By Kimber Gabryszak
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The city of Plano has a reputation of being ordinary and unexciting, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth! Ranked one of the best and safest places to live in the United States by CNN Money Magazine and Forbes, Plano also offers a surprising wealth of entertainment and recreational opportunities for visitors.

As can prove, arriving in Plano couldn’t be easier. Visitors have their choice of ten airports small and large, including two hubs for major carriers.  Dallas-Forth Worth International Airport (DFW) is a destination for nearly all major airlines, while Dallas-Love Field Airport (DAL) is the headquarters for Southwest Airlines and a stop for several other major carriers.  Follow this link ( to easily book your airfare on  Both of these airports are a short 30-45 minute drive from Plano. Rental cars are available, and convenient shuttle services offer frequent transportation. It’s easy to get around. To find a great value hotel, can help. Click here ( to check out your hotel options.

As the 9th most populous city in Texas and located in the north east quadrant of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, there is no shortage of activities to fill your days and nights. Plano’s 71 square miles offer something for everyone, whether you are interested in museums or parks, golfing or concerts, ballet or history.

Plano was established in the 1840s as a farming and livestock community, only recently transitioning into a home for high-tech firms. The word “Plano” itself is derived from the Spanish word for “flat,” which gives you a picture of the farm-friendly geography. A visitor should make at least one visit to key farming and ranching sites. recommends visiting Southfork Ranch (famous also as the filming location for the TV show Dallas), Fairview Farms Marketplace, or Heritage Farmstead Museum.

For the railroad enthusiast, suggests a visit to Plano Station, a stop on the Texas Electric Railway that operated from 1908 – 1948. This train station is now on the National Register of Historic Places, but was vacant until the city renovated it and opened the museum in 1990.

If you are interested in outdoor recreation, Plano provides a plethora of options. For example, the Arbor Hills Nature Preserve is a 200 acre park offering outdoor activities such as walking, hiking, biking, and jogging; Oak Point Park and Nature Preserve is an 800-acre park with many walking, cycling, and equestrian trails. Throughout the city, over 56 miles of soft and hard surface trails await your visit.

Enjoy the arts? If so, proposes a visit to the historic downtown and surrounding area. Here, local and national musical groups perform at the outdoor Ampitheater at Oak Point Park, while the nearby ArtCentre of Plano is host to a revolving series of exhibits ranging from batik to photography to puppetry, and even performance poetry.  You can also enjoy Plano Metropolitan Ballet performances at the Courtyard Theater.

For the shopper, Plano offers a variety of shopping experiences.  For a unique experience check out the new luxury Walmart – yes, Walmart – which offers gourmet wine, a sushi bar, and free Wi-Fi. Visit the new urbanist style Shops at Legacy area, or stop by any of the other 70 shopping centers and 2 malls. A visit to the historic shopping district is a must.

If you are looking for entertainment beyond the options listed above, just wait – there’s more! Visit the Plano Chamber of Commerce to check out the event calendar, including exciting festivals such as the annual Plano Balloon Festival and its fun goings-on, the ‘Neath the Wreath Holiday Gift Market, and the Plano International Festival. 

You can also hop on the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) to spend a day in Dallas or Ft. Worth, but is positive that you will find a trip to Plano exciting and memorable on its own. You will find yourself talking about your trip to Plano for years to come.
Hotels in Plano
By Grace McWilliams
Aloft Plano
6853 Dallas Parkway, Plano, TX
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When staying in Plano, Texas, you might desire a fun and unique hotel. If so, look no further than Aloft Plano! An affiliate of the Starwood Hotels, this contemporary and colorful lodging option is within a couple miles of twelve corporate offices, golfing, shopping, and dining. If the suburban pace is a bit slow for you, a quick drive into downtown Dallas will cure your city cravings for a more diverse night scene. At your arrival, a helpful staff or a touch and go kiosk will make checking in fast and easy. If you are bringing extra guests, Aloft takes great care in providing a kid friendly atmosphere and pet friendly accommodations. Check in time for this location is 3 p.m.

The minimalist, yet comfortable rooms come with two booking options. A one king bedroom, or for more space a slightly larger room with two queen beds. These sleek rooms are anything but stuffy. The wall of windows and tall ceilings add to a clean, open ambiance. A spacious work table, along with a device charging station, and hotel wide Wi-Fi are also standard room amenities. The soft, comfortable bedding is perfect for watching movies on the 42" LCD TV, or catching up on a great night's sleep. The bathroom has a fresh feel amidst the natural light and a large walk-in shower. No more tiny bottles of plastic, here a shower dispenser includes all the basic necessities. Options to reuse towels help this hotel remain environmentally conscience.

The funky chic vibe of the lounge and w xyz bar creates a stimulating environment to enjoy drinks, play a round of pool, or get some work done. Cocktails and a light menu are available from 5 p.m. to 12 a.m. A convenient 24 hour vending service offers healthy choices beyond your standard selection. Just beyond the lounge is an outdoor heated pool, open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., and a state of the art gym. The gym is open 24 hours a day to perfectly fit your schedule.

Check out time is 12 p.m. If you are looking to branch out from the standard hotel environment, let assist you with a stay at the Eco friendly, and uniquely designed Aloft Plano. Click here for more information (