Written by: Carrie Lindsey, Carrie Elle Blog @carrieelleblog
One of the things I love so much about Texas is how many fun, family-friendly places there are to visit. But even though I love to travel all over the state, some of the biggest treasures the Lone Star State has to offer are right in my own backyard. This past weekend, we took a little end-of-summer getaway and spent a family weekend in Plano. I’ve been to Plano more times than I can count, but there’s something special about visiting a place and really taking the time to see what it has to offer… and that’s exactly we did for our weekend away.
Family Weekend in Plano
Get ready to head to Plano with the whole family, because I’m sharing our favorite things to do and eat in Plano, Texas! You can see all of the places we went and the food we ate in my Instagram Stories, too.
Where to stay in Plano
We stayed at the Renaissance Dallas at Plano Legacy West. Located at Legacy West, it’s within easy walking distance to all the restaurants and shops you could ever want. This upscale hotel is gorgeous, but also great for kids, and staffed with friendly, helpful staff (we call that “Texas friendly” around here). The kids were most excited about swimming, and we spent hours at the third-floor pool. The kids loved the pool, and we loved that there is a pool bar!
What to eat in Plano
One of the things I love most about Plano is all the food. We drive to Plano regularly for the restaurants! We loved having an entire weekend to dedicate to trying new places, and I promise you, we made the most of it. Here are my favorite spots to eat in Plano:
The Biscuit Bar – Located at The Boardwalk at Granite Park, the Biscuit Bar is a restaurant where everything is served on a biscuit. What’s not to love?! Imagine your favorite sandwich, but with a biscuit for the bread, and you’ve got the idea! Not only was the food delicious, but the location is also really cool. The Boardwalk is a collection of restaurants with outdoor seating located on the water. It was a great spot for a quiet lunch, but I feel like this would also be a fun place to spend a weekend evening.
Haywire – Everyone I know talks about Haywire, but this was the first time we’d been! Famous for it’s Texas comfort food and third floor patio with an Airstream on top, this is another one of those restaurants that just gets it right. We had cocktails and an appetizer sampler. My favorite item was the chips and queso.
Legacy Food Hall – Legacy Food Hall is another great option for breakfast, lunch, dinner, drinks, and/or dessert. Imagine a giant food court, like you would find at the mall. But instead of your generic fast food restaurants, your choices are more specialized restaurants with a focus on quality food and ingredients. We went here specifically for Press Waffle Co., which we had seen on Shark Tank. We had waffles for dessert. I’d like to go on the record that a big fat waffle topped with Nutella, Cookie Butter, strawberries, and whipped cream is exactly where it’s at.
Legacy Food Hall is great if you have lots of different palates in your group because with all the choices, everyone can get exactly what they want.
There is also a centrally-located bar, and on weekends, live music outside. You’ll need to buy tickets to see the live music as they are limiting the amount of guests.
Maple Bacon – If you’re looking for a casual diner vibe with really excellent food, check out Maple Bacon for breakfast. This Canadian breakfast restaurant was the perfect place to take the kids for breakfast. Pumpkin pancakes, waffles, a big bowl of oatmeal with cinnamon raisins, and big fat sausage links were the right way to kick off our Saturday. The food here was on point – everything was just extra good.
Urban Crust – Urban Crust was the only restaurant we went to this weekend that we’d eaten at before. The reason we went here, when we had so many other options to try, was because we just love it so much. It’s the one place we always visit when we have out-of-town guests. And, the kids love it. When the weather is nice we like to eat on the third floor, which overlooks Downtown Plano. Pizza is the obvious choice here, but you cannot go wrong with their salads or the F-Chicken. Everything on the menu is A+.
Bulla Gastrobar – You can’t go wrong with tapas! We chose Bulla Gastrobar for dinner one night because we love tapas. An added bonus is that this restaurant is attached to the Renaissance, so you can walk to it. I was a little uncertain about whether the kids would love this restaurant or not, but they had a kids’ menu and the kids ended up eating off our tapas plates, too – definitely a win! Also, let me say that the Tocinillo del Cielo, an Andalusian flan, was probably the best flan I’ve ever had (I don’t normally love flan, but we all fought over this one).
What to do with kids in Plano
Plano is very family-friendly, and you’ll find lots of things to do with the kids. Here are some favorites you’ll want to check out!
Crayola Experience Plano – The Crayola Experience has been on my radar for a couple of years, but this was the first time I’ve actually been. Claire has been with her Memaw, and she loved it, so this was the one thing she was most excited to do.
Kids have so many chances to get creative and play in the Crayola Experience! Entries are timed, so you’ll want to buy tickets in advance to get the time you want. Find discounted attraction tickets here. Plan on spending a couple of hours at the experience to fit in all of the activities. Some of the activities, like the toddler area, are currently closed; however, there was plenty of stuff for my older kids to do.
Most of the experiences are included in the price of admission. Kids get a goody bag when they arrive, which has two tokens and a box of crayons. Tokens can be spent designing a custom crayon label or can be used to purchase modeling clay.
There are also some experiences that cost extra (real money, not tokens). For example, kids can make a wax mold of their hand. There’s also a mining sluice. You can buy a bag of dirt with hidden gems and kids can use the sluice to find their treasures. As someone who collects crystals, this was actually a great deal and the kids brought home lots of gemstones.
Because of the timed entries and limited capacity, there weren’t any crowds, which meant no lines. It was a nice time to visit!
Downtown Plano – Plano has a lot of great shopping, and you can spend hours strolling through Legacy West or hanging out in Downtown Plano. We spent an afternoon downtown. A thunderstorm rolled in while we were there, but not before we had picked up some fall-scented candles, a pretty necklace, and some gelato from The Gelato Cone! You’ll also find a park downtown, which is the perfect place for kids to burn off some energy before (or after) you eat.
Oak Point Park and Nature Preserve – After eating our way through the city, we headed over to Oak Point Park and Nature Preserve for some hiking and outdoor time. The Nature Preserve is beautiful, with easy hiking trails and lots of shade. You’ll find Go Ape ziplining and tree top obstacle courses located here, too. While we were just here for the hiking and fresh air, it was fun to watch people ziplining and traversing the obstacle courses above our heads! We put this on our list to try during out next family weekend in Plano.
Heritage Farmstead Museum – While we didn’t have a chance to visit this weekend, I want to add this to my list because my kids have had so much fun here in the past. The Heritage Farmstead Museum is a great outdoor experience for kids to learn more about the history of the area. There are animals, reenactments, activities for kids, and lots of fun learning opportunities.
We loved our weekend away, and I know you’ll enjoy your time in town, too. You can find everything you need to plan your family weekend in Plano at Visit Plano. I’m happy to answer any questions you have – let me know in the comments if you have a question!
Before you visit, check out my list of restaurants in DFW where kids eat free – you’ll find some Plano options here.