Once a sleepy commuter suburb, historic Plano is now the ninth-largest city in Texas. With Frito-Lay, JC Penney and FedEx Office among the flags lining “Headquarters Road,” the city has reportedly added some 11,000 jobs in the last two years. With Toyota relocating its North American headquarters to a massive $350 million complex set for completion by early 2017 in Plano, the city continues to soar like its famed annual fall Balloon Festival.

“For meetings and events, it’s the land of plenty,” said Mark Thompson, executive director of Visit Plano. “With 330,000 square feet of meeting space and 41 hotels with 5,200 guest rooms, the city accommodates conferences, tradeshows and meetings of any size or scope. Plus, it all comes with a Texas-size helping of outstanding planning, logistical and support services to ensure a superior experience for planners and attendees.”

Plano’s unique character includes national recognition as a safe, family-oriented community with a small-town feel, walkability and abundant off-agenda options.

“The city boasts more than 700 restaurants, 70 shopping areas and vibrant nightlife options, plus easy access to professional sports, theater and the world-famous Southfork Ranch,” Thompson said.

Featuring a mix of upscale retailers and unique eateries, The Shops at Legacy is an ideal post-meeting destination. Happy hour hot spots include the Cru Food + Wine Bar and Blue Martini Lounge. RA Sushi and Mexican Sugar are among the eclectic eateries, there’s live music and dancing at Sambuca 360, and independent movies are showcased at the event-capable Angelika Film Center and Cafe.

Surrounded by scenic parks and water features and with walking access to The Shops at Legacy, the 404-room Dallas/Plano Marriott at Legacy Town Center offers 35,000 square feet of flexible space, including a divisible 14,000-square-foot ballroom. Complimentary shuttle service is available within a three-mile radius.

The stylish 299-room Hilton Dallas/Plano Granite Park features 30,000 square feet of flexible space for up to 1,000 delegates, including 21 meeting rooms and two ballrooms, plus an outdoor resort-style pool and patio. The hotel offers shuttle service to The Shops at Legacy, located just a mile away.

New hotels this year include La Quinta Inn & Suites, Courtyard by Marriott and Residence Inn by Marriott. A 304-room Renaissance will open in early 2017, while Dallas Stars owner Tom Gaglardi is bringing his Canadian Sandman Hotels, Inns & Suites brand to Plano with a planned 200-room property.

A $3 million, six-month refresh is scheduled to commence this month at the 122,500-square-foot Plano Centre. The project will include a new lighting and sound system, new finishes to all the breakout rooms, new directional signage and much more. Plans for the second phase include a new parking lot and landscaping.

“Plano attracts a wide variety of groups, most with 300-plus members, in sectors ranging from sports to sales,” Thompson said. “These groups come from all over the country, and of course, we see lots of fellow Texans.”

If organizations needs a little incentive to help bring their next event to Plano, the bureau’s Groups Assistance Program may be able to help with some event costs, he added.

Visit Plano