Written by: Nicki Sunderland. Originally published on Eat Live Travel Drink. @eatlivetraveldrink
Roughly 20 miles north of Downtown Dallas, you’ll find things to do Plano, TX. Commonly referred to as a wealthy suburb of the larger Dallas-Forth Worth metropolitan area, today, this thriving city is much more than that. You’ll find a region rich in diverse culture, fun activities, genuine hospitality, fine dining, and much more.
The city of Plano was incorporated in 1873; in that era, it was the epicenter of trade activities for the farming community of Texas. Today, the development of Plano’s exceptional quality of life has come with many top corporate employers residing there, including Capital One Finance, DXC Technology, Toyota Motor North America, and others. The imprint of these companies on Plano brings the need for a variety of activities, entertainment, and a city worth exploring. Check out this post entailing great things to do in Plano, TX:
THINGS TO DO IN PLANO TX: WHERE TO STAY
Hilton Dallas/Plano Granite Park
During my stay in Plano I checked into the Hilton Dallas/Plano Granite Park that is situated right across from The Boardwalk. If you are looking for easy access for things to do Plano, TX, this Hilton is truly accessible. Right outside the door is The Boardwalk, which offers a plethora of dining and the hotel offers a courtesy shuttle within 3 miles of the hotel to take you elsewhere in Plano.
During my stay, I checked into a King Studio Suite that was lush with space, coming in at 561 Square feet, complete with a King sized bed, separate living and bedroom, 2 TV’s, work desk, large sofa, sitting area, coffee/tea station, mini fridge, plenty of closet space, and a beautiful bathroom with luxury bath amenities. There was dual thermostats in the room (and I took full advantage by keeping the bedroom cool and the living space warmer).
The hotel does offer WiFi, has dining on the the premise (including in-room dining), a lot of conference space, room for weddings, and a lot of other amazing amenities.
The hotel also delivered me a delicious welcome amenity of sweets!
THINGS TO DO IN PLANO TX:
The Boardwalk was my easiest go-to because it was just steps from my hotel and had a lot of food and drink options. I love being outdoors and thus this was really made for me. The colorful chairs line the boardwalk on one side and on the other side the outdoor patios for the establishments. You can tell that each place is unique and made it their own. For example, Hookline has out picnic tables that match their indoor theme and Edith’s has a French style outdoor bistro for their guests. As far as food, nightlife and things to do Plano, TX – The Boardwalk is a great place to start.
The food options are plentiful and equally delicious. You could bounce around and try food in one go or just eat at one place and be completely satisfied. I went to The Biscuit Bar, Edith’s, and Pearl Cup Sip. I think the vendors are consistent in top notch customer service and quality. You can read more about the food, etc below.
Plano is known for the widely acclaimed Crayola Experience, an interactive venue designed for families to explore a world full of color. Through art and technology, there are a variety of activities throughout the expansive 60,000 square foot space to keep kids entertained for hours. The Crayola Experience is located at the Shops at Willow Bend, with many specialty and department stores as well as dozens of dining options, so you can make a worthwhile afternoon spent here.
Downtown Plano Arts District
Independently owned antique shops, clothing boutiques, art galleries, and dining destinations make up the majority of proprietors in this centrally located treasure trove of venues. The District features a robust farmers market, Art Fest, Wine Walk, specialty cocktail dinners, hands-on art workshops, and much more. You’ll find McCall Plaza, a popular outdoor live music entertainment venue, in the heart of the District. With a focus on urban development, there is a desire to offer retail, housing, and office space, enabling you to “Eat, Play, Shop, and Live” in the Downtown Plano Arts District. Be sure to check out their events calendar to find out what you can enjoy when you visit.
I browsed through the Farmer’s market to check out the produce and flowers and then ended up at Urban Crust for delicious pizza!
Shopping at Legacy West
Offering 415,000 square feet of open retail space for visitors alike to enjoy shopping, dining and strolling. I spent some time here at Legacy West book shopping, got a fancy gelato at Amorino, went to Sephora to stock up on some basics, and then browsed at West Elm, Tesla and Madewell. There is a nice selection of shops and dining for everyone. I would definitely say it is an upscale experience.
If you’ve visited Texas before, you know that state pride is ubiquitous here, and you’ll find an abundance of it at Texas Pool. An enormous saltwater-filled pool is shaped like the state of Texas, perfect to enjoy on a hot, sunny day. With BBQ grills, plenty of lounge chairs, and a beach volleyball court, this is a great destination to spend a fun day in Plano.
Oak Point Park
Outdoor enthusiasts rejoice: Plano, Texas, is home to a variety of activities to keep you entertained for a day in the great outdoors. Oak Point Park has a multitude of trails, where you’ll find many locals running, biking, or enjoying a leisurely walk. A large pond is available for open kayaking, canoeing, and stand up paddle boarding. There’s even an interactive obstacle course called Go Ape, where you’ll find zip lines, rope ladders, and Tarzan swings to traverse. Covered pavilions are available for rent at the Park. This is a state nature preserve, so you may see wild animals at Oak Point Park as well, and it is important to maintain their natural habitat. If you are an outdoor enthusiast and things to do Plano, TX, here it is!
Eat Your Heart Out At Legacy Food Hall
Imagine 3 levels of food and entertainment in one building, eager to please the most discerning palate! Not going to lie, I wanted to try all of the 24 food stalls but the capacity in my belly was not made for it. I had to make hard choices, but everything looked and smelled so good!! I ended up eating at Enter the Bao and Pressed Waffle Co. They were so delicious (read further down for more information).
The Biscuit Bar
Located at the Boardwalk at Granite Park, this southern style, all things biscuit eatery is here for the long haul. Typically when I think of biscuits I cut straight to biscuits and gravy or some standard version of the biscuit sandwich. What I loved about the menu here is that they are not afraid to push the limits. When I was deciding what to order I kept thinking “what haven’t I had that sounds amazing?” Well it ended up being a lot of different things on the menu but I ultimately decided on trying the ‘chicken and not a waffle” which is southern fried chicken and biscuit FRENCH TOAST (whaaat?) and I also tried the southern style tots. Mind blown! This is a MUST in Plano.
Pearl Cup Sip
Looking for delicious coffee at The Boardwalk at Granite? Pearl Cup Sip makes a mean latte and Mexican hot chocolate. The baristas beautifully decorate the cups, making you almost not want to ruin it.
Edith’s French Bistro
Located at The Boardwalk in Granite Park, this French delight can’t be missed. The outdoor seating is absolutely stunning and the inside is as well. Everyday Edith’s offers afternoon tea (reservation required at least 48 hours in advance) in a special tea room. If you are just stopping in for a bite to eat, consider one of their massive croissants or other delicious pastries they have on hand.
Press Waffle Co.
I won’t lie to you, I waited in line 30 minutes for this delicious Liege waffle called ‘The Elvis.” Was it worth it? YOU BET IT WAS! A Liege waffle topped with cookie butter, bananas, bacon, and honey. As far as things to do in Plano, TX goes – this should be on your list. You may have heard of Press Waffle Co. as they were just on Shark Tank (and I had no clue). Well they live up to their hype! Located on the first floor of Legacy Hall – just look for the line of people waiting to get their hands on these masterpieces.
I won’t lie to you, I came here because I saw a delicious photo of oysters online and that was what I wanted. WOW! That is all I can say about this fantastic dish. The oysters were char grilled and topped with a garlic herb butter and parmesan gratin. In the center of the dish was a grilled french bread. I like my oysters raw, but on occasion someone does them really well – -and Hookline is that place.
Enter The Bao
Sweet, puffy, delicious bao buns stuffed to your desire. I was first introduced to this delicious dish in China a couple years ago and have never found ones as good as there, until now. Enter the Bao makes the most sensational Bao buns. I went with a pork bao bun because that is what I had before and fell in love. This was just like the first time.
Cru Food & Wine Bar
It takes a lot for me to consider going back to a restaurant on a two day trip, but Cru delivered. I went in for happy hour and got a flight of wine (they have fun names) and goat cheese beignets. I am talking about deep fried dough with goat cheese inside and then drizzled with honey and cracked pepper. You will just have to trust my judgement here when I say this dish is worth a second trip!
Union Bear Brewing
Located in the Boardwalk and across from my hotel (Hilton Dallas/Plano) this is a great place to get a beer made by the owners. The indoor space is gorgeous and there is plenty of outdoor seating as well.
I found Mexican Sugar online and went in because they had a margarita flight. I ended up with queso, salsa, chips, and elote. I don’t think I have ever seen a flight of margaritas anywhere, but Mexicao Sugar does them really well. They are located in the Shops at Legacy and have easy access to shop around before or after.
Looking for delicious pizza in Downtown Plano? Urban Crust should be your go-to. I went in for a margherita pizza and ate all 12 inches, that good.
Located at The Shops at Legacy, I sought Kilwin’s out because they are a Michigan founded company and I read that they had Mackinac Island fudge there! If you know me, you know I love Mackinac Island and I am obsessed with the fudge. What I found was this fantastic sweets shop that not only carried all my favorite fudges but also Michigan specialty ice creams. So I indulged and got a Traverse City Black Cherry ice cream cone and it reminded me so much of last year exploring the city with my mom.
After I got my cone, I walked right outside and turned left to find a pair of angel wings on the wall done by artist Kelsey Montague. You may have seen her street art elsewhere, as her pieces are very popular. I couldn’t refuse a photo with my ice cream there! Of all the things to do in Plano, TX, getting one of these cones is at the top!
Stopping at Amarino was such an easy pick. I have such a big sweet tooth and I like pretty things. They make these extremely beautiful gelato cones with a macaron on top and everything is customizable. You don’t have to get that, but everyone else seemed to be buying it, so I assume it is popular. You can pick among all the gelato flavors and macarons they have to make your perfect dessert.
Read 20 Things To Do in Plano for more trip planning research.
Photo credits: @eatlivetraveldrink
*Editor’s note: Hookline has since closed since the publishing of this article.