A not-so-sleepy suburban haven.
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1. Kelly’s Eastside isn’t just a great spot to watch the game or listen to live music on the patio—it’s also family-friendly. Owners Tim and Carin Kelly (he’s a loyal Aggie) have one of the nicest staffs in town, and they serve up hand-breaded chicken-fried steak and juicy wood-grilled burgers. The only downside? When Texas A&M doesn’t win. 1422 Avenue K, 972-424-9200
2. A staple since 1982, Queen of Hearts Magic and Costume Shop has nothing up its sleeve—just professional magicians with a passion for improving your hocus-pocus. But it has also made Halloween a heck of a lot more fun with its costume rentals. The store’s motto says it all: “If we don’t have it, you won’t find it.” 1032 E. Fifteenth, 972-578-1969
3. The ArtCentre of Plano’s bright and airy space is perfect for exhibits and special events. A recent show featured the energetic, colorful paintings of Julio Suarez. This month the gallery will display pieces from the Texas Visual Arts Association. Kids will love the behind-the-scenes tours; parents will enjoy the lectures from featured artists. 1039 E. Fifteenth, 972-423-7809
4. If you’re on the hunt for a gift that doesn’t scream “ordinary,” Tuscan Lights offers a gorgeous array of carved candle holders. Though they look like large luminarias, they are made from honeycomb calcite that’s mined in Utah and crafted in Texas. If that doesn’t turn you on, the store also sells one-of-a-kind wine racks. 1018 E. Fifteenth, 972-881-5225
5. With its hodgepodge of gifts and knickknacks, Nooks ’N Krannies is the kind of place your mother and grandmother would love. Peruse the Vera Bradley bags, Brio train sets, and Madame Alexander Dolls (Southern Belle or Sugar Plum Fairy, for example), then wander to the back for a proper lunch at the Into My Garden Tea Room. 1017 E. Fifteenth, 972-578-7062
6. A Toast to Texas Int’l Wine Shoppe isn’t the largest store of its kind, but few have the same enthusiasm. The in-house oenophiles love to talk about Rieslings, cabernets, and the occasional Shiner Bock (hey, they love beer too). The intimate wine-tasting events are a must, as are the hand-painted glasses for your personal collection. 1016 E. Fifteenth, 972-325-4047
7. You’ll certainly get your fill at the Fillmore Pub: The menu ranges from a Guinness-cheddar cheeseburger to a pan-seared pork tenderloin. And over a game of darts in the corner, you can choose from ten draft beers (Franconia Wheat!) or try one of the bottled varieties—fourteen from Belgium and nine from England. 1004 E. Fifteenth, 972-423-2400
8. Founded in 1928, Haggard Park remains popular with the little ones (who have two playscapes to choose from), young sweethearts (who have benches to smooch on), brides and grooms (who use the gazebo to pose for photos), families on picnics (who have massive trees to sit under), and gray-haired couples (who have paths to stroll along). Entrance on E. Fifteenth
9. No, downtown Plano isn’t all about shopping. Eisenbergs Skatepark, which occupies an old lumberyard, features two massive indoor ramp sections, the Pro Course and the Cage. If your aspiring Tony Hawk needs some help, never fear: Lessons and camps are affordable and convenient. Oh, to be sixteen again. 930 E. Fifteenth, 972-509-7725
10. No need to crisscross the state for Pecos cantaloupes, Jacksonville tomatoes, or Parker County peaches. Georgia’s Farmer’s Market boasts all the finest produce, with tempting specials ($2.49 a pound for bing cherries!). Throw in a mother lode of natural dressings and gourmet coffee beans, and you’ll vow to cut up your Kroger Plus card. 916 E. Fifteenth, 972-516-4765