Sipping chocolate, conquering a treehouse playground, picnicking under a glittering pecan tree and meeting Santa’s helpers—your family can behold these jolly delights in this month’s three-hour itinerary at Watters Creek in Allen. Begin your morning or afternoon at the European Frogg cafe with games to entertain littles and end it at the lighted Christmas display featuring Santa’s sleigh and reindeers. And don’t worry, there is plenty to keep you busy along the way with child-friendly shopping, a give-and-take children’s library and handmade chocolates.
The closest thing to a European corner cafe you can find in Texas, Frogg Coffee Bar & Creperie greets guests with a menu of sweet and savory crepes, sandwiches, salads and baked goods, along with artisan cappuccinos, cortados and macchiatos made with beans from Oak Cliff Coffee Roasters. As you order a pumpkin spice latte and hot chocolates for the kids, encourage them to wander over to the children’s table stocked with puzzles, checkerboards, games and picture books. Sip inside or on the heated patio with covered tables.
Frogg Coffee Bar & Creperie
832 Watters Creek, Allen
Steps away, let the kids disappear into the treehouse playground. We say disappear because you won’t be able to keep up with them. The pint-size adventure-seekers scurry up and down the ramps, crawl through turf-laden tunnels and jam out at landings with xylophones, drums and loud speakers.
On The Green, take pictures of the kiddos posing with sculptures of a mother duck and her ducklings, then follow the paved 1 3/8-mile trail around the shopping district, about a 45-minute round trip.
A kid-friendly pit stop along the way includes Anthropologie. While this one is for you, Mom, your inquisitive ones might love smelling all the candles as much as you do. If you find something that you want to try on, don’t worry about leaving them to their own devices. Near the dressing rooms there are crayons and coloring pages to keep small hands busy.
902 Watters Creek Blvd., Allen
Next stop is Sublime Chocolate, the only bean-to-bar shop that roasts, grinds and tempers cacao pods into delectable chocolate. While most of these bars won’t appeal to your younger kids’ taste buds (they are all 70% dark chocolate), your littles will love the white and milk chocolate truffles, sandwich cookies dipped in chocolate and the house-made ice cream. Sign up for their community lessons that teach chocolate lovers how this “food of the gods” was discovered and how it is made.
908 Market St., Allen
Grab the truffles to go and savor them on a free horse-drawn carriage ride around Watters Creek. Hail your horse and buggy across the street by DSW shoe store. Carriages hold up to six people and are available Fridays and Saturdays, Dec. 1, 2, 8 and 9, then weekdays, Dec. 13–16 and 18–23 from 6–9pm.
937 Watters Creek Blvd., Allen
Keep wandering along the trail past Gymboree, where the Eddie Crocetti Jazz band serenades shoppers with holiday tunes every Friday evening and Saturday afternoon, to the giant, 150-year-old pecan tree across the stream opposite the Cheesecake Factory. Along the way, borrow a book at one of the free-standing little libraries and read it under the twinkle-lit tree.
Finally, head to Santa’s Corner. Old Saint Nick takes pictures with good boys and girls of all ages daily until Christmas Eve on Village Green Drive next to Tangerine Salon and Market Street. As you walk across Watters Creek Boulevard, have the kids prepare their holiday wish lists to tell him. Photo packages from $25.95.
When tummies start to grumble, grab lunch or supper at one of the restaurants nearby or multitask at Market Street. The complimentary Kids Club tides littles over with a piece of fruit and in-store activities, buying you time to get everything on your list. Serve up plates at the hot bar with kid favorites such as mac and cheese, chicken strips, mashed potatoes and seasonal smashed sweet potatoes.
985 W. Bethany Drive, Allen
End your excursion back on The Green, and capture the look on your kids’ faces when they see the 30-foot Christmas tree, Santa’s sleigh and reindeer, and 20 trees light up in sync with Christmas carols. Enjoy this magical show daily from 6–9pm.
While this itinerary works on any day of the week, we suggest using it on the first three Thursdays of the month when your little ones can join Santa’s helpers at the Elves, Inc. workshop at Blue House Too, the Allen Arts Alliance space on the south end between 10am–noon and 5–7pm. Children do a different craft every week, such as making cards or ornaments, to the tune of holiday jingles.
Blue House Too
934 Watters Creek Blvd., Allen