Originally written by Monty Hudson and published on The Spring Break Family.
Located just 25 minutes from Dallas, Plano is an easy and fun weekend destination for all sorts of travelers. Whether you’re looking for world-class shopping, amazing dining establishments, or even spaces to commune with nature, Plano has it all!
Here are things to do in Plano, TX! [And, parents, don’t worry – we’ve got you covered too with things to do in Plano with kids too!]
Rental Car & Parking
Like most things to do in Texas with kids, experiencing all that Plano has to offer is easiest with a rental car. The city is spread out across many highways and neighborhoods. You can get to and from each one with ease in your own car.
Public transportation is plentiful throughout the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex and Plano is no exception. Dallas Area Rapid Transit [DART] provides bus service throughout parts of the city. There is even a light rail system that can carry you from one city to the other.
If you are in town exploring things to do in Plano with kids, please be mindful of the nature of mass transit. There might be times of crowding, extended wait times, and/or walking from point A to point B. Oftentimes, this all can happen in the Texas elements [read: it can be hot down here]. If that doesn’t sound ideal for you and your family, consider getting a rental car.
Ride-sharing with services like Uber and Lyft is also abundant in Plano. This is a great option if you’d like to get around the city quickly without having the responsibility of your own car.
Things to Do in Plano TX
Be on the Scene at Legacy West
If Legacy West pops up on your list of things to do in Plano, you’ll see it described as a lifestyle center. But what that really means is that it has all the amazing things you’d ever want to see and do in the city and after a visit, you will want to live there.
OK, maybe that was just me. But you will definitely enjoy over 20 delicious eateries, luxurious shops from all your favorite brands, and even curated pop-ups from small businesses in the area. Families aren’t left out of the fun. Their family-friendly special events make this an ideal thing to do in Plano with kids too! Peruse their entire directory to plan your visit here: Legacy West directory.
Eat And Play at The Boardwalk
Granite Park Plano is just one of the trendy, new areas of Plano that offers plenty of fun, dining establishments, and even corporate workspaces. A stop at The Boardwalk should definitely be on your list of things to do in Plano if you’re looking for casual eateries in a social environment.
Stroll The Boardwalk at Granite Park, pop into one of the seven waterfront restaurants, and take in the scene. The area also has plenty of entertainment with live musical performances, vibrant mural art, and lawn games. They also host a multitude of events from yoga to a weekend farmer’s market that’s popular with both visitors and locals alike.
Eat Your Fill at Legacy Hall
There are very few things that can grab my heart on a list of things to do in Plano like food. And Legacy Food Hall has it in abundance! As the name probably implies, it is located within the Legacy West district. But even with its location in such a bustling area, I would argue that the food hall is a destination unto itself.
Stroll Through Downtown Plano
Travel back in time with a casual stroll through Downtown Plano! Many of the buildings in the area maintained their historic roots and can be dated back to 1896. You really could fill an entire afternoon walking the brick streets that are lined with shops and taking in the sights.
But there are tons of shops and activities in the area too! There are restaurants, coffee spots [like our new favorite place 1418 Coffee which is seriously a must-visit for fellow espresso lovers], local shops, and more. If the performing arts are your thing [and why wouldn’t they be], there are tons of art opportunities from plays to live music in Downtown Plano as well!
If you want to add this to your list of things to do in Plano with kids, be sure to visit Downtown Plano’s Haggard Park! There are also trains in the area [including the Interurban Railway Museum] that kids would love.
Find the Street Art in Plano
Street art is such a beautiful way to see the soul of a city and Plano is no exception! Visit Plano makes finding the art installations in the city an easy task by providing a public art map. You can also venture on a self-guided tour with a handy guide from the Plano Art Walk that will take you on a journey to discover murals, sculptures, and other arts around the city.
Hike the Arbor Hills Nature Preserve
See the best that Texas nature has to offer with a visit to the Arbor Hill Nature Preserve. This tree-lined oasis spans over 200 acres and has several miles of both hiking and biking trails. Be sure not to miss the observation tower for spectacular views of the city.
For those exploring this list to find things to do in Plano with kids, there is a playground for the kids [and the kids at heart] at the preserve as well.
Catch the Plano Balloon Festival
Seeing majestic hot air balloons up close has to be on everyone’s travel bucket list. Luckily, the Plano Balloon Festival has had the distinct pleasure of bringing these aerial joys to the area for over 40 years. Not only do you get to witness several balloons created by pilots all over the state but it is a full-blown festival.
There’s live music on the main stage, family-friendly activities throughout, aerial performances, and so much more. And did I mention the festival food? There are tons of delicious eats from food truck style booths all over the Plano Balloon Festival. If that’s not your thing, you can bring in your own food too.
Things to Do in Plano with Kids
Even though this is a general list of things to do in Plano, we couldn’t forget about the kiddos! We are, after all, a family-run website. Our girls [ages 10 and 13] accompanied us for everything we’ve already listed so it is totally kid-friendly depending on the ages and interests of your kids. But here are some things to do in Plano with kids that are specifically for them.
Hours of fun in a colorful wonderland filled with interactive exhibits for kids ages 2-12? Yes, please! The Crayola Experience Plano is one of the most unique things to do in Plano with kids. Visitors get the chance to make their own custom crayon [I made a beautiful blue crayon and named it “Spring Break Blue”], sculpt creations from modeling clay, create unique wax art pieces, and even color an illustration with their face on it.
But it’s not all colors and crayons! There’s also a jungle gym, video air hockey, gem mining, and so much more. This place was definitely designed with the little ones in mind but in my opinion it’s a ton of fun for the entire family.
Purchase discounted admission tickets here.
Pinstack in Plano is arguably one of the most fun things on this list of things to do in Plano with kids. It is an indoor entertainment megaplex in the heart of west Plano with tons of family-friendly activities like rock climbing, foosball, video games, and, of course, bowling. There are also bumper cars, laser tag, and a high ropes course.
If your family is like mine and is ALL about the eats, Pinstack has you covered there too with a chef-inspired menu. With dishes like a 36″ cheese pizza and a twenty-dollar burger [complete with bacon-wrapped jalapenos], there is something for everyone in the family to eat their way to a good time.
Heritage Farmstead Museum
It wouldn’t be a Spring Break Family trip if we didn’t include at least a little bit of heritage travel. Learning the history of the area, even just a small part, makes exploring the city for things to do with kids in Plano more meaningful. And, plus, the Heritage Farmstead Museum, is just plain fun!
Families can learn all about the history of North Texas while touring a functional farm. Sit in an old-school classroom, milk a [plastic] dairy cow, see clothes worn by farmers back in the day, and feed the free-range chicken around the property. This living history farm is a fun and educational afternoon for the entire family!
Interurban Railway Museum
Add discovering Texas history to your list of things to do in Plano with kids with a visit to the Interurban Railway Museum! This free museum has interactive exhibits on the history of the City of Plano, the Texas Electric Roadway, and the science behind it all. There’s a model train exhibit, a hands-on electricity display, and even an actual railway car right in this Downtown Plano museum.
Oh, and did I mention, that admission to the museum is FREE? Total win!
Where to Stay in Plano TX
Hilton Dallas Plano Granite Park
A list of things to do in Plano wouldn’t be complete without highlighting where to stay in Plano. We highly recommend the Hilton Granite Park Plano! Whether you’re taking a solo trip, vacationing with girlfriends, or exploring the city for things to do in Plano with kids, it is the perfect place to stay.
All of the rooms are comfortably equipped with modern updates and plenty of space for everyone in the group [or family]. But really wowed us were the amenities we found outside of our room. The lobby has multiple TV stations, a full-service bar, a well-equipped coffee shop, and even a restaurant with delicious breakfast options.
And if that isn’t enough to convince you, Hilton Granite Park Plano is right in the heart of many of the fun activities in the city. It’s within walking distance of The Boardwalk at Granite Park and its many dining establishments. It is also less than 5 minutes away from Legacy West and only 10 minutes from other things to do in Plano TX like the Crayola Experience.
Hope this list of things to do in Plano TX [and things to do in Plano with kids] helps you plan your next trip to Visit Plano!