If you’re in search of affluent but affordable neighborhoods, excellent public education, and an authentic downtown feel, look no further. Plano lives up to its reputation as one of the best places to live in Texas. Ranked as a 2016 Top 10 Downtown, Plano has a thriving city center brimming with appealing restaurants, modern office spaces, and a vibrant downtown arts district—all with an authentic Texas architectural flare. Take a wander down Plano’s iconic red brick streets, and you’ll be surprised at how dynamic this North Texas city is!
Plano has no shortage of major events to keep you busy exploring throughout the year. You can join other Plano residents to celebrate the city each year with festivities that feature evening concerts and a wine garden. A testament to Plano’s diverse population, the Plano International Festival is an excellent way to explore the city’s varied cultures. Downtown Plano also features the Interurban Railway Museum and an outstanding selection of authentic Tex-Mex restaurants. If you’re the outdoorsy type or enjoy a short walk and picnic, be sure to visit Arbor Hills Nature Preserve and Oak Point Park, two of the most popular Plano attractions in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.
Welcome to Plano, Texas!
Living in Plano, TX: What to Know Before Moving to Plano
Often considered a satellite city of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, Plano is 20 miles north of downtown Dallas. Home to more than 280,000 residents, Plano is the 9th most populous city in Texas. Plano has a reputation across the metroplex for beautiful neighborhoods, great property value, and excellent public schooling. Ranked by AreaVibes.com, Plano received the award of the Best Place to Live in 2013. In 2016, Plano was named the 3rd Best Place to Live in America by Money Magazine. As Plano grows and develops, it continues to retain many characteristics that earned it these coveted titles. Niche.com ranked Plano the #5 Best City to Live in America in 2019.
PROS and CONS of Living in Plano, TX
- A strong economy and corporate hub
- Excellent public schooling
- Mild winters
- Hot, humid summers
- Extreme weather
- Urban sprawl
- Small downtown
- Income Tax: A benefit of living in the Lone Star State is that there is NO income tax. However, Texas residents can expect to pay more in property and sales tax.
- Property Tax: With regard to property tax, Plano residents pay an average tax rate of 2.1% (Collin County). According to the median home value in Plano of $336,900, Plano residents can expect to pay $7,098 in annual property tax.
- Sales Tax: The general sales tax rate in Plano is 8.25%, the result of a 2% city and special tax rate added to the Texas sales tax rate of 6.25%.
Despite a recent slowdown in the Plano house market linked to broader declines across North Texas, property values across the city remain high. With Plano home values increasing by 1.7% in the previous year, the median home value is $336,900, and the median list price is $389,900 at $151 per square foot. Considering Plano’s list-to-sale price ratio, average time on market, and housing price cuts, Plano is currently a buyer’s market.
61% of Plano residents own their living space while 39% rent. Average rent in Plano is $1,277 per month. Median rent is $2,000 per month, placing it higher than the metroplex median of $1,725 per month. The most affordable neighborhoods to rent in are Audubon Place, Biltmore Swim & Racquet Club, and Breezeway Farms. The most expensive neighborhoods to rent in are Whitestone, Windsor Park, and Wolf Creek Estates.
Cost of Living
The cost of living in Plano is higher than in other cities across Texas and the nation. As a Plano resident, you can expect to pay less for groceries and healthcare and the same as the national averages for utilities and transportation. However, you can expect to pay significantly more on housing relative to the state and national average.
The median income in Plano has grown in recent years and is currently $94,306. According to the EPI Family Budget Calculator, a Plano family of four with two kids should budget $6,783 per month to cover housing, food, child care, transportation, healthcare, taxes, and other necessities. With an aggregate cost of $81,400 per year, a typical family with two working parents can reasonably earn enough to cover annual spending.
Climate and Weather
If you like steamy summers, mild winters, and comfortable spring and autumn months, you’ll love the climate of Plano. Located in North Central Texas, Plano has a humid, subtropical climate. Plano gets an average of 41 inches of rain per year, 3 inches above the national average. Plano receives about 229 days of sun per year relative to the national average of 205 sunny days. Hate long snowy winters? Plano averages only 2 inches of snow per year which rarely lasts more than a few days.
Plano does get some severe weather, often in the form of heavy rain, flooding, hail, and tornadoes. Current high-level storm prediction technology gives you a chance to prepare for severe weather before it strikes. Be sure to stay tuned if severe weather is on the way and
Economy and Job Prospects
With its strong economy, Plano is a prime Texas business location. The City of Plano undertakes a variety of initiatives to encourage new investment and business attraction. Named the Best Texas City to Find Jobs in 2018 by WalletHub, Plano has seen a 3.3% increase in the job market over the last year. Major private employers in Plano include Bank of America, Capital One Finance, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Toyota Motor North America, and Ericsson. Plano is also home to several Fortune 1000 headquarters, including JCPenney and Alliance.
Plano’s unemployment rate is well below the national average at 3%. The city also expects to see its job market increase 44.6% over the next decade, higher than the national average projection of 33.5%. Additionally, median household income has experienced a high growth rate in recent years and is now $94,306.
Traffic and Transportation
Excellent access to air, light rail, rapid transit, and sophisticated road networks sets Plano apart from other cities in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. Plano is 20 minutes from downtown Dallas and only 30 minutes from the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW). The city is also 25 minutes from Dallas Love Field Airport (DAL), and a short drive from other private regional airports in Addison and Collin counties. A perk of living in Plano is that you’re less than 4 hours to every major continental destination in the United States.
North and South access to Plano is available through the Dallas North Tollway and Highway 75. Dallas North Tollway provides access to international business centers in the metroplex and several shopping malls. Highway 75 provides southbound runs to downtown Dallas.
Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) operates public buses and light rail in Plano. DART has numerous stops throughout Dallas and provides access to other suburban areas including Richland, Garland, Carrolton, and Farmer’s Branch.
What to Do
Although sometimes considered a satellite city or suburb of Dallas, Plano itself offers a wide variety of activities and attractions. But, if you find you’re short of things to do in Plano, Dallas is a mere 20 minutes away and offers an even broader array of fun activities and events.
Cuisine and Nightlife
If you’re a fan of great food, Plano is a dining hot spot. Yelp awarded Plano the 4th spot on its list for ‘foodie cities.’ With an incredibly diverse culinary scene, Plano offers much more than Texas barbecue. Whether you want to try authentic Peruvian cuisine or roast pork cooked in a mouthwatering Bavarian style, Plano has a great restaurant waiting to welcome you. Popular spots include Babe’s Chicken Dinner House, the Texas, Lavendou, and the Main Street Deli.
You’ll have no trouble finding exciting nightlife in Plano. The Shops at Legacy offer several great wine bars, an independent cinema, and upscale dining. Also, make sure to tour the East Side Art Gallery and visit a performance at the Courtyard Theatre in downtown. Local Dallas hotspots, such as Uptown Dallas and Deep Ellum also have a variety of popular nightclubs, such as Club Clearview, Curtain Club, Liquid Lounge, Galaxy Club, Club Dada, Trees, and Indigo.
History and Culture
Despite Plano’s booming growth in recent decades, the city abounds with history and culture. The Heritage Farmstead is a historical location that offers visitors a unique glimpse into life on the Backland Prairie. Located near the Legacy Town Center, make sure to visit the Trails in Legacy, a small part of the historic Shawnee Trail.
Downtown Plano is also home to the Interurban Railway Museum, the former primary stop of the Texas Electric Railway that began in 1908, and the Courtyard Theater, a highly popular attraction with Plano residents and home of the Plano Symphony Orchestra.
If you’re looking for something more, downtown Dallas is brimming with a host of other excellent attractions, some of which include the Dallas Museum Art, the Crow Collection of Asian Art, the Nash Sculpture Center, the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza, Klyde Warren Park, and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.
When you feel like getting some fresh air, there’s no shortage of outdoor activities in Plano and the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. Visit the Arbor Hills Nature Preserve with its Backland Prairie and Riparian and Upland forests. Oak Point Park and Nature Preserve is also a popular hiking and walking location for Plano residents. If you prefer to stay close to downtown, Haggard Park is a great green space with a gazebo, picnic tables, and a host of other activities, including live music and festivals.
If you’re feeling adventurous and willing to leave Plano, check out the Texas Parks and Wildlife website. The Metroplex and surrounding area have a wide variety of outdoor locations and activities just for you. These include Cedar Hill State Park, Lake Mineral Wells State Park and Trailway, and Dinosaur Valley State Park.
Worried that Plano lacks a professional sports scene? Worry no more. Although not centered right in Plano, all you have to do is make a short drive to Dallas to cheer on the Dallas Cowboys, Dallas Mavericks, Dallas Stars, Texas Rangers, and FC Dallas. Even for those uninterested in professional sports, the AT&T Stadium in Arlington and the American Airlines Center in Dallas are both worth visiting.
Schools and Universities
The plano.gov website claims that “education is a cornerstone of Plano’s success.” Plano has 101 schools, and in the Plano Independent School District, 23 are National Blue Ribbon Schools. No wonder so many families are attracted to Plano. However, Plano spends $10,972 per student compared to the US average of $12,383, and the average teacher-pupil ratio is 14:1.
Although you won’t find universities or colleges in Plano, the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex is home to a countless number. These include Southern Methodist University, UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas Baptist University, and University of North Texas, Dallas.
Take note of the Plano Public Library System. With a public library located within five miles of every household and providing free access to more than 700,000 books and DVDs, the Plano Public Library System is committed to engaging and educating the Plano community.
Take it from us; it’s much easier to move in when all your utilities are in order. Here’s information about primary utility providers in Plano:
- Electricity: Electricity has been deregulated in most of Texas since 2002. As a result, residents have the option to choose from over 20 certified electricity providers in the Plano area. Visit ChooseEnergy.org to compare primary providers’ prices.
- Gas: AtmosEnergy and CoServ Gas provide natural gas at market prices.
- Water: The North Texas Municipal Water District provides water utilities to the Plano area. Click here for more information.
- Internet and Cable: AT&T and Frontier are the two primary internet, cable, and phone services in Plano.
Best Neighborhoods in Plano, TX
When choosing a neighborhood in Plano, it’s important that you consider safety, median home price, local amenities, and the quality of public schools. Our research has uncovered some of Plano’s most desirable neighborhoods.
Estates of Forest Creek
Located a 20-minute drive from downtown in Northwest Plano, Estates of Forest Creek is an attractive and vibrant neighborhood. Awarded the status of ‘Platinum Neighborhood’ by the City of Plano in 2017, Residents prize Estates Forest Creek for its beauty, safety, and thriving community. Priding itself on its diverse ethnic composition, Estates of Forest Creek is home to young families, empty-nesters, and retirees alike. Estates of Forest Creek is recognized for its serenity and freedom from crime, and the neighborhood is conveniently adjacent to the Plano Police Substation (North).
Estates of Forest Creek is serviced by some of the best public schools in the country. Receiving a coveted 9 or 10 from GreatSchools.org, these schools include Matthews Elementary School, Schimelpfenig Middle School, and Plano Senior High School. Clark High School, which receives a 6/10 from GreatSchools.org, also serves this neighborhood.
At about $137 per square foot, the median list price of Forest Creek homes is $500,000. With a population of 4761 residents, 97% of Estates of Forest Creek residents are homeowners
Forest Creek Estates
Not to be confused with Estates of Forest Creek, Forest Creek Estates is another beautiful Plano neighborhood that received the highly desirable status of ‘Platinum Neighborhood’ from the City of Plano in 2017. Located a 15-minute drive from downtown Plano, Forest Creek Estates has a population of 3,223 residents. Much like Estates of Forest Creek, with its incredibly low relative crime rate, Forest Creek Estates is one of the safest neighborhoods in Plano. Here, median listed home prices are $450,000 at $139 per square foot, and 96% of residents own their home.
According to the neighborhood Homeowners Association, Forest Creek Estates is also dedicated to beautification. Initiatives by the HOA include planting trees along neighborhood streets, construction of a gazebo and playground, and maintenance of common and green areas.
Great for families with children, excellent public schools serve this neighborhood. With schools receiving an 8 or 9 from GreatSchools.org, Forest Creek Estates is zoned for Carlisle Elementary School, Schimelpfenig Middle School, and Plano Senior High School.
Ranked the #1 Best Place to Raise A Family in the Dallas-Fort Worth Area by Niche.com, Timberbrook is a lovely neighborhood located adjacent to Oak Point Park. Timberbrook knocks it out of the park with online ratings of #1 Best Neighborhoods for Young Professionals in Plano, #1 Best Place to Buy a House in Plano, and #1 Best Place to Live in Plano. With a median household income of $116,000, the median home value is $291,230. More than 80% of residents own their home, and 35% of families have children.
Timberbrook is a short distance from The Courses at Watters Creek golf course, the Collin Square Greenbelt, and a short drive from shopping outlets and local businesses. The nationally-acclaimed Plano Independent School District serves most of this neighborhood, but some students attend Alton Boyd Elementary School, a part of the Allen Independent School District. With every school receiving a B+ or above by Niche.com, Timberbrook offers access to great public education.
With stunning curb appeal due to its elegant trees and neat lawns, Glenhollow Estates is another neighborhood that received the coveted status of a ‘Platinum Neighborhood’ by the City of Plano in 2017. Located about 20 minutes from downtown Plano, Glenhollow Estates is nestled between the Arbor Hills Nature Preserve and loads of local amenities, including restaurants, bars, a Cinemark Theater, and the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Plano. This neighborhood’s sidewalks are great for dog walking, and the local homeowner’s association provides free doggie bags around the Coyote Creek Park. The Home Owners Association hosts many fun neighborhood events, including seasonal and summer block parties. Here, house prices range between $400,000 and $500,000. The median list price of homes in Glenhollow Estates is $535,000 at $166 per square feet.
Like other ‘Platinum’ status neighborhoods, Glenhollow Estates has a low relative crime rate and access to great public schooling. With four public schools, Glenhollow Estates students feed into Barksdale Elementary, Renner Middle School, and Plano West Senior High School. Each of these schools receives a 7 or higher from GreatSchools.org. Some students in Glenhollow Estates attend Shepton High School, which receives a 4/10 from GreatSchools.org.
Willow Bend is a highly desirable residential neighborhood in Western Plano. Located near numerous local amenities, Willow Bend residents are a short drive from the Shops at Willow Bend, Preston Park Village, and Berkeley Square. Willow Bend also boasts a gated entrance and easy access to the nearby Gleneagles Country Club, Gleneagles Athletic Club, and myriad greenbelts, public parks, and jogging paths. With a wide range of architectural styles and great sidewalks, the neighborhood is perfect if you’re searching for a single-family home or attached home. Containing more than 1,700 houses, Willow Bend has a typical lot size of .15 to 1 acre. Housing prices range from $599,000 to $5,900,000.
A testament to Willow Bend’s status as a terrific location for families, Willow Bend children attend public schools with nationwide recognition. Part of the Plano Independent School District, these schools include Brinker Elementary School, Renner Middle School, Plano West High School, and Shepton High School, many of which have received National Blue Ribbon Awards.
Identified as a hidden gem by Plano Magazine in 2017, King’s Ridge is highly rated by its residents for its peaceful setting, great location, friendly neighborhoods, and beautiful ponds. Located in far West Plano, King’s Ridge borders the Arbor Hills Nature Preserve and has nearby access to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Plano and numerous shopping outlets along Communications Parkway. In 2016, King’s Ridge was bestowed ‘Platinum’ status by the City of Plano, particularly for the efforts by the King’s Ridge Homeowners Association to boost its engagement with residents through community events. Recognized for its beauty, King’s Ridge also features two fountain ponds, hilly vistas, and tree-lined walkways. The median list price of homes in King’s Ridge is $574,950 at a median price per square foot of $169.
Unlike many other Plano neighborhoods, King’s Ridge is serviced in part by the Lewisville Independent School District. A premier school district in Texas, schools in the immediate area include Tom Hicks Elementary School, receiving a coveted 9/10 from GreatSchools.org, Arbor Creek Middle School, receiving an 8/10, and Hebron High School, receiving a 7/10. For information regarding schools servicing King’s Ridge, visit their HOA page.
Pitman Creek Estates
A hotspot for house-flipping in the past decade, Pitman Creek Estates is another hidden gem of Plano. A well-established community perfect for those in search of single-family homes, Pitman Creek Estates features large homes at reasonable prices. Located in Central Plano, Pitman Creek Estates is a short drive from great shopping outlets, plenty of fast food restaurants, and the Heritage Farmstead Museum. The neighborhood is also near the Collin Creek Mall, which is currently under major redevelopment. Not only is Pitman Creek Estates located near great local amenities, but the neighborhood also has easy nearby access to Plano’s biggest freeways.
Serviced by schools in the Plano Independent School District, Pitman Creek Estates has access to strong public schooling. The median sale price of Pitman Creek Estates homes is $399,000 at $125 per square foot.
Lakeside on Preston
Lakeside on Preston is a stunning neighborhood with beautiful architectural designs, wonderful landscaping, lush lawns, and excellent sidewalks. Considered one of the best neighborhoods in the Dallas-Fort Worth Area, Lakeside on Preston has unbeatable local amenities. Whether you prefer a morning jog or to relax by a pool, Preston on Lakeside boasts access to a community clubhouse, neighborhood swimming pool, tennis and basketball courts, a private 15-acre park, jogging trails, a creek, and much more. A newer community of Plano, Lakeside on Preston features large, competitively priced homes. The median sale price of homes in Lakeside on Preston is $825,000 at $215 per square foot.
Residents of this community have access to top-rated public schools, that are part of the Plano Independent School District.
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