Voted one of Money magazine’s Best Places to Live 2016, Plano combines the best of small town living and big-city amenities. It’s the ninth largest city in Texas, and a business hub for the likes of Bank of America, Pepsi, J.C. Penney and Frito-Lay. It’s also just 20 miles north of Dallas, and 15 minutes from Southfork Ranch – the exterior filming site for TV’s long-running soap, Dallas.
If you’re heading to Dallas this fall for business or pleasure, take a side trip up to Plano to escape the crowds. There’s still plenty to see and do there, from festivals and museums to sporting activities. Here are just some of the unique experiences you’ll find in and around one of Texas’ hidden gems.
Soar Through the Jungle
Ok, it’s more like Southern woods than a tropical jungle, but who’s keeping score? Plano is home to one of 16 national locations of the Go Ape Adventure Park, which features 5 levels that take you into the forest canopy. Bring comfy clothes, gloves and closed-toed shoes. Dozens of marked crossings and rope ladders, two Tarzan swings and five zip lines later, you can say you’ve conquered this gorilla of an obstacle course – and any fear of heights you might have.
Relive Dallas’ Glory Days
Who shot J.R.? *spoiler alert* That question plagued Dallas viewers for a year before the show revealed the shooter to be Ewing’s mistress slash sister-in-law, Kristin Shepard. By that time, millions were hooked on the series. Head to Southfork Ranch, just 8 miles east of downtown Plano, and check out the site of one of TV’s most infamous mysteries. Guided tours offered every 30-45 minutes take guests into the Ewing Mansion to see memorabilia from the show – including Lucy’s wedding dress and the gun that shot J.R. It’s a must-see for any fan.
See Why Plano is Full of Hot Air
It’s a scene plucked straight from The Wizard of Oz. Colorful balloons will lift off from Oak Point Park as InTouch Credit Union presents the 38th annual Plano Balloon Festival on September 22-24. Skydivers will add drama to the occasion, while those who prefer to keep their feet firmly planted on solid ground can enjoy refreshments, fireworks and live music on the KLUV main stage. The event also includes a half marathon and fun run/walk. All racers who complete the course receive a custom medal imprinted with a hot air balloon logo.
Go Around the World in One Day
More than 20,000 people turned out for last year’s multicultural festival in Plano, TX. Join locals in celebrating cultures from around the globe at the 2017 Plano International Festival on Saturday, October 14, at Haggard Park. The event includes cultural fashion shows, ethnic food trucks and kid’s activities, plus performances including hula dance. There’s also an onsite health and wellness fair for travelers interested in personal fitness.
It’s easy to see why Plano rated #3 on Money’s best places list. With nearly 300,000 people and thousands more visiting annually, this mid-size city offers all the charm of smaller towns, plus Texas-sized amenities. Changing leaves and cooling temperatures make autumn an ideal time to travel to Plano, whether you’re looking for a Dallas side trip or checking into town for a corporate retreat.