Welcome to the Neighborhood
The affluent Allen, Fairview and Lucas are a good 25–30 miles north of downtown Dallas (though it’s a straight shot on Interstate 75) and 20-plus minutes east of the increasing hubbub in Frisco and West Plano. That makes the area appealing to parents who want coveted Collin County schools but a smaller-town atmosphere—even though Allen has about 100,000 residents, the city is united by its single high school, championship football team and a few upscale outdoor shopping centers where families congregate on the weekends. That’s not to say Allen does things small: Its $60 million football stadium made national headlines, its high school band has claimed the distinction of being the largest in the U.S., and the school district is mid-construction on a state-of-the-art STEAM Center with indoor and outdoor learning environments and a 250-seat Sci-Max Theater, set to open for the 2019–2020 school year. Families who like the amenities of Allen but want more space appreciate the larger lots in Fairview and Lucas, two towns that retain their rural roots. Here, country living comes with a high price tag, but parents are willing to spend for sprawling homes in equally sprawling, family-friendly neighborhoods. Though Fairview is slightly more populated (and boasts a walkable shopping center comparable to Allen’s), both towns are criss-crossed by country roads rather than busy highways and primarily zoned for Lovejoy ISD, frequently rated as one of the best in North Texas.
18 elementary schools; 3 middle schools; 1 freshman center; 1 high school
3 elementary schools; 1 intermediate school; 1 middle school; 1 high school
20 elementary schools; 5 middle schools; 3 high schools
44 elementary schools; 13 middle schools; 8 high schools; 4 senior high schools
11 elementary schools; 3 intermediate schools; 3 junior high schools; 3 high schools; 1 K–12 school
Blue Ribbon Schools
Allen (Allen ISD)
Allen High School, 2001-02
Frances E. Norton Elementary School, 2007
William Beverly Elementary School, 2006
Allen Public Library
Open daily; Monday–Thursday open till 9pm
300 N. Allen Drive, Allen, 214/509-4900; cityofallen.org
Health & Fitness 101
Don Rodenbaugh Natatorium
Come year-round for open swim time in the lap pool, for the indoor rock climbing wall and for special events during the holidays, including an underwater Easter egg hunt, pumpkin dive and swim with Santa.
110 Rivercrest Blvd., Allen, 214/509-4770; cityofallen.org
Joe Farmer Recreation Center
1201 E. Bethany Drive, Allen, 214/509-4750; allenparks.org
Connemara Meadow Nature Preserve
Access the secluded space through Allen’s Suncreek Park (there’s a playground at the entrance) and follow the path through the woods to the open field of Blackland Prairie and wildflowers. Located about 1 mile west of Watters Creek.
601 Alma Drive, Allen, 469/200-4085; connemaraconservancy.org
Fairview Town Center
A new green space opening Aug. 11 features shade structures for relaxing outdoors and a stage to host musicians, dance performances and a host of other family-friendly entertainers. Come during the day to play in the Village Green playground or to splash in the fountain. (Be sure to exit the area before the evening fountain shows when the water spouts are more powerful.)
329 Town Place, Fairview, 972/363-2209; fairviewtowncenter.com
This neighborhood pocket of green space in south Allen includes a swing set, covered pavilion and basketball hoop. Texas artist Jon David DeLeon of San Antonio painted a mural on the seating wall that borders the playground.
1015 Cambridge Drive, Allen, 214/509-4700; allenparks.org
Blackland Prairie Raptor Center
Free monthly programs with kids’ activities educate about native owls, hawks and falcons, and guided hikes through the restored prairie land offer the chance to see these creatures in their natural habitats.
1625 Brockdale Park Road, Lucas, 469/964-9696; bpraptorcenter.org
Open summers at Ford Park West, the outdoor pool features a 20-foot-tall spiral water slide and kids’ play structure. New facilities have showers, changing areas and bathrooms. Come on special event nights for dive-in movies.
724 Whitman Drive, Allen, 214/509-4790; allenparks.org
JumpStreet Indoor Trampoline Park
Kids of all ages can catch some air here: Littles 4 and younger can run around the inflatable slides and bounce houses in the Earthquake Area, while kiddos 5 and older have unlimited access to all the trampolines, plus dodgeball courts and other games.
2031 W. McDermott Drive, Allen, 469/854-6000; gotjump.com
Play Street Museum
This indoor play space intended for ages 8 and younger is themed On the Go, which means transportation-related fun, including a mini airplane with matching pilot outfits.
950 W. Stacy Road, Suite 100, Allen, 972/737-3256; psmallen.com
Watters Creek at Montgomery Farm
Allen’s chic urban village seems to have the best of both worlds. Spend date night at Cru Food & Wine Bar splitting a bottle of vino or bring the whole family to Watters Creek for interactive public art, creekside green space, water views and a Lucky Duck Kids Club.
970 Garden Park Drive, Allen, 972/747-8000; watterscreek.com
Allen Early Childhood PTA
For families with children in kindergarten and younger, you and your kid will build a network of friends to last a lifetime, even before your child starts school.
Allen/McKinney Area Mothers of Multiples
This group seeks to offer emotional support and guidance for local families while raising awareness of multiple births. The organization is also invested in philanthropy, raising money for Hurricane Harvey relief and an annual collegiate scholarship fund.
2024 Aberdeen Ave., McKinney; amamom.net
Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) of First Baptist Church Allen
Meets two Fridays a month from September–May at First Baptist Church Allen. Annual membership fees are $120 per person. Contact Heather Pate at firstname.lastname@example.org with enrollment inquiries.
201 E. McDermott Drive, Allen; fbcallen.org