Wonderful Quality of Life Makes The Heart of Texas the Place to Be!
The Heart of Texas Council of Governments represents the growing, vibrant communities, in the middle of the Texas Triangle formed by Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio. A high Quality of Life can be found for nearly every individual or business, from the bustling Waco MSA to the more rural communities scattered across the region's six counties. The entire region is defined by an excellent Cost of Living that allows finances to go much farther than the surrounding urban areas. Recreation, entertainment, shopping, arts and culture for every taste can be found throughout the region. Combined with a very accommodating climate and excellent available healthcare, the Heart of Texas Region is a place everyone can enjoy to live and work in!
Without a doubt, the Heart of Texas is an excellent place to own a home. According to BestPlaces, the median home price across all six counties in the Heart of Texas region ranges from $81,334 (Falls County) to $150,600 (McLennan County). In comparison, the state of Texas median home cost is $195,000 and $231,200 for the U.S. average. Similar deals can be found if renting, according to RentCafe. The average monthly rent for a 868 square-foot apartment in Waco in October 2020 was $1,021versus the national average of $1,464.
The Heart of Texas is the only place in the state with a community college, a university, and a Texas State Technical College campus all in the same city, which makes the region uniquely suited to bring innovative partnerships and a 360-degree approach to educating tomorrow's workforce. The Texas State Technical College (TSTC), McLennan Community College and Baylor University serve the region from Waco. Other Heart of Texas counties are represented by Hill College, with campuses in Hill and Bosque Counties and Navarro College’s Limestone County campus offer learning resources as well.
Pre-K through secondary students find a lot to choose from among the school districts in the Heart of Texas. The Midway Independent School District in the Waco area, serving over 8,300 students, was recently ranked in the top 25 of public school districts in Texas by Niche. The lesser populated counties in the region offer high quality education, as well, represented by the overall A- rating from Niche for the Fairfield Independent School District in Freestone County.
Arts & Culture
The Heart of Texas region is filled with a number of areas and communities rich in cultural heritage. The area’s history is reflected in a number of museums like the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum, B-RI Railroad Museum and the Hill County Cell Block Museum. Visitors and residents can experience the natural environment features at Waco’s Mammoth National Monument. One highlight of the region is the value placed on artistic endeavors, reflected in the Martin Museum of Art and the Bosque County’s Bosque Arts Center, the highlight of the region’s vibrant art scene and the hub for all artistic endeavors in the county since the 1960’s, from housing nationally-recognized collections to currently working artists and sculptors residing in the area.
For families and folks of all ages, active recreation is available throughout the region, and offers unparalleled opportunities across a myriad of likes. Water recreation can be found throughout the region, with the Brazos and Bosque rivers, and a number of lakes and reservoirs offer opportunities for fishing, boating, kayaking and other water sports. Public swimming pools in Limestone, Freestone, and Hill Counties offer cool recreation during much of the year, and a water park and splash pads in Mclennan County are open to the public.
A number of beautiful, spacious parks are sprinkled throughout the region and are as different as the region's communities. More information about the specific amenities like hiking trails, disc golf courses, basketball courts, tennis courts and playscapes at each can be found on the community pages on this website.
The excellent access to health care available in the Heart of Texas is a main contributor to our high quality of life. Two large, regional health systems - Baylor Scott & White/Hillcrest and Ascension Providence Hospital - have campuses in Waco and satellite clinics in surrounding areas. They offer state-of-the-art facilities and access to specialists, which ensure that our residents can give up traffic and congestion without giving up peace of mind about their health.
Regional hospitals and clinics provide excellent coverage in the smaller counties as well. Goodall Wicher Hospital in Bosque County, Falls Community Hospital and Clinic in Falls County, Hill Regional Hospital in Hill County, and Limestone Medical Center in Limestone County meet day-to-day needs and offer access to specialists, surgeons, and other high-level care options in smaller town settings.
Shopping opportunities in the region are centered in the Waco MSA. The Richland Mall has the big mall acreage experience, with all of the stores typically found in those settings. The Magnolia Market at the Silos in Waco is much more than a shopping experience. Entertainment, dining and a garden shop supplement the stores in the downtown Waco area owned by Chip and Joanna Gaimes of HGTV fame. And new development is on the way in the form of projects like the Cottonwood Creek Market, a 143-acre mixed commercial development in Waco is currently under construction.
Entertainment options abound in the Heart of Texas! Whether your interest is high school football, college basketball, or disc golf, the Heart of Texas is a great place to enjoy sports and leisure activities. For nail-biting spectator sports action, it's hard to beat the Baylor Basketball season, but a range of other sports activities exist as well. Click here to find out more about Baylor sports. All across Texas, high school football is a premium experience and the Heart of Texas is no different! Waco’s Mart Tigers are an annual championship contender. Visit our community pages for information about other high school football and sports programs in the area. Other activities include visiting Waco’s Cameron Park Zoo or the Freestone County Raceway, which is home to the AMA Texas Motocross State Championships.
And if a night out dining is more your style, the region is filled with culinary experiences. Waco has Balcones Distillery, while excellent wine options can be found at the Red Caboose Winery. Read the Entertainment page for more information.
The Heart of Texas Region is blessed to have pleasant spring and fall seasons, with very mild winters. Summers can be hot, with average high temperatures above 90℉. Springtime is the season with the most precipitation, with thunderstorms frequenting the area in the transition from winter to summer.
Cost of Living
The Heart of Texas Region is an extremely affordable place to do business, to live and to visit. The Cost of Living in the Heart of Texas area is below the state and national averages - both in the Waco Metropolitan Statistical Area and throughout the smaller, more rural communities and unincorporated areas. According to BestPlaces’ , the Heart of Texas’ largest city, Waco has an Overall Cost of LIving Rating of 77, while comparable cities of Cleburne, College Station, Waxahachie and Austn have more expensive ratings of 91.9, 92.8, 102.9 and 119.3.