Happy holidays! My name is Ryder the Elf. When I’m not working extremely hard in Santa’s workshop, I’m hanging out and spreading holiday cheer in my favorite places in the world. One place I always make sure I visit in December is Frisco, Texas. And it’s not just because I share my name with the Frisco RoughRiders. No, it’s because everywhere I turn there’s holiday magic. Lights everywhere! Huge glowing Christmas trees! Lots of sugary-sweet snacks! Skating! And, of course, the big guy himself shows up. I’m making my holiday visit to Frisco on Saturday, December 2nd this year. I’m only here for 24 hours and this is exactly what I’m doing. (Please note, there’s A LOT to do, and I may be using a few of Santa’s tricks to get around to all my favorite spots in one night.)
9:00 to 10:00 a.m. Frosty 5K & Merry Mile at Simpson Plaza
My day starts with the Frosty 5K & Merry Mile at Simpson Plaza. This annual tradition is a favorite activity for locals, with a 5K race called the Frosty 5K, and before that the Merry Mile. Personally? I prefer the Merry Mile. It’s a little more relaxed, there are more kids who participate in it and there are a lot of great holiday costumes. I always get compliments on my elf attire even though it’s just my everyday clothes. The Merry Mile starts at 8:30 a.m., and there’s a party at the plaza after the race!
10:00 to 11:00 a.m. Brunch at Heirloom Haul
After working up an appetite from the 5K race and the Merry Mile (listen, I have lots of energy, I ran both!), it’s time for brunch at Heirloom Haul located inside the fabulous Flea Style at The Star in Frisco. This little restaurant uses ingredients from local farms, and once you’re done eating, there are a bunch of places to shop and explore in The Star District!
I’ve got my eyes on the waffles, made from scratch and topped with fresh strawberries, whipped cream, and maple syrup on the side. Of course, I love maple syrup so I’m asking for extra. My favorite beverage to pair with waffles is their Party Latte. It has vanilla syrup, whipped cream, chocolate drizzle, and sprinkles. How fun! Once I polish that off, I’m having a Golden Girl Latte. It has hazelnut syrup, honey, and oat milk. For my brunch dessert I’m ordering a Cake Pop, Gourmet macarons, and a big slice of Turtle Cheesecake.
Now I’m going to use a little North Pole Magic and head to north Frisco.
11:00 a.m. to noon Crafts at Omni PGA Frisco
If you’re like me and love a good night’s sleep and lots of holiday activities, then stay at the Omni PGA Frisco Resort. For the first 23 days of December, this golf resort has a suite of exclusive guest experiences called Home on the Range for the Holidays. One of my favorite activities in the resort package is the character breakfasts on Saturdays and Sundays. My boss—Santa Claus—will be there on December 10th! There’s s’mores! There's holiday movie night on the weekends and more seasonal games and crafts in the Family Fun Room. Even if you aren't a resort guest you can grab a ticket to the Friday and Saturday night holiday festivities at PGA Frisco.
Speaking of crafts, on December 2nd there’s the Little Designers Christmas Crafts event from 10:00 a.m. until noon. I think when they say little, they mean kids, but I’m a little elf so I’m going to sneak in for some creative festive fun. This craft is included with guests who have booked the holiday package or for a one-time fee of $20.
Noon-12:30 p.m. - Ice cream break
After all this crafting, it’s time for an ice cream break at Margaret’s Cones & Cups while I'm out at PGA Frisco. You have a choice of parlor scoops or soft-serve twist and then a huge selection of flavors and toppings. My go-to order is the sundae with two scoops of ice cream: one scoop of cookie dough and a scoop of praline. It includes whipped cream and two sauces and two toppings. I go with hot fudge and sea salt caramel as my two sauces and then some marshmallow fluff and honey as my toppings. Oh, and I get it in a waffle cone. And, I usually order two cones—one for each hand—but I know you’re probably not an elf so just one cone will do.
Now that I’ve had delicious ice cream with a distinct Texas flavor, it’s time to do some shopping! I have a lot of people on my list this year.
12:30-3:00 p.m. Shopping around Frisco
I’m not going to share what I’m buying while doing my holiday shopping in Frisco, but I will tell you that I’m definitely going to shop at Stonebriar Centre. It has 180 shops and more than 1.7 million square feet of space. I also love to give people on my list something that’s uniquely Frisco. For that, I recommend stopping at Frisco's historic downtown, The Rail District. It’s a great place for shopping local, featuring stores such as Tumbleweed TexStyles, Bittersweet Ivy, and Willow House.
3:00 to 3:30 p.m. Doughnut break at Detour
Before heading off to my next activity, I’m going to take a little detour at Detour Doughnuts and Coffee. See what I did there? This local shop is highly recommended if, like me, you have a sweet tooth. Just take a look at the doughnuts on their website and you’ll see why I always make a stop here.
3:30 to 5:00 p.m. Late afternoon activity
The holiday cheer keeps on coming with Merry Main Street. This event takes place at Simpson Plaza (where I had the race earlier in the day) and it all starts at 3:30 p.m. on December 2nd with the Santa & Friends Parade. There's a holiday gift market and food vendors so you can shop and eat while you take in the bright lights of this beautiful street. Elves know singing is a great way to spread holiday cheer so I can’t wait for the Frisco Elementary School Choirs performing!
The city tree lighting happens at 6:00 p.m., but I’m ducking out early to grab dinner.
5:00 to 6:30 p.m. Dinner at Pietro's
I’d love to have dessert before dinner, but I’m going to do things in the proper order and have a hearty pasta dish at the family-owned Pietro’s Bakery & Cafe before loading up on baked goods. I’ve got my eyes on the chicken parmigiana. I’m getting hungry just thinking about chicken topped with marinara and mozzarella served with spaghetti.
After dinner, I’m headed back out to take in all the lights, sights, and sounds of Frisco.
6:30 to 8:00 p.m. Christmas at Frisco Square
You can never have too much Christmas! That’s why I’m excited for Christmas in the Square, the largest choreographed lights and music display in North Texas. This year is the 19th anniversary of this can’t-miss tradition and it features Skate the Square, with an outdoor ice-skating rink. Early December is also a great time to get your Christmas tree and luckily there’s a Christmas tree lot at the event.
This free show takes place daily from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m.
8:00 to 10:00 p.m. See the lights at Riders Field
What better way to cap off Ryder the Elf’s big day in Frisco than with a stop at The Light Park at Riders Field. This event features millions of lights, festive music, food, and more! The way it works is you hop in your car then drive around this mesmerizing display at the home of the Frisco RoughRiders baseball team. If you love doing holiday activities with your family (and pets too!), this is the place for you! Snacks are also available for the ride.
10:00 p.m. Hit the hay at a Frisco hotel
After immersing myself in the holiday magic of Frisco, it’s time to go to bed. Luckily for me, Frisco has an incredible selection of 26 hotels to choose from. Personally, I’m always looking for a hotel deal to make my Frisco getaway even sweeter!