Plano, Texas a Hidden Gem

Laurin Curtis, with The Life of Jo Jo, having fun in the trees at Go Ape in Plano

Written by: Laurin Curtis, The Life of Jo Jo @laurinjo

Located 30 minutes from Dallas, Plano, Texas is a gem hidden in plain sight! Packed with 1000+ restaurants, an array of shopping options, beautiful nature parks, and many other family friendly activities and excursions, Plano has so much to offer anyone looking for a premium vacation!

My best friend and I decided to steal ourselves away for a weekend escape to Plano from the Houston hustle and bustle, and I’m so glad we came!


Dallas/Plano Marriott at Legacy Town Center

We stayed at the beautiful and enormous Marriott at Legacy Town Center; needless to say, we did not want to leave the suite. Upon arrival, the most pleasant and helpful staff EVER greeted us! The awesome customer service didn’t stop there. Throughout the duration of our stay, the staff was very helpful, kind, and considerate.

Now, let’s be honest, I have stayed in dozens of hotels, including multiple Marriott brand hotels, but this was by far the best hotel experience of my life. The one instance that sticks out dramatically in my head is pulling up to the valet. The gentleman at the valet station explained that the valet would be $25/day or that I could park in the garage for the weekend free. I really appreciated the information, but told him we would like to valet so we didn’t have to drag all of our bags from the garage to the hotel. He then told me we could pull on the side, park, and take all of our items upstairs, unpack, and come back down once we were settled and relaxed. To say that we were so surprised and very appreciative of this very generous gesture is an understatement!

Check out our Instagram Reel of the hotel here.


The restaurants in Plano are ENDLESS! I had the honor of trying a few while on my visit. Check out a few of my favorites below.

Mi Cocina – Mi Cocina is a neighborhood favorite providing Mexican cuisine with a calming atmosphere and amazing ambiance. I would highly recommend trying their food. You can’t go wrong with anything that you order. I would rate it a solid 5 out of 5! When you go, be sure to order their specialty margarita “Mambo Taxi”; it pairs well with their shrimp tacos and shrimp nachos.

Fat Straws – Bubble tea, coffee, and donuts? Sign me up! Fat Straws is your one-stop shop for all drinks including smoothies and slushies. They have tons of flavors in tea, boba, and even donuts.

Half Shells – As someone whose diet is about 80% pescatarian, finding a new seafood spot is always on my to-do list. When we stumbled across the seafood restaurant Half Shells, I knew we’d be in good hands. The service was great and fast. I don’t want you to think that the service outshines the food. So, here’s what to order: Buffalo shrimp tacos – yup, that’s it! They were so good that I placed another order to go.

Legacy Hall  – ATTENTION FOODIES! Do you love food? No, I mean do you reaaaaally love food? Well, you will be in heaven at Legacy Hall! Legacy Hall’s two levels of small eateries are all set for you to stuff your face. Once you grab your food, the only thing left to do is grab a seat indoors or in their Box Garden and dig in. This scrumptious food will have you humming all of the love songs with each delicious bite!

Buttercup Chicken Tenders – How do you feel about chicken and waffles? I am not talking about your basic chicken and waffles… Have you ever had chicken bites in a waffle cone with made from scratch sauces? Well, now that your mouth is watering, add Buttercup Chicken Tenders to your list of must tries while in Plano. Wait, did I also mention there’s mac n’ cheese inside of that cone and the curly fries are to die for?! It was really hard not to order one of each item on the menu at BCT, because everything looked so amazing. This amazing food stall is located in Legacy Hall.

Check out our Instagram Reel of some of these eateries below:

Golden Boy Coffee and Wine Bar
Fat Straws
Buttercup Chicken Tenders

Activities & Attractions

Go Ape Zipline and Adventure Park – So you know I’m adventurous, but are you a daredevil? Well, Go Ape is the perfect place for you. Go Ape is an adventure treetop obstacle course and the zip lining is included. The best part is that it’s all at your own pace. You don’t feel the stress of trying to keep up with a group. Go Ape is located in the Oak Point Nature Park and Preserve. Check out my post here!

Oak Point Nature Park and Preserve – Indulge in the scenic views, lakes, and wilderness! This park is a hot spot for families and friends all around Texas. Oak Point Park is so soothing and peaceful. While we visited, we saw visitors painting, working out, meditating, and even taking family photos. Another fun part about Oak Point is that it’s wrapped by Go Ape. So, while I was struggling to get through to the next obstacle, I had a few passersby cheering me on! It was epic.

We noticed that bikes and scooter rentals are available to get around if you don’t want to walk. The most beautiful part of this park are the mature trees! The trees were starting to change colors and it made the views even more beautiful.

Hot Air Balloon Rides – Get ready to soar and glide through the sky, as Plano is known for its annual Plano Balloon Festival held each September. Be sure to plan well and book your rides in advance.

Side note: Hot air balloon rides are weather permitted. We scheduled a sunrise balloon ride, but the wind speeds were too high to fly safely, so we had to reschedule our flight.


There is absolutely no shortage of shopping in Plano. From Louis Vuitton to Fabletics, the stores are plentiful!

Legacy West + Shops at Legacy – Want luxury shopping? Stop by Legacy West and at The Shops at Legacy. I looked up and there were all my favorite shops along the strip with easy-to-find parking lots and parking garages.

Prized Kicks DFW – ATTENTION: CALLING ALL SNEAKERHEADS! Imagine a world where the walls are lined with rows and rows of authentic sneakers old and new. If you love sneakers and streetwear, Prized Kicks is your place to be.

Check out our Instagram Reel of some of these shops here.

make plans & visit plano

Plano doesn’t get as much light as it should, likely because it is sometimes overshadowed by Dallas. But, mark my words, I see Plano being a huge vacation hot spot location for all of Texas in the future. There is so much to do in this city and barely anytime to get bored.

Plan your next trip to Plano today; you won’t be disappointed!

For a complete list of hotels, events, and things to do in Plano, explore our website.

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