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July 9, 2019 / Millerann Moya / / Comments

Extend Your Stay & Play in Plano

Most times when traveling for work, we get caught up in flying in and out as soon as possible to get back home to family and back to the work grind.

But, according to the U.S. Travel Association, 52% of American employees had unused vacation time at the end of 2017.

New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, New Orleans, Chicago… these may be popular destinations where you think about extending your work trip for some fun solo, with a friend, or with your loved one. But, Plano, Texas is worthy of your extended stay as well.

From glamorous dining and nightlife to high-end shopping, adventure, and family-friendly activities, there is something for everyone.

Central Location

Extending your business trip in Plano makes it easy to experience other destinations in the area from Dallas to Fort Worth and Arlington to Denton. Plano is just 20 minutes north of Dallas and two major airports, DFW International and Dallas Love Field. Enjoy the Dallas-sized attractions like the JFK Museum in downtown or a Rangers game in Arlington, but stay with ease in Plano’s central location.

Plano is also on the DART light rail line; visitors can hop aboard at one of three Plano stations and travel throughout the area.

Plano has been consistently named a safe and clean city in national publications and the moderate climate makes it easy to get here and get around no matter the season.

Play, Shop & Dine

Plano has stand out attractions that are worth staying an extra night or two.

Walkable Districts

Legacy West
Outside the doors of the Renaissance Dallas at Plano Legacy West Legacy West is the largest mixed use destination in North Texas and a perfect place to play, shop, dine, and stay. The  development boasts open-air retail and restaurant space. Diners can satisfy every craving, whether for steak or a good old-fashioned milk shake, Spanish tapas, a perfect plate of pasta, or a red velvet cupcake at any time of the day thanks to the Sprinkles Cupcake ATM.

Shops at Legacy
A short walk east is the Shops at Legacy, a similar urban village-style environment with upscale shopping and dining, and its anchor hotel, the Dallas/Plano Marriott at Legacy Town Center. The development is home to popular restaurants like Kenny’s Smokehouse, Mexican Sugar, The Keeper, Shumi, Olivella’s, and many others.

The Boardwalk
Across from the Hilton Dallas/Plano Granite Park convention hotel sits a new 30,000 square foot restaurant park called The Boardwalk where visitors enjoy eateries featuring cuisine like southern-inspired gulf seafood to gourmet biscuits and even a new local brewery and restaurant. Plano’s Granite Park Boardwalk has the same energetic but simultaneously relaxing feel that everybody knows and loves when it comes to boardwalks. The area has multiple restaurants with beautiful patio dining spots, outside games like Connect Four and Corn-Hole, and is a great place to stroll, dine, and unwind.

Downtown Plano Arts District
The Downtown Plano Arts District boasts a charming downtown area lined with authentic brick streets, one-of-a-kind restaurants, clothing and jewelry boutiques, specialty shops, antique stores, art galleries, artist residences, pottery, and more.

World-Class Dining Scene

Visitors love to hear what culinary experiences they can look forward to on their trip. From the Downtown Plano Arts District to Legacy WestThe Shops at LegacyThe District at Willow Bend, and literally everywhere in between, there are over 1,000 restaurants in Plano covering all your favorite culinary genres. At both Legacy West and The Shops at Legacy enjoy dinner and drinks at the many popular restaurants like: Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse, Earls Kitchen + Bar, Fleming’s Steakhouse, Kenny’s Smokehouse, Mesero, Mexican Sugar, North Italia, RA Sushi, Tommy Bahama, True Food Kitchen, Haywire, Taverna, Toulouse, KĀI, Fogo de Chao, and The Keeper.

On top of all of that, Legacy Hall is a one-of-a-kind artisanal food hall experience with equal parts premium food hall, beer garden, craft brewery and live entertainment. With 20 chef-driven artisan food stalls and half a dozen bars, each presents its own unique personality.

In downtown Plano, dine at one of the many restaurants ranging from wood-fired pizza and Mexican to sushi and barbecue. Here’s a complete list of restaurants to dine at in the Downtown Plano Arts District.

See our complete list of Plano restaurants here and check out That’s Tempting for a video series of unique Plano restaurants.

Plenty of Retail Therapy

One thing is for sure when it comes to Plano, there are endless shopping options. Dallas may be known as one of the top shopping destinations in the U.S., but just 20 miles north, you can continue the one-of-a-kind shopping adventure in Plano with over 26 million square feet of retail space!

At Legacy West shop for stylish home décor items at West Elm and Frontgate; and women and men’s high-end apparel at Bonobos, Fabletics, J.Crew, Johnny Wass, Tommy Bahama, Peter Miller, Planet Blue, Pockets, and Suitsupply.

The Shops at Legacy features unique boutiques among popular stores like Apricot Lane, Francesca’s, Kendra Scott, Scout & Molly’s Boutique and Urban Outfitters.

The Shops at Willow Bend offers visitors a unique blend of Texas-style ambiance and world-class shopping. The center is anchored by Dillard’s, Macy’s and Neiman Marcus and also has stores like Coach, H&M, G by Guess, Banana Republic, American Eagle, Swarovski, Sephora, Restoration Hardware, Z Gallerie and Crate & Barrel.

The Downtown Plano Arts District also has several cute boutiques along with brick-lined streets, including Shinola.

Unwind in the Great Outdoors

Need a breath of fresh air? You don’t have to venture far. Plano has more than 82 miles of recreational trails open to the public. Chances are there’s a trail near your hotel. Get trail information here including downloadable trail maps.

Two of the largest parks in Plano offer great opportunities to connect with the outdoors. Oak Point Park and Nature Preserve is 800 acres and has 3.5 miles of concrete trails and 5 miles of soft trails along Rowlett Creek. Go Ape at a tree-top adventure course or even canoe on the lake (call for rental information)! Arbor Hills Nature Preserve is a 200-acre park with hike and bike trails, a 2-mile walking trail and stunning views of the prairie and forest. Here are more options for grabbing a work-out in Plano.

Nightlife to Remember

An exciting night out isn’t very hard to come by in Plano. Live music feels like it’s always in arms reach of wherever you are in the city. The live music scene here is stronger than ever before with more than 25 venues that offer some sort of live music on a regular basis. If you enjoy getting-up on your feet to the beat of the music, try Blue Martini, Sambuca 360, and VNYL at The Shops at Legacy. In the Downtown Plano Arts District, there’s the new McCall Plaza for live music events. Check out our live music page for live music events and more venues in Plano.

Family Friendly

Families benefit from traveling – we need to get away, together. Here in Plano, families can get away with more!

There is so much to explore and discover. Whether you want an educational trip, time to unwind, or are visiting friends and family in the area, when you make Plano your family vacation destination you discover how you can get away with more. Plano has something for every family. And with so many free activities throughout the city you can get away with more, for less!

Crayola Experience
Plano’s newest and most colorful attraction, the Crayola Experience at The Shops at Willow Bend, is an amazing place where visitors can explore the 60,000 square foot attraction that Parents Magazine calls one of the “Top 10 Trips to Take Before Your Kid Turns 10.” Experience 22 hands-on attractions inspired by Crayola products and their technologies. Visitors can name and wrap their own Crayola crayon, star in a coloring page, create melted wax spin-art, and learn how crayons are made in a live factory show.

Swim Across Texas
The historic Texas Pool is 168,000 gallons of saltwater shaped like the great State of Texas and is officially a National Landmark listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The pool features a diving board, two water slides, and an island with a shallow “South Texas” wading area for small children and parents. Cook out on their BBQ grills or enjoy the snack bar. There are also picnic tables and a beach volleyball court. Tourist passes are available!

Go Ape
The first treetop adventure course in Texas is just minutes from the Downtown Plano Arts District at Oak Point Park & Nature Preserve. This vast area of natural beauty sits on 800 acres and features more than just a canopy tour. Go Ape includes five individual sections with rope ladders and 39 exciting crossings.

Canoe at Oak Point Park Lake
There’s tons to see at this beautiful 800-acre preserve in Plano and canoeing is an active way you can get out there and explore by water. The park also has several trails if you prefer to run, bike, or just wander and enjoy being outside.

See an Active Farm at Heritage Farmstead
Wondering what the area was like in the 19th century? Heritage Farmstead can take you back with its original buildings, museum and active farm and garden museum. The 1891 Victorian farm is on the National Register of Historic Places and is a must-see for fourth graders in the Plano school district.

Climb Aboard the Interurban
Electric rails are nothing new. In fact, the Texas Electric Railway was a vital part of Plano history, which you can experience at this downtown gem, the Interurban Railway Museum. See the original ticket window and climb onto a refurbished rail car. Find out how Plano mistakenly got its name and how the railway was used to shuttle workers until 1948. Read more about the Interurban Railway Museum and come see it for yourself in the Downtown Plano Arts District.

Ice Skate Year Round
You don’t have to wait until winter to participate in this fun activity. Plano StarCenter has public skate sessions almost every day of the month. Beat the heat or beat the boredom and check out their schedule here.

Experience Hyper-Reality
Cinemark has partnered with The VOID, to allow guests to virtually step into their favorite movie and play an active role in the plot. By strapping on a vest, helmet and virtual reality goggles, guests are transported to a new world where they hear, feel, smell and see what it would be like to actually be in the movie. This is the first in-theater, hyper-reality experience in all of Texas.

Ollie at the Skateboard Park
The new Carpenter Park Skate Park combines popular street-style skating and bowl skating features making it one of the most extensive and unique skate parks in all of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. Skaters will enjoy one of the largest bowls in the area as well as various sized ramps, rails, stair sets, and ledges. You will also notice the fitting design of the skate park in a “P” shape resembling the official Plano logo. View hours here.

Practice Bowling Spares & Stripes
Main Event Entertainment
Its unique Eat.Bowl.Play. experience features state-of-the-art bowling, multi-level laser tag, high ropes adventure courses, billiards and interactive and virtual video games, with dining experiences ranging from fast-casual to chef-inspired casual and creative cocktails, beer and wine.

Plano Super Bowl
Open 24 hours and newly renovated, Plano Super Bowl offers everything you need for a fun night out with family or friends. Plano Super Bowl is home to Scratch Kitchen serving up made-from-scratch breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner. Be sure to check their bowling specials!

Pinstack
From state-of-the-art bowling lanes to its unique LED rock climbing wall, Pinstack has indoor games for the whole family. The one-of-a-kind indoor family activity venue features a full-service restaurant offering a chef-inspired menu featuring local and regional cuisine, a full bar and a private dining area.

For more Things to Do in Plano, click here.