Sports fans flock to the Texas suburb, but there’s more to see in Sports City USA
STORY: Jan Schroder
It’s no mystery why Frisco, Texas, is called Sports City USA. Several professional sports teams practice and play there, and it’s home to sites such as the National Soccer Hall of Fame, Dr Pepper Ballpark and Toyota Stadium. Whether a game is being played at an arena, field or court, spectators are there cheering on the players, with even a growing fan base for the mysterious sport of cricket.
A huge draw for visitors is The Star District, a 91-acre campus that includes the practice facility for the Dallas Cowboys. I never developed a love for football, but I was entertained by our hour-long tour, which included visits to the War Room, Nike Star Walk (a collection of 50 years of the team’s uniforms) and a chance to walk out on the practice field of America’s Team.
The Star District also has shops, the Ford Center indoor stadium, the Omni Frisco Hotel, 12 sports bars, the Tostitos Championship Plaza boasting a 50-yard turf field and four interactive kiosks, and more than 20 restaurants. We had lunch at Zaytinya, where James Beard award winning chef José Andrés creates delicious mezze plates served with puffy, warm pita bread.
Another huge attraction is the National Soccer Hall of Fame, where visitors can take the virtual skills challenge, test their soccer knowledge with a live-action trivia game, imitate U.S. goalkeepers and view 400 artifacts tracing the history of the sport in the U.S. If baseball is more your thing, take in a Frisco RoughRiders game at Dr Pepper Ballpark. But if you go, grab your swimsuit. Yes, swimsuit. The top-rated minor league park has a lazy river behind right field where you can catch the action while floating merrily along. It’s a novel way to cool off during those hot Texas days.
Even if you’re not a huge sports fan, there’s plenty to do in this fast growing Dallas suburb. At the National Videogame Museum, you can reconnect with your ’80s self via a game of PAC-MAN or Space Invaders and brush up on the history of one of our country’s other favorite pastimes. Explore the glory days of train travel and view the largest collection of Pullman cars in the country at the Museum of the American Railroad. Get outside and enjoy Frisco’s 90 miles of paved and natural paths or head to the city’s beautiful Central Park and view the life-size bronze statues in the installation Cattle Drive, depicting life on the Shawnee Trail. Or take a free self guided tour of more than 150 works of art at the Texas Sculpture Garden.
Coming in November is the first U.S. location of KidZania, an indoor entertainment center with interactive spaces for kids ages 4 to 14 that allows them to try out different careers. Who knows, your youngster may discover they’re a future dentist, dancer or fashion designer.
I discovered an affinity for power tools the night we visited Crafted, a do-it-yourself wood crafting studio. We sipped wine as we stained, painted and assembled a large wooden plaque. Turns out I’m much better with a nail gun than a paintbrush.
Our choice for accommodations was The Westin Stonebriar Hotel & Golf Club, where the amenities include a 24-hour fitness room, a huge lagoon pool with tons of lounge chairs, the Tom Faziodesigned golf course and a bocce ball court. Just in case you haven’t had enough sports.
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