In the area for a day, a weekend, or a week? Let us show you around.
DART TO THE DOWNTOWN PLANO ARTS DISTRICT
Named one of the top 10 best downtowns in America by Livability.com, downtown Plano offers a charming setting for a simple stroll, an afternoon of shopping, or an evening’s entertainment.
Walk along authentic brick streets to discover an eclectic collection of antique shops and boutiques selling everything from handmade jewelry to home décor to pottery. Or catch a show at McCall Plaza, the Courtyard Theater, or the Cox Building Playhouse, and see the artists in residence! Visit more than a dozen restored historic homes, and the Interurban Railway Museum, a railroad car turned urban museum offering a microcosm of North Texas railroad history right in Haggard Park.
Luckily, the neighborhood has its own DART Rail station. Just take the Red Line to Downtown Plano Station, and you're there! And once you are, there is much to do and discover.
Calling all foodies! Downtown Plano has some of Plano’s most unique restaurants and eateries, such as Urban Crust, Ebesu Robata & Sushi, and Ha Paleteria. From Austrian to Italian and burgers, there’s a little something for everyone. For a complete list of restaurants in Plano, click here. Don’t forget to check out patio dining and private dining as well!
For more amazing Plano dining experiences, click here.
Shopping along the charming brick-lined streets of the Downtown Plano Arts District brings us all the good, happy feels. With boutiques and shops selling everything from clothing and accessories to furniture and handmade pottery, there is a little something for everyone.
Explore Plano Tours
Explore downtown Plano with a guided walking tour! This walking tour starts at the Interurban Railway Museum winding through current downtown and by buildings holding intriguing chapters of Plano’s past. Discover Downtown Plano’s charm of brick-lined streets and historic buildings today occupied by boutiques, unique restaurants, and businesses. Read more here.
Georgia’s Farmers Market
Georgia’s is a local family-owned produce market specializing in homegrown produce and locally made jams, salsa, candles and more.
Featuring a beautiful gazebo, pond, and jungle gym play area, Haggard Park sits adjacent to the Red Line's Downtown Plano Station and the Interurban Railway Museum.
Interurban Railway Museum
This museum brings Plano transportation history back to life. Once a vital part of the Texas Electric Railway that ran between Denison to Waco from 1908 to 1948, the Interurban is one of the original electric cars that ran on the tracks through Plano. Next to the station is car 360, one of the original cars that carried mail and passengers. This is the only station remaining between Sherman and Dallas. The facility also houses exhibits on science, electricity and Plano history.
McCall Plaza is an outdoor performance space located in the heart of the Downtown Plano Arts District. Great exposure from this open air stage will allow you to share your event with everyone in the area. This is the perfect venue for intimate outdoor concerts in the vibrant downtown setting. See a list below of ongoing events in the plaza.
Lone Star Food Tours
Join Lone Star Food Tours as they highlight the flavors and sights of historic downtown Plano. Enjoy diverse food from three locally owned restaurants, cocktails, and shopping while you discover your new favorite spots. Public tours run Wednesdays-Saturdays; tours start at 11am and end by 1:30pm, and group sizes range from 4-10 guests (tours are not available on holidays or during festivals). Lone Star Food Tours works to create memorable experiences for their guests and to support local restaurants and retail establishments. Book your ticket now.
Plano is making a name for itself in the art community. With the recent additions of 10 public art pieces in the Downtown Plano Arts District, Plano has a colorful new look! Read more about the city’s recent additions and sculptures that represent a part of our land’s history.
ArtCentre of Plano
Douglass Community Art Wall
Downtown Plano Murals & Sculptures
Legacy Portrait Painters
Plano Art Association
Rail Station Studios
Ten 20 Gallery
Downtown Plano is home to many iconic Plano events throughout the year. From our traditional holiday festival, Dickins, to cultural festivals like Asiafest and the Plano International Festival, there is a great variety of events to draw people downtown.
Courtyard Texas Music Series
Downtown Sessions at McCall Plaza
Friday Night Trivia at McCall Plaza
Karaoke Night at McCall Plaza
Movies in the Park
Night Out on 15th
North Texas Pride Festival
Plano International Festival
Salt the Rim
Summer Concerts in the Park
Underground Movement Festival
For more events in Plano, see our online event calendar.
Plano’s beautiful Courtyard Theater is a 321 seat facility with a proscenium-style theater. With a large stage and spacious lobby, the venue is the perfect place for any event that you may be planning. Receptions, recitals, stage plays, musicals, concerts, meetings, and private parties are all common occurrences in this beautiful venue.
Cox Building Playhouse
Also located in the Heritage Park Historic District, the playhouse is a fully customizable blackbox theater and hosts various theater companies and events. With seating, lighting, and sound setup to your specification, this venue is the perfect place to bring your vision to life. Receptions, recitals, stage plays, rehearsals, banquets, meetings, and private parties are all common occurrences in this unique venue.
Event1013 is a stylish, award-winning, Texas State Landmark venue. The original and premier gathering spot in Historic Downtown Plano Arts District, Event1013 blends authentic architecture, vintage charm, warm character with technology and sustainable modern conveniences and finishes. The venue that was selected as one of the Top 20 Totally Unique Venues in all of Texas is ready to serve your special event needs. At event1013, you’ll find an alternative, urban and upscale setting to hold a successful business meeting, create wonderful memories, mark a milestone and celebrate!
Rooftop Event Spot
Rooftop Event Spot is an event facility offering 4,000 sq. ft. of indoor and outdoor event space on the fourth floor of the original Plano ice house in Historic Downtown Plano. With panoramic sunset views, a unique layout and exclusive catering from award-winning restaurants, Urban Crust and Urban Rio, Rooftop Event Spot offers an event experience unlike any other.
SUMMER SUN & FUN
A DARTable staycation lets you live like a tourist on your home turf. Get on DART and explore the many vibrant communities that are right in your own backyard. Discover the local institutions and off-the-beaten-track spots that give neighborhoods their flavor. Whichever DART Rail line you choose, you’re guaranteed to be in for an adventure.
DOWNTOWN PLANO STATION
Staycation Scoop: When you think “Plano,” does “historic” come to mind? If not, you’re in for a pleasant surprise when you explore the city’s old downtown area, where turn-of-the-century buildings mingle with ultra-modern additions. The area is packed with great restaurants, bars and unique mom-and-pop shops.
Where Tourists Go: There’s a reason they call it the Downtown Plano Arts District. The neighborhood is bursting with cultural venues: The Courtyard Theater, Cox Playhouse, [email protected], ArtCentre of Plano and Interurban Railway Museum. McCall Plaza regularly hosts live music. The neighborhood itself artfully blends old and new, with a vibrant blend of art galleries, restaurants, unique shops.
What Locals Know: Keep the historic theme going with a stroll among the homes of the Haggard Park Historic District, where many of the houses date to the late 1800s. Afterward, indulge at Ye Ole Butcher Shop, known by locals its burgers and fried pies fried pie.
Staycation Scoop: With more than 50 retail and restaurant options, CityLine has a little of everything: a lengthy roster of restaurants, inviting green spaces and streetscapes replete with public art. It’s a mix of downtown cool, “new urban” and outdoorsy, and it provides great connections to hike-and-bike trails.
Where Tourists Go: If you really want to do your “staycation” in style, get a cozy room at the Aloft Hotel and enjoy a little pampering, just as you would on an “away-cation.” Even if you don’t, you can always stop in for live music any Wednesday evening.
What Locals Know: Something’s always going on in the plaza – such as the CityLine Night Market on the second Friday of each month through November.
DOWNTOWN ROWLETT STATION
Staycation Scoop: You’ll feel the bustle of the city fade when you get off the train and make the short walk to Main Street, an easy-paced respite with dining options and one-of-a-kind shopping.
Where Tourists Go: There’s always something happening in the Village of Downtown Rowlett or nearby. Check out the Fireworks on Main display on the Fourth of July, or drop in for the Summer Concert Series happening every Friday in August.
What Locals Know: Bankhead Brewing Co. has some of the best made-on-premises beers around. Whether you go for a Gussy Up Wheat Beer or a Wheels Off IPA, you’re likely to strike up a conversation with some locals on the patio, which seems tailor-made for a midsummer night’s beer.
You also could take a detour at Downtown Garland Station, where an old-fashioned town square has been updated with mixed-use development and the Granville Arts Center stages eclectic entertainment. The Plaza Theatre sometimes screens classics for free.
PEARL/ARTS DISTRICT STATION
Staycation Scoop: This station puts you within walking distance of the Arts District, home to some of Dallas’ most iconic cultural institutions. There’s the showpiece architecture, for starters, plus the Dallas Museum of Art, the Wyly Theatre, the Meyerson Symphony Center and more. You’ll find dining options along Routh Street and at One Arts Plaza, on the district’s eastern end.
Where Tourists Go: The Nasher Sculpture has received kudos far and wide for its excellent programming and world-class permanent collection. Every third Friday of the month, the museum presents ‘til Midnight at the Nasher, featuring live outdoor concerts, film screenings, and, of course, incredible art. Admission is free from 6 p.m. – midnight.
What Locals Know: Perhaps the best-kept secret of the lot is the always-free Crow Museum of Asian Art, where the wide-ranging collection spans history, and includes tons of magnificent jade.
DOWNTOWN CARROLLTON STATION
Staycation Scoop: Downtown Carrollton combines the nostalgic feeling of an old town square with a terrific array of restaurants, boutiques and a great coffeehouse.
Where Tourists Go: Babe’s Chicken Dinner House is renowned the land over for good reason: its on-the-money fried chicken and chicken-fried steak are legendary. This location is a favorite, and after tucking into the signature version of those Southern delicacies, you’ll know why.
What Locals Know: Shop Small Saturday happens throughout Historic Downtown Carrollton on the first Saturday of the month. It’s the perfect way to acquaint yourself with the quaint neighborhood's array of boutiques, shops and restaurants.
LAS COLINAS URBAN CENTER STATION
Staycation Scoop: Las Colinas is North Texas’ original “new urban” district, and it’s still growing. The Water Street development has a half-dozen or so great restaurants with canal views.
Where Tourists Go: The Mustangs at Las Colinas are truly a must-see. These larger-than-life equines are bronze, and appear to gallop through a water feature that’s hundreds of feet long and mimics a prairie creek, and not far away, the Toyota Music Factory brings new meaning to one-stop shopping when it comes to entertainment, with acts as diverse as they come.
What Locals Know: You can also enjoy events in the Toyota Music Factory’s plaza, such as the Texas Lottery Live concert series on Friday nights, plus numerous fitness and yoga programs. Or cool off with a film at the Alamo Drafthouse, the Austin-born favorite that has made going to the movies an art form.
You will find first-rate retail that’s part of the local pulse all along the DART System — including urban neighborhoods and revitalized town squares. Spend a weekend exploring, pack them into a single day, or just pick one or two and while away an afternoon.
Start off your DARTable excursion by catching the Dallas Streetcar from Union Station in downtown Dallas to the Bishop Arts District. Fortify yourself for a day of shopping with breakfast at Oddfellows, a neighborhood mainstay with a welcoming vibe and great espresso drinks. Check out the local talent at Artisan’s Collective, and dig through the vintage finds at Maria’s Closet or the “cowboy casual” threads at Indigo 1745. For unique gifts, funny greeting cards and such, you’ve got several options – Bishop Street Market, All Good Things, and We Are 1976, for starters. There’s lots more to discover; Bishop Arts is a neighborhood that’s made to explore.
Take the Dallas Streetcar back downtown, and catch the Red Line northbound from Union Station. Stop off at Mockingbird Station, also a major shopping destination, and find standards like The Gap, indie boutiques like Accents and even a Loft Outlet store.
Or continue on to Park Lane Station, which gives you a couple of options. Just up the street, The Shops at Park Lane is a live-work-play destination with a lineup of shops that includes Nordstrom Rack, Bloomingdales The Outlet and Saks Off Fifth. Or hop the NorthPark Center Shuttle (Route 702), which will whisk you straight to the iconic mall that’s unlike any other. Not only will you find everything from Neiman Marcus to North Face to an Apple Store; the mall itself has a classic, modern design and artwork curated by none other than Ray Nasher. It’s a great place to grab lunch, too, whether you’re in the mood for burgers, Latin cuisine or sushi.
You still have more shopping ahead at Downtown Plano Station, which abuts a neighborhood full of boutiques and small shops, as well as restaurants and bars. Browse boutique clothing at Lyla’s, check out the healthy bath and beauty product at Sweet Home & Body, or try on the jewelry at La Foofaraw and Magaly Designs. Afterwards, grab some Mexican food or chill out over a margarita at Urban Rio.
Who says a vacation requires destinations miles away? Take a DARTable staycation and let DART be your tour guide to North Texas’ one-of-a-kind destinations. Exploring the world right in your own backyard can occupy an afternoon, a week or a whole summer.
You’ll find a “new urban” hot spot at Addison Circle. A quarter-mile from a DART transit center served by 14 bus routes, you’ll find Italian food, Latin fare, New York-style pizza, taverns, sports bars, live theater and an English pub, all clustered around the namesake circle. Popular festivals take place in the neighborhood, too.
Carrollton was built around the railroads in the 1870s. Many buildings built near the tracks still line the town square – only now they’re next to Downtown Carrollton Station. The historic downtown is more vital than ever, with a mix of local restaurants, mom-and-pop shops, and even a rock-climbing facility housed in an old grain silo.
It’s not hard to find the attractions and nightlife in downtown Dallas. There’s the Arts District, for starters, with its showpiece buildings and first-rate institutions. But downtown is also a home base for forays into some of the city’s coolest neighborhoods. You’re never more than a couple of DART Rail stops from iconic Deep Ellum, a hotbed of music and art; the Cedars, an urban entertainment destination; and the shopping and dining of West Village, gateway to Uptown. Bishop Arts District, with its diverse restaurants and shops, is just a short streetcar ride away.
Farmers Branch is richer in history than you might have known. The city’s 27-acre historic park is an open-air museum with numerous 19th-century buildings – including a train depot, school and old church. While you’re there, check out the Antique Rose Garden, where the flowers are grown without commercial fertilizers or pesticides. If you want to follow your visit with evening entertainment, just cross the street, where you’ll find a more than 60-year-old fire station converted into a theater. It’s all right next to Farmers Branch Station.
Downtown Garland shows the city’s rustic, rural roots. It’s a charmer: Local specialty shops, eateries and a great brewpub ply their trade in a historic neighborhood with a small-town vibe. Shopping ranges from ceramics to vintage clothing, and there’s a great flea market during most of the year. There’s even an old-fashioned feed store. There’s always entertainment lined up at the Granville Arts Center, and the Plaza Theatre is an Art Deco gem that sometimes screens free movies. Afterwards, a nightcap is a definite option.
Irving is a tale of two cities: Las Colinas is a bustling, growing enclave of shiny buildings, with restaurants, canals and the one-stop-shop that is the Toyota Music Factory – featuring a concert venue, Alamo Drafthouse cinema, and plenty of dining and sipping options. You’ll find the flip side of this modern mecca in the Downtown Heritage District, with its quaint architecture, low-key shopping and numerous restaurants, including an honest-to-goodness soda fountain. The Orange Line gets you to one; the Trinity Railway Express, to the other.
There’s a reason they call it the Downtown Plano Arts District. The neighborhood is bursting with cultural venues: the Courtyard Theater, Cox Playhouse, [email protected], ArtCentre of Plano and Interurban Railway Museum. McCall Plaza and Haggard Park host several live music series. The neighborhood itself artfully blends old and new. While you’re there, visit one of many restaurants and taverns, or check out the cool array of boutiques.
Get off the Blue Line in Downtown Rowlett, and a slower pace envelops you. The town’s main drag is relaxed, and The Village of Rowlett Downtown – a multiuse project in the center of town – brings a new vibrancy to the neighborhood. The city and the development regularly host events on Main Street, including Additionally, you’ll find cute boutiques, a coffeehouse, restaurants and a brewpub.
The music lover is in luck in North Texas. From tiny clubs with an underground vibe, to a magnificent concert hall with world-class programming, an “embarrassment of riches” beckons the tuneful staycationer. Some of the premier places to take in the local scene are totally DARTable.
The neighborhood surrounding Cedars Station has lots in store for the music lover. Spend an hour – more like an afternoon – perusing the inventory at Bill’s Records and Tapes, one of the region’s first independent record stores and still one of the best. Vinyl fan? You’ll find yourself in LP heaven as you dig through stacks and stacks of records, picking out gems, curios and long-lost favorites. Visit Bill by hopping the Red or Blue Line to Cedars Station, then taking a short walk.
Afterwards, revel in your new purchases at Opening Bell Coffee, a coffeehouse just down the street that also hosts acoustic acts, singer-songwriters and DJs. You can get also get beer and wine, plus sandwiches, pastries and other coffeehouse fare.
For some hot nightlife, head to a destination synonymous with music: Deep Ellum. The district’s location along the Central Track made it a hotbed of Texas blues back in the 1920s. Today, two DART stations serve the district: Deep Ellum and Baylor University Medical Center stations, both on the Green Line. Check out the neighborhood’s murals, many of which honor the legendary bluesmen who put Deep Ellum on the map. Then see tomorrow’s legends at fabled stalwarts such as Club Dada and Trees; head to an intimate spot like Three Links or the Twilite Lounge; or take in a big-ticket concert at the spacious Bomb Factory.
Not that Deep Ellum has a monopoly on music. Other places to keep in mind for your evening’s entertainment: Irving’s Toyota Music Factory, a one-stop-shop for entertainment, including the eclectic musical acts at the state-of-the-art Pavilion – a 10-minute walk from Irving Convention Center Station. Carrollton and Garland are both in on the act, too, with periodic concerts in their respective town square – the Green Line’s Downtown Carrollton Station and the Blue Line’s Downtown Garland Station. And there are often live tunes at Richardson’s CityLine – the “new urban” development’s spacious, welcoming plaza is lined with restaurants and lies only steps from CityLine/Bush Station on the Blue Line.
When you just have one day to explore the city, it’s important to get it right.
Start off by taking DART Rail to Akard Station and walking down to the Dallas Museum of Art and Nasher Sculpture Center. These two world-class museums are just across the street from each other, making for a wonderful double shot of Dallas culture.
Afterwards, stroll over to the adjacent Klyde Warren Park, a 17-acre oasis connecting the city’s Downtown and Uptown neighborhoods. Grab a quick bite from one of the many food trucks, find a spot on the grass and soak up some afternoon sun.
If you’re in an athletic mood, hop on one of the many bike-share options (including LimeBike, Ofo, VBike and Spin) and enjoy a leisurely ride into Uptown. The West Village on McKinney Avenue is home to fun boutique shops and some of the city’s favorite patios. For a true workout, the Katy Trail is a 3.5-mile hike-and-bike trail with numerous entry point throughout Uptown.
Finish up your day by taking the Green or Yellow line to Victory Station at American Airlines Center to catch the Dallas Mavericks or Dallas Stars in action. If the teams aren’t playing, head into Deep Ellum on the Green line for a nightcap at one of the many rooftop lounges overlooking Dallas’ neon skyline.
Spring weekends bring pleasant weather and tons of events across town.
Spring weekends bring pleasant weather and tons of events across town. On Friday, get your bearings from atop one of the city’s iconic buildings.
The observation deck at Reunion Tower offers a panoramic view of Dallas from 50 stories up. Afterward, grab a seat at Five Sixty, the acclaimed restaurant and bar from Wolfgang Puck. To visit, take the Red or Blue lines to Union Station, then follow the signs to the underground walkway to the Tower.
Saturday, get your shopping in with a visit to Downtown Plano (Red and Orange Lines) and visit the many unique galleries and boutiques of the nearby Historic District. Then take the Red line down to the Dallas Zoo and experience its brand-new Simmons Hippo Outpost, an immersive habitat that features a huge underwater viewing window.
Springtime afternoons mean one thing – the Rangers are on the field and televisions across town are tuned into the game. Take DART into the Uptown neighborhood (a short walk from Cityplace/Uptown Station) and stroll down McKinney Avenue to find a venue that fits your level of enthusiasm.
With so much to see in Dallas, it can take a week to fill everything in!
First, let’s talk food. Neighborhoods like Uptown, Deep Ellum and Bishop Arts District are epicenters of the city’s foodie movement Sping temperatures make for perfect al fresco dining, which favorites like The Rustic (Uptown), Stirr (Deep Ellum) and Bolsa (Bishop Arts) offer in spades. And if you’re searching for the quintessential Texas burger (and who isn’t?), Big Star Burgers (Downtown Rowlett) is the place to go.
The Dallas Zoo is home to all things furry and scaly, while the Dallas World Aquarium showcases the life aquatic as well as an amazing South American rainforest experience. Get there via the Dallas Zoo Station and West End Station, respectively.
The Dallas Arts District features several art and performance venues, including the stunning, ruby-red Winspear Opera House and the Wyly Theatre designed by acclaimed international architect Rem Koolhaus.
In spring, two of the city’s favorite teams are in full-swing. The Dallas Stars and Dallas Mavericks both play their home games at American Airlines Center (Victory Station), which is also the place to see national touring acts.
To keep fit during your Dallas excursion, head out on the Katy Trail, a 3.5-mile paved running and cycling trail that begins at American Airlines Center and crosses the Knox-Henderson neighborhood. Refuel at Katy Trail Icehouse, a popular outdoor venue that directly overlooks the trail.