Are you moving to Plano? This is for you. Do you live here and are just looking for something new to do? This guide to Plano is also for you! I absolutely love Plano and our neighborhood. We have lived in the Preston Meadow area of Plano for five years now and it has been a perfect fit! We didn’t have children when we moved here, and now we have a 3 ½ year old and one due in April. And I will say, it is an amazing place to raise children! When we found our house, we still didn’t know too much about the DFW area; my husband was really just trying to find something with a shorter commute to work in Addison. So with a month left on our lease, we just started driving around all the suburbs, and the Good Lord allowed us to pass by this house. We immediately called our realtor and that is the end of the story. The more we settled in, the more we realized how lucky we are!
We are in walking distance to what will be my children’s elementary school, and a short drive from the remaining schools. (And really all the Plano schools are great!) ALL my favorite stores (Marshalls, Trader Joe’s, Gap, Tuesday Morning), restaurants, movie theaters, swimming lessons, and other amenities are less than a ten-minute drive away. I also love that Plano is situated in the middle of DFW. I can take advantage of what downtown Dallas has to offer or be at the Arboretum in 25-30 minutes. Likewise, I can hop to Frisco, Allen, or downtown McKinney quickly, too!
- Plano’s East side offers the most precious historic downtown with trendy restaurants, rooftop bars, darling shops, and a new outdoor entertainment venue, McCall Plaza. It hosts amazing events like Steinfest, a monthly Art & Wine Walk, the traditional Christmas & Fourth of July parades, and the famous Plano Balloon Festival. West Plano is home to more incredible shopping and dining sites like The Shops at Legacy, the Boardwalk, and the brand new Legacy West. In between are countless parks, churches, libraries, and rec centers, it seems like there is always something new and exciting popping up! Besides all the “perks,” I just find that Plano is a super friendly and welcoming city. There is a mix of lifetime residents and those who have moved from all corners of the world, drawn to Texas for different reasons. It’s been an easy place to meet and make new friends!
If all that hasn’t convinced you yet, let me share some of my “favorites” in a few different categories! Below is a guide to Plano and some of our favorite spots:
Plano Date Night Spots
- Seabreeze Fish Market & Grill: Located in Lakeside Market area, this place offers the most delicious and fresh seafood! On our babymoon to Maine, we fell in love with lobster rolls, and Seabreeze makes them to perfection! The décor is light and airy, and the service is always so friendly! Also located in Lakeside Market is Mignon, which perfect for a warm and cozy steak dinner date!
- Legacy West: Look no further for the most snazzy date night location! The new Legacy West offers everything from amazing atmosphere to endless culinary options! Just walking around this area is so fun! So far, we’ve tried Mesero and True Food, and they were both fantastic!
- Downtown Plano is also a perfect place for a nighttime OR daytime date! Urban Rio will literally bring house-made marshmallows, graham crackers, and a mini campfire to your table with their Rio S’mores dessert. Do some window shopping and grab brunch at XO Coffee Company for a romantic Saturday morning date! (P.S. Their Nutella French toast & lavender latte is divine!)
Plano Playdate Spots
- Playstreet Museum has several locations in the DFW area, and the Plano location is one of our favorite spots! Their theme is “The Great Outdoors” and features a darling cabin, general store, camper, boat & dock, and more. My little guy always has the best time there!
- Prestonwood Church is home to an amazing (and FREE) indoor play space! It has the most impressive maze of climbing structures, slides, and tunnels that will keep your little ones busy a LONG time, and earn you the best nap! : )
- Heritage Farmstead Museum is an original historic farmstead that has been preserved and is now home to the restored Farrell-Wilson house, which depicts life in the Blackland Prairie in the 19th-20th centuries. There is also an old schoolhouse, blacksmith shop, chicken houses, and barn, complete with farm animals. Admission to the grounds is only $3! In addition, they host some great events, like Fridays on the Farm, where they have different themes and activities geared towards children 2-5. It’s a great place to let the kids burn some energy and see some things they don’t see every day!
- Other great playdate spots in Plano include Safari Run, CooCoo’s & Jump Street!
- We are lucky enough to live super close to Preston Meadow Park, which is really like two playgrounds in one! One side of the park has two play structures, a pavilion, and good restrooms (always a plus, and sometimes hard to come by at a park.) In the middle are the baseball fields, and on the other side is another darling playground!
- Jack Carter Playground is another one of our top favorites. This is a brand new all-abilities playground and has the wonderful soft padding throughout and some super fun play structures. My son is three, so he is able to maneuver these structures a little better than some of the bigger playgrounds. I should mention that this is separate from Jack Carter Pool (a City of Plano pool that is more like a water park), but close in vicinity. You should definitely put this pool on your summer bucket list! It’s amazing!
- Arbor Hills is probably the backdrop of 75% of the Christmas cards you received this year. It is the most beautiful 200-acre nature preserve that hosts winding trails, creeks, lovely fields, and a great playground. This place makes you feel like you are a million miles away from the big city. It’s perfect for a power stroll or a picnic lunch!
- Haggard Park in downtown Plano has all the charm you are looking for with its white pavilion, old steam engine parked out front, and surrounding trees. It even hosts “Movies in the Park” in the summer months! Bring your blankets and chairs and make some special family memories.
Plano Family-Friendly Restaurants
Since Plano is a typical “suburb” with lots of families, I find that most restaurants are pretty family friendly and even the nicer ones supply a kid’s menu! But of course, we have our regular go-tos and favorites!
- Taverna Rossa is just a few minutes from our house (also in Lakeside Market) and we can be found there on many a Friday night. We have been huge fans of this place ever since it opened. The atmosphere is rustic and charming and the hummus and pizza are to die for.
- We also love all the “Kenny’s” restaurants. (If you’ve been in DFW long enough, you’ve heard of them.) Kenny’s East Coast Pizza and Kenny’s Burgers are at the top of our list; our little guy is obsessed with their loaded cheesy fries. And both locations offer the MOST FABULOUS Peanut Butter Pie you’ve ever put in your mouth!
- The Boardwalk at Granite Park (Tollway/121) has also become a favorite dining venue for our family. It features a literal boardwalk surrounding a pond and is adorned with twinkling lights, a fire pit, and rocking chairs to create the most magical atmosphere! Flanking the boardwalk are several restaurants: Chip’s Hamburgers, Hook Line & Sinker, Union Bear, Blue Mesa, and I just read about a new addition coming called The Biscuit Bar! (YES, PLEASE.) The BEST part? There’s an adorable play area for the kids! So they can burn some energy AND you can indulge in some “big kid food” without another trip to Chick-Fil-A. (No offense Chick-Fil-A.)
- Along the lines of the “play & eat” concept, is Hubstreat in Downtown Plano. It is the neatest indoor/outdoor venue that has its own restaurant on one side and features rotating food trucks on the other. There’s an arcade, full craft cocktail bar, rooftop bar, and stage for live music. It is pet friendly and has a large picnic-style eating area in the middle that is perfect for the kiddos to run around while you kick up your feet.
Now for my favorite category…..
Favorite Plano Sweet Spots
- RUN, don’t walk to Sugar Ray’s Bakeshop for the BEST cupcakes you’ve ever had. They literally melt in your mouth! The flavors change every day, but never disappoint! The macaroons cannot be beat either! Go NOW; thank me later.
- Main Street Bistro & Bakery will leave you standing in awe at their beautiful glass case full of sweet treats. From Vanilla Bean Cheesecake to Italian Cream Cake to Tres Leches, this place has something for everyone. The atmosphere is super cozy and charming, you’ll want to go back again and again to try everything!
- Celebrity Café is our neighborhood go-to for lunch and sweet treats. Their beautifully decorated cookies and desserts are the perfect little “reward” for your little one’s victories! (We frequented their dessert case many times during potty training.)
As I mentioned, Plano is a very friendly town! I have made friends at the park, playdate spots, the Kroger line, and yes, even breastfeeding class. But there are also some great groups that can instantly connect you with other moms! Make sure you join our Collin County McKinney/Allen/Plano or Collin County Working Moms Facebook groups! Our “Mombassadors” are always posting lunches, playdates, and MNO’s! I have personally benefited greatly from ministries like Square One and The Nest. Texas Health Presby Plano Hospital hosts Mommy Mixers, Breastfeeding Support Groups and even Mom & Baby Fitness classes! The Nappy Shoppe also hosts some wonderful support classes and even holds Baby Yoga!