The casual visitor to Plano, Texas, a modern, well-planned suburb 30 minutes outside of Dallas, will see plenty of shopping malls, condos and apartments, and suburban neighborhoods filled with look-alike homes. Look a little closer and youll find historic downtown Plano, an undiscovered gem filled with pubs and interesting restaurants, one-of-a-kind shops and antique malls, and even a rail museum.
Unlike the rest of modern Plano, the downtown area has original 1800s brick buildings. The surrounding apartment/condo development mimics the old buildings with brick construction that gives the neighborhood a harmonious feel. The commercial area, just a few blocks square, is walkable and has both a shady greenspace, Haggard Park, and an sculpture-filled plaza with plenty of benches.
People looking for non-chain shops, especially those who love antiques, will delight in shopping downtown Plano. Denim and Dazzle offers fun, funky clothing and jewelry. Natures Finest has jewelry, pottery, glasswork, sculpture, and gifts, all with a natural theme. Toast to Texas International Wine can fulfill your yen for a good bottle of wine or some creative wine glasses. At the, you can shop for fashionable clothing and have your hair done too. Baxter’s Boutique offers retail therapy and salon therapy for those looking for interesting house wares, including candles and garden art, and a new hairdo.
For antique lovers, check out Sutton Place Antiques or Nooks and Krannies, an eclectic collection of homemade purses, baby clothing, Christmas ornaments, dolls and toys, and you can grab a bit to eat or a cup of tea in the tearoom out back. Just off 15th Street, you’ll find Nanny Grannys antiques and the large Cobweb Antiques and Nee Nees Tea Room that offers collectables and antiques sure to suit any taste.
Just across the rail road tracks (the interurban rail line has a convenient stop in downtown Plano), be sure to stop at Georgia’s Fruit Stand. They offer not only fresh fruit and veggies, but also their own line of canned delectables like canned peaches and fig preserves They also sell the original, real sugar Dublin Dr. Pepper formula (Plano is home to Dr. Pepper) and fun packages of cake mix and Dr. Pepper for Dr. Pepper Cake (its a Texas thing).
If you’re in the mood for a little history, just across the rail road tracks is the Interurban Railway Museum that tells the story of this areas public rail system, including an old street car that you can tour.
After all that shopping, you’re sure to be hungry and thirsty. Downtown Plano has plenty of restaurants and pubs, including the Fillmore Pub, Vickery Park, and the Urban Crust, a popular restaurant featuring wood-fired pizza and more.
We chose the Urban Crust for lunch and were happy with our choice. Urban Crust offers thin-crust pizza in a variety of combinations, including Buffalina pizza Italian buffalo mozzarella, tear drop red tomatoes, basil, garlic, olive oil, and shaved grana cheese; Black and Blue pizza, with basil, pesto, sirloin, baby portabellos, caramelized onions and blue cheese; and Urban Amore, fig preserves, prosciutto di Parma, goat cheese, and aged balsamic (see Real Eatery Reviews for a full review of Urban Crust).
Real bottom line: The next time you’re in Plano, be sure to take some time to explore old Plano. Its definitely worth a couple of hours for shopping and dining.