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 features it on their list of Best Places 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. Earlier in the season, the beloved classic ballet, The Nutcracker, will come alive on stage at the Eisemann Center. Since 1989, this timeless holiday tale of a young girl whose toy nutcracker comes to life and takes her on a fantastical journey will be performed by the Chamberlain Ballet from Nov. 25 – 27.
In early December, watch as the simple story of Christmas transforms into a spectacular production at the Prestonwood Baptist Church. The Gift of Christmas is a crowd-pleasing, family-friendly performance, and a time-honored Prestonwood tradition. Featuring a 1,000-member cast, live choir, orchestral music, flying angels and stunning visual imagery, audiences will be amazed by this dazzling show running from Dec. 2 – 4, and Dec. 7 – 11.
Finally, don’t miss the Plano Symphony Orchestra’s Home for the Holidays performance on Dec. 18, an annual production that is one of North Texas’ top Christmas traditions.
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 Dickens in Downtown Christmas Celebration
Slip down a real snow slide, fill your belly with edible delights, and meet Jolly Old Saint Nick himself. Welcome to Dickens in Downtown Plano held at Haggard Park on Dec. 3. Bundle up and come out in the evening for a fun-for-all-ages event featuring photos with Santa, live musical performances, festive entertainment, holiday shopping, and plenty of savory food and drinks to warm your spirit.
This jubilant annual celebration ends with a traditional tree lighting ceremony welcoming in the winter season. It is completely free to attend, and you can bring your pooch pal along for the experience, leashed dogs are allowed.
Find One-of-a-Kind Gift
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 local artistry, the Plano Christmas Market on Nov. 19 in Carpenter Park Recreation Center is the place to be. Shop the wares of talented vendors exhibiting handmade holiday gifts such as artisan jewelry, clothing, candles, soaps, and edible goods.
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, Legacy West, and The Shops at Willow Bend, three of the Dallas-Fort Worth area’s top shopping destinations. The following evening, be sure to experience the annual Lights at Legacy holiday event featuring a full line-up of entertainment, and the official lighting of the Christmas tree on Nov. 20.
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. Throughout Thanksgiving week, look no further than Lights on the Farm, a lustrous winter wonderland with more than 1 million holiday lights and a myriad of lively animated scenes. Sip on steamy hot cocoa, munch on tasty treats, and even make your own smores whilst strolling along the quarter-mile trail as you joyfully take in the shimmery lighted arrangements. If you want to meet and snap a photo with the big man in red, you can also visit Santa at Santa’s Farmshop during the celebration. This extravagant outdoor spectacle takes place at the Heritage Farmstead Museum from Nov. 25 – Dec. 30, Fridays through Sundays.
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. Surrounded by lush parks and tranquil water features, the Dallas / Plano Marriott at Legacy Town Center is a stylish getaway like no other. With over 400 guest rooms, including 35 luxury suites, there is enough room for the whole family! Its outstanding location brings convenience and accessibility to the forefront of its design. Bask in nature's beauty at Bishop Park and the lake next door or take a leisurely walk to a fine selection of shopping, dining, and entertainment venues. Enjoy a vast array of upscale comforts during your visit, including an on-site restaurant, spacious lounge area, fitness center, heated outdoor pool, relaxing whirlpool, and special services, such as 24-hour room service, dry cleaning, laundry, and valet. The best of both worlds combines to create a perfectly placed location with reliable, convenient, and plentiful amenities.
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, and 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.