Top Attractions for First-Timers

With so much to see and experience, deciding what to prioritize in Plano can be tricky. This curated list of top attractions covers the classics and hidden gems to help you make the most of your visit.

The Shops at Legacy

This open-air shopping center is one of Plano’s top destinations. The Shops at Legacy spans over 150 acres with luxury boutiques, big box stores, restaurants, apartments, and entertainment options. Shoppers will love browsing brands like Kate Spade and Louis Vuitton. Trendy eateries like True Food Kitchen and Truluck’s provide fuel for marathon shopping sessions. At Legacy Hall, you can sample eats from local artisans and sip craft brews. The district stays lively with seasonal events and live music.

Downtown Plano

Get a taste of Plano’s heritage by exploring the historic downtown district. Built around a beautifully restored courthouse square, this area transports you back to the late 1800s. Pop into specialty shops housed in charming brick buildings. Grab a bite at laidback cafes and breweries located in converted warehouses. On weekends, locals flock to the downtown farmer’s market to stock up on fresh produce and artisanal goods. Be sure to snap a photo next to the Choctaw Saddle Monument honoring Plano’s early settlers.

Arbor Hills Nature Preserve

Nature lovers shouldn’t miss the 200-acre Arbor Hills Nature Preserve. Miles of multi-use trails wind through lush forests, across babbling creeks, and around scenic meadows. Hikers and mountain bikers enjoy the varying topography, with hills that provide inspiring vistas. Keep your eyes peeled for native wildlife like red-tailed hawks, painted buntings, and foxes. Pack a picnic to enjoy in one of the preserve’s secluded picnic areas after working up an appetite on the trails.

Southfork Ranch

Fans of the classic TV show Dallas will want to check out Southfork Ranch, just outside Plano city limits. This iconic cattle ranch served as the backdrop for the Ewing family’s shenanigans on the beloved series. Tour the sprawling grounds and interior rooms where key scenes took place. See costumes, scripts, and other Dallas memorabilia in the museum. Don’t miss a photo op at J.R. Ewing’s infamous gravesite! Afterward, mosey over to Miss Ellie’s Deli for delicious Texas-inspired grub.

Plano Balloon Festival

Time your visit to coincide with this spectacular hot air balloon festival held each September. For three days, Plano’s Oak Point Park transforms into a colorful sea of checkered balloons. Watch in awe as the giant balloons inflate and take flight twice per day, weather permitting. Kids can enjoy amusement park rides, games, and live entertainment. Savor tasty food truck offerings while watching the lively night glow shows. This free festival provides nonstop family fun.

Collin Creek Mall

While this indoor shopping mall is undergoing major renovations, it still offers popular stores and eateries worth visiting. Retailers like Macy’s, JCPenney, and Sears anchor the two-story center. Grab a table at the food court for quick bites from chains like Chick-fil-A and Sbarro. The Regal Collin Creek movie theater shows the latest blockbuster films. And kid-pleasers like SeaQuest aquarium, LEGOLAND Discovery Center, and Hawaiian Falls waterpark provide indoor entertainment.

Heard Natural Science Museum

At this museum, you’ll discover wildlife native to Texas through innovative, interactive exhibits. Get eye to eye with a lifelike animatronic wooly mammoth in the ancient species gallery. Walk through a replica limestone cave to learn about bats and other cave dwellers. Say hello to the furry and feathery residents of the wildlife center, including owls, skunks, and turtles. Don’t miss the Ancient Seas gallery displaying massive prehistoric fish fossils. Fun for all ages!

Heritage Farmstead Museum

Step back in time at this living history museum spanning across 4 acres. Costumed interpreters demonstrate pioneer farm skills and crafts from the late 1800s. Explore authentically restored historic buildings, like a one-room schoolhouse and railroad depot. Kids will love meeting barnyard residents including goats, sheep, chickens, and donkeys. Special events like the Old Fashioned Fourth of July Celebration provide interactive fun. Tour the museum to immerse your family in what life was like for early settlers.

The Boardwalk at Granite Park

This charming restaurant and entertainment district provides some of Plano’s best family fun. At Highland Springs, splash the day away riding twisting waterslides and floating the lazy river. Catch a movie on the big screen at the Cinemark 17 and XD theater. Knock down pins at Pinstack Bowl’s upscale bowling alley. Satisfy your cravings at popular eateries like BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse, Primrose Bistro, and Potbelly Sandwich Shop. With free seasonal concerts and events, you’ll make special memories at The Boardwalk.

Go Ape Treetop Adventure

Experience Plano from new heights at Go Ape’s treetop adventure course. This challenging high ropes course sits within Oak Point Park Nature Preserve. Climb wooden ladders, test your balance on tightropes, and soar down zip lines overlooking the forest canopy. Kids and adults will have a blast navigating obstacles while safely harnessed in. Though a bit pricey, it provides a full day of pulse-pounding thrills. Come conquer your fear of heights at this one-of-a-kind treetop playground.

How to Get Around Plano

Plano covers over 70 square miles, so having reliable transportation is key. Whether you have your own car or need a lift, here are your options for getting around the city.

Public Transportation

The Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) public rail system connects Plano to downtown Dallas and other suburbs. The Red Line has stations throughout Plano, allowing easy access to attractions like The Shops at Legacy and Downtown Plano. Visitors can take DART from Dallas Love Field or DFW airport directly to Plano. Your best bet is purchasing a Regional Day Pass for $10, allowing unlimited rides all day. The buses and light rail generally run from 5 a.m. to midnight daily.

Taxis and Rideshares

Taxis are available but aren’t always easy to hail in Plano. Request an Uber or Lyft for more reliable door-to-door service. Rates vary but expect to pay between $5-25 for most one-way trips within the city. The rideshares are useful for barhopping along the popular Downtown Plano bar scene. They also provide transportation if you need to travel outside public transit routes or hours.

Charter Buses

For ultimate convenience, book a charter bus to transport your entire group around Plano. Having your own private coach with a professional team simplifies outings for things like: birthday parties, bachelor(ette) weekends, weddings, family reunions, youth group trips, corporate events.

Ready to Get Started?

I hope this first-timer’s guide has given you a great overview of what to see, do, and explore in Plano. With vibrant shopping and dining districts, absorbing museums, and family-friendly attractions, Plano truly has something for every interest. Use our charter bus rentals to easily get around the city as you take in all that it has to offer. Now start planning your Plano itinerary – the attractions and activities are waiting for you!