Plano continues to capture the country’s attention as an arts and culture destination in Texas. Established in 2016 by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Historic Downtown Plano Arts District is home to several performing arts venues, historic buildings reflecting the Commercial Plains style, bon vivant boutiques, eclectic restaurants, and original brick streets. With so much to see and experience in the Downtown Plano Arts District, you’ll want to make Plano a multiday destination for discovery.
Art and History Spaces
From galleries and theaters to event centers and public parks, downtown Plano offers dynamic places to witness art in all its forms.
Amphitheater at Oak Point Park
You can find the Amphitheater at Oak Point Park tucked among the picturesque Oak Point Nature Preserve’s scenic splendor. Since it accommodates 2,000 guests on its grass-covered landing areas, the amphitheater hosts outdoor concerts and festivals that attract people from across the Plano community and beyond.
The state-of-the-art, 321-seat Courtyard Theater also contains a large gallery space and reception hall that host theatrical performances, dance and music, visual art shows, and lectures.
Initially serving as the gymnasium for Plano’s Cox High School, the 1938-era facility received a $4.6 million restoration in 1999. Today, the venue blends historic charm with modern features that create a close connection with audiences.
A companion to the Courtyard Theater, the Cox Playhouse is a black-box theater that accommodates between 80 and 100 guests. Recitals, receptions, stage plays, and more bring the Plano community together to enjoy intimate performances.
The Cox Playhouse is on the bottom floor of the Plano Independent School District’s Cox building.
Haggard Bandstand and Park
Haggard Park in downtown Plano provides an attractive place for open-air entertainment, celebrations, and ceremonies. Located a short distance from Plano’s performing arts and entertainment venues, Haggard Park also offers a charming bandstand that serves as the park’s focal point.
Interurban Railway Museum
Serving as a free historical museum and visitor center in Plano, the Interurban Railway Museum showcases exhibitions on electricity, science, Plano’s heritage, and the Texas Electric Railway’s history. The building itself was originally the Plano Station for the Texas Electric Railway from 1908 to 1948.
Museum staff members offer tours of its Historic Car 360. This historic railroad car was part of the Texas Electric Railway and served as both a passenger car and mail delivery vehicle for the Denison to Dallas mail transportation line.
The museum is exhibiting an outdoor “Mayhem on the Interurban,” which interprets the stories of the crimes and disasters that occurred on Texas’ interurban rail systems.
McCall Plaza, a multiuse outdoor performance space, features an outdoor stage designed to accommodate live entertainment and musical performances. McCall Plaza is only steps away from busy Plano restaurants, galleries, pubs, retail shops, and the DART light rail station.
Built in 1906, the Saigling House is at the corner of H and 16th avenues in Plano’s Haggard Park. This historic 4,000-square-foot home has been carefully restored and repurposed as an arts hub in the Plano community. Today, the Saigling House is a base for the arts through the city’s partnership with the Art Centre of Plano.
The outdoor garden space serves as an intimate setting for private parties, lectures, receptions, and weddings.
You can always find an occasion to celebrate in the Downtown Plano Arts District. The following activities represent only a few of the many annual events held in Plano.
Art & Wine Walk
Unwind from your stresses and enjoy some wine and good company at this sip-and-shop event held each second Thursday of every month from April to December. Guests sample selected wines from their favorite businesses while enjoying live music, curated art exhibitions, and special retailer discounts.
Plano International Festival
Explore Plano’s diverse cultural traditions through sights, sounds, and tastes. Hosted in Haggard Park, the Plano International Festival includes programming such as an international art exhibit, multicultural dance and music performances, an international fashion show, and educational children’s activities. An ethnic food court offers culinary bites and delights from around the world.
Salt the Rim
Cinco de Mayo kicks off on a festive note with Plano’s Salt the Rim margarita-tasting celebration. Featuring live music performances and beverage samplings, Salt the Rim offers mariachi music and merriment for festivalgoers. Vote for the best margarita served by downtown Plano’s bars.
Hosted by the Historic Downtown Plano Association, Steinfest presents the best beer, food, and plenty of polka music to get you up and dancing at this Oktoberfest-style event. Stroll through downtown Plano as you sample German-inspired cuisine. Visit the artist village featuring the works of fine craftspeople and artisans. If you’re looking for some fun entertainment, enter your pet in the canine fashion show, test the strength of your stomach in the bratwurst eating contest, or try your hand at keg bowling and giant beer pong.
Urban Movement Festival
Downtown Plano’s Urban Movement Festival brings the culture of the underground hip-hop movement to McCall Plaza. This all-ages event offers family entertainment with friendly competition. Witness performing artists participating in two versus two dance battles and dance team showcases. The event, which aims to create a safe environment for young adults to compete and display their hip-hop dance talents, attracts attendees and young adult competitors from across Texas and surrounding states.
With its history of supporting the arts and cultural opportunities for creatives, the Historic Downtown Plano Arts District delivers a dynamic mix of arts, food, history, and shops worthy of exploring throughout the year. Through community events and programming, residents and visitors can experience this contemporary city’s flavor and the core of its robust arts community.
Huffines Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram Plano is pleased to serve this community with excellent service from friendly staff. No matter where your travels may take you in and around Plano to explore its arts and culture, enjoy the journey in a new or used vehicle. Visit our dealer showroom at 4500 W. Plano Parkway or call us at 972-867-6000.
Image via Unsplash by isaw