Waco (ˈweɪkoʊ ) is a city in the county seat of McLennan County, Texas, United States. It is situated along the Brazos River and I-35, halfway between Dallas and Austin. The city had a 2020 population of 138,486, making it the 22nd-most populous city in the state. The Waco metropolitan statistical area consists of McLennan, Falls and Bosque counties, which had a 2020 population of 295,782. Bosque County was added to the Waco MSA in 2023. The 2023 U.S. census population estimate for the Waco metropolitan area was over 300,000 residents.
Indigenous peoples occupied areas along the river for thousands of years. In historic times, the area of present-day Waco was occupied by the Wichita Indian tribe known as the "Waco" (Spanish: Hueco or Huaco).
In 1824, Thomas M. Duke was sent to explore the area after violence erupted between the Waco people and the European settlers.
His report to Stephen F. Austin, described the Waco village:
This town is situat