The Newcomers' Guide to Frisco!Jul 26, 2017 ● By Allie Spletter
Establishing your social roots in Frisco might seem like a gigantic task, but we have unbelievable opportunities for all walks of life, throughout the city. We want to make sure you know about all of them! Whether “socializing” to you is time spent at a hip, new restaurant, perusing the aisles of the hottest stores or simply spending time soaking up the summer sun in the great outdoors, Frisco has various destinations that will perfectly accommodate your interests. Though the city’s physical appearance has changed drastically over the years, in the eyes of native Friscoans, new residents have a lot to learn about our “small town big city,” given that there are so many things to see, places to visit, restaurants to try and events to attend.
The city has taken great strides to make Frisco a navigable and visitor/newcomer-friendly spot. In doing so, the Frisco Convention and Visitor’s Bureau (CVB), alongside the City, the Arts Board, City Managers and other city staff, implemented a unique wayfinding system of 130 signs around the city that include highway, roadway and parking signs to grab the attention of drivers from major highways. The signs are split between defined Stonebriar and Center City Districts. In addition to the wayfinding signs, there are pedestrian kiosks scattered across Frisco that help tell Frisco’s story. “We needed to be prepared to help folks easily navigate the city to find not only the larger, more visible attractions, but also those off the beaten path,” explains Marla Roe, the executive director of the Frisco CVB. She continues, “The signs and kiosks speak to our history, with the railroad ties for the posts and the unique curved steel that mirrors our Heritage Museum. They are poised for growth, with the ability to add another sign as we add new attractions that qualify. We work to constantly drive economic impact into the city through tourism, which can include meetings, conventions, sporting events and leisure travelers.” While new residents might find Frisco a bit intimidating, given its size and the number of things to do, the wayfinding signs are a great tool for all.
To help Frisco’s newcomers get a real sense of their special surroundings, Frisco STYLE has followed the lead of the way-finding signs and broken the city up into distinct areas of interest, including the City Center District, the Downtown District, the Stonebriar District, the North Frisco District, the West Frisco District and the East Frisco District. Each area of the city is home to a variety of entertainment attractions, restaurants and events, and each plays a pivotal role in making Frisco what it is today. Buckle up! We are taking readers on a whirlwind tour to get you plugged into the local social scene.
THE CENTER CITY DISTRICT The Center City District is in the heart of Frisco and runs along the Dallas North Tollway and Main Street, roughly between Stonebrook and Eldorado Parkways. The Center City District is home to Frisco Square, where there are great restaurants and popular events held each year.
Whether you are in the mood for Mexican, Italian, Thai or Creole food, Frisco Square has something for everyone. Try a decadent pasta dish at Tavolo Italia, a sophisticated yet urban Italian eatery, sip the perfect margarita at Mattito’s Tex-Mex, sample an array of Thai dishes at family-owned Best Thai, get a taste of the “Big Easy” at Nola Grill, or even let your taste buds dance to the authentic Italian flavors and ingredients used at Pizzaria Testa, while the kiddos play on the lawn in front of City Hall. For one of the more unique dining experiences in Frisco, head to @nerdvana, where you can enjoy dinner and drinks while playing video games, right at your table. Head next door for an after-dinner coffee and enjoy the simple charm of playing a board game while you sip on a delicious drink.
Just as there is no shortage of eclectic dining options in the Center City District, many of Frisco’s most beloved, annual events are held in Frisco Square, including Arts in the Square, an outdoor arts festival, held each spring, featuring local and regional artists’ work. Frisco’s traditional Frisco Freedom Fest is another favorite, where residents bring family and friends to enjoy food, fun, music, an FC Dallas game and fireworks at one of North Texas’ biggest Fourth of July celebrations. Frisco Square is also home to Music in the Square, held Friday nights in June, for residents to enjoy music from live bands, in front of City Hall on the Simpson Plaza lawn. And there’s Frisco’s famous Christmas in the Square, a yearly highlight that attracts more than 675,000 visitors, featuring holiday lights and music choreographed by Frisco’s own Jeff Trykoski.
Within the Center City District Frisco’s art and museums are also a popular draw. Visit the Museum of the American Railroad, celebrating the heritage and future of railroads; discover your inner scientist with hands-on experiences at Frisco’s SciTech Discovery Center; and, pay homage to a childhood pastime at the National Video Game Museum. You can even tour historical homes and explore Frisco’s rich history at the one-of-a-kind Heritage Center.
Within this area, there are plenty of choices when it comes to residents practicing their faiths, including Grace Church, the Islamic Center of Frisco, the MTO Shahmaghsoudi, Shawnee Trail Church of Christ, Gateway Church or St. Philip’s Episcopal Church.
Those who love a good adventure can test their aim at North Texas’ premier luxury gun club, Frisco Gun Club, jump behind the wheel of an electric indoor go kart at Pole Position Raceway, fly high at Urban Air Trampoline Park or even try your hand at rock climbing at Canyons Rock Climbing. For more family fun, Main Event is a popular entertainment destination or you can catch a movie at Cinemark Frisco Square and XD.
THE DOWNTOWN DISTRICT Downtown Frisco, located primarily along Main Street, between the Dallas North Tollway and Preston Road, is where the roots of our city were firmly planted and cultivated more than 100 years ago. Its charm and character are what make Frisco so different. This area of town is still home to many historical houses that were built in our city’s infancy. If you are up early and on the move in the downtown district, visit the historic Depot Café or 5th Street Patio Café to have some of the best breakfast dishes around, or enjoy a cup of coffee at Summer Moon, Frisco’s newest downtown coffee spot. For a great outdoor dining spot or hangout with live music and drinks, head over to the Frisco Railyard, featuring food trucks and a full bar. Grab the kids and cool off with a snow cone from the Snow Cone Lady, whose shack is open seasonally and draws long lines for her cold, famous treats. Babe’s Chicken Dinner House serves up some of the best fried chicken and home cookin’ you can find (ever), Randy’s Steakhouse is a local and historic favorite, housed in one of Frisco’s oldest homes, and Eight 11 Place is a quaint spot to enjoy a glass of wine with friends in an outdoor, backyard setting (complete with viewings of “The Bachelor” on select Monday evenings).
Downtown has adorable and convenient shopping located right on Main Street, whether you are looking for trendy boutique clothes or even a wedding dress! Blue Door Boutique, Twisted Simplicity and Sunny Paige each offer cute clothing and accessories, while Lillian Welch boasts vintage home décor and gifts. The Blushing Bride Boutique offers designer wedding dresses, discounted gowns and other exclusive formal attire. The Frisco Community Parade is held each fall to celebrate schools and community and the Frisco StrEATs Festival, held each April, features an afternoon of culinary experiences, fun and food trucks. Every Saturday from May through October, get your fresh vegetables and various other homemade foods and crafts at the Frisco Rotary Farmers’ Market, on 4th Street between Main and Elm Streets. Countdown 2 Escape, new to the entertainment scene, is quickly gaining popularity, allowing patrons to participate in an Escape Room experience. Located at the Central Fire Station at Main Street and Gary Burns Drive, Frisco Fire Safety Town is an educational destination where you and your family can spend the day brushing up on important safety skills.
Downtown is also home to Frisco’s First Baptist Church, a wonderful and welcoming destination for your family to fellowship on Sunday mornings. Other places of worship include Cornerstone Community Church, True North Church and Liberty Baptist Church.
THE STONEBRIAR DISTRICT The Stonebriar District is where much of the city’s hustle and bustle takes place! This pop- ular section of the city sits along Sam Rayburn Tollway and extends north to Warren Park- way, between Legacy Drive and Preston Road. Whether you are fueling up before a big day of shopping or headed out for a night on the town, there are tons of dining options that are sure to please everyone in your party. Head over to La Hacienda Ranch, known for owner Mariano Martinez’s invention of the Frozen Margarita Machine, to enjoy a steak or a Tex-Mex lunch in the rustic ranch house atmosphere. Your group can hang in the shade on the patio at Gloria’s Latin Cuisine while the kids play on the lawn. You may decide to go all out and try one of Perry’s Steakhouse’s famous pork chops or steaks or soak in the energetic atmosphere and eclectic menu options at TruFire Grill. If you are brave enough to try a little moonshine, grab a table for happy hour at Mash’d, a trendy gastropub featuring great cocktails and a global menu. Estilo Gaucho Brazilian Steakhouse is an all-you-can-eat option for skewered and roasted meats carved table-side. Just across the Tollway, you will find Silver Fox Steakhouse, another fantastic option for a great steak in the area. There is also Bonnie Ruth’s Patisserie, a French pastry shop, old-fashioned bar and café, and Crudo, an Italian-Mediterranean bistro featuring wood-fired pizza.
Frisco is home to Dallas/Fort Worth’s only IKEA store, featuring ready-to-assemble furniture in its huge warehouse store near Stonebriar Centre, a popular shopping mall that boasts an array of stores and restaurants, as well as AMC Stonebriar movie theater, The Cheesecake Factory and Dave & Buster’s. If you find yourself doing some last-minute shopping around the holidays, do not miss the annual Santa drop! The Centre at Preston Ridge is another great shopping and dining option, located just north of Stonebriar Centre, featuring more than 100 stores and dining options. The Shops at Starwood sits just across the tollway, on the southwest corner of the Tollway and Lebanon Road.
This district is also home to the Texas Sculpture Garden at HALL Park that celebrates the work of many Texas artists. Throughout HALL Park, significant works of art can be found on the grounds and within building lobbies, as more than 150 pieces, created by artists from all over the world, are on display, including drawings, sketches, sculptures, paintings, glass art and photography. Additionally, the Frisco Fine Art Gallery features art pieces from local and emerging artists that create contemporary, traditional and master works of art. Frisco’s Central Park is the site of a large art instillation called “Cattle Drive,” featuring life-size statues and murals that pay homage to 19th century cattle drives along the Shawnee Trail.
If your family is looking for meaning and inspiration, consider attending a service at Stonebriar Community Church or Providence Church.
One of Frisco’s newest venues, The Ford Center at the Star, is a 12,000-seat indoor stadium and athletic facility shared by The Dallas Cowboys, the Frisco ISD and the City of Frisco. Close by is the family-friendly Dr Pepper Ballpark, home to the Frisco RoughRiders, the Class AA affiliate baseball club of the Texas Rangers. Just north of the ballpark is Dr Pepper Arena, home court to the Texas Legends, part of the National Basketball Association Development League. Additional destinations of note in this district include the Frisco Convention and Visitor’s Bureau and the Embassy Suites and Frisco Conference Center.
You and your golf buddies can squeeze in a round of golf at the Westin Stonebriar Golf Club or enhance the level of adventure at iFly, an indoor skydiving facility that allows patrons to experience the rush of sky diving, minus the whole jumping out of a plane part. If you are looking to stay grounded, head to Strikz, where the family can bowl, play laser tag and enjoy arcade games.
THE WEST FRISCO DISTRICT The West Frisco District lies just west of the Center City District. This area is home to the popular senior living community, Frisco Lakes. One of the most frequented specialty restaurants in the area is Hurts Donuts, a new, eclectic, creative donut shop that features more than 70 varieties and flavors of donuts. On the opposite end of the same retail strip is Double Dip Frozen Custard, a popular dessert destination, which is also considered a Frisco tradition. For some local Italian fare, head to Eddie’s Napoli’s Italian Restaurant for homespun pizza or try K-Pop Burger for an Asian fusion hamburger. Super Chix is also one of Frisco’s newer fast-casual restaurants, serving classic fried chicken sandwiches, hand cut fries and sweet frozen custard.
If you are itching for some fun in the sun or time on the green, head out to The Tribute or Trails of Frisco Golf Courses or Old American Golf Club for a round. If you point the compass north, you can experience a thrill-seeking day spent at the Frisco Mountain Bike Trail and BMX Pumptrack (8.1 miles long). B.F. Phillips Community Park features baseball and softball fields, bike trails, a dog park, walking trails, picnic areas and playgrounds. For a more educational excursion, you may want to head up to Zion Cemetery, where more than 200 of Frisco’s settlers are buried. In springtime, visitors generally whip out their cameras and dress the family in matching photo-ready attire, as the hill is usually covered in bright bluebonnets. If the weather forces you indoors during the summer and your kids are restless, Ninja Warrior Kids is the perfect option that allows them to bring out their inner ninja (and get out some energy) as they practice their skills on various obstacles.
Elevate Life Church, Gateway Church, Grace Avenue United Methodist Church and Hope Fellowship’s West Campus are popular worship centers in this area that welcome the everyone and provide a variety of opportunities to help serve your community.
THE EAST FRISCO DISTRICT The East Frisco District lies east of Preston Road, north of Warren Parkway, and is a fantastic area to enjoy the great outdoors! There are also two restaurants featuring a Texas staple — barbecue! 3 Stacks Smoke and Tap House is a barbecue joint with a wide variety of domestic beers on tap, and Hutchins BBQ, a longtime local favorite, was voted Best BBQ in D/FW in 2016. Luigi’s Pizza is a family-owned and operated Italian restaurant known for its N.Y.-style pizza and dishes. Families may also want to try Barnlight Eatery, offering southern classic dishes, local craft beers and handmade desserts in a modern-rustic and homey atmosphere.
Be sure to stop by Frisco Mercantile for a wonderful morning or afternoon of shopping. Dedicated shoppers can walk up and down its numerous aisles lined with assorted vendor booths offering everything from antiques and décor to clothing and candles. Make a splash at the Frisco Athletic Center, as it offers more than 100,000 square feet of indoor fitness and more than 350,000 gallons of water in its water park and indoor pool. For even more outdoor fun, head to Harold Bacchus Community Park, which features baseball and softball fields, batting cages, playgrounds, ponds and trails. Here, you can find a variety of baseball-inspired art, including the “Double Play” and “Field of Play” mosaics. Visit the Frisco Superdrome, which is one of the world’s premier track cycling venues that holds events, competitions and a racing series year-round. Itching to play a round of 18? Plantation Golf Club’s championship course is open to the public and serves as one of the top courses in Frisco.
As far as worship centers go, the East Frisco District is home to The Potters House of North Dallas, Preston Trail Community Church, Hope Fellowship’s East Campus, First United Methodist Church of Frisco and Water’s Edge Lutheran Church.
Other destinations of note in this area are Collin College, Brinkmann Ranch (the film site for the popular television show “Dallas”) and the FISD Career and Technical Education Center.
THE NORTH FRISCO DISTRICT As you head further north in Frisco, you immediately notice (partly because of all the construction and new housing developments) that the area is rapidly developing! It could be called the land of opportunity! Settled north of Main Street, along the Dallas North Tollway, the North Frisco District recently welcomed Crush Taco, a fast-casual restaurant featuring creative starters, tacos, margaritas and local beers. You can also never go wrong with chips and salsa paired with a fantastic margarita at Cristina’s Fine Mexican Food. Conveniently, there is also a recently-opened Jason’s Deli and a McAlister’s Deli close by. If you find yourself on Eldorado Parkway around lunchtime, be sure to stop by Scotty P’s Hamburgers, a family-owned burger joint that features historic photos along the restaurant’s walls, displaying much of Frisco’s past.
Local moms should know that the intersection of Eldorado Parkway and the Dallas North Tollway is home to a recently-renovated Target, Michael’s®, ULTA Beauty and Tuesday Morning. At Distinctively Hers boutique, you can find the latest trends in clothing, jewelry and accessories. If you are in the area running errands, be sure you hit up CostCo! Also, for those last-minute dinner items, Market Street is located within Eldorado Marketplace.
Additionally, the North Frisco District will soon welcome Frisco Park 25, a new business park development, located at Rockhill Parkway and Preston Road. The development’s use will range from corporate and regional headquarters to light manufacturing, showrooms, warehouses and distribution operations.
Frisco Bible Church, St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church and the Karya Siddhi Hanuman Temple are worship centers in the district, which will undoubtedly continue to grow and develop just as quickly as the rest of Frisco has. Be on the lookout for everything new coming to this section of town!
Frisco residents take extreme pride in sharing the interesting history of their city and cannot wait to see how much more is on the horizon. Getting to know the area and all that it offers may seem like an arduous task to a newcomer, but when you get out and see all that there is to experience, finding your niche in the local social scene will come as easily as your decision to move here did. Not to mention, your neighbors and new friends are excited to welcome you to their hometown. To old Frisco residents and new residents alike, never stop exploring your city ... there is far too much fun to be had by all!