Happy in Plano

Happy in Plano kids in front of mural

Did you know Plano was named the Happiest City in America by WalletHub in 2019 and the second Happiest City in America in 2020? So, how happy can Plano really be? Well, let’s take a deeper look at everything that makes Plano happily unique.

Plano Is A Foodie City

In 2019 Plano was named the fourth Best City for Foodies by Yelp and this makes us so happy! Plano’s culturally diverse population has overflowed into the culinary scene with restaurants representing foods of all backgrounds.

With 1,000+ restaurants in Plano, it will be a tough choice but there is definitely something to please everyone. We’ll just point you to our restaurant list and wish you good luck.

Or you can reference That’s Tempting and watch a series of videos highlighting popular restaurants with various types of cuisines and within all different areas of the city. Be sure to check out our brunch and patio dining posts too!

Popular foodie destinations: Downtown Plano Arts District, Lakeside Market, Legacy Hall, Legacy West, Preston Park Village, The Boardwalk, The District at Willow Bend, The Shops at Legacy, and West Plano Village.

Plano’s Got Adventure

For such a corporate-driven city like Plano where there is never a lack of development, there is such a huge importance on nature and our parks & recreation system. Plano has incredible green space within the city – 4,370 acres to be exact!

Canoe, kayak, or paddle board on the lake or Go Ape at the treetop adventure course – both at Oak Point Park Nature Preserve, and hike or bike on one of Plano’s trails spanning 82 miles across the city! There is even a new skateboard park at Carpenter Park featuring some of the most extensive and unique skate features in all of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.

Learn more about Taking a Walk in a Plano Park here.

And we couldn’t talk about all the fun and unique things to do in Plano without talking about The Texas Pool, who was also just placed on the National Register of Historic Places! This gem was the very first Texas shaped pool in the world!

Check out our post Adventures Under $25 for more budget-friendly travel inspiration.

Plano Events and Arts & Culture

Plano Hot Air Balloon Festival, Plano International Festival, AsiaFest, ArtFest, Art & Wine Walks, Beatles Night, Night Out on 15th, Plano’s All American Fourth, Movies in the Park, Courtyard Texas Music Series, Steinfest, Lights at Legacy, live music at McCall Plaza, Dickens, ‘Neath the Wreath Holiday Gift Market… and SO. MUCH. MORE!

These are just a tiny sampling of some of the amazing events in Plano throughout the year. We are so happy to host such an eclectic selection of events for our visitors!

For a complete listing, please look through our online event calendar.

The Plano Balloon Festival will celebrate its 41st year of ballooning in 2020! This spectacular three day event is held every September at Oak Point Park and is an action packed weekend with balloon launches and glows, concerts, fireworks, food, live music and a parachute exhibition. You don’t want to miss the largest balloon festival in Texas! We even have our own traveling hot air balloon called “Excellence“.

Plano is also making a name for itself in the art community. With the recent additions of 10 public art pieces in the Downtown Plano Arts District, Plano has a colorful new look!

Read more about the city’s recent murals and sculptures that represent a part of our land’s history.

Plano Has Shopping & A Nightlife Scene

One thing is for sure when it comes to Plano, shopping is endless with over 26 million square feet of retail space throughout the city!

Shop Legacy West & The Shops at Legacy’s open-air high-end retail and restaurant environment. Shop for stylish home décor items, women and men’s high-end apparel and accessories.

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.

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. With stores like Coach, H&M, G by Guess, Banana Republic, American Eagle, Swarovski and Sephora everything you need is around the bend.

Plano’s nightlife and live music scene is stronger than ever before. Even locals may be surprised to learn there are more than 30 venues across the city that offer some sort of live music on a regular basis. From hip restaurants to new unique venues, you’re bound to find something close by that’s perfect for your date night out. See a list of venues, events, and more here.

Want to dance the night away? Sambuca 360 and VNYL, located at The Shops at Legacy, are great spots for dancing many nights of the week!

Over in the Downtown Plano Arts District, Plano Stages hosts many free live music events like Downtown Sessions and Live & Local, and the Historic Downtown Plano Association hosts events throughout the year with live music.

And don’t forget The Box Garden at Legacy Hall where there is always something happening! From live music to sports watch parties and over-the-top holiday celebrations, there’s always a happy time to be had at Legacy Hall.

Plano Is Family Friendly… & Dog Friendly

Families benefit from traveling – we need to get away, together, and sometimes even with the family pup.

Whether you want an educational vacation, 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!

Be sure to check out the Crayola Experience at The Shops at Willow Bend with 22 hands-on attractions inspired by Crayola products and their technologies. There are only five of these locations across the country!

More and more people are traveling with their pets and Plano is the perfect destination for you and your pup to enjoy. With many dog-friendly restaurant patios and events, plenty of green space, outdoor walkable entertainment areas, and a large selection of pet-friendly hotels, Plano can make your pet-friendly travel dreams come true. Check out the write up in Forbes about our dog-friendly city!

Find more Family Friendly and Pet Friendly ideas on our website.

Snapshot: Uniquely Plano

Crayola Experience: Top 10 Trips to Take Before Your Kid Turns 10 by Parents Magazine
Dark Hour Haunted House: Year-round haunted house
“Excellence”: The name of the City of Plano’s very own hot air balloon
Go Ape: Tarzan swings and treetop adventure course; the only Go Ape in Texas
K9 Cinemas: 1st dog-friendly movie theater in the U.S.
Legacy Hall & Box Garden: three-stories, 20+ chef-driven food stalls, onsite brewery, live entertainment stage; one of the first of its kind in the U.S.; named USA Today’s 2019 2nd Best Food Hall in the U.S.
Legacy West fountains: Bellagio-esque fountain with choreographed water shows
Love & War in Texas: Texas-shaped cornbread
Mitsuwa Marketplace: Largest Japanese supermarket in the U.S.
Plano Parks & Recreation: Free public Wi-Fi at parks
Plano Super Bowl: 24/7 bowling
Russell Creek Park: Home to the second most cricket pitches in the Southwest region
Sixty Vines: 40 wines and 20 beers on tap
The Gift of Christmas: Visually stunning multimedia holiday event with 1,000-member cast and choir, 50-piece live orchestra, flying angels, live animals, special effects and more
The Texas Pool: 1st Texas-shaped pool in the world
The VOID: first in-theater, hyper-reality experience in Texas allowing guests to virtually step into their favorite movie and play an active role in the plot
Urban Crust: 32 degree ice bar with rooftop patio

For more things to do in Plano, check out our rotating top 20 here. Be sure to follow our Plano Insiders for their Plano suggestions and itineraries.

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