Is Waco a Good Place to Live? Pros & Cons

by Rentals Editorial Team | Published: Oct 23, 2023

Waco is a city located in central Texas, United States. It is situated along the Brazos River and is the county seat of McLennan County. The city covers an area of approximately 95 square miles and has a population of over 140,000 residents. Waco is conveniently located within driving distance to several major Texas cities. It is about 90 miles south of Dallas, just over 100 miles north of Austin, and roughly 180 miles north of Houston. This centralized location provides easy access to these bustling cities while giving residents the opportunity to enjoy a quieter suburban lifestyle.

Geography, State and Nearby Cities

Waco is a city located in central Texas, United States. It is situated along the Brazos River and is the county seat of McLennan County. The city covers an area of approximately 95 square miles and has a population of over 140,000 residents.

Waco is conveniently located within driving distance to several major Texas cities. It is about 90 miles south of Dallas, just over 100 miles north of Austin, and roughly 180 miles north of Houston. This centralized location provides easy access to these bustling cities while giving residents the opportunity to enjoy a quieter suburban lifestyle.

Climate and Weather

Waco experiences a humid subtropical climate with hot summers and mild winters. The city enjoys an average of around 230 sunny days per year, making it an ideal destination for outdoor activities.

In the summer months, temperatures in Waco can reach highs in the mid-90s°F (mid-30s°C), but can occasionally exceed 100°F (38°C). Winters are relatively mild with average temperatures ranging from the mid-40s°F (single digits°C) to low 60s°F (high teens°C).

Waco also receives moderate rainfall throughout the year, with May being the wettest month. Tornadoes are rare but not unheard of in this region; however, Waco benefits from advanced warning systems and emergency preparedness measures.

Cost of Living and Quality of Life

Compared to many major cities in Texas, Waco offers a relatively lower cost of living. Housing prices in Waco are affordable, with a variety of options available for homebuyers or renters alike. Additionally,

  • Groceries and dining expenses are generally more affordable compared to larger cities.
  • Utilities and transportation costs in Waco are also relatively lower.

Waco provides a high quality of life to its residents. The city offers numerous recreational opportunities, including parks, hiking trails, and access to Lake Waco for boating and fishing enthusiasts. The local community is known for its welcoming spirit and strong sense of community involvement. Residents can also take advantage of the city’s educational institutions, healthcare facilities, and cultural attractions.

Nature and outdoor activities in Waco

Waco is a city that offers plenty of opportunities for residents to enjoy nature and outdoor activities. With its mild climate and scenic beauty, it is an ideal place for those who love spending time outdoors.

One of the highlights of Waco is the Brazos River. The river provides ample opportunities for water sports such as fishing, kayaking, and paddleboarding. There are also several parks along the riverbank where visitors can have picnics, go for a jog, or simply relax and enjoy the view.

In addition to the Brazos River, Cameron Park is another popular destination for nature lovers. Spanning over 400 acres, it is one of the largest municipal parks in Texas. The park features numerous hiking and biking trails, playgrounds, picnic areas, and even a zoo. Whether you want to go for a leisurely stroll or challenge yourself with an intense mountain bike ride, Cameron Park has something for everyone.

City’s history in Waco

Waco has a rich history that dates back to its early settlement in the 19th century. The city played a significant role in Texas’ economic development and was even dubbed the “Athens of Texas” due to its thriving educational institutions.

A noteworthy landmark that reflects Waco’s history is the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum. Located on the banks of the Brazos River, this museum exhibits artifacts and tells stories about the legendary Texas Rangers who played a vital role in maintaining law and order during turbulent times.

Another historical site worth visiting is the Dr Pepper Museum. As Waco was once home to Charles Alderton, one of the inventors of Dr Pepper, this museum offers an immersive experience into the origins and legacy of this iconic soft drink.

Culture and arts in Waco

Waco has a vibrant cultural scene with numerous museums, theaters, and art galleries that cater to various interests.

The Waco Mammoth National Monument is a must-visit for history and paleontology enthusiasts. This site preserves the remains of Columbian mammoths that roamed the area over 65,000 years ago. Visitors can take guided tours to learn about these fascinating creatures and the ongoing excavation efforts.

The Cultural Arts District is another hub for artistic expression in Waco. The district is home to several theaters, including the historic Waco Hippodrome Theatre, which hosts a variety of live performances ranging from plays to concerts. Additionally, art lovers can explore galleries featuring works by local artists or attend art events and festivals held throughout the year.

City Entertainment

Waco offers a vibrant and diverse entertainment scene that caters to all interests. Whether you’re a fan of arts and culture, sports, or outdoor activities, there’s always something exciting happening in this city.

If you appreciate the arts, you can visit the Waco Civic Theatre, which showcases various performances throughout the year. The Mayborn Museum Complex is another must-visit destination for art enthusiasts, featuring interactive exhibits and engaging displays.

Sports lovers will find plenty to enjoy in Waco as well. You can catch thrilling games by supporting the local teams like the Baylor Bears at McLane Stadium or the Waco BlueCats at their state-of-the-art baseball stadium.

For outdoor enthusiasts, Cameron Park is a haven for adventure seekers. This sprawling park offers numerous hiking and biking trails, picnic spots, and even rock climbing opportunities. The Brazos River that runs through Waco is also ideal for kayaking or canoeing adventures.

Local Sights, Attractions, Events, and Things to Do

Waco boasts an array of fascinating sights and attractions that are sure to captivate residents and visitors alike. One prominent landmark is the iconic Magnolia Market at the Silos. Created by HGTV stars Chip and Joanna Gaines, this bustling marketplace offers shopping opportunities along with food trucks and a picturesque garden.

The Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum celebrates the legendary law enforcement agency with exhibits detailing their rich history. Visitors can explore artifacts, learn about famous Rangers, and gain insights into their courageous missions.

If you’re interested in history and architecture, a visit to the Waco Suspension Bridge is a must. This historic landmark served as an important crossing over the Brazos River during the 19th century.

Throughout the year, Waco hosts various events that bring the community together. The Waco Cultural Arts Festivals feature live music, local artists, and delicious food, creating a vibrant atmosphere for all attendees. The Heart O’ Texas Fair & Rodeo is another popular annual event that offers thrilling rides, rodeo competitions, and mouth-watering fair food.

Job Opportunities and Overall Economy

Waco’s job market has been steadily growing, providing ample opportunities for employment. The city is home to several major employers across various industries.

  • Baylor University – A renowned educational institution that offers diverse employment opportunities in the education sector.
  • H-E-B Grocery Company – One of the largest supermarket chains in Texas, providing numerous jobs in retail and distribution.
  • Providence Healthcare Network – A leading healthcare provider in the region offering careers in the medical field.
  • Allergan – A pharmaceutical company known for its innovation and research, offering job opportunities in the healthcare industry.

In terms of the overall economy, Waco has experienced steady growth in recent years. The average household income is $49,257, which is slightly below the national average but coupled with a lower cost of living makes it an attractive place to live. The unemployment rate hovers around 4%, indicating a relatively healthy job market.

State taxes and local taxes

When it comes to taxes, Waco offers a favorable environment for its residents. Texas, as a whole, is known for not having a state income tax, which means that individuals and businesses in Waco can enjoy some extra money in their pockets. This absence of state income tax also makes Waco an attractive destination for those looking to relocate or start a business.

However, it’s important to note that while the lack of state income tax is beneficial, the city does rely on sales and property taxes to make up for it. It’s always advisable to keep these additional taxes in mind when considering the cost of living in Waco.

Education system

Waco is home to several educational institutions that provide quality education opportunities for residents of all ages. The city boasts a range of public and private schools that cater to students from kindergarten through high school.

For higher education, Waco is fortunate to have Baylor University, one of the nation’s top private universities. Baylor offers undergraduate and graduate programs across various fields.

In addition to Baylor University, nearby colleges and universities include:

  • Texas State Technical College
  • Mclennan Community College
  • Texas Christian University (located about an hour away in Fort Worth)
  • The University of Texas at Austin (located about two hours away)

City’s public transportation and traffic

Waco provides several options for public transportation within the city. The primary mode of public transportation is the Waco Transit System, which operates a network of buses throughout the area. This system offers convenient routes and schedules that cater to both residents and visitors alike.

For those who prefer to travel by air, Waco is served by the Waco Regional Airport (ACT). This airport provides scheduled flights to major cities, making air travel convenient for residents. Additionally, the city is within a reasonable driving distance of larger airports such as Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.

Neighborhoods in Waco

Waco is a city with diverse neighborhoods, each offering its own unique characteristics and amenities. Here are some notable neighborhoods in Waco:

1. Downtown

Downtown Waco is the heart of the city, bustling with historical charm and vibrant energy. It features a mix of residential, commercial, and entertainment spaces, including iconic landmarks such as the Magnolia Market at the Silos.

2. Lake Shore

Situated near Lake Waco, this neighborhood offers stunning views and access to recreational activities like boating and fishing. It is known for its peaceful atmosphere and family-friendly environment.

3. Castle Heights

This neighborhood is popular among families due to its excellent schools and proximity to shopping centers and parks. The area features well-maintained homes on tree-lined streets.

4. Woodway

Located just outside of Waco, Woodway offers a suburban feel with spacious homes on large lots. It boasts scenic walking trails, golf courses, and easy access to shopping and dining options.

5. Hewitt

Hewitt is an attractive suburb that offers a mix of affordable housing options and excellent schools. It provides a convenient location for commuters working in both Waco and other nearby cities.

6. Baylor/West Campus

Surrounding Baylor University, this neighborhood caters to students and offers a lively atmosphere with plenty of dining options, recreational facilities, and student-centric activities.

Is Waco a Good Place to Live?

Family-Friendly Environment in Waco

Waco is a city that offers a great environment for families. With its friendly community, good schools, and various recreational facilities, it is a wonderful place to raise children. Families can enjoy spending time in the many parks and playgrounds scattered throughout the city, such as the popular Cameron Park. The local community also organizes family-friendly events and festivals regularly, providing ample opportunities for families to bond and create lasting memories.

Tourism in Waco

Waco has become an increasingly popular tourist destination in recent years. There are several attractions that draw visitors from all over, including the renowned Magnolia Market at the Silos, owned by Fixer Upper stars Chip and Joanna Gaines. This vibrant marketplace offers shopping, dining, and entertainment options for both locals and tourists alike. Additionally, Waco is home to the Dr Pepper Museum, where visitors can learn about the history of this beloved soda brand. Other notable tourist spots include the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum and the Cameron Park Zoo.

Moving to Waco

If you’re considering moving to Waco, there are several factors you should take into account. The city offers affordable housing options compared to larger metropolitan areas, making it an attractive choice for those looking to establish their roots without breaking the bank. The job market is also growing steadily in various industries, including healthcare, education, and manufacturing. Waco’s central location within Texas makes it easily accessible with major highways connecting it to other parts of the state.

When it comes to amenities and services, Waco has everything you need within reach. There are numerous shopping centers, restaurants offering diverse cuisines, healthcare facilities including Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – Hillcrest, and a vibrant downtown area that provides a unique blend of entertainment, dining, and cultural experiences.

Overall, Waco is an inviting city with a growing economy, affordable living options, and plenty of attractions for both residents and visitors. Whether you are starting a family or looking for a new place to call home, Waco has much to offer.

Retiring in Waco

Waco is a charming city that offers a great quality of life for retirees. With its affordable cost of living, favorable climate, and abundance of recreational activities, it is no wonder that many retirees choose to settle down in Waco.

One of the main advantages of retiring in Waco is its affordable housing market. The city offers a variety of housing options, from cozy apartments to spacious retirement communities. Retirees can find homes that suit their preferences without breaking the bank.

Furthermore, Waco’s climate is another draw for retirees. With mild winters and warm summers, the weather allows for outdoor activities year-round. Retirees can enjoy golfing, hiking, boating on Lake Waco, or simply strolling through one of the many parks.

The city also provides excellent healthcare facilities for retirees. With multiple hospitals and medical centers offering various specialized services, residents can rest assured knowing they have access to top-notch healthcare.

Pros and Cons of Living in Waco

  • Pros:
  • Affordable cost of living
  • Friendly community atmosphere
  • Diverse culinary scene
  • Rich cultural heritage
  • Cons:
  • Traffic congestion during peak hours
  • Limited public transportation options
  • Somewhat higher crime rates in certain areas
  • Limited job market compared to larger cities

Frequently Asked Questions about Living in Waco

1. What are some popular attractions in Waco?

Waco is home to several popular attractions, including the iconic Magnolia Market at the Silos, Cameron Park Zoo, Waco Mammoth National Monument, and the Dr. Pepper Museum. These attractions offer unique experiences for both residents and visitors alike.

2. How is the education system in Waco?

Waco has a decent education system with a variety of public and private schools for students of all grade levels. The city is also home to Baylor University, a prestigious institution known for its academic programs.

3. What is the cost of living like in Waco?

Compared to other cities in Texas, Waco boasts an affordable cost of living. Housing prices, groceries, and healthcare expenses are generally lower than the state average. This makes it an attractive option for individuals and families looking for an affordable place to live.

4. Is Waco a safe city?

While overall crime rates in Waco have decreased in recent years, certain neighborhoods may have higher crime rates than others. It is important to research specific areas before choosing a place to live in order to ensure safety and peace of mind.

5. What recreational activities are available in Waco?

Waco offers a range of recreational activities for people of all ages. Residents can enjoy outdoor pursuits like boating, fishing, camping, or attending sporting events at Baylor University. The city also has numerous parks, hiking trails, and recreational facilities that provide ample opportunities for leisure and exercise.

Categories: Renters

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

About the Author