Janel Chu and her husband Edwin are Texas natives who moved around for school and work. When it came time to settle down, the Lone Star State was their choice—and Plano was the perfect combination of job opportunities and a family-friendly environment. Chu (now a stay-at-home mom) and Edwin (a physician) are loving life on the city’s west side with their 3½-year-old son Nathaniel and his 10-month-old brother Jameson.
Favorite family restaurant Bellagreen at Park and Preston. The food is yummy—plus, we love the little green space and patio area. The management is also very friendly, and they’ve had some fun kid-friendly events.
Bellagreen // 2408 Preston Road, Suite A, Plano (more DFW locations)
Best park Windhaven Park. We love throwing the kids in a jogging stroller and going for a run to this park. The playground is so big, has the nice cushy foam ground and will have a splash pad in the future! The trails are also great for exploring nature. Our family picture was taken here!
Windhaven Park // 3300 Clark Parkway, Plano
Favorite family outing Our tried-and-true family outing, pre-pandemic, would be going to Central Market! We can get groceries, check out wines, browse the yummy bakery goods, grab prepared foods and eat a meal—and of course, let the kids enjoy the playground.
Other great kid-friendly places and play centers include Crayola Experience at Willow Bend mall, Safari Run, Cheeky Monkeys and Kids Castle. And if we want to change things up, we are just a quick drive down the tollway from the Dallas Zoo or up 121 to the Heard nature preserve.
Central Market // 320 Coit Road, Plano (more DFW locations)
Crayola Experience // 6121 W. Park Blvd., Suite A100, Plano
Safari Run play center // 2300 Coit Road, Suite 300, Plano
Cheeky Monkeys play center // 8300 Preston Road, Suite 150, Plano (additional DFW location)
Kids Castle play center // 3304 Coit Road, Suite 700, Plano
Dallas Zoo // 650 S. R.L. Thornton Freeway, Dallas
Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary // 1 Nature Place, McKinney
For a night out For date nights or girls nights, anything in Legacy West is great. We love Bulla Gastrobar, and Legacy West has plenty to see for walking around after dinner. If I’m meeting up for a girls night, it’s usually a good middle point for everyone, with enough options to cover everyone’s preferences.
Legacy West // 7700 Windrose Ave., Plano
Self-care spot Self-care as a mom of small kids is tough! But probably a pedicure at Lavender Nail Bar, because they’re great and open late—so you can escape after the kids are in bed!
Lavender Nail Bar // 8240 Preston Road, Suite 140; Plano
Go-to for getting active Fit4Mom West Plano. Pre-pandemic, it was the best way for me to get out of the house for a workout and be able to bring my kids.
Fit4Mom // Classes across Plano and more DFW locations
For cooling off We love hitting up JuiceLand for some yummy drinks and their little kids area. And when it’s time for some water fun, we love the splash pad and toddler areas at Muehlenbeck Rec Center.
How they give back We attend Chase Oaks Church, and one of the things that initially drew us to attend this church was how committed the church was to serving and giving back to the community in practical and intentional ways.
Chase Oaks Church // 281 Legacy Drive, Plano (more DFW campuses)
How she found her mom squad I have loved meeting moms from the Texas Health Presby Plano Mommy Mixer and Fit4Mom West Plano! The moms I met at Presby Plano Mommy Mixer, when my 3½-year-old was an infant, were my first mom friends! We still meet up now, 3 years later. And I have loved being a part of the Fit4Mom village. All the moms are there to stay active and build relationships and support each other.
Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Plano // 6200 W. Parker Road, Plano; search “Mommy Mixers” on texashealth.org
Why West Plano is great for families We love our area of Plano because there is just so much to do! So many restaurants, attractions and shopping within 10 minutes of my house. And everything is very kid friendly.
Photo courtesy of Dani Pruett.