By James Waterson
Chilly nights, twinkling lights, and the aromas of sugar cookies and hot chocolate. There’s a reason the holiday season is the most wonderful time of the year. Whether you’re celebrating with friends or family, find your yuletide joy in Plano. Set 20 miles north of downtown Dallas, this North Texas destination has so much going on that WalletHub named it the No. 1 City in the U.S. for Staycations. From lively holiday performances and dazzling displays of Christmas lights to one-of-a-kind events and luxurious stays at upscale hotels, there are many ways you can enjoy all the festive fun in Plano.
Catch a Festive Show
Twinkling lights and aromas of gingerbread and sugar cookies may announce the arrival of the holiday season. Here in Plano, all that yuletide joy also lights up the stage. Watch as the Christmas classic A Charlie Brown Christmas comes to life at the Willow Bend Center for the Arts from Dec. 4 – 6. This family-friendly performance follows Charlie Brown, Linus, Lucy, and the gang as they discover the real meaning of Christmas. Later in the month, the timeless tale of Ebenezer Scrooge and the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future is performed during Scrooge the Musical (Dec. 10 – 13 and 17 – 20). You can check out the show either in person (and socially distanced, masks required) at the Willow Bend Center of the Arts or via livestream.
You’ve heard of a drive-in movie, but what about a concert? That’s exactly what you can experience at St. Andrew United Methodist Church’s drive-in concerts (Dec. 20 – 21). The first night features a streamed performance of Handel’s Messiah by the England-based Academy of Ancient Music and VOCES8, a world-renowned ensemble, while the second is a live show of popular holiday tunes by the Imperial Brass band. Finally, don’t miss the Plano Symphony Orchestra’s Home for the Holidays (Dec. 19 – 20), an annual production that is one of North Texas’ top Christmas traditions. Attend the first night of the show at the Christ United Methodist Church (masks required) or get your tickets for the live stream performance the following day.
With a full stocking’s worth of captivating shows and other events, Plano is just the place to go to make your holiday season unforgettable.
Enjoy a Texas Prairie Christmas
Sip on hot chocolate, ride across a prairie on a mule wagon, and meet Jolly Old Saint Nick himself. Welcome to a Texas Prairie Christmas (Dec. 10 – 12), held at the Heritage Farmstead Museum. Bundle up and come out in the evenings for a fun-for-all-ages event at the historic farm museum and living history site that preserves the history of farming in the Texas Blackland Prairie region at the turn of the 20th century. Visit the farm and you’ll tour the historic Farrell Wilson House, say “howdy” to longhorns in the meadow, and have a socially distanced visit with Santa Claus. Colorful lights, glowing lamps, and festive music provide a backdrop to a truly one-of-a-kind Christmas celebration. Get your tickets for a Texas Prairie Christmas here and make the event a part of your yuletide revelry.
Find One-of-a-Kind Gifts
You’ve made your list and checked it twice; now it’s time to get all your shopping done. When it comes to unearthing hard-to-find treasures and discovering the unexpected, the CU*RAT*ED: A Modern Pop Up Market (Dec. 13) in Legacy West is the place to be. Shop the wares of more than 35 local vendors as you savor great food and hot chocolate. There will even be a photo wagon so you can capture priceless photos with your little ones. Have more shopping to do? Step into the local boutiques and art galleries of the Downtown Plano Arts District or check out the big-name stores in The Shops at Legacy and The Shops at Willow Bend, two of the Dallas-Fort Worth area’s top shopping destinations.
Admire Stunning Displays of Christmas Lights
It’s not the holiday season without sparkling Christmas lights, and Plano has some of the best displays around. Look no farther than the Journey of Lights at St. Andrew United Methodist Church (Dec. 11 – 19). Covering 21 acres, the event features multiple immersive outdoor displays that will put you in a festive spirit. Explore a holiday village full of candy canes, reindeer, and snowmen, as well as costumed characters and Mr. and Mrs. Claus, all under a massive oak tree decorated for the occasion at the Christmas Village. Meanwhile, Light in the Darkness is a 30-minute light show synchronized with music by the St. Andrew Choirs and Imperial Bass, while the Nativity at the Pond tells the tale of Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus.
For even more holiday lights, head to the Deerfield subdivision. Many of the homes in this neighborhood are decorated for the occasion in what is an annual tradition that you can experience as you drive around.
Stay in High-End Style
All this holiday revelry might leave you craving some rest and relaxation, and Plano’s upscale hotels are ideal for kicking back and unwinding. Full of industrial-chic charm, the recently renovated NYLO Dallas Plano Hotel, Tapestry Collection by Hilton is a stylish getaway like no other. Each guest room is a study in contrasts, as the cement floor, walls, and ceiling are brightened by vibrant rugs and curtains, large windows, and rich wood tones. When it’s warm out, soak up the sun by the pool or work up a sweat in the on-site fitness center.
Located in the heart of Legacy West, just a short walk from spectacular dining and shopping, is the towering Renaissance Dallas Plano Legacy West Hotel. With an emphasis on luxury, the hotel’s rooms and suites are appointed with marble bathrooms and chromotherapy lighting, as well as plush bedding and room service. Book a suite and you’ll greet the day with an abundance of sunlight from large, floor-to-ceiling windows. To truly pamper yourself, stay in one of the guest rooms with an Asian-style bath, a spacious shower room that includes a full-size bathtub.
With easy access to waterside dining and The Shops at Legacy, Hilton Dallas Plano Granite Park is just the place to hang your hat. Savor top-shelf dining at Prairie Fire and Carso, the hotel’s two on-site restaurants, or take a quick stroll to The Boardwalk at Granite Park. While these three hotels are great options, you have many other choices. See the full list here
From sparkling Christmas lights to joyous holiday performances, ‘tis the season to visit Plano. Learn more about this North Texas destination and plan your visit here.
About the Author: James Waterson is the head writer and content specialist for Tour Texas. When he isn’t writing about the many great places in the state of Texas, he’s planning his next epic adventure in the Lone Star State.