Only 30 minutes south of Dallas, Waxahachie is a vibrant, small-town community with more than 120 restaurants and a historic downtown bustling with antique stores, boutiques, and specialty shops.
You’ll also quickly see why it’s called the Gingerbread City, given the architecture of its turn-of-the-century signature homes and buildings.
During that era, Waxahachie was one of the wealthiest and most influential areas of Texas thanks to the abundant cotton crop. It’s also known as the “Crape Myrtle Capital of Texas” because the historic streets are lined with hundreds of the beautiful pink and purple blooms.
There are a lot more reasons to heart #hachie though, too. Here are 10 of them:
1. The legendary Ellis County Courthouse is the most photographed courthouse in the state of Texas, so it’s definitely worth a shot for its historic, castle-like vibes and its clock tower that rises nine stories.
There’s also some local lore about the stone carvings of faces on the building’s four porches, which are characteristic of the Romanesque style. Do they tell the story of unrequited love? Maybe, maybe not.
2. You’ll find bold walls all around town, including the A Place in Your Heart mural, across from the courthouse. It was painted by Houston’s pioneering graffiti artist GONZO 247. Another one to see is the crape myrtle mural by artist Calina Mishay Johnson.
3. More public art can be discovered in the Art Hearts, which are 21 themed hearts scattered about the city that have been painted by local artists and sponsored by neighboring businesses.
4. You can book a private tour of the Munster Mansion, a masterful re-creation of the Victorian-style mansion from the 1960s sitcom The Munsters. And, yes, it’s complete with the show’s signature ascending staircase, coffin phone, suit of armor, and Grandpa’s electric chair.
5. Stay a night in another Victorian home-turned-luxury-bed-and-breakfast. The Chaska House was built in 1900, reflecting the Revival style, and its spacious guest rooms and cottages reflect the lifestyles and works of well-known authors, including Margaret Mitchell, Mark Twain, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Theodore Roosevelt, and William Shakespeare.
6. Waxahachie hosts a number of big-name festivals and special events throughout the year, like the ever-popular Scarborough Renaissance Festival in the spring, the Gingerbread Trail Historic Home Tour in June, the arts-and-music-filled Texas Country Reporter Festival in October, and the Bethlehem Revisited living play in December.
Definitely save the date for the Crape Myrtle Festival and Fireworks on July 3, with tailgating, food trucks, and live music from George Strait tribute band King George.
7. A newer attraction on the scene, Railyard Park has an amphitheater with a large, covered stage for concerts, performances, fitness events, and more.
The community gathering place also has spots for picnics, a sensory music garden, food trucks, historic appreciation areas, and more.
8. Head outdoors and hop on the Waxahachie Creek Hike and Bike Trail; it’s a beautiful, seven-ish-mile path along Waxahachie Creek that runs from Lions Park past the Old Cemetery, the train depots in historic downtown, and Railyard Park, ending at Getzendaner Park.
9. Get a history lesson at the Ellis County Museum, which is located in an 1889-built building across from the courthouse. While there, you’ll learn about the rich history of the area with a heavy focus on memorabilia, too.
Influenced by Paris’ Ponts Des Arts, or the “love lock bridge,” the museum also sells heart-shaped locks that you can attach to a fence about a half a block away.
10. For shopping and lunching combined, grab some Southern food downtown at The Doves Nest, which is a charming spot that doubles as an antiques and gift shop.
Or head to The Vault Smokehouse for barbecue from a third-generation Texas pitmaster.
Find even more to love about Waxahachie here.