Welcome to the Neighborhood
Whether slurping a summer treat from Frisco’s famed Snow Cone Lady or tasting your way around the food hall at Legacy West, you’ll get a true taste of suburban Texas, both old and new—but mainly a whole lotta new. Thanks in part to Toyota, the Cowboys, et al. moving in, areas around the Dallas North Tollway are some of the fastest-growing in the nation—and many of the newcomers are families who want a Highland Park-esque lifestyle in a more suburban setting. The population boom has accompanied an explosion of upscale amenities and shopping developments, from Legacy West to The Star, the Cowboys’ new home in Frisco that hosts high school football games (indoors!) and boasts an entertainment center with kid-approved restaurants. The list of reasons families love living here goes on: two more professional sports stadiums (soccer and minor league baseball) that cater to families, city-run rec centers with indoor-outdoor water parks, high-achieving schools, tons of extracurricular options for kids, direct access to museums and Mavs games in Dallas via the Tollway … you get the gist. If all that sounds a little too busy, Little Elm maintains some small-town detachment on the shores of Lake Lewisville, and the housing prices are more reasonable for parents seeking a short commute to Frisco or Plano.
42 elementary schools; 17 middle schools; 10 high schools
Little Elm ISD
5 elementary schools; 1 K–8 school; 2 middle schools; 1 high school
44 elementary schools; 13 middle schools; 8 high schools; 4 senior high schools
Blue Ribbon Schools
Frisco (Frisco ISD)
Claude Curtsinger Elementary School, 2006
Noel A. Smith Elementary School, 2006
Prince of Peace Catholic School, 2006; 2016
Plano (Plano ISD)
Huffman Elementary School, 1991-92
Brinker Elementary School, 1996-97
Renner Middle School, 1994-96
Frisco Public Library
Open daily; Monday–Thursday open till 9pm
6101 Frisco Square Blvd., Frisco, 972/292-5669; friscolibrary.com
Little Elm Public Library
Open daily; open till 8pm Monday–Thursday
100 W. Eldorado Parkway, Little Elm, 214/975-0430; littleelmlibrary.org
Open daily; Monday–Thursday open till 9pm
6200 Windhaven Parkway, Plano, 972/769-4300; planolibrary.org
Health & Fitness 101
Frisco Athletic Center and Water Park
Bring the kids to this two-story rec center any time of year for swimming at the Indoor Aquatic Center or the outdoor water park. Need child care? Drop them off at the Fun Club for ages 8 weeks–7 years or the Youth Zone for 8–12 years.
5828 Nancy Jane Lane, Frisco, 972/292-6600; friscofun.org/fac
Frisco Family YMCA
3415 W. Main St., Frisco, 214/297-9622; ymcadallas.org
Frisco ISD Natatorium
5515 Ohio Drive, Frisco, 469/633-6160; friscoisd.org/ly/natatorium
Little Elm Recreation Center
303 Main St., Little Elm, 972/731-3277; littleelm.org
Tom Muehlenbeck Recreation Center
5801 W. Parker Road, Plano, 972/769-4404; planoparks.org
Arbor Hills Nature Preserve
Follow the roughly 10 miles of paved and natural surface trails (including off-road cycling trails on the south end) for one of your best chances to see wildlife in Plano. A trek out to the observation tower is a must-do, and playgrounds and restrooms sit close to the parking lot.
6701 W. Parker Road, Plano, 972/941-7250; planoparks.org
Frisco Fresh Market
This new outdoor market opened June 2018 with fresh produce and locally sourced foods from 92 vendors. The market plans to be open year-round Thursday–Sunday. Keep an eye out for restaurants and a park opening early 2019 for phase two and an indoor market coming late 2019 or early 2020.
9215 John W. Elliott Drive, Frisco, 844/776-2753; friscofreshmarket.com
Frisco Rotary Farmers Market
Saturday morning concerts and festivites make this farmers market a great place for family fun, all while shopping for local produce. Open every Saturday April–October, 8am–12pm.
8821 Fourth St., Frisco, 214/417-5049; friscorotaryfarmersmarket.com
The Lakefront at Little Elm
Spend your daycation at this public beach park (shaped with imported sand) with a roped-off swimming area, kayak and bike rentals, sand volleyball courts and a covered playground. $10 per car for weekend parking Memorial Day through Labor Day.
701 W. Eldorado Parkway, Little Elm, 972/731-3296; lakefrontlittleelm.com
Red Tent Farmers Market at The Shops at Willow Bend
Year-round every Saturday from 9am–2pm.
6121 W. Park Blvd., Plano, 972/965-1144; redtentmarket.net
EQ Kids Club
Kids can play in an augmented reality sandbox and pretend they’re camping, making pizza or driving a Jeep on safari at this indoor creative playspace for age 8 and younger.
Frisco families can cool off at one of three city-run spraygrounds. Frisco Commons Spray Park features spray archways, oversize water guns, geysers, tipping buckets and more. For more ways to beat the heat around town, explore the free splash zones at JR Newman Spray Park and Shepherd’s Glen Spray Park.
800 McKinney Road, Frisco
8211 Twin Falls Drive, Frisco
When sun, rain or freezing temps keep you inside, head to Prestonwood Baptist Church’s funky indoor play maze, located to the right when you go in the main entrance. Open to kids 10 and younger (with socks, please) from 9am–4pm every week day.
6801 W. Park Blvd., Plano, 972/820-5000; prestonwood.org
Little Elm Splash Pad
Bring the kids to cool off in the summer at the water playground with ground sprays, a slide and towering flower stems that squirt water. For another adventure, hike or bike the approximate 4-mile lakefront trail around Lewisville Lake all the way around to Beard Park.
1001 Witt Road, Little Elm, 972/731-3296; littleelm.org
Snow Cone Lady
Come summertime, you cannot skip a visit to Frisco celebrity Mary Mathis. For the past four decades, Mathis has run the seasonal stand, where Collin County residents can enjoy (weather permitting) over 50 flavors. Small cups run two bucks, and large servings are just 25 cents more.
6427 Elm St., Frisco; facebook.com/frisco-snow-cone-lady
Play Street Museums
Designed for kiddos 8 and younger, these two indoor play spaces each have a theme (Town Square in Frisco and Great Outdoors in Plano) with props, playhouses and costumes to match.
5729 Lebanon Road, Suite 120, Frisco // 5964 W. Parker Road, Suite 120, Plano, 469/362-8624; playstreetmuseum.com
Moms Club of Plano West
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.
Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) at Crossridge Church
Monthly meetings occur the first and third Fridays from 9:30–11am at CrossPoint Church in Little Elm. Contact mops@crclife. org for more information about enrollment.
1701 Walker Lane, Little Elm; mops.crossridgelife.org.
Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) of Frisco
Drop by Frisco’s First United Methodist Church on the second and fourth Mondays of the month from 9:30– 11:30am to take part in the local MOPS chapter. Additional MOPS gatherings can be found at First Baptist Frisco, which also offers a MOMSnext group for women with school-age children. Visit the website for meeting information.
First United Methodist Church, 7659 Preston Road, Frisco, 972/335-4380; mops.org // First Baptist Frisco, 7901 Main St., Frisco,
Plano Area Mothers of Multiples
Meetings are the second Tuesday of every month at Medical City of Plano. Visit the website for membership information.
3901 W. 15th St., Building III Auditorium, Plano, 2124/890-5966; pamom.org