The Boardwalk at Granite Park Source: Visit Plano

Deep in the Heart of Plano's Best Dining and Entertainment


The starring attraction of any Texas getaway has to be the food. Lovers of zingy barbecue and luscious Tex-Mex seek out their favorites anywhere and everywhere across the Lone Star State. And in Plano, expect to find all those comfort-food classics waiting for you–along with dazzlingly creative menus from local chefs, paired with down-home fun and entertainment.

Plano is a short 20 miles north from Dallas, plus it's part of the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) rail network for easy, car-free access. Travelers ready to giddyup to this historic Texas town are often surprised by the variety of tastes and experiences waiting to be discovered.

That includes a welcoming local LGBTQ+ community that's hosted North Texas Pride for more than a decade, with special events, activities, and partnerships throughout the year. In 2024, the fabulous, family-friendly "Come As You Are" festival takes place October 12th, serving as both a fundraiser for non-profits, and a celebration of Plano's diversity. By partnering with great local orgs each year, such as the North Texas LGBT Chamber of Commerce and the local LGBTQ newspaper the Dallas Voice, North Texas Pride is a fun, safe gathering for the entire Plano community.

Box Garden at Legacy Hall
Source: Visit Plano

Bring Your Appetite to Plano

So where to begin your Plano adventure? Let your tastebuds guide you to Legacy West, home to all the dining options a Texas traveler could want. If you're craving Mexican, head to Mesero. If you're ready for Southern comfort dishes, Haywire is eager to serve. But don't forget about authentic Italian, divine Asian fusion, classic steakhouse fare, and so many tempting dessert spots – all part of Legacy West's lineup of 20 great upscale and casual restaurants.

Better still, if you're undecided or tight on time, the three-story Legacy Hall is a food emporium serving up all manner of cuisines and cocktails. This is the hub for top Texas grub, from dry-rub smoked brisket and crispy fried chicken; to eclectic tacos, Mediterranean street food and made-to-order sushi and sashimi. Just don't forget your drinks at Vinotopia's chic wine bar, the epic ale array at Unlawful Taproom, and creative libations at Tonic Bar & Lounge.

Legacy Hall also is home to Box Garden, the dynamic outdoor entertainment venue that hosts movie screenings, big game-watch parties, comedy, "mix tape" DJ nights, and live music that showcases local Plano musicians as well as national artists and bands.

Business Lunch at Haywire
Source: Visit Plano

In-the-know Plano folks will be glad to share two hot tips with hungry friends. One is the monthly Legacy on Tap event, where a $40 ticket opens up a three-hour food- and drink-sampling experience. It happens every second Thursday of the month through December, 5-8 pm, dishing out culinary treats, delicious drinks, exclusive shopping deals, live entertainment, and more.

The other can't-miss dining bonanza comes with the Taste of Plano Foodie Pass, now in its fourth year. From March through early September 2024, Plano foodies can sign up for the free "passport" at, and get instant access to the digital map of more than 80 participating Plano eateries. Search for your favorite cuisine, find what's near your current location, or just follow your appetite to the right restaurant. When you arrive there, use your Taste of Plano passport link to check in on your mobile phone and accumulate points for prizes like coolers, totes, tumblers, and T-shirts. After you've checked into 20 restaurants, you'll be automatically entered into the "Fit for a Foodie" sweepstakes to win hotel stays and dining gift cards.

Fowling Warehouse
Source: Visit Plano

Plenty More in Plano

For something a little unexpected in central Plano, the Boardwalk at Granite Park is a mixed-use waterfront hub with a range of spots to chill out with locals. The neighborhood is a busy oasis of bars, restaurants, residences, and hotels, all tied together with a laid-back boardwalk promenade lined with open-air seating and entertainment–including live music every Saturday evening.

Visitors will enjoy the Boardwalk's convenient lodging options and fun amenities. And over at Legacy West, visitors can soak up the open air at the sleek rooftop pool at the Renaissance Dallas Plano hotel, now with new cabanas and fabulous whirlpool with a panoramic view.

When you're ready to dive into active outdoor Plano pursuits, swing over to the Go Ape Treetop Adventure Park inside Oak Point Park & Nature Preserve. The high-ropes course has tree-to-tree crossings, Tarzan swings, and extra-long ziplines for uber exhilaration.

Make time for unforgettable indoor recreation at Fowling Warehouse Dallas-Fort Worth, which, despite its official name, actually is located in Plano. Fowling has opened up a new sports mashup that's sweeping the nation: Bowling + football. Guests sign up by the hour for a "lane" to throw footballs at 10 bowling pins until they're knocked down. It all happens in the huge warehouse space, where you can eat, drink at one of three bars, join sports watch parties, catch trivia nights, or bring your own posse for some "fowling" fun.

Unexpected activities, world-class dining, exciting outdoor and indoor adventures – Plano may have a friendly small-town feel, but its big experiences are epic.

by Kelsy Chauvin

Kelsy Chauvin is a writer, photographer and marketing consultant based in Brooklyn, New York. She specializes in travel, feature journalism, art, theater, architecture, construction and LGBTQ interests. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @kelsycc.

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