Looking for the best things to see and do in Plano, Texas? You’re in the right place! We had a blast on our visit to the Lonestar state. Plano, Texas is just a hop, skip, and jump away from it’s huge nearby neighbor Dallas. Those of us who love to draw outside the lines also enjoy going a little bit off the beaten path. It’s great to get away from the traffic, crowds, and queues that shorten the time we have to spend on fun. If that sounds good to you, then check out Plano where it’s busy but not a burden to do all the fun things they have waiting for you.
If you haven’t already read our articles about our fabulous accommodations or all the amazing food we tried, you’ll want to read those after you see all the best things to see and do in Plano, Texas. Here are eight of our favorite ways to spend your time in this fun and frisky town.
Disclaimer: Our visit to Plano, Texas was hosted by Visit Plano. The opinions expressed are strictly our own based on our experiences.
1. Shop Till You Drop
There’s no denying that Plano is a shopper’s dream. Shopping areas are so thoughtfully laid out that you can park once and literally spend all day browsing, sampling, playing, and investigating an incredible array of items in every category. Two of our very favorite shop stops are Shops At Legacy and Legacy West. They’re both large collections of stores with enough variety to keep you busy for the better part of a day if shopping is your jam.
Shops at Legacy
In the Shops at Legacy, you’ll find clothing, jewelry and accessories, gifts and specialty items, home items and furnishings, and sporting goods. Many of the shops are local boutiques selling distinctive and unique items that will reflect your tastes and personal style. There are also plenty of well-known brands as well as places to pick up those special gifts for friends and family back home. Don’t miss popping into the one-off-a-kind shop Another Time & Place for handmade items like lanterns, Turkish rugs, and jewelry to feel like you’re strolling through the Grand Bazaar.
Legacy West is home to some of the world’s best-known premier brands. There are not many places you can shop for a Tesla, diamonds, luxury watches, and distinctive lingerie all together and without having to drive around. But you can do that at Legacy West. Amid all the wonderful retail places, our hearts skipped a beat for Barnes & Noble Kitchen*. We believe there’s no way better to spend some of your time than with a glass of wine or beer and a good book. In this inviting book nook, they have 9,000 square feet of that and so much more, you might just find a comfy spot and settle in for some “me” time. It’s pretty clear to us that shopping is definitely one of the best things to see and do in Plano, Texas. *Barnes & Noble Kitchen has since closed.
2. Explore the Downtown Plano Arts District
Lots of Plano is sparkling and shiny brand new for sure. That’s why we love getting the best of both worlds by spending time exploring the charms of the Historic Downtown Arts District too. This gem of a neighborhood offers a chance to enjoy architecturally interesting historical buildings, many of which remain from the late 1800s and early 1900s as a testament to the enduring grandeur of this multifaceted community core. History buffs and architecture fans will find plenty of reasons to ooh and ahh when surveying the many beautiful structures. Everyone can enjoy the many different places to eat and drink. There’s plenty of shopping to be found here too.
Check the calendar for special events too. Different things to do like an Art & Wine Walk, Mistletoe Market, Scavenger Hunts, and more give everyone a chance to have fun and experience the area all at the same time. Be sure to put the Historic Downtown on your list of best things to see and do in Plano, Texas.
3. Get Artsy
Art lovers will find plenty to keep them busy in Plano. There’s lots of street and public art. We followed the sculptures of longhorns in our own sort of cowpoke trail, which was a fun way to see all the different pieces. You can also see artworks at galleries downtown and around town. Holman Pottery, Premium Arts, and Skypony Gallery offer just the tip of the iceberg.
4. Go to the Plano Balloon Festival/Oak Point Nature Preserve
We love a day in nature and the Oak Point Nature Preserve is a great spot to get your dose of the great outdoors in Plano. With 800 acres of park including 13 miles of nature trails and a creek, Oak Point is Plano’s largest park. There are plenty of great views to enjoy if you like to walk and explore. If you’re into other activities like canoeing, kayaking, or SUP, they have you covered.
But for the ultimate in outdoor activities, you’ll want to check out the amazing Plano Balloon Festival that takes place every fall. Along with a half-marathon, 10K, 5K and 1K Run/Walk events, the grounds are filled with live bands, food and vendor booths, and plenty of balloon-focused activities. There’s the Balloon Launch, Balloon Fly-In Competition, and awesome Balloon Glow that fills the night air with the glow of huge floating air balloons illuminated by their burners. Texans from all over and visitors alike look forward to this stunning event every year.
5. Enjoy Food and Fun at Legacy Hall
Legacy Hall (aka Legacy Food Hall) is one of those amazing collections of food, drinks, and fun that have been popping up all over the world. Inside this feast-worthy marketplace are some 25 eateries and craft bars, filled with delights from cultures around the world. And while we love to munch a bunch, what’s different about this gathering place is that it also incorporates a great entertainment venue, The Box Garden, putting it on our list of best things to see and do in Plano, Texas.
This multipurpose outdoor space has a large stage to host live music, concerts, festivals, movie and sports screenings, culinary events, and more. The Box Garden is a great place to grab a brew and watch a big game on a huge screen or go with friends to listen to live music or dance to the late-night DJ spinning top tunes. Check out their calendar of upcoming events to see just how packed your entertainment schedule could be.
6. Go All Aboard the Interurban Railroad Museum
We love free museums and Plano’s free Interurban Railway Museum provides a great glimpse into the past. Located in Historic Downtown Plano, this unique museum is a must for transportation buffs. It’s also fun if you like to get mail – like we do! The first part of the museum is an actual interurban train car of the Texas Electric Railway. Car 360 was used as a railway post office, delivering mail and people along the way from Denison to Dallas. You can step inside to see how the mail was stored, sorted, and delivered as well as what it might have been like to ride as a passenger back in the day.
The other part is the museum includes permanent, temporary and mini exhibits covering all aspects of electricity, transportation, history and culture around the Railway. Fun for adults as well as kids of all ages, the Interurban Railway Museum encourages discovery and exploration with lots of hands-on activities and interesting stories. This unique transportation museum with free admission is one of the best things to see and do in Plano, Texas.
7. Stroll Along the Boardwalk
Sometimes you just feel like taking a little stroll outside, especially when the weather is good. Adding a pretty boardwalk, and a nice stretch of waterfront viewing makes it all that much better. Throw in a few prime places to eat, drink, and play, and we think it’s a home run. That’s why the Boardwalk at Granite Park is a hit with locals and visitors alike. We enjoyed a leisurely walk along the water, taking in the pretty views on a warm and welcoming day.
The Boardwalk at Granite Park is like a beautiful oasis nestled among office buildings, retail shops, hotels, and restaurants. The dining options here are plentiful. Try the best breakfast biscuits in town at The Biscuit Bar. Or settle in for brews and food at Union Bear, a lively hangout for dinner and late-night fun. There are many different places to suit your mood. You can hang out and read your paper over a great cup of coffee. Or treat yourself to High Tea at a beautiful French bistro. Strolling the Boardwalk at Granite Park is one of the best things to see and do in Plano, Texas.
8. Dabble in Trivia, Karaoke, Craft Beer at Unlawful Assembly
The last, but not least, item on our list of 8 best things to see and do in Plano, Texas is to let your hair down and play some games at Unlawful Assembly Brewing Taproom. The first thing you’ll want to do is get yourself one of their tasty craft brews. If you’re like us and can’t decide, go for a flight to see what you like first. Then you can enjoy your favorites for the rest of your visit. The taproom on the third floor of Legacy Hall gives you a bird’s eye view of all the action. Grab a bite at one of the Hall’s food stalls and bring it up to have with your beer.
That’s just where the fun begins. The good times are amplified by the many events hosted at the taproom on a regular basis. Every Monday is karaoke night. You can sing until your heart’s content. Or join in “Geeks Who Drink Trivia Night.” Match wits with others while having a heck of a good time. Unlawful Assembly also offers brewery tours on Saturday afternoons. The brewery uses trained comedian brewery tour guides. Tickle your funny bone while you learn the brewing process. And, enjoy the great tastes as part of your tour admission.
Best Things to See and Do in Plano, Texas
We’ve only scratched the surface of the best things to see and do in Plano, Texas. There are so many great opportunities to shop, sightsee, get active, and have fun. We simply wanted to point you in the direction of some of the things we enjoy. While you may also love the hustle and bustle of nearby Big D, Dallas, don’t forget Plano. It’s a diverse, historic, and scenic town. Plano rewards visitors who explore its many offerings with a fabulous trip and wonderful lasting memories.