Tips for a staycation in Plano, Texas
Is it my imagination or has the City of Plano mushroomed with activity in the last few years? We find ourselves driving the thirty minutes out regularly to visit festivals like the Plano Balloon Festival, grab a bite to eat or hang out at my favorite spa. Recently, we partnered with Visit Plano for a staycation to get a glimpse of what else Plano has to offer.
Staycations are great for families especially those with little kids. Think: short drives, no airfares and more time to play. We discovered just a slice of Plano on our weekend escape and can’t wait to go back for more. Here’s what we found and why you should plan your next getaway to Plano:
A New York state of mind in Plano
Full disclosure: While this is not a sponsored post, IttyBittyFoodies did received a complimentary stay from NYLO Plano and a gift card to supplement the activities and meals from Visit Plano. All opinions are our own.
“This is cool. Looks like an old building from New York,” 11 year old Pikelet said as we pulled up to the NYLO Plano at Legacy hotel. An avid fan of architecture, Pikelet saw the New York influence immediately.
Based on the New York Loft experience with exposed brick walls and concrete floors, the NYLO is a hipster hotel fully decked with wifi, charging docks, original artwork and cool music.
The NYLO in Plano is the original hotel in the boutique chain and is centrally located in between West and East Plano. At the hub of West Plano are The Shops at Legacy, a master-planned urban development for mix residential, shopping and entertainment.East Plano has the historical 15th Street full of quaint galleries, artisan stores like Dude Sweet Chocolate and Crave Popcorn Co. and locally owned restaurants like Zalat Pizza (from the people who brought us Dalat in Dallas) and Urban Crust.
For quality leather goods, accessories, journals and bicycles, Shinola Detroit shines for us.Their personalized monogrammed journals make for great gifts. We bought some journals for the last Christmas.
Just thirty minutes away from home and we already feel like we’re hanging out in New York. The rooms are “New York sized” and completely efficient, so for families needing a little extra space, book yourself a suite. The suite has sitting area and work space with a pull out sofa separated by a curtain.
The kids loved the novelty of loft style living without doors! But where they skimmed on space, they are big on amenities; a deep plush bed with soft linens and comfy pillows, a spacious rain shower with upscale toiletries and huge windows.
Downstairs, they offer fresh baked cookies and fruit infused water for guests. There’s a heated pool (check their schedule for Dive in Movies and hot dogs and popcorn by the pool), business center, fitness center and an onsite restaurant and bar.
The kids were excited to partake in the breakfast buffet the next morning at the LOCL Bar + Restaurant. It was a simple spread of fruit, yogurt, sausages/bacon and pancakes with fresh juices and coffee. Our breakfast ended up being over an hour long as the IttyBittyFoodies soon discovered that the adjoining game room decked out with a pool table and library. While the IttyBittyFoodies played, Beefcake and I took advantage of the leisurely reading time and conversation over coffee. I call this a good start to any vacation!
Tip: Check out NYLO’s staycation package which offers a room discount and F&B credit.
Where to play
With three active boys in tow, we hit the Arbor Hills Nature Preserve after breakfast. The 200 acre park is a great place to get wild in. There are many walking trails and the nature preserve is home to native wild animals and we can walk through large expanses of long grasses and wildflowers and then experience a jungle setting by the creek with a thick angle of trees, shrubs and vines. It’s hard to believe you’re the suburbs at the Arbor Hills Nature Preserve. There’s a playground and picnic tables for those who want to stay on and play.
If the weather isn’t great and you need to exert some energy with the kids, Pinstack may be the answer. If you think this is just a bowling alley, like we did, you are so wrong. It’s an entire entertainment center with 28 bowling alleys, a laser tag arena, rock climbing wall and high ropes course suspended above a video game arcade. There’s a restaurant serving modern American fare and a wine bar on site. Our kids (and Beefcake) loved Pinstack.
Where to eat
You can truly eat your way around the globe in Plano so here’s a quick round up of our favorites. For fresh Californian inspired cuisine, go to Sixty Vines. The restaurant is relatively new on the scene and is a sister restaurant to the well-loved Whiskey Cake. There are sixty wines by the glass, many drawn straight from the tap. The cuisine is fresh, using ingredients from small growers and local farms.
Pizza lovers, head to Kenny’s East Coast Pizza, the latest to the ever expanding brand by local chef, Kenny Bowers. Additionally to serving an array of 14″ hand-spun pizzas, Kenny’s East Coast Pizza also gives a nod to Kenny’s Italian Kitchen in Addison with a few Italian-American favorites.
There are many notable Asian restaurants in Plano. For famed soup dumplings, xiao long bao, Yao Fuzi has long since satisfied customers with their handmade dumplings. Mr Wok is another old favorite with our family for the best Peking duck in town. We also discovered Densetsu Japanese on our travels for great Japanese food.
Seabreeze Fish Market and Grill has grown so much from being a seafood market and modern day fish and chippery to a full blown seafood restaurant. The lobster rolls are the real deal and we love all the grilled fish dishes! Seafood here is fresh as they fly in fish daily. Our foodie tip would be to pick up a piece of fish from the market to cook at home.
But before you go home, make a stop at Henry’s Homemade Ice Cream. The ice cream shop made it’s home in Plano over twenty years ago and have been pleasing patrons young and old with flavors like Chocolate Brownie or Black Raspberry.
Do you have a favorite Plano spot we can write about? Please tell us in the comments section.
Till our next happy meal and happy travels to all.