20 Best Things to Do in McAllen

20 Best Things to Do in McAllen

A treasure of Texas, McAllen is a charming and beautiful city located in Hidalgo County. Situated at the southern tip of the Rio Grande Valley, this Texan city serves sweeping views of luscious nature surrounding the city. People from all around the world come to McAllen to experience it’s breathtakingly beautiful nature. The town is very popular among birdwatchers, nature photographers, and for other such nature-related activities. The city experiences a subtropical climate which is ideal for outdoor activities.

Along with the prodigious high palm trees around the city, McAllen is rich in history and culture. The town is only 70 miles away from the Gulf of Mexico, and Mexican influence can be seen all over the city, be it the food or the architecture of the town. You can eat some delectable Tex-Mex food in this city. Along with food, the city is famous for being a shopping destination and has several outlets and shops where you can satisfy your inner shopaholic. McAllen has several things and places for you to do and visit. Here are 20 best of the sites and activities in this Texan town.

Witness The History At McAllen Heritage Center

Situated in the Downtown area of the town, McAllen Heritage Center was opened in 2008. It is located in the historic building of La Placita, former federal post office built in 1935. The centre showcases the history of McAllen with photos and memorabilia. The museum takes you down the memory lane decade by decade, showcasing the local items like cheerleader uniforms, highschool jackets, military items. The entry in the heritage centre is free; however, you can donate some bucks for the upkeep of the museum. The McAllen Heritage Center is open Wednesday through Friday 1 pm to 5 pm, and Saturday 11 am to 4 pm. Visit this place to get to know the colourful history of this town and see the works of local artists.

Catch A Show At McAllen Performing Arts Center

McAllen Performing Arts Center
Holzman Moss Bottino Architecture / CC BY-SA

McAllen Performing Arts Center was opened in only 2016 and has already become an essential part of the community and its culture. The state-of-the-art venue can seat 1800 people at once. You can watch comedy shows, theatre productions, dance shows, music shows, and much more here. Don’t forget to catch a show at the McAllen Performing Arts Center when you visit the town.

Appreciate The Beauty of Nature At McAllen Nature Center

Previously known as McAllen Botanical Garden, McAllen Nature Center is a nature reserve owned and operated by the city. It covers an area of 33 acres and houses several species of plants and animals. There are several paths where you can walk to appreciate the beauty of nature around you. You can also take guided tours of the property; however, you have to book them in advance. McAllen Nature Center is a perfect place to surround yourself with nature and appreciate the plant life and wildlife away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Hiking and Cycling Trails

Hiking and Cycling Trails McAllen
MechanicSloth / Shutterstock.com

McAllen has several trails for Hiking and Cycling across the town. The city encourages its locals and visitors to stay healthy and get exercise. You can walk, jog, cycle, hike, and even skate at the trails. Some of the hiking and cycling trails in the city are Las Palmas Park Trail, McAllen Hike & Bike Trails, Retama Village Park Trail, Schupp Park Trail, Westside Park Trail, and Westside Park Trail. You can enjoy hiking, cycling, or any other activity while appreciating the beauty of nature.

Buy Local Produce At McAllen Farmer’s Market

Every Saturday McAllen hosts Farmer Market from 10 am until 1 pm on the 23rd Street. You can buy locally grown organic produce and other locally sourced products at this charming farmer’s market. Local produce includes natural honey, fruits, free-range eggs, vegetables, and other things grown in the Rio Grande Valley. The mission of the McAllen Farmer’s Market is to encourage the people to eat healthy by telling them the advantages of eating fresh produce. You can spend your Saturday morning just strolling down the street and exploring the farmer’s market while interacting with locals of the area.

Stop At The Arts District

Located in the heart of the city in the Main Street, Arts District houses more than two dozen art galleries including the renowned Nuevo Santander Gallery. The historic Archer Park is also located in the arts district. It is over 100 years old and an important landmark in the city. The district is also a home to numerous fantastic cafes and restaurants to satisfy your hunger after exploring the dozens of art galleries. The lively entertainment district is just a short walk away from here as well. Visit the Arts District to explore the local art and culture of McAllen.

Birdwatching At Quinta Mazatlan

Quinta Mazatlan

Built in the 1930s, Quinta Mazatlan is a Spanish revival style mansion. This Adobe Mansion is a birdwatching centre and also educates the visitors about environmental education. It is located in the Rio Grande Valley. The internationally recognised centre for birders is a hotspot for several species of birds. More than 230 species have been spotted from this stunning mansion. It is the only known habitat of Buff-bellied hummingbird ( a super rare species). Along with birds, the estate is also a haven for beautiful migratory butterflies. You can enjoy guided tours of the splendid botanical gardens of the estate. This place offers educational programs for children and adults as well. Visit this magnificent mansion to enjoy the sweeping views and beauty of nature and spot various lovely birds.

Participate In Artwalk

Artwalk is an event that is held every Friday of each month from September to May. Artwalk is a self-guided tour of the numerous art galleries, museums, and art studios in the oldest and most renowned neighbourhoods. The event was first introduced to promote the art scene of McAllen among the locals and visitors. Now, the Artwalk is a top-rated attraction, and people come to town to attend the event and explore the art scene of McAllen. The admission to the tour is free, and it starts at 6 pm and ends at 10 pm.

Experience Nightlife in Entertainment District

Located in Downtown McAllen, Entertainment District is perfect experience the nightlife of McAllen. Famously known as the 17th Street Entertainment District, the area is filled with clubs, bars, and dining venues where you can eat some of the most excellent food of McAllen. The Entertainment District caters to everyone’s needs and lifestyle. You can find places to drink quietly and also places with DJs blasting music, and you just have to choose.

Where to Stay

Anthony Acosta / CC BY-SA

McAllen has plenty of fantastic hotels that will make sure that your stay is as comfortable as possible. You can choose from budget hotels to luxury hotels, McAllen offers it all. Some of the best hotels in the town are- embassy Suites by Hilton, Casa de Palmas, La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham, Wingate by Wyndham, and DoubleTree Suites by Hilton.

Eat Authentic Mexican Food At Costa Messa

McAllen is located near the Gulf of Mexico, and the influence can be seen in the food of the town. You can get authentic Mexican food that tastes delectable anywhere in the city. Costa Messa is one such place. It opened in 2002 and now serves the finest Mexican food in Texas. Don’t forget to try enchiladas and chalupas at the restaurant along with mango chamoy margarita. Costa Mess is guaranteed to serve you great food with friendly staff and excellent service.

Eat Incredible Tamales At Delia’s Tamales

Delia’s Tamales serves the best tamales in town. The restaurant started with making tamales at home and delivering them door to door, but now Delia’s Tamales has six branches across the Rio GrandeValley. The restaurants serve 18 different types of tamales, including vegan and vegetarian tamales that are made with authentic ingredients and spices. The tamales are very inexpensive as well, and they cost under $5 for six tamales. Visit Delia’s Tamales to eat mouth-watering tamales when you visit McAllen.

Remember The 80s At Deloreans

Deloreans is a retro bar and club that serves delicious drinks while blasting 80s jams. You can even play video games at your table. You can dress in retro outfits to make the best of your experience at the Deloreans.

Crafted Beers At Grain To Glass

Grain To Glass is a bar with a laidback atmosphere which is perfect for getting a drink at the end of the day after exploring the city. The place has plenty of options to select from but make sure to try the fantastic crafted beers at this bar.

Shop At The La Plaza Mall

La Plaza Mall is a shopping mall in McAllen. It is the largest mall in South Texas and is a very popular shopping destination for locals and tourists alike. The mall has several outlets of different American brands.

Visit The Veterans War Memorial of Texas

Covering an area of 5 acres, Veterans War Memorial of Texas honours the Texans who lost their lives while serving their country. The memorial educates the people about the sacrifices that the soldiers made to keep their country safe.

Ride The Los Ebanos Ferry

Located just 25 miles away from McAllen, Los Ebanos Ferry is the last remaining hand-operated ferry, and it travels between Rio Grande Valley and Los Ebnos. Make sure to ride in the ferry to appreciate the beauty of the atmosphere and the sweeping views of the Rio Grande Valley.

Learn At The International Museum of Arts & Science

Fully accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, International Museum of Arts & Science is an art and science museum whose aim is to increase awareness of science and culture through interactive activities and exhibitions. It has over 50,000 square feet of exhibition space to display various well-thought exhibitions. Along with incredible exhibits, the museum houses more than 2000 specimens of history and geology. It also has excellent work of arts that includes over 4500 works of folk art and textiles along with 1500 works in the permanent collection that dates back from the 16th century to the present. This award-winning place is worth a visit when you’re in the city to learn about science and art in the most fun way possible. It also has a gift shop where you can buy gifts and souvenirs.

The Wonderful Firemen’s Park

An oasis in the humid weather of McAllen, Firemen’s Park is a park with walking tracks, barbeque pavilions, volleyball court, playgrounds for kids, a pond, and much more. The Park is famous for its 3-acre pond where visitors can enjoy fishing and boating. You can borrow rental boats and fishing poles at the lake. The Park also has paved paths for walking and cycling. You can rent bikes and enjoy cycling in the beautiful Park. Firemen’s Park is perfect for enjoying a sunny day in McAllen while enjoying your picnic coupled with sweeping views of the greenery and the lake surrounding you.

Enjoy Picnics Anywhere With Charming Picnics

Charming Picnics is a small local business that sets up a picnic for you anywhere you want in McAllen. If you are just visiting the city and don’t have all the stuff for a perfect picnic, Charming Business can provide you with everything so that you can experience an ideal picnic with your friends or family. The small business sets up the perfect picnic at your chosen spot with delicious food and drinks of your choice. You can contact them on their Facebook or Instagram account to set up your picnic.

McAllen is located in a picturesque location with plenty of activities for you to do. It is a perfect destination to experience the Mexican influence on Texas. Not only delicious food and exciting shopping centres, but the city also offers sweeping views of the Rio Grande Valley and plenty of glorious birds that will win over your heart with their beauty. What are you waiting for? Visit this wonderful city to experience the Texan way of life. Do not forget to tell us your favourite thing from the list and make sure to do all these things when you visit McAllen.

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