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Historic downtown Plano has it all -- upscale (yet affordable) apartments, art galleries and museums, restaurants, shopping, theatres, and a large park to relax in. A charming neighborhood filled with early twentieth-century homes lies within easy walking distance.
The Downtown Plano station on DART's Red Line is about a forty minute train ride from Union Station in downtown Dallas, thirty minutes to the Arts District, and twenty minutes to NorthPark Center. A free shuttle to Collin Creek Mall is available for DART ticketholders and DART monthly or annual passholders.
When you step off the train, turn to your right and walk to the wide street paved with bricks (about twenty feet away). That's 15th Street, Plano's downtown area. This walking tour can be completed in about thirty minutes without stopping, but I encourage you to spend a day browsing the shops and galleries and trying a restaurant or tea room.Continue to 2 of 8 below.
02 of 08
15th Street in Downtown Plano
15th Street is downtown Plano's Main Street and it's lined with everything a person might expect - boutiques and specialty stores, antiques, restaurants and tea rooms, art galleries, and more.
Across 15th is the Eisenberg Skatepark, an indoor facility designed by Arlo Eisenberg with two skate areas of 10,000 and 15,000 feet, and Georgia's Farmers Market, which is open May through November and offers fresh produce from local farmers as well as those further afield.
Turn left and walk up 15th Street. Clothing boutiques, art galleries, antique shops with their tea rooms, and sit-down restaurants beckon. Take your time. When you reach the intersection of 15th and K Avenue, turn right.Continue to 3 of 8 below.
03 of 08
Kelly's Eastside Restaurant and Bar
Kelly's Eastside opened in 2003 and has been popular with locals and those from further afield ever since. Live music most Wednesdays through Saturdays and a wide variety of tasty food -- grilled and smoked items, sandwiches and burgers, salads, soups, and appetizers -- keep customers returning. A small outdoor eating area takes advantage of nice weather.
Kelly's is a nice place to eat if you're hungry. Otherwise, there's more shopping on either side of the street. When you reach the end of the shopping, turn around the way you came and cross 15th, staying on K Avenue.Continue to 4 of 8 below.
04 of 08
ArtCentre of Plano
The ArtCentre of Plano provides a place for various types of art to be performed, displayed, or created. At any time, there is always at least one exhibit of sculptures or paintings in the building. Plays and concerts are performed there regularly. Classes -- anything from oil and acrylic painting to fabric design to steel figurative sculpture -- and workshops are offered for a small fee.
The ArtCentre is located on the site of the first commercial building in Plano. It has been the location of a general store (1854), lodge hall, livery stable, opera house, saloon, hardware store, and furniture and undertaking business (yes, furniture and undertaking at the same time).
Continue walking along K Avenue and turn left at 15th Place, a narrow street lined with art galleries. Sitting at the corner of K Avenue and 15th Place, Fusion Cafe is nice place to stop and get a drink. Some evenings they have live music, too.Continue to 5 of 8 below.
05 of 08
After walking down 15th Place and viewing the variety of art galleries, you'll find yourself back at the Downtown Plano train station. Step across it and into Haggard Park.
A beautifully-landscaped five-and-a-half acre park in the middle of the downtown area, Haggard Park boasts a playground, a pond, picnic areas, chess boards, and paved walking paths. A picturesque gazebo that can be rented for special events faces onto the pond. Drinking fountains, restrooms, and dog waste stations promote the comfort of all visitors.
Stroll through Haggard Park to the side opposite the train station.Continue to 6 of 8 below.
06 of 08
The Courtyard Theater is a performing arts venue in the Haggard Park Historic District. Built in 1938 as a project of the Works Project Administration, the Courtyard Theater was formerly known as the Cox Gymnasium. Plays are performed here regularly.
Nearby are other examples of Plano's early brick school buildings, still in use by the Plano Independent School District.
Walk back through Haggard Park, toward the train station.Continue to 7 of 8 below.
07 of 08
Interurban Railway Museum
The Interurban Railway Museum is housed in a restored depot that served Plano from 1908 until 1948. Historical exhibits detail Plano's early days and even before then and highlight the forces that shaped what the city has become. A train car outside the depot has been restored to show what the mail cars and passenger cars of the time looked like. The museum is free and guided tours of the train car are free, but donations are appreciated.
Plan to spend at least thirty minutes touring the museum and the train car -- longer if you like to know the details of lives lived long ago. After you finish at the Interurban Railway Museum, head back to the train station.Continue to 8 of 8 below.
08 of 08
Iron HorseA large sculpture of an iron horse stands on the platform of the Downtown Plano station. DART is working on having original art and sculpture at all of its stations. While you wait for the train, see if you can find the iron fly that is bothering the iron horse.