Welcome to the Neighborhood
Plano frequently tops lists for best places to live in the country—and it’s easy to understand why. A solid independent school district (just take a look at that list of Blue Ribbon Schools below) and established, tree-lined neighborhoods make Central and East Plano attractive to families commuting to jobs in West Plano, Frisco or Dallas. The city of about 270,000 is well-equipped with amenities, from golf courses and pools—including one shaped like Texas—to expansive green spaces and trails for hiking and biking, plus quirky events like Texas’ largest hot air balloon festival. The rejuvenated downtown area draws people of all ages to its diverse retail and restaurant scene, and East Plano residents are right next to the upscale outdoor malls in Allen, where families can easily spend a full day.
In response to rising populations, Wylie and Murphy have developed much-needed retail and dining spaces without losing their old-school charm. That charm is evident nowhere more than Wylie’s historic Ballard Street, where the whole city turns out for family-friendly events. Housing prices in Wylie and Murphy are lower than in Plano, and residents love the engaged, close-knit community. Plus, Wylie’s proximity to Lake Lavon means families can spend summer days cooling off at the beach.
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
St. Mark Catholic School, 1991-92; 2007
Anderson Elementary School, 2008
Armstrong Middle School, 1992-93
Carlisle Elementary School, 1987-88
Carpenter Middle School, 1992-93
Christie Elementary School, 1998-99
Clark High School, 1992-93
Dooley Elementary School, 1989-90
Forman Elementary School, 1993-94
Haggard Middle School, 1999-2000
Hedgcoxe Elementary School, 1993-94
Mathews Elementary School, 2000-01; 2005
Meadows Elementary School, 1996-97
Plano East Senior High School, 1992-93; 1997-98
Plano Senior High School, 1984-85; 1994-96
Saigling Elementary School, 1991-92; 2005
Schimelpfenig Middle School, 1988-89
Shepard Elementary School, 1991-92; 2008
Skaggs Elementary School, 2006
Wells Elementary School, 1991-92; 2007
Wilson Middle School, 1988-89
Birmingham Elementary School, 1991-92
Hartman Elementary School, 2017
Plano Public Library System
Each open daily; Monday–Thursday open till 9pm; planolibrary.org
7501-B Independence Parkway, Plano, 972/208-8000
2501 Coit Road, Plano, 972/769-4250
1501 18th St., Plano, 972/941-7175
5024 Custer Road, Plano, 972/769-4200
Rita and Truett Smith Public Library
Monday–Saturday; open till 8pm Monday–Thursday. Visit the website to view the library’s many kid- and teen-friendly events. Past events include cupcake decorating competitions, writing workshops and even an epic water balloon showdown.
300 Country Club Road, Wylie, 972/516-6250; wylietexas.gov/library
Health & Fitness 101
Aqua-fit Swim & Fitness Family Wellness Center
1400 Summit Ave., D2, Plano, 972/578-7946; aquafitplano.com
Murphy Community Center
205 N. Murphy Road, Murphy, 972/468-4444; murphytx.org
Plano Family YMCA
3300 McDermott Road, Plano, 214/705-9459; ymcadallas.org
Plano Recreation Centers & Pools
Carpenter Park Recreation Center
6701 Coit Road, Plano, 972/208-8087
Harry Rowlinson Community Natatorium
1712 Ave. P, Plano, 972/769-4232
Liberty Recreation Center
2601 Glencliff Drive, Plano, 972/769-4234
Plano Aquatic Center
2301 Westside Drive, Plano, 972/769-4232
Oak Point Recreation Center
6000 Jupiter Road, Plano, 972/941-7540
WYLIE RECREATION CENTER
Though this park on the shore of Lake Lavon is closed Monday–Thursday, it’s a quiet place to get some fresh air on weekends. From April–September, a $4 entry fee grants access to the swimming beach, shaded picnic tables and restrooms in the day-use area.
3455 Skyview Drive, Wylie; www.swf-wc.usace.army.mil/lavon
Located next to the Aviary Subdivision HOA swimming pool and toddler playground, the city-run park includes a large shaded playground, a gazebo pavilion with picnic tables and a short loop around the green space.
1003 Mustang Ridge Drive, Murphy, 972/468-4378; murphytx.org
Fairview Farms Marketplace
May–October each Tuesday–Sunday from 9am–6pm.
3312 N. Central Expressway, Plano, 972/422-2500; fairview-farms.com
Georgia's Farmers Market
This daily market now hosts a Red Tent Market on Sundays from 9am–2pm.
916 E. 15th St., Plano, 972/965-1144; redtentmarket.net
High Point Park
After an impromptu game of catch or kick, access the paved 8.3-mile Bluebonnet Trail. The path will take you through many green spaces throughout Plano while giving you ample opportunities to spot Texas’ signature state flower (in the spring, that is).
6500 Alma Drive, Plano, 972/941-7250; planoparks.org
Out of dozens of parks in Plano, this is the only one sporting an antique military tank—specifically an M41-A3 Walker Bulldog tank weighing 23.5 tons. Climb on top with the help of a ladder for even more fun than on the park’s playground.
1200 Mill Valley Road, Plano, 972/941-7250; planoparks.org
Oak Point Park and Nature Preserve
Start at the north entrance for closest access to the lake for fishing or by the amphitheater to hit the soft-surface trails through Plano’s largest park, clocking in at 800 acres. For more fun above ground level for age 10 and up, check out the Go Ape! Treetop Adventure course (goape.com) with zip lines and Tarzan swings.
5901 Los Rios Blvd., Plano, 972/941-7250; planoparks.org
Olde City Park
For some ye olde fun, bring along horseshoes to pitch at the on-site pits. More 21st-century fun includes two playgrounds, a jungle gym, slides and swing sets. Also on-site are pavilions with covered picnic tables and restrooms.
112 S. Ballard Ave., Wylie, 972/516-6340; wylietexas.gov
Plano Community Garden
Email email@example.com to register for your own plot, or get a taste of volunteer duties at monthly garden workdays. Then—or any day—walk over to the nearby Nature Explore Garden, an outdoor classroom designed for kids to learn about the science behind gardening through play.
4030-B W. Plano Parkway, Plano, 972/769-4228; planocommunitygardentx.org
Your clan can choose from go-karts, bumper cars, mini golf, rock climbing and many other air-conditioned activities at this two-story entertainment center. After working up an appetite with all that fun, chow down at the all-you-can-eat buffet.
831 N. Central Expressway, Plano, 972/509-5253; amazingjakesplano.com
Central Park Splash Pad
550 N. Murphy Road, Murphy, 972/468-4444; murphytx.org
Historic Downtown Plano
Besides family-friendly events like summertime movies in the park and Plano Artfest in the spring, the downtown area has plenty of reasons to spend half a day with the fam: the scenic Haggard Park, a photo-ready train car outside the Interurban Railway Museum, art activities at Pipe & Palette, a slew of restaurants and, to top it off, cake balls (or Boozeballs for the adults) from Amazeballs.
Around 15th Street and K Avenue, Plano; visitdowntownplano.com
Jack Carter Pool
All of Plano recreation centers have either indoor or outdoor pools, but for extra thrills, check out the Flow Rider surf simulator at Jack Carter Pool, open to riders 48 inches or taller and 42 inches to body board.
2601 Pleasant Valley Drive, Plano,
Kids 4 and older will have a blast exploring the two-story playground, featuring five slides, zip lines, tunnels and climbing walls in the ManiaMaze. Tiny tots can get in on the fun at the roped-off MiniMania area.
7252 Chase Oaks Blvd., Plano, 972/517-7800; kidmania.com
The Texas Pool
Dive into the deep end at the “Panhandle” and wade in the water with your toddlers in “South Texas” at this community-run, saltwater pool built in 1961 to be shaped like the Lone Star State. Explore all the corners of Texas during the summer (closed Mondays) and don’t miss special events including mermaid swim classes and holiday weekend cookouts.
901 Springbrook Drive, Plano, 972/881-8392; texaspool.org
MOMS club of Murphy/Sachse
Monthly meetings and guest panels are just a small part of the membership experience—the group also hosts kid-friendly play events plus moms’ night out and family potluck dinners. Visit the website to join the chapter.
Moms & More
This group organizes social events for Wylie moms with children of all ages. Visit the Facebook page to inquire about joining.
Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) of Legacy
Meets the first and third Fridays of the month at 9:30am at Legacy Church. Visit the website to inquire about membership enrollment and fees.
4501 Legacy Drive, Plano; mops.org/groups/legacy-mopsandmore
Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) of Lifepoint Church
Meets the second and fourth Fridays of the month at 9:30am at LifePoint Church. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
4501 Hedgcoxe Road, Plano; lifepointplano.org
North Dallas Mothers of Twins Club
This organization for mothers in Plano, Murphy and beyond meets the first Thursday of every month at Methodist Richardson Medical Center.
2831 E. President George Bush Highway, Richardson; ndmotc.org
Plano Area Mothers of Multiples
The organization offers emotional support and guidance for local families with twins, triplets and more in Frisco, Little Elm and neighborhoods across Collin County. Meetings are the second Tuesday of every month at Medical City of Plano.
3901 W. 15th St., Building III Auditorium, Plano, 214/890-5966; pamom.org