Downtown Austin Avenue is home to many iconic Waco landmarks and businesses, including the ALICO building, Downtown Waco Farmers Market and Hippodrome Theatre. Starting just past the intersection of 11th Street and Austin Avenue, you’ll find yourself in Uptown Waco, a stretch of Austin Avenue featuring boutiques, restaurants, and living spaces, spanning into Castle Heights.
- Head to Pinewood Roasters, at the corner of 23rd Street and Austin Avenue, your first stop of the day. Named to Food & Wine’s 2019 List of Best Coffee Shops by State, Pinewood is known for their house roast and hospitality. Grab your drink of choice and linger for a moment in the shade-filled courtyard at the picnic benches.
- Next, head up Austin Avenue, into the Castle Heights neighborhood to view the neighborhood’s namesake, the Cottonland Castle. Finished in 1913, construction began in 1890 and took over 20 years to complete. After lapsing into disrepair following decades of disuse, Chip and Joanna Gaines of Fixer Upper fame purchased the property, currently undergoing restoration.
- Continue along Austin Avenue until reaching the corner of 35th and Austin. Roadside, notice the gorilla sculpture, Darwin. The statue was gifted to the homeowner, an avid art collector. Seasonally, Darwin can be found dressed up in festive gear to celebrate holidays and special occasions. Hear from the original artist and learn about some of Darwin’s iconic looks here.
- Next, travel into the interior of Castle Heights, Waco’s first historic district. In this neighborhood you can find examples of architecture spanning different time periods: Colonial Revival, Tudor Revival, Spanish Eclectic Revival, and Minimal Traditional homes. Finish your coffee, and get ready for some shopping.
- Turn around at the circle and head towards 25th Street. This up and coming corridor includes local favorites Clasé Vintage and Goods and Harvest on 25th. Shop Clasé’s authentic vintage looks before enjoying lunch at Harvest on 25th, known for their vegan and vegetarian options!
- On the way home, discuss the sites from the tour. If you could live in a castle, would you? Why, or why not? Once home, recreate the castle using legos, building blocks, or found materials.