by Jennifer Lee | October 01, 2017
About 20 miles north of Dallas, the city of Plano is an ideal site for the upcoming Meetings Quest educational and networking event, to be held Dec. 5-6 at the Renaissance Dallas at Plano Legacy West Hotel. Hosted by Visit Plano and presented by the Northstar Meetings Group (M&C's parent company), the event will demonstrate why conferences, trade shows and meetings of every size and scope are welcomed here, supported by a Texas-size helping of attentive care and a hospitality infrastructure that includes 380,000 square feet of meeting space and some 45 hotels with 5,400 guest rooms.

A mix of modern luxury and vintage charm, Plano offers plenty of after-hours leisure and entertainment options. Visitors also can roam the brick-lined streets of the historic Downtown Arts District, where buildings dating back more than a century house restaurants, boutiques and galleries.

Plano's location enables easy access to the area's professional sports, theaters, museums and famed Southfork Ranch. Getting here is a breeze, thanks to close proximity to both Dallas Fort Worth International and Dallas Love Field airports. DART (Dallas Area Rapid Transit) takes visitors to and from DFW airport, as well as downtown Dallas and beyond.

Refreshed meeting space

The Plano Event Center recently wrapped up a $2.5 million renovation. Among the latest updates are new carpeting and furnishings and dramatic new chandeliers. The 86,400-square-foot venue provides flexible function space hosting up to 5,000 people. The exhibition hall offers 21,600 square feet of column-free space, a master stage, and high dock- and street-level move-in access; 14 additional breakout rooms are available as well. Amenities include on-site catering and audiovisual teams, free parking and free public WiFi.

New shopping and dining
Legacy West, which opened in June 2017, is a "city within a city," the largest mixed-use destination in North Texas and an ideal place to play, shop, dine and stay. The 255-acre development has 415,000 square feet of open-air retail and restaurant space.

While Plano has always been known for a vibrant restaurant scene that includes the likes of Whiskey Cake, Jasper's, Sixty Vines, Kenny's Smokehouse, Cru Food & Wine Bar, Mexican Sugar and many more, these signature eateries now are joined by a new selection at Legacy West, including Legacy Hall. This artisanal food hall allows visitors to wander from stall to stall to meet local purveyors and sample everything from lobster rolls to Philly cheesesteaks. There's also an on-site brewery and a live music stage.

Offerings at the neighboring Shops at Legacy run the gamut from fashion to furnishings to cosmetics and even cars (Hint: Tesla).

The hotel scene
Legacy West is anchored by the new Renaissance Dallas at Plano Legacy West Hotel. The 15-story, 304-room luxury property has more than 26,000 square feet of conference and meeting space. Features include a high-energy lobby and bar, an on-site Asian fusion restaurant, a third-floor amenity deck with swimming pool, a bar concierge lounge, a fitness center and outdoor event space.

Plano's new mixed-use Legency
West complex
The newly minted Renaissance is just one of many inviting lodging options in Plano. Surrounded by scenic parks and water features, the 404-room Marriott Dallas/Plano at Legacy Town Center is within walking distance of a variety of venues including upscale shopping, fine dining and entertainment. This luxury, full-service property has 32,000 square feet of banquet/meeting space. Amenities include an outdoor heated pool and whirlpool, a fitness center and concierge service to arrange appointments for activities ranging from spa treatments to golf outings.

The 299-room Hilton Dallas/Plano Granite Park is a full-service convention hotel featuring a 30,000-square-foot conference center, two ballrooms, an executive lounge, a 24-hour fitness center, a resort-style outdoor pool and the Carso Mediterranean Grill.

The Hilton overlooks the Boardwalk at Granite Park, a new 30,000-square-foot expanse of waterfront-patio restaurants, where guests can relax in beachy deck chairs and enjoy classic eats from Chips Old Fashioned Hamburgers, Southern-style seafood from Hook Line & Sinker, and brews and craft pizza from Union Bear.

Other attractions
Pinstack is not only the place to bowl, it also has LED-lit rock-climbing and interactive games, along with a chef-driven menu, craft cocktails, wines and beers on tap, and a gelato bar.

Visitors can enjoy a trail ride at Southfork Ranch, home of TV's fictional Ewing clan, or simply go Longhorn (cattle) spotting.

Plano also has miles and miles of biking and hiking trails, and for those who prefer to go airborne, Go Ape! Treetop Adventure Course offers an exhilarating zipline experience in Oak Point Preserve, also home of the iconic Plano Balloon Festival, an annual September event.   

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