Written by: Alli & Bobby Talley, @TravelingNewlyweds
Over the past few years, we’ve seen a lot of Texas – from Austin to Marfa, it’s a state that keeps us guessing, and keeps us coming back for more . Every city has a different vibe and distinctly Texan flare, and we truly love aspects of them all.
So when we had the opportunity to explore a city in the Dallas Metroplex, Plano, we were intrigued. What would this new Texas city have to offer? Well, fast-forward to a few days into our trip, and I think it’s safe to say that we’re big fans. (And I’m pretty sure we both gained a few pounds.)
Here’s where we stayed, what we ate (and where we’ll eat next time), how we kept Jude and Sally entertained, and what made Plano an absolutely fantastic Covid-safe destination.
WHERE WE STAYED
We stayed at the beautiful (and new!) Hilton Granite Park. While there are countless other accommodation options in Plano, we would recommend one of the bigger hotel brands for your first getaway– like Hilton. They have the ability to develop safety protocols throughout all their hotels that will make you feel as safe as possible. The Hilton Granite Park was no exception, with an easy check-in process with plexiglass dividers, hand sanitizer stations throughout the hotel, and room cleaning was on an as-needed basis (to avoid people in your room). It seemed as though every time we walked through the lobby there was somebody cleaning and sanitizing. It was wonderful!
Our room was spacious and immaculate. We did takeout one night that we were there, and were perfectly happy lounging in the room. We loved the massive fire pit outside of the lobby (we would enjoy it with Sally in shifts because Jude would already be asleep- parent life)! The best part of the hotel was the access to The Boardwalk at Granite Park and Legacy West – so many award-winning restaurants and endless shopping just a short walk from the hotel!
Other accommodation recommendations (and spots we have on our list for next time) are the Renaissance Dallas Plano Legacy West (if we’re without our pup) or the NYLO Plano (dog-friendly).
WHERE WE ATE (AND DRANK)
Where to eat and drink? That’s a tough question in Plano because we were there for 3 days and would probably have needed another 10 to properly explore all of our options. But we definitely hit some of the must visits.
First… coffee. We’re big coffee people. 1418 is a coffee shop in downtown Plano that is the real deal. As in, it’s not great coffee for Plano, it’s great coffee for anywhere. I (Bobby) am definitely a bit of a coffee snob, and I was so pumped on 1418 that we went daily.
XO Coffee (yummy breakfast too) and Mudleaf (great vibe to sit and work) were our other two spots we visited and really liked. It seems like we barely scratched the surface.
For breakfast I’d choose the Biscuit Bar everyday, because biscuits. I kept it simple and had a Bacon, Egg, & Cheese biscuit, and it lived up to the hype! We spent another morning at the Hilton’s Carso market.
Lunch and dinner is where the options come in. They’re endless. One night we were feeling the need for a healthy meal, so we had some fresh and hearty salads from the Original Chop Shop. On another evening we had a romantic date night at Cafe Istanbul and loved their Mediterranean food. It may have been our favorite meal of the trip. (It actually would have been our favorite meal if it was a true date night and cranky Jude wasn’t there. Ha!) Whiskey Cake is also a must – they have insane cocktails and take pride in their farm-to-kitchen American dishes.
Legacy Food Hall deserves it’s own section. With more than 20 restaurants, bars, a brewery, and a live music venue, this was our favorite spot in Plano. Alli was craving street tacos and wine, so she had Velvet Taco and Blush Wine Bar. The sliders at Son of a Butcher were calling my name, so I indulged in a Classic slider and a Burnt Ends slider, along with a beer from Unlawful Assembly Brewing Co. They have live music and late night DJs that will definitely bring us back on our next trip to Plano. Plus, we have about 18+ more restaurants to try!
WHAT WE DID
We’ve quickly learned that it’s almost impossible to keep a tight schedule when traveling with a baby. They nap when they want to nap, cry when we don’t want them to cry, and have dirty diapers WAY too often. That being said, Plano was amazing because it was so walkable. We were always a quick walk away from activities and restaurants, and getting back to the hotel for naps was never an issue. We could take Jude in the stroller and peruse the shops at Legacy West, the Boardwalk at Granite Park, or Georgia’s Farmer’s Market Downtown. He loved the colors of the Downtown Plano Murals, and he was obsessed with all the dogs at Windhaven Meadows Dog Park. I’m sure on our next visit he’ll want his share of Amorino Gelato and Press Waffle Co. Can’t wait!
Often we find ourselves in destinations where Sally (our bernedoodle) gets cooped up in our hotel room because there aren’t a lot of things for her to do. She did not have that problem in Plano. Sally loved exploring downtown Plano, and would’ve loved to play all day in Haggard Park. She was a big fan of sitting outside at XO Coffee, and tried to sip on our cocktails at Whiskey Cake. Her highlight, though, was Windhaven Meadows Dog Park. She made friends, chased tennis balls, and got a week’s worth of wiggles out at this 5 acre park. It was clean, double fenced (so she couldn’t escape), and (obviously) had plenty of space to maintain social distance. She told us that next time she wants to visit Jack Carter Dog Park.
With the roller coaster of Covid-19, staying safe is our highest priority when choosing a destination to visit. With hotels like the Hilton Granite Park, outdoor dining and shopping galore, and places to explore like Oak Point Park and Arbor Hills Nature Preserve, Plano is a destination we can feel safe and be confident in! With family that recently moved to Frisco, TX (the nextdoor neighbor of Plano), we’re already planning our next trip back!
Be sure to check out more Plano Insider adventures.
Photo credit: @TravelingNewlyweds