Plano’s first settlers were subsistence farmers who received land grants in the 1840's. The town incorporated one year after the Texas Central Railway arrived in 1872, connecting local farmers and ranchers to markets in Dallas and beyond. Although a fire destroyed all 51 buildings in the downtown district in 1881, the good people of Plano rebuilt, putting the city back on the path of expansion.
Between the growth of Dallas toward Plano and the mega-success of a handful of Fortune 500 companies that call the city home, the 20th century saw Plano become one of the fastest-growing cities in the country. Today it is the largest city in Collin County and a nationally recognized center of business and enterprise.
Part of that same railroad that put Plano on the map welcomes visitors to this very day. The Interurban Railway Museum features exhibits on the history of the area and a fully restored train car from 1908. For a living history experience, tour the Heritage Farmstead Museum, where a former homestead built in 1891 now serves as a window into life on the Blackland Prairie. And you can get your fill of fictional history at Southfork Ranch, known to fans the world over as the site of the beloved TV show Dallas.
If your visit to the Ewings’ one-time home has you in the mood to deck yourself out in jewelry and cowboy gear, you’ll find no shortage of national chains and boutiques ready and waiting to help. The Shops at Legacy and Lakeside Market are two upscale shopping centers with designer brands and chic local labels, but they’re hardly your only options. Plano’s downtown area and its two malls have a range of retailers for all types of goodies, as well as a host of great restaurants. Wine bar and pizzeria Urban Crust and the award-winning Lockhart Smokehouse are two restaurants in Plano you should be sure to include on your itinerary.
Opening summer 2017 is Legacy West, a $3.2 billion dollar, 255-acre development boasting 415,000 dynamic square feet of open-air retail and restaurant space. Additionally, it is home to the North American headquarters of Toyota and FedEx Office as well as the regional headquarters for JPMorgan Chase and Liberty Mutual with more than 20,000 employees, making it one of the largest new job centers in the state. A 303-room Renaissance Legacy Hotel, two stunning, high-rise luxury living towers, more than 1,200 luxury apartments and 127 urban villas complete the project.
Thanks to its high-end shopping centers, wealth of dining options, and lush parks, Plano has just as much appeal for those who love urban fun or outdoor adventure.
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