Plano has been voted one of the 100 Best Places to Live and one of the 10 Best Cities for Families. With more than 3,800 acres of open space, 84 park sites all within 10 minutes of almost any neighborhood, and 700-plus restaurants, it’s little wonder why.
Plano residents don’t need to look far to find ways to enjoy their summer days. Here are 10 things to do this summer in Plano, TX.
10 Things to Do in Plano
1. Escape to Arbor Hills Nature Preserve
The Arbor Hills Nature Preserve spans 200 stunning acres with an observation deck to take in the beauty of the city. There are also a selection of trails for walking, hiking, and off-road cycling.
The preserve contains three distinct ecoregions to enjoy. Take in the alluring creek-side forest with its thick jungle-like shrubs and vines. The Blackland prairie, whose name comes from its black clay soil, is a blanket of stunning bluestem grass and prairie wildflowers. And the upland forest is unique to the preserve for its unusual placement away from the creeks where such growth usually sprouts. Walk under the cooling shade of its cedar elms and flowering trees.
2. Take to the Air
Get your adrenaline pumping at Go Ape Treetop Adventure park. Take the Treetop Adventure route, a three-hour high-ropes obstacle course, to zip, swing, and climb your way through the trees. Families with kids aged 10 and over can enjoy the Treetop Journey, a one-hour adventure filled with 20 obstacles and two zip lines.
3. Jump it Out
Get out of the sun and spend the day at Jump Mania. They have five inflatables for hours of bouncing fun. When you’re tired out from jumping, enjoy a few rounds of mini bowling or mini golf. There are also bumper cars to take for a spin and an arcade.
Jumpstreet Indoor Trampoline Park has over 20,000 square feet of wall-to-wall trampolines—so you can bounce off the walls quite literally. There’s also a bull ride, foam pit, maze, obstacle course, and dodgeball court. With so much to do, you might want to join the loyalty program and make Jumpstreet a regular activity on your summer calendar.
4. Explore the Museums
Learn something new this summer at one of the many museums Plano is home to.
At the Perot Museum of Art and Science, you’ll learn about sports, gems and minerals, the human body, and our incredible planet. The Children’s Museum offers free programs throughout the week. Additionally, they offer summer nights programming with speakers, performances, and interactive activities for a different kind of date night.
Travel back in time at the Heritage Farmstead Museum, a living history site spanning 4.5 acres. The museum has over 10,000 objects and archival materials on display relating to Blackland Prairie life here in North Texas from 1890 to 1920. There are summer camps for school-age kids interested in immersing themselves in all the history and fun Heritage Farmstead has to offer.
Interurban Railway Museum is a free museum with interactive exhibits on electricity, science, and Plano’s history as a major part of the railroad route. Be sure to stop by on Friday mornings for children’s storytime.
5. Catch a film Angelika Film Center & Cafe
Dig into a big bucket of buttery popcorn and enjoy the big screen at boutique cinema Angelika Film Center & Cafe. A leader in the independent film community, the cinema plays indie titles alongside classics and new titles each week. This summer bring the whole family to escape into the fantasy worlds of “Totoro” and “Kiki’s Delivery Service” throughout Angelika’s Studio Ghibli Festival. There is a cafe and bar on the second floor offering light gourmet fare and cocktails to make your visit a full-fledged date night.
6. Celebrate the Fourth of July
We are so fortunate that there is plenty to do in Plano for the Fourth of July. The hard part is choosing which activities you want to partake in.
One event your family won’t want to miss is the parade. Spend the morning at the Plano Lions Independence Day Parade. There will be flags, floats, marching bands, drill teams, cheer squads, and more!
Stop by the Independence Day Party at the Texas Pool and spend time soaking up the sun, enjoying food, and participating in traditional pool games. There will be a snack bar and grills to keep you fueled throughout the day.
And what’s the Fourth without fireworks? Head to Oak Point Park to view Plano’s All American Fourth Fireworks. The show is free and even synchronized to music. Fireworks start at 9:30 p.m. but show up early to enjoy the food trucks and live DJ beforehand.
7. Join the Downtown Plano Art and Wine Walk
The Downtown Plano Art and Wine Walk is a monthly event presented by Plano Magazine and July’s theme is Dog Days of Summer.
Start off the evening by receiving your commemorative glass and tasting card. Your tasting card allows you to track the locations you visit and it acts as an entry to the raffle draw at the end of the night. You can expect to find about 20 wine stops to enjoy while admiring the work of local artists and musicians throughout the event.
8. Play at Pinstack
Make time to play over the summer by booking a date for the family at Pinstack. Of course, true to its namesake, there is bowling but there are also enough activities to keep you busy for plenty of future trips to come.
Take to the air via their high ropes course—which is suspended 20 feet above the video game floor. Get competitive by playing on their two levels of laser tag made up of an obstacle course filled with fog and glowing pillars. Or flex those gamer thumbs and play some of the hundreds of arcade games. There are also bumper cars, a 28-foot rock climbing wall, laser maze, and giant multiplayer foosball table. There’s plenty of food and drinks on the menu including pizza, salads, burgers, beer, cocktails, and wine to keep you fueled up between activities.
9. Eat and Drink at Yelp’s Top Three
Stop by one of Plano’s top reviewed restaurants people can’t stop talking about.
Whiskey Cake tops the list of Plano’s most reviewed restaurants on Yelp tallying a whopping 2,716 reviews and four stars. The establishment offers menus for brunch, lunch, and dinner. Entrees are made on mesquite wood-grilled plates and, of course, there is whiskey cake for dessert. A perfect spot for girls’ night, get half price during their Ladies Wine Wednesdays.
Mash’d Frisco is second on the list with four stars from 1,403 reviews on Yelp. Try one of their moonshine cocktails and a slice of homemade vanilla cake. Don’t know what to order? There is even a “mash’doscope” on the menu to help you choose your entree by your zodiac sign.
Third, with four stars from 1302 Yelp reviews, is Mexican Sugar. They offer Mexican comfort food made from local ingredients on a “live wood-grill.” Cocktails are crafted from their expansive Tequila Library. In addition to stopping by for tacos or enchiladas, they also offer brunch with items like pancakes and French toast.
10. Fly high at Plano Balloon Festival
Give a sweet farewell to summer while celebrating the Plano Balloon Festival at Oak Point Park. The three-day festival is dedicated to hot air balloons with over 40 different balloons including special shapes like cats, bears, and squirrels. You can also expect to find balloon rides, live entertainment, and kids’ activities. After dark, enjoy fireworks and the Balloon Glow event.