Part of the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area, Plano is a small town with big heart. It’s home to several unique sights, including the Interurban Railway Museum and a restored 19th century farmhouse. About seven miles to the northeast is Southfork Ranch, filming site of the long-running primetime show, Dallas.
If you’re visiting Dallas this winter, don’t overlook Plano. Though smaller than its city-slicker cousin, the town is home to a wealth of holiday activities and indoor attractions that can make your family vacay or company trip memorable. Here are a few of our favorites.
ICE, ICE, Baby
Through January 1, the Gaylord Texan transforms into a magical winter wonderland straight out of Disney’s Frozen. Their walkthrough ICE attraction features carved sculptures representing characters from the classic holiday tale, ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. More than 2 million pounds of ice were used to make the exhibit. See Ma in her kerchief and Pa in his cap, and watch the children sleep with visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads. Kept at a frosty 9 degrees, the attraction takes about 20-30 minutes to see. Visitors can also enjoy ice skating and snow tubing on the resort’s property. General admission is $21.99 for adults; $12.99 children. Click here for more information on ICE!
Holidays at Southfork
Southfork Ranch rarely sees snow, but wintertime here is still a spectacle. Celebrity decorator Christopher Todd Hall designed the holiday decor at the Ewing Mansion for the 2017 holiday season. Thousands of twinkling lights illuminate the grounds, with garlands and holiday greenery decking the house’s grand interior. For just $15 ($9 for kids), visitors can tour the mansion and get a glimpse inside evil oil magnate J.R. Ewing’s bedroom. The property is filled with memorabilia from the original Dallas Tv series, including Lucy’s wedding dress and the gun that shot J.R. In addition to tours and trail rides, Southfork Ranch is a popular site for family reunions, company retreats and holiday parties. With more than 300 acres of beautiful Texas heartland, the venue can accommodate groups of up to 2,000. Call 972-442-7800 for info, or book your event online.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to break free from a locked room -- using nothing but your wits and some cleverly placed clues. Plano’s Breakout takes the escape room trend one step further by adding a surefire adrenaline rush. Participants in the Kidnapping and Hostage scenarios are handcuffed to other players; their first goal is to find the key and remove their shackles. (Tip: If you’re wary of being cuffed to your buddies, there’s a spy-themed room that doesn’t involve any Houdini escapes.) Breakout is a must-try for escape room fanatics, and anyone who wants to flex their brain muscles while on vacay. It’s also a great way to pass time on a cold, wet winter day, and is ideal for groups or families with older children.
Locals would argue that Plano, Texas is one of the best cities around. They’re not alone. Livability.com, CBS News and TIME magazine named this Dallas suburb one of the best places to live in America. If you’re visiting the Big D this winter, Plano is definitely worth a side trip. The roads are clearer, the attractions less crowded, and the locals brimming with good old-fashioned Texas hospitality.