It's summer, and we're all ready for a vacation. Luckily, you don't have to go far to have fun — just hop in the car and head to Plano, a little under four hours away from Austin.
The North Dallas suburb has something for everyone, from shopping and dining to family-friendly activities designed for all ages.
Here's your guide to where to stay and what to do while you're there.
Where to eat, drink, and shop
If shopping is your cardio and the way to your heart is through your stomach, you've come to the right place. Plano is packed with places to shop 'til you drop, eat to your heart's content, and dance the night away.
From sparkly jewelry at Kendra Scott to mouthwatering meals from more than 30 eateries, The Shops at Legacy is nonstop fun.
Just across the Tollway, Legacy West boasts more than 20 restaurants and big-name brands like Coach, Tecovas, Warby Parker, Gucci, Tory Burch, and more. Legacy Hall, the shopping center's curated food hall, features a wide variety of artisanal vendors, an award-winning brewery, live music at the Box Garden, and events nearly every night of the week.
In southwest Plano, The Shops at Willow Bend is a staple of shopping with high-end retailers like Neiman Marcus, Restoration Hardware, Vineyard Vines, and Crate & Barrel, while The District at Willow Bend is home to local chef-driven restaurants and an inviting and relaxing courtyard.
Granite Park might be known first as a collection of office buildings, but The Boardwalk at Granite Park livens everything up with eight restaurants and a hotel, all set on a waterfront view.
Downtown Plano Arts District delivers antique shops, boutiques, and art galleries on charming, brick-lined streets, and plenty of unique restaurants. Also not to be missed is McCall Plaza, featuring weekly entertainment that ranges from free live music to karaoke nights.
Where to have fun with the fam
Color your world at the Crayola Experience inside The Shops at Willow Bend, where kids can name and wrap their own crayons, star in their own coloring page, and embark on a 4-D coloring adventure.
For a bit of history, visit the free Interurban Railway Museum to learn about electricity, science, transportation, and the history of the City of Plano. Likewise, the Heritage Farmstead Museum is a 4.5-acre living history site with a home and grounds built in 1891.
Get some energy out at Pinstack, where kids of all ages can bowl, play arcade games, scale a climbing wall, and run the ropes course.
Leave time to shoot down the waterslides at Jack Carter Pool or relax at the famous Texas Pool, a saltwater pool in the iconic shape of the Lone Star State that's been drawing dippers since 1961.
Where to enjoy nature
Go Ape! is a treetop adventure course that spans 40 obstacles, up to 28 feet in the air, and even includes a 423-foot-long zipline that crosses Rowlett Creek.
Want something a little more serene? Spend time in Oak Point Park & Nature Preserve or Arbor Hills Nature Preserve, with their trails, fields, and plenty of wide open spaces.
Hammer out your hook at Pecan Hollow, Ridgeview Ranch, and The Courses at Watters Creek, three top-notch golf courses that are open to the public and offer a range of difficulty for different levels.
Where to stay
Enjoy waterside dining and entertainment at The Boardwalk at Granite Park, then walk mere steps to your room at Hilton Dallas Plano Granite Park. If you're hitting up The Shops at Legacy or Legacy West, then the Marriott at Legacy Town Center and Renaissance Dallas at Plano Legacy West — with its modern Asian-Texas decor — are both excellent nearby choices.
For slightly funkier digs, check into the Sandman Signature Plano-Frisco Hotel or the Nylo Dallas-Plano Hotel. The former is a sister company to the Dallas Stars, while the latter offers a free shuttle to anywhere within five miles.
Side note: The hotels featured here are just a sampling and are not "preferred" hotels. See all your Plano accommodation options here.
What to plan for
Get your calendars out: You'll want to time your trip to coincide with Plano's All-American 4th and the Happy Hour Hike, a monthly sip-and-shop event at Legacy West that also features live music, photo opps, and special discounts.
If you want to see a truly legendary Texas event, return again September 23-25 when magnificent hot-air balloons take to the sky for the H-E-B Central Market Plano Balloon Festival. It's a sight you won't want to miss.
Plan your summer trip to Plano, and learn more about what to do, where to stay, and what to eat, here.