other larger cities in Texas. This can be a limiting factor for those seeking higher earnings.

Modern day picture of Waco, TX highlighting pros and cons of living in Waco, TX

Is Waco a Good Place to Live?

Waco, TX is a great place to live because of its affordability, ample outdoor activities, and rich cultural history. There's never a dull moment in Waco with attractions like the Dr. Pepper Museum, Texas Ranger Hall of Fame, and Magnolia Market. Plus, with below-average cost of living, excellent schools, and a friendly community, the charm of southern living truly comes alive in Waco.

What Is Waco Famous For?

Dr. Pepper Museum

The Dr. Pepper Museum in Waco is essentially a shrine to America's favorite uniquely flavored soda. The museum is housed in the old Artesian Manufacturing and Bottling Company, a place on the National Register of Historic Places. There, visitors can discover the rich history of the brand, sip on a soda from the soda fountain, and browse vintage Dr. Pepper memorabilia.

Waco Mammoth National Monument

The Waco Mammoth National Monument is a paleontological area protecting the only recorded evidence of Columbian mammoths within a nursery herd. The site was discovered accidentally in 1978. Visitors can walk along the dig shelter's pathways for a close-up view of the mammoth fossils in situ.

Chip and Joanna Gaines

Chip and Joanna Gaines, stars of the popular home improvement series ''Fixer Upper,' have created a loyal fan base in Waco. They own several businesses in the city including the Magnolia Market at the Silos, a shopping complex that features a lawn for games and a food truck park, making this couple the unofficial ambassadors of Waco.

Waco Suspension Bridge

The Waco Suspension Bridge was the first bridge across the Brazos River and served as a main crossing for the Chisholm and Shawnee cattle drive trails. It's an iconic symbol of Waco's history. Now it's a pedestrian crossing offering great views of the river and Indian Spring Park.

Capital building of Waco, TX in artistic rendering

Overview of Tax Rates

Property Tax

As of 2023, residents of Waco, TX face a property tax rate of around 2.17%, which is relatively high compared to the national average of 1.07%. Texas, on a whole, has no state income tax, which may explain the higher property tax rates to offset this loss of funding.

Sales Tax

The combined sales tax rate for Waco, TX in 2023 is around 8.25%, including state, county and city taxes. This is moderately higher than the US average sales tax rate, sitting at around 7.12%.

Income Tax

Waco, TX, like the rest of Texas, has no income tax as of 2023. This makes it one of the seven states in the US that doesn't levy an income tax, contrasting with the nationwide average income tax rate of around 4.6%.

Housing Market

Waco, TX, offers a competitive housing market appealing to both renters and buyers. As per Zillow, the median home value in Waco stands around $144,000, considerably less than the national average of approximately $281,000. Rent prices hover around $1,200 per month, slightly below the U.S. average. Urban rehabilitation and a lower cost of living make Waco a prospective place for investment. Prospective homeowners can find affordable housing options and renters can find budget-friendly accommodations. While the city is experiencing growth, housing prices remain moderate, making Waco an attractive location for both renters and buyers across the U.S.

Cost of Living

The cost of living in Waco, TX is significantly lower than the national average. Housing and utility costs are particularly affordable. Compared to other cities like Austin or Dallas, residents of Waco tend to pay less for everyday expenses such as groceries, healthcare, and transportation. Despite this, the average income in Waco is lower than in more expensive Texas cities. Nonetheless, the overall affordability makes Waco an attractive location for both individuals and families seeking a lower cost of living.

Weather & Natural Disasters

Waco, TX, enjoys a humid subtropical climate characterized by hot summers and mildly cool winters. Average temperatures range from lows of the upper 30s in winter to highs in the mid-90s in summer, with rainfall fairly evenly distributed throughout the year. Waco is susceptible to a variety of natural disasters, including tornadoes, floods, and severe thunderstorms. The city lies within the infamous "Tornado Alley", and tornado sightings, though rare, are a real threat. Waco also sits on the edge of the Balcones Escarpment, making flash floods a common hazard during rainy periods. Despite these challenges, the overall weather is generally moderate, offering clear, sunny days most of the year.

Typical weather in Waco, TX

Economy & Job Market

* Education, Health and Social Services

* Retail Trade

* Manufacturing

* Arts, Entertainment, Recreation, Accommodation and Food Services

* Construction

The city of Waco, Texas boasts a vibrant economy steeped in a rich history of successful industries. While a traditional hub for the cotton industry in the 19th century, the city's economy has now largely been shaped by a strong support for the continuation of manufacturing and retail trade sectors - thanks in part to its strategic central-Texas location. However, Waco's current leading industry by a significant margin is Education, Health and Social Services, reflecting the city's focus on community welfare and growth. Sprinkled amongst these core Texan industries are the sectors of arts, entertainment, and recreation, creating a dynamic economic atmosphere that blends Texan spirit with big city convenience.

If you're considering moving to Waco and looking for work, you'll want to know a couple of important tidbits. The job market in Waco has seen substantial growth over the years, with the unemployment rate sitting lower than the national average. Not only does the city have jobs aplenty, but the cost of living is also significantly lower than the national average - making it an attractive place for job seekers. A majority of employment opportunities reside in Education, Health and Social Services, thanks to the presence of multiple educational institutions and health care facilities. However, that does not mean that the retail trade, manufacturing, or construction sectors are slouching off! Whether you're pinning for a job in healthcare or fancy an occupation crafting world-class cowboy boots, Waco, Texas, has got you covered.

Traffic and Transportation

Waco, TX is a vibrant city with a colorful tapestry of transportation options. However, one of the most charming things about this place is that it doesn't suffer from long and dreary commute times like most large cities. Here, travel time to work usually lands snugly in the "15 to 19 minutes range," making it a breeze to get to work or play. Now, for public transportation, the Waco Transit System provides bus services that include fixed-route buses and a door-to-door para-transit service that brings the city to your doorstep! Oh, and if you're yearning for the wild blue yonder, Waco Regional Airport is ready and willing to whisk you off into the skies. Not into flying? Well, then, the Amtrak station located nearby in Temple, TX, provides both a scenic and relaxed way to travel. So, in Waco, it's either our way or the highway!

What is the traffic like in Waco, TX?

Best Neighborhoods in Waco

1. Woodway

No, not Hollywoodwood, but Woodway! This charming neighborhood offers a peaceful setting with a close-knit community vibe that would make anyone feel instantly at home. With a number of parks, eateries, and entertainment hotspots in the vicinity, boredom won't know your name here. Woodway is a hit with families, and you'll often see folks walking their dogs, enjoying picnics, and kids having impromptu soccer matches at Poage Park. The Midway Independent School District which serves Woodway is renowned for its high educational standards, making it perfect for those with little scholars.

2. Mountainview

No, you're not about to climb Everest! Instead, think sublime landscapes and tree-lined streets. Mountainview is often celebrated for its aesthetic beauty, but that's not all it has to offer. This community values recreation, with plenty of trails for a revitalizing jog, biking, or a leisurely stroll. Its close proximity to Baylor University makes it a great spot for both faculty and students. Cafes, library, local pubs, you name it, Mountainview's got it making it a delightful mixture of city life and nature's charm.

3. North Lake Waco

Calling all water babies! As the name suggests, North Lake Waco is built around the lovely Lake Waco, offering residents not just picturesque views, but also loads of water-based recreational activities. Fishing, boating, or simply enjoying a serene sunset by the lake, this neighborhood is an outdoor enthusiast's paradise. It also boasts of Lake Waco Wetlands, a nature reserve teeming with wildlife offering an ecological paradise, right in your backyard!

4. Richland Hills

Raise your glasses, foodies and social butterflies! Richland Hills is known for its lively nightlife, with a fine selection of restaurants, bars, and pubs. Slap bang in the middle of it all is the Richland Mall, catering to all your shopping needs. On the quieter side, the neighborhood is dotted with beautifully manicured lawns and homes with character - making it ideal for those seeking an active lifestyle with a touch of tranquillity.

5. Castle Heights

Gear up for an enchanting life in Castle Heights. This historic neighborhood oozes charm with its quaint houses, tree-lined streets, and friendly neighbors. Locals often appreciate the small-town feel despite being just a hop, skip, and a jump away from Waco's vibrant downtown. Love art? The Art Center of Waco, located here, invites all culture enthusiasts to attend exhibitions, workshops, and art classes. Bonus? The extremely wallet-friendly 'Taste of Waco' food tour is a hit.

A final piece of advice? No matter which Waco neighborhood you choose to call home, embracing a laid-back Texas vibe is a must. From natural beauty to active nightlife, each neighborhood offers its own unique flavor adding to the charm of this small city. Head on over to Waco, y'all, a vibrant living experience awaits!

Best neighborhoods in Waco, TX image

Things to Do

Welcome to Waco, Texas! Get ready to fall head over heels for this charming city. But where should you go, and what should you do to get acquainted with your new home? Here, we've listed seven must-try experiences ranging from the trendy to the decidedly offbeat. Ready? Let's hit the road, cowboy!

1. Magnolia Market at the Silos

First up, a visit to Waco would be incomplete without a stop at the Magnolia Market at the Silos. Thanks to the HGTV hit show "Fixer Upper," it has become a top tourist attraction. Here, you can shop Joanna Gaines' handpicked home decor and also enjoy some delicious food from one of the food trucks at the Silos Baking Co.

2. Waco Mammoth National Monument

Go back in time millions of years at the Waco Mammoth National Monument, a well-preserved fossil site where you can walk among ancient mammoth bones and learn about these fantastic creatures. The guided tours are highly informative, making it a day well spent.

3. Dancing Bear Pub

For those in love with hops and barley, the Dancing Bear Pub is a treasure trove of craft brews. This welcoming beer garden offers an impressive list of local and imported ales and lagers in a relaxed atmosphere. It's the perfect place to wind down after a day of exploring.

4. Dr. Pepper Museum

A unique and quirky destination, the Dr. Pepper Museum is a must-visit. After all, this popular beverage was created right here in Waco! Get ready to visit a working 1900s soda fountain, learn the history of this beloved drink and of course, enjoy some classic Dr. Pepper at the end of your tour.

5. Brazos Bluffs Ranch

For an authentic Texan experience, head out to Brazos Bluffs Ranch. This family-run ranch offers horseback riding, canoeing, hiking, and even overnight stays in their rustic cabins. It's a fantastic way to enjoy natural Texas, right from the heart of Waco.

6. Lake Brazos Nighttime Bat Tours

Here's one for the adventurous - nighttime bat tours on Lake Brazos. Likely unknown to many, Waco is home to a large bat colony, and during the warmer months, you can paddle out on the lake at dusk to watch these fascinating creatures take flight.

7. Cameron Park Zoo

Last but not least, no list would be complete without mentioning Cameron Park Zoo. This intimate zoo is beautifully maintained and is home to over 1,700 animals from all over the world. It's a fantastic, family-friendly destination, where children and adults alike can learn about and appreciate the world's diverse wildlife.

In conclusion, whether you're here because you are moving in or just exploring, Waco, Texas surprises with its vibrant blend of history, natural beauty, shopping hotspots, and unique experiences. As you discover these hotspots, you're sure to find even more local secrets - making you feel truly at home in the Heart of Texas.

Things to do in Waco, TX?

Find Movers for Your Waco Relocation

Relocating to Waco, TX, brings exciting, new opportunities. However, the moving process itself can often be overwhelming. That's where Great Guys Moving steps in to alleviate the stress. Our aim is to connect you with highly reputable, licensed, and insured movers for an effortless relocation experience. Their commitment to quality service and affordable pricing is paramount to smooth transitions during your move. To kickstart your journey to Waco, we invite you to leverage our service for a fast and easy method to secure your moving quote. Remember, it's free, there's no obligation, and it's just a click away. Embark on your new adventure today with Great Guys Moving.

See The Best Movers For Moving To Texas From...

Find out how much your move costs!