Plano Texas, downtown on a bright sunny morning

#8. Plano

The story of Downtown Plano’s comeback is far from finished. The city began focusing on the redevelopment of this historic center of commerce in the 1990s by building a new city hall, courthouse and fire station. During the 1980s, Downtown Plano’s business scene was sparse, with antiques stores and small clothing boutiques attracting shoppers. The addition of a light rail station connecting Plano to Dallas in 2002 helped get the downtown area back on track. Today, Historic Plano pulsates with a renewed energy that has brought in new offices, retail, restaurants and residents, which earned it a spot on our list of the Best Downtowns.

See where Plano ranks among the 100 Best Places to Live

Many of Plano’s historic buildings have been preserved, giving the town a unique look and vintage appeal. New living options in Downtown Plano, like The Westside, Eastside Village Apartments and Junction 15, are quickly filling up with young families and professionals eager to stay close to the action.


The city’s vacancy rate of 4.8 percent is the lowest of the cities on the Best Downtowns list. They want to live within walking distance of watering holes and places to eat like The Fillmore Pub, Lockhart Smokehouse and Urban Crust, which offer lively scenes on evenings and weekends. Downtown Plano hosts several events each year, including free outdoor concerts, art shows and wine tastings. A scattering of parks and the nearby Oak Point Park and Nature Preserve provide residents with opportunities to enjoy the outdoors.

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