For over 150 years, visitors have enjoyed the culturally and historically rich attractions of Waxahachie that are interwoven with the history of Texas. The famed Shawnee Trail ran through the center of town, now known as the Historic Downtown District.
Waxahachie, designated in the early 1900’s as Queen of the Cotton Belt, has grown to be known as the Gingerbread City for the ornate woodwork found on many of the historic homes, as well as being designated the Crape Myrtle Capital of Texas. Waxahachie also claims the title of Movie Capital of Texas, with over thirty motion pictures and three Academy Award films (The Trip to Bountiful, Places in the Heart, and Tender Mercies), and is recognized as being Picture Perfect by the movie industry.
The Historic Downtown District is home to a myriad of antique shopes, restaurants, boutiques, and specialty stores famous for a great dining and shopping experience.www.DowntownWaxahachie.com
LISTING OF LOCAL ATTRACTIONS
“The Best Little Hollywood in Texas.”
Filmmaking began here with Bonnie and Clyde,scripted by Waxahachie native Robert Benton, which was filmed in 1967. It reached its pinnacle in the early ‘80s when Benton returned to his former hometown to write and direct the Oscar-winning feature Places in the Heart, starring Sally Field. Two other Oscar-winners Tender Mercies, starring Robert Duvall and Tess Harper, and The Trip to Bountiful were shot principally in Waxahachie at that time, as well.
Travel back to Old World Bethlehem as it was at the time of Christ’s birth. Rated the “Number One Holiday Event for the Lone Star State” by Fox 4 News in 2001. Open Friday-Sunday the first two weekends of December from 6 pm -9 pm. Located behind Central Presbyterian Church, at 402 North College Street.
The Breeze Waterpark & Paintball at Lakeview
Offers water slides, boating and paintball course. Located at 5128 FM 66, 972-923-3812 or visit www.lakeviewconference.net
Located in Getzendaner Park, is one of the few octagonal auditoriums in America. The Chautauqua is open during special events and during the Gingerbread Trail.www.waxahachiechautauqua.org
Courthouse Park/ Pocket Park
Established in 2003, provides a rest area, ATM, information kiosk and restrooms for visitors’ convenience. Located across from the Ellis County Courthouse in historic downtown.
Ellis County Art Museum
Showcases art from area residents. Located at 113 W. Main Street, (972) 937-3414.www.elliscountyart.net
Ellis County Courthouse
Built in 1895, is listed in the top 100 most photographed structures in the State of Texas, featuring Richardsonian Romanesque architectural style. The Courthouse is also celebrating its recent $15 million restoration. Visit the Courthouse downtown on the square. Photo by: Lynn Cromer
Ellis County Museum includes the Heritage Visitor Center of Waxahachie. The museum rekindles the past as it highlights the rich history of Ellis County. Located at 201 S. College, 972-937-0681. Museum hours are: Monday – Saturday, 10 am – 5 pm, and Sunday 12 pm – 4 pm.
Galaxy Drive-In Theater
Offers FOUR fields with authentic vintage car speakers, freshly refurbished and painted for your listening pleasure. Return to the nostalgic days of real metal speakers hanging in your car window, or enjoy the modern convenience of listening to the movies over your vehicle’s FM radio with DTS surround sound!
Getzendaner Memorial Park
A peaceful place for your next family picnic, or to use as an escape to nature after a hectic business meeting. The Chautauqua Auditorium is also part of the grounds. Located 2 blocks south of Business 287 (W. Main Street) and Grand Avenue.
Historic MKT Depot
Built in 1908, serving the community as a stop on the Missouri-Kansas-Texas rail line for many years, hauling locally grown cotton to markets and local soldiers to and from several wars. Passenger service was discontinued in 1964 but the depot continued to service freight trains on their way through Waxahachie until 1988. In 2007 the land underneath the depot and the right-of-way were acquired from the railroads by the City of Waxahachie. The City then purchased the depot building in 2008 and started the restoration project. Construction planning began in 2009 and the actual construction on the depot began in early 2010. The restoration of the MKT Depot was completed in November of 2010.
Victorian, Gingerbread, Gothic Revival, and Queen Anne are a few architectural styles you’ll see in Waxahachie. The Annual Gingerbread Trail celebrates this architecture this first weekend in June, 10 AM to 4 PM. Tour our special selection of private homes. Get the inside scoop on restoration triumphs and local ghost lore. Visit historically recognized buildings such as the newly restored Ellis County Courthouse, the Ellis County Museum, Sims Library, Ellis County Art Museum and view vintage automobiles parked around the downtown square. For more information: 972-937-0681 or visit http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~txecm/ginger.htm
Historic Rogers Street Bridge
Perhaps the most unique engineering feature in the historic district. Manufactured by the Wrought Iron Bridge Company in Canton, Ohio, it was shipped by rail to Waxahachie and assembled on the site. Today, it is a connected piece of the Waxahachie Creek Hike & Bike Trail.
Joshua Chapel AME Church
Located at 110 Aiken, is a prominent architectural, social and religious landmark. This building was designed in 1917 by noted black architect William Sidney Pittman.
Located 2 miles south of Waxahachie off FM 877. Bring your family, boat and jet skis. Excellent source of fishing for crappie, white bass, largemouth bass and channel catfish.
Opens the First Saturday following the end of the WISD School Year for the summer and closes one week prior to the start of Fall WISD classes.
In brief, you should know the following about us: our non-profit organization was established in 1946 and has been responsible for providing service to and opportunities for the youth of our community ever since. Our Pool, Optimist Baseball Fields, and Youth Center are located at 219 Patrick Street in Waxahachie. All income and funds we raise are used for the benefit of Waxahachie’s Youth. www.waxahachieoptimists.com
Scarborough Renaissance Festival
A recreated 16th century English Village in the time of King Henry VIII. Thrill to the thunder of hooves and the crash of lance on shield at the joust. Watch in amazement as birds of prey swoop and dive to the command of the Royal Falconer only inches above your head. 20 stages of entertainment, 200 shoppes featuring handcrafted, one-of-a-kind merchandise, games of skill and human powered rides, and a wide variety of food and beverage. Open Saturdays and Sundays starting the second Saturday of April through Memorial Day, 10 am-7pm. Located at I-35E South, exit 399A, 972-938-3247. http://www.srfestival.com/
Screams Halloween Theme Park
Screams Halloween Theme Park is open Fridays & Saturdays from September 27 – October 26 from 7:30pm – 1:30am and also Sunday, October 27 from 7:30pm – 11:00pm.
Screams® Halloween Theme Park is the ultimate Halloween experience offering a full night of chills, thrills and guaranteed moments of terror for one price! 5 haunted attractions (including the All New Hotel of Horror) and much more! Fridays & Saturdays, September 27 – October 26 plus, Sunday, October 27. Tickets $27. Details at: www.screamspark.com
A 12-screen all-stadium movie theater The theater is part of an 18 ½ acre retail and restaurant development located at Highway 287 and Broadhead Road. ShowBiz Cinemas houses first run movies, comfortable rocking seats, cup holder armrests, state-of-the-art sound, digital projection and wall-to-wall screens. A large common area featuring café seating, concessions and video games.
An excellent example of Neoclassical Building and is a popular stop on the Waxahachie driving tour. Located at 515 W. Main Street. http://www.simslib.org/
Southwestern Assemblies of God University
Located in historic buildings once occupied by Trinity University, and an example of the Jacobean Revival architectural style. Located at 1200 Sycamore, 972-937-4010. www.SAGU.edu
Sugar Ridge Winery
The only Winery in Ellis County, Sugar Ridge Winery is located in beautiful Bristol, Texas. Sugar Ridge Winery offers our great tasting wines in a beautiful setting. We have many different types of wines to choose from. With a wide assortment of red and white wines or specialty wines like our Sangria, Party Pear or our Little Green Apple wine. They have a private tasting room available for parties, receptions and special events. Call 972-666-2888 for more information on our winery. http://www.sugarridgewinery.com
A world renowned NHRA Drag Racing facility and multi-purpose venue hosting racing events, concerts, and more. Located on U.S. 287 between Waxahachie and Ennis. For more information call 972-878-2641 or visit www.texasmotorplex.com
Waxahachie Community Theatre
Provides family entertainment at its best including comedy, drama and musical performances throughout the year. For more information, call 972-646-1050.
Waxahachie Creek Hike & Bike Trail
Walk or ride along the beautiful, curvy path of the Waxahachie Creek and scenic woods. The linear trail stretches from Getzendaner Park, through the city’s historic cemetery to Lions Park for 4 miles.
Waxahachie Downtown Farmers Market
Fresh produce and more available here. The market is located at 410 S. Rogers St. and will be open from 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. every Saturday through Dec. 21.
Waxahachie Historic Cemeteries
Many with Historic Markers, are located throughout the area.
Waxahachie Symphony Association
Bringing high caliber classical and jazz performances to Waxahachie throughout the year, 972-923-9766.
Located at 209-211 W. Franklin. The gallery houses a huge collection of self-taught art, old fraternal lodge objects, and vintage-anonymous art. Events are also hosted, including films, special exhibits, musical performances, speakers, and socials. Open Saturday-Sunday from 1 pm – 5pm. 972-938-8085.
Wyatt Street Shotgun House Historic District
Located on the east side of the 300 block of Wyatt Street, this district contains a row of small, single-family shotgun dwellings built around 1918.