Twenty-five short miles or so north of Dallas sits the City of Allen, Texas and it’s sibling, the Town of Fairview — both suburbs that developing quickly with brick homes and places to shop and dine. Luckily, there are many free things to do in Allen, Texas (and some not so free).
While burgeoning growth may not bode well for the disappearing corn fields, the City of Allen and Town of Fairview have turned from sleepy burgs into destinations loaded with gastronomical delights, recreation spots, and shopping galore.
In the 1990′s, Allen Premium Outlets® Mall off of I-75 and Stacy Road was the main attraction for Dallas-ites and folks coming from southern Oklahoma to shop for high-end goods at factory outlet prices. Chili’s Restaurant, I-Hop and On the Border eventually came to Allen, Texas, but those restaurants were just the tip of the iceberg – - today visitors of the past would hardly recognize Allen or Fairview, Texas, which has well over 75+ restaurants, including In-and-Out Burger which opened to massive lines of hungry patrons in May, 2011 — see the video shot by a young man who was there. However, the cities of Allen and Fairview, Texas are not just about chain restaurants — there are many original concepts to consider: The Best Restaurants in the Allen/Fairview Texas area: Gloria’s Restaurant shares a backyard view with the Purple Cow. Serving El Salvadorian food, Gloria’s makes the best carne asada in town — juicy, tender and smoky. Pupusa’s and black bean side dishes are also amazing, not to mention the gratis chips and salsa. The interior is beautiful. Sit on the back patio for a great view of watching the kids hang out and enjoy the full bar and fresh air. Other restaurants in the immediate area include Uncle Julio’s (delish Mexican food) BJ’s Restaurant and Brew House (everything you could think to order) Mi Cocina, Zoes Kitchen, Scotty P’s burgers, Torchy’s Tacos, Chipolte, Patrizio, Twisted Root Burger, Cowboy Chicken (dry-roasted rotissserie chicken,) Freebirds World Burritos, Rudys BBQ, Cyclone Anaya’s Mexican Kitchen, Cracker Barrel, and yes, Olive Garden. If you wish to venture a bit deeper for eats into the heart of Allen, look for Napoli’s Italian and Italian Villa. This Allen stalwart has been around since the early 1990′s and is close to Allen High School off Greenville Avenue. Order their pizza — as close to a slice of New York pie you will find in what used to be a small suburb outside of Dallas.
ENTERTAINMENT AND FUN SPOTS IN ALLEN, TEXAS (Some FREE)
- Visit the iPic cinema ($$), Splitsville bowling lanes ($$) or take in a concert, or CHL pro Allen Americans hockey game ($) at the modern and intimate Allen Event Center. For very little $, you can rent some ice skates and skate the rink during public skate times.
- Top Golf has a party atmosphere that all ages will enjoy — it’s a great place to bring a date, entertain a group, or host a children’s birthday party. The latest tunes play over loud speakers and a full bar awaits. Waiters come to you as you snuggle into a modern golf bay to shoot range golf balls where novices or experienced golfers practice their shots. You won’t be bored looking out over this triple-decker golf range. There is no pressure to perform and memberships can be purchased as a cost-saving measure. Hint: Ask to shoot off of the top level, away from any allowed smoking areas. Also, reserve a “bay” in advance unless you don’t mind hanging around (which can be fun.) $$
- Find skateboard paradise at the outdoor skateboard park in Allen, Texas which is across from the Senior Center. You will also find 2 outdoor roller hockey rinks for use and scheduled league play to watch. FREE.
- For a modest membership fee, kids can join “The Edge,” a teen hangout place at the skateboard park with a video game room, ping pong table and pool table.
- Try wakeboarding at Allen’s Hydrous Wake Park. See video of the action HERE. $$$
- Visit the Allen Public Library, which is fun and phenomenal–just down the street from the Allen Edge skateboard park and across from the U.S. Post Office in old downtown Allen. An aquarium is in the children’s area and a video game room is set up for teens only. FREE with library card.
- Explore the best public park for kids to visit in Allen, Texas – - the city park at Waterford Park which boasts a steel rocket ship to climb and explore. Suitable for kids 4+. FREE.
- Make a date to take in Allen’s 4th of July Celebration. Big name bands show up to sweat it out with local folks with one of the best fireworks shows you’ve ever seen. FREE.
- Take on a football game to watch the Allen High School football team play area 5-A football– serious business in Texas — and check out the new Eagle Stadium which opened for the 2012/2013 season. Eagles won the state championship 2 consecutive years, both in 2012/2013 and 2013/2014! $
- Swim at the Rodenbaugh Natatorium, an indoor pool with a lazy river, water playground, slide, and high-dive area to enjoy. $4. Kids under 7 need a parent in water with them. Lifeguards are on site for kids 7 and up who may attend without a parent. You may also climb their small rock climbing wall when attended. This is a great value. $
- Climb a big rock at Bethany Lakes Park and feed the ducks with breadcrumbs that you bring. Creep along the stream and check out “rock mountain” behind the wire fence. FREE.
- Buy a day pass or join the Joe Farmer Rec. Center for indoor basketball, ping pong, pool, work out area. Located at Bethany Rd. and Allen Heights.$.
- Kids grades 3-6 can join Saturday Night Rec’ N Roll 7-11 p.m. at the Joe Farmer Rec. Center. Best value for a good time for the kids and parents get a night out too! $.
- Other things to do in Allen, Texas including playing tennis at one of several parks, including the Allen High School tennis courts located to the right of the school, Lowery Freshman Center courts off Main and Jupiter, and the courts by Reed Elementary on Rivercrest Drive. FREE.
- Bowl a game at Allen Bowl, located on E. Greenville Avenue, which was remodeled inside in late 2011. Don’t judge a book by it’s cover…the interior is fun and fabulous.$.
- Can’t lodge with friends? No worries, there are several Allen, Texas hotels, including Pyramid Hotel and Hilton Garden Inn, to name a few.
- Twin outdoor-style malls oppose each other in Allen and Fairview, Texas. The Villages at Allen and The Villages at Fairview include JCPenney, Macys, Old Navy, Super Target, Coldwater Creek, Dillard’s, T.J. Maxx, Ross, and more.
- Visit a park that salutes the military across the parking lot from the Splitsville bowling alley at the Villages of Fairview or the POW memorial park at Bethany Lakes Park in Allen. FREE
- Tee off at Watters Creek golf course (previously named Chase Oaks) or Twin Creeks Golf Course in Allen, Texas for golf courses set in residential areas open to the public.$$
Have your own suggestions for things to do in Allen, Texas? Drop us a line and let us know!