While attending an event at the Waco Convention Center, you will have many opportunities for sightseeing in the immediate vicinity.
On the Convention Center grounds, facing Franklin Avenue, you will find the Waco Freedom Fountain. The Freedom Fountain was built in 1973 to commemorate the twelve Wacoans who attempted to meet with North Vietnamese officials in 1971 to discuss the treatment of American prisoners of war during the Vietnam War.
Also on the Convention Center grounds, on the Washington Avenue side, you can see the sculpture called “Las Mesas” by artist Jesus Morales.
Walk across University Parks-Drive to Indian Spring Park to view the “Branding the Brazos,” a cattle drive sculpture grouping by artist Robert Summers. The Waco Suspension Bridge was the main crossing point for the historic cattle drives heading north on the Chisholm Trail, and this sculpture commemorates those days. When the project is complete, a total of four riders and 25 longhorn cattle will fill the park.
Walk across the Suspension Bridge, completed in 1870. Its sweeping cables and towers have been a landmark for Waco and the state since it first opened to the sound of clopping hooves and carriage wheels. On the other side of the bridge, you will find Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Park and a Chisholm Trail historical marker.
Back on this side of the river, between the Suspension Bridge and the Washington Avenue bridge, you will find a historical marker telling the story of Jacob DeCordova (1808-1868), an early Jewish landowner who, with surveyor George Erath, laid out the town of Waco in the 1850s.
Nearer the Washington Ave. Bridge, built in 1901, look for the Peace Officer Memorial, which commemorates those law enforcement officers who lost their lives in this area over the years, beginning in 1877 through today, and including the names of the four ATF agents killed at Mt. Carmel.
At the corner of Washington Ave. and University Parks Drive is a memorial fountain that remembers five area Wacoans who were killed in a plane crash in May, 1982. The names on the plaque are: Morgan Brian Aynesworth, Jr., M.D., Richard Hastings Hambleton, Andrew Dan McDonald, Charles Benjamin Richards, Jr., and Lewis McCollum Weaver.
Across Washington Avenue, still on University Parks-Drive, you will find the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
Follow Washington Avenue away from the park, up to Third St. where you will find Waco City Hall, Carroll and Francis Sturgis Fountain, and Heritage Square, with its Walk of Mayors and Walk of Schools.
On the grounds of City Hall, notice the Kate Friend Fountain, originally placed for the use of horses and small creatures. Also on the grounds you will find a sculpture by Waco artist GiGi Mygdal of children cavorting merrily.
At the corner of Third St. and Austin Ave is a historic marker commemorating the 1953 Waco Tornado.
For more information on area attractions, entertainment, events, lodging, nightlife, and dining options please visit Waco & the Heart of Texas.