It's near Plano, one of Dallas’ most rapidly urbanizing suburbs, and has access to its school district, where 12th graders graduate from some of the largest classes in the nation. Yet, Wylie is a change of pace from the entanglement of urban sprawl that surrounds D-FW.
Here, stretches of farmland adorn the horizon line. Residents can be spotted taking horses for a walk at the local Founder’s Park. Century-old buildings with exposed brick and stained glass windows line the downtown streets.
Here's where to slow down and take a walk down the cobblestone streets of downtown Wylie.
Get a dose of caffeine and crazy at Shoemaker & Hardt
If you’re looking for a novelty experience that can’t be found at most coffee shops, head to Shoemaker & Hardt Coffee House and Country Store. The building was once the town’s drug store and has now transformed into a hybrid coffee shop and country store with cafe seating scattered throughout. The walls are cluttered with rustic antiques and an eclectic mix of taxidermy, from ox and zebra heads to a stuffed opossum and baboon. Picture a Cracker Barrel store that’s got even more going on, like baristas bustling around whirring espresso machines.
The hometown vibe of this coffee shop is amplified by its owners, husband-and-wife duo Kent and Velma Crane. The pair opened the store more than 20 years ago and named it after their mothers' maiden names. At the time, the Cranes "didn't even know how to operate a cash register," Kent says. But they "did know that people like a different experience, like to be treated well and like coffee."
While you sit, play a game of wooden checkers. For a drink, order a snickers latte or another one of the shop’s 20 specialty lattes. Word of warning: While there is free WiFi, it’s spotty. Part of the charm.
105 N. Ballard Ave., Wylie. coffeetexas.com.
Chat at Conversations Coffee Bar
For a better working space that still retains its old-fashioned flair, check out Conversations Coffee Bar and order the titular Conversations Mocha (white chocolate, caramel, and steamed milk with espresso).
If you’re not working, it’s a good idea to come here with a group. Most tables are comfortable for four people, and the shop is based around the mission of sparking conversation. The shop’s owner and founder, Chris Funk, says that his “main goal was to get people to connect with each other on a personal level, face to face.”
Activities include board games, the Wylie Creative Art Guild’s monthly painting classes, and free story time on Tuesdays where kids can come to hear stories, make crafts and dance.
The shop is housed in a mustard and green Craftsman-style house with a recently refurbished interior. Pro tip: The comfiest seats are the couches near the windows.
304 N. Ballard Ave., Wylie. conversationscoffeebar.com.
Shop with sisters at Dear Sorella
Owner Kimberly Vacante founded Dear Sorella -- sorella means sister in Italian -- with her sister. After the business took off online, the sisters opened the brick-and-mortar boutique, tucked into a space adjoining both a jeweler and a hair salon. The taxidermy pieces above the clothing racks, combined with millennial pink accents, create a country-chic feel.
The clothing is catered towards women of all ages and sizes. Vacante’s 12-year-old sister, 24-year-old sister and grandma all shop at her store, she says. Catch their livestreams on their Facebook page every Monday at 8 p.m. to see what’s in the store and claim your size.
Ask customers what makes Dear Sorella unique -- and Kimberly did -- and they've told her its hometown feel matches Wylie’s charm. “We really pride ourselves in connecting with our customer,” she says. “They know me and I know them and I can get what they need.”
113 N. Ballard Ave., Wylie. dearsorellaboutique.com.
Look good and do good at Purple Dot Fashion
Mother-daughter duo Lorena and Kassandra Williamson co-own this boutique that sells clothing, shoes and jewelry for women in their late teens and up. But they’re also on a mission. The two parts of the store’s name come from the color representing royalty, which for them represents God, and the dot defines the circle of believers in Jesus.
Twenty-percent of the proceeds from Purple Dot go towards providing supplies for the elderly and children in Venezuela, where their family is from. Through their boutique, they’ve built two churches, and they say they routinely send food to Venezuela.
Initially, the pair didn’t tell customers about their ministry so that the clothing could be the main draw. “People love our clothes and what we have,” Kassandra says. “[The ministry] makes them love it even more because they’re giving back.”
101 N. Ballard Ave., Wylie. purpledotfashion.com.
Become a wine snob at Landon Winery
Bob and Katie Landon founded this winery in 2005 in McKinney. Since then, it has expanded to three locations in historic districts throughout D-FW. The most recent location, opened in 2017, made its home in Wylie.
Landon sells five wine tastings at the bar for $10, or the option to buy a bottle to sip while lounging in the tasting room. The winery also hosts events like taco and wine pairings and free yoga classes. Live music is also a staple event on the weekends; check out the Facebook page for a full event schedule.
103 N. Ballard Ave., Wylie. landonwinery.com.
Feel at home at Ballard Street and Cafe
With an atmosphere that Google describes as “unpretentious,” it's fair to say this cafe probably isn't after a Michelin star. But it’s well known as a local favorite for its generous slices of chocolate pie, home-style dishes and reasonable prices.
Like most places in downtown Wylie, there’s a strong retro vibe here, and this one may take the cake or, er..., pie due to its diner decor with traditional barstools and window booths.
Breakfast is served all day, and includes south of the border options like Sunrise Tamales. For dinner, locals sing praises of Ballard Street Cafe's chicken fried steak and fried catfish. Here, diets are made to be broken.
112 N. Ballard Ave., Wylie. ballardstreetcafe.net.