Where Is Waco? Map Location and Proximity to Other Texas Cities

The Brazos River cut Waco Texas in half providing recreation and transportation for residents
Real Window Creative/Shutterstock.com

Written by Telea Dodge

Published: December 5, 2023

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Today, we visit a city that lives more in infamy than in fame. Waco, Texas, the birthplace of Dr. Pepper, is best known for the Waco siege. The city struggles to live down the infamy of this event, but it offers much more than just one piece of its past. For example, it is home to Cameron Park, one of the largest municipal parks in the state of Texas. Further, it has a lot of cool history and recreation to explore. The first thing we have to do if we want to explore this Texan city is figure out just where it is. Texas holds 1,221 municipalities, which includes 970 cities, 228 towns, and 23 villages. Waco is the 24th most-populated city in Texas. We’re going to show you its map location and share a few more details about the city. So, where is Waco?

Where Is Waco on a Map?

Waco of Texas of United States flag waving on the wind in front of sun

The suspension bridge that adorns the city flag has been a legendary part of Waco’s history since it was built in 1870.

Waco rests in Central Texas and is the county seat of McLennan County. This hardly narrows down the search for the city. With 254 counties spanning this vast state, there is still a large area where this city could be located. In order to get a better visual, let’s check the map.

The map displays that Waco is a city along the I-35 corridor. It is conveniently located between Dallas and Austin – two of the most populated cities in the state. Let’s look at its proximity to other Texas cities.

Distance From Other Texas Cities

We mentioned before that Waco rests between two larger cities – Austin and Dallas. Now, we’re going to look at exact distances and estimated travel times to these – and other – Texas cities. Our travel times are estimates sourced from Google Maps at the time of writing this article. Actual travel times may vary based on a number of variables, including weather and traffic conditions.

CityDistanceEstimated Travel Time
Austin108 miles1 hour and 51 minutes
Houston185 miles3 hours and 10 minutes
Dallas96.4 miles1 hour and 34 minutes
San Antonio199 miles2 hours and 55 minutes
El Paso615 miles9 hours and 17 minutes
Arlington101 miles1 hours and 45 minutes
Corpus Christi415 miles6 hours and 24 minutes

When Did Waco Become a City?

Waco, Texas

Waco is the 24th most-populated city in Texas.

Waco gets its name from the Indigenous tribe that used to occupy the area. Thousands of years of Indigenous history predated United States history and incorporation. The most recent tribe to live in the area was the Waco people – a tribe of Wichita Indians. This tribe had a village established along the banks of the Brazos River, near present-day Waco. The Waco people were agrarian, and they farmed rich crops of lima beans, corn, melons, and pumpkins.

Unfortunately, these people would be forced to leave their native lands. A series of disagreements and treaties pushed the Waco people north toward Fort Worth and out of Texas, entirely. Their name, however, stayed. George B. Erath, a surveyor and former Texas Ranger, was hired to inspect the lands that would become the city of Waco. He designed the first block of the city in 1849 and convinced residents and property owners to name it after the tribe. Because of Erath, Waco Village was founded on March 1st, 1849. It became the county seat in 1850 and was officially incorporated as the town of Waco in 1856.

Population and Industry

Aerial view four bridges cross the Brazos River in downtown Waco, Texas. Vehicular bridges, Railway bridges, and historic landmark pedestrian Suspension Bridge under construction with tarp cover

Several bridges cross the Brazos River in Waco, Texas.

According to the most recent population census (2021) by the United States Census Bureau, Waco has a population of 139,594. The average individual income in Waco is $21,985. However, the MIT Living Wage Calculator estimates that an individual needs to make $31,995 before taxes to afford the cost of living in McLennan County.

The Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce lists Advanced Manufacturing, Aerospace and Defense, Supply Chain Management, and Health Care as four of the main industries in Waco. They state that Advanced Manufacturing makes up 14 percent of the local economy.

Things to Do

Waco Mammoth National Monument is just one of the many attractions in Waco, Texas.

Waco has a lot to offer! From parks to museums, there is no shortage of things to do. To help find them, we’ve included a short list of attractions in the city that may be of interest to residents and visitors.

  • Magnolia Market
  • Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum
  • Cameron Park
  • Cameron Park Zoo
  • The Dr. Pepper Museum
  • Waco Mammoth National Monument
  • Waco Suspension Bridge and Riverwalk
  • Waco Sculpture Zoo
  • Mayborn Museum Complex
  • Armstrong Browning Library and Museum
  • Lake Waco
  • Spice Village


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About the Author

Telea Dodge is an animal enthusiast and nature fiend with a particular interest in teaching a sense of community and compassion through interactions with the world at large. Carrying a passion for wild foraging, animal behaviorism, traveling, and music, Telea spends their free time practicing their hobbies while exploring with their companion dog, Spectre.

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