Blake Walsh

23 Best Things to Do in McKinney, TX

  • Published 2022/08/18

Situated just 45 miles north of Dallas, the city of McKinney in Texas serves as a quick and fun escape from the bustling city life.

With its small-town charm and tree-lined streets, McKinney will give you a slow-paced and calm atmosphere where you can de-stress from the hectic work schedules and busy days.

It has many attractions to offer: historical sites, natural sceneries and parks, breweries, restaurants, and much more.

Bring yourself and your loved ones for a quick weekday trip or a fun weekend getaway.

You’ll find scenic views, historic sites, and a tight-knit community that welcomes every visitor like family.

Here are the 17 best things to do in McKinney, TX:

Roam around Main Street Historic Downtown

In the Main Street Historic Downtown at Overland Park

Mistermckinney, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Being one of the oldest historic downtowns in Texas, Main Street remains a welcoming place for both the old and the new.

It is a site for gathering, celebration, and appreciation of the area’s rich history.

With the location’s quaint shops, vibrant art scene, charming restaurants, and sophisticated boutiques, locals and visitors alike can do tons of activities and mingle with the crowd.

Neon signage of Main Street Historic Downtown

Emily on Time /

It is also home to a courthouse, which now stands as the McKinney Performing Arts Center.

Make it your first stop on your visit and enjoy what the storied street had to offer.

Buildings along Main Street Historic Downtown

Howard Norton /

Pay a Visit to Chestnut Square Heritage Village

Experience life in McKinney more than a century ago by paying a visit to the Chestnut Square Heritage Village.

With the preserved houses that date back to 1854, the site offers a glimpse of the past that visitors can appreciate and enjoy.

Here, you’ll find historic houses, churches, stores, and inns that showcase the way of life in Collin County a long time ago.

The facility also hosts a regular farmer’s market where you can purchase fresh and premium produce from growers within the area.

Aside from produce, you’ll also find artisanal soaps, woodworks, jewelry, and many other handicrafts created by locals businesses.

Have a Great Adventure at Crape Myrtle Trails

For an experience comparable to that of the cherry blossom season of Japan, visit the crape myrtle trails of McKinney.

These trees bloom from June to August, painting the park’s paths with pinks, purples, lavenders, and fuschia.

The diverse colors are the result of the efforts of the Crape Myrtle Trails Foundation, which wanted to make McKinney home to all varieties of crape myrtle.

Scattered under the trees are picnic tables and benches, so you can sit back, eat tasty snacks, and appreciate the colorful flowers as they move with the breeze.

The petals falling around you is nothing short of a magical sight, and it’s something you can experience in only a few other places.

Visit McKinney Performing Arts Center

Outside McKinney Performing Arts Center at Overland Park

Howard Norton /

The McKinney Performing Arts Center is a multi-purpose community facility located in the heart of the city’s historic downtown.

Here, various groups hold folk music concerts, theater plays and musicals, local and national band performances, and jamborees.

View of McKinney Performing Arts Center from across the street

Philip Armitage /

Events vary from week to week, so make sure to check out the schedules to make sure that you can catch the group you’ve been wanting to watch.

The facility is even available for weddings and other special occasions.

So if you want to celebrate an important moment at this historic location, contact the center at your convenience.

Shop at Antique Company Mall

Looking for unique, one-of-a-kind pieces that you won’t find anywhere else?

Visit the Antique Company Mall and its collection of vintage items, collectibles, and antique products.

As you browse the large shopping area, you’ll find handmade furniture from local woodworkers, unique home accessories, and many other knickknacks.

With more than 15,000 square feet of space to explore, the Antique Company Mall will give you lots of treasures you never knew you needed.

As you spend hours exploring the carefully curated collection, you’ll find out why this is a must-visit location for vintage lovers.

Dine at Hutchin’s BBQ and Grill

No trip to McKinney is complete without visiting some of the established local restaurants abounding the historic city.

One of these is Hutchin’s BBQ and Grill, which offers delicious and classic American dishes.

They use fresh, locally sourced ingredients to prepare and serve savory dishes that will satisfy any craving.

Try their famous barbeques, briskets, and ribs, which have been described as true Texan treasures.

Play at Towne Lake Park

The water view in Towne Lake Park at Overland Park

Prianxi, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

For those looking for fun under the sun, McKinney has Towne Lake Park.

The site is home to a large lake, grassy fields, peaceful walkways, grand pavilions, and many other features for children and adults alike.

There is a fishing pier where everyone is welcome to stay, relax, and catch the fish that abound within the lake’s depths.

View from the bridge of Towne Lake Park at Overland Park

Prianxi, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

For sports enthusiasts, there are volleyball courts, baseball fields, and a challenging disc golf course.

The one-mile hiking trail provides an opportunity for visitors to enjoy the fresh air and picturesque views of the lake.

You can also visit the recreation center, housing restaurants, game rooms, play structures for kids, and many other facilities.

Revisit History at Collin County History Museum

Dive deeper into the history of Collin County and the surrounding region by visiting the Collin County History Museum.

It houses artifacts, photographs, diaries, newspapers, and many other items that showcase life in the area from many years ago.

There are also engaging exhibits that show a comparison of past McKinney and present Mckinney.

You’ll learn how much life has changed and better appreciate how our history has shaped the city and region.

Since it’s part of the Historic Downtown area, the museum is easily accessible for visitors and locals alike.

Let Your Kids Play at Bonnie Wenk Park

Another outdoor recreation facility to add to your McKinney itinerary is Bonnie Wenk Park.

The 216-acre grounds feature an array of attractions, such as a fishing pond, dog park, amphitheater, and several walking and bike trails.

Bring your kids and let them explore the five-play structures dotting the scenery, including swings and kid-sized ziplines.

The pond also features a splash area where you can play around all day and enjoy fishing opportunities.

Get your heart pumping at the outdoor fitness court, open to adults of all ages and ability levels.

For those who want to commune with nature, there are walking trails that bring you to the more peaceful wooded areas within the grounds.

See the Animals at Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary

Outside Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary at Overland Park

Sanctuary.p at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Located in 1 Nature PI, this 289-acre nature preserve and museum is home to an array of flora and fauna from the region and the rest of the world.

It is the center of wildlife conservation in the area, bringing together nature and people with their various programs, events, and exhibits.

This is the perfect place for nature lovers!

Animals of the world entrance at Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary

Sanctuary.p at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You’ll find animal trails, a beautiful butterfly house, native plant gardens, and so many other attractions.

As a center for wildlife conservation and preservation, the Heard has programs that help restore the grasslands within the sanctuary back to their natural conditions.

You can volunteer for the special service programs and become a part of the effort to preserve flora and fauna of the area.

Visit all Breweries

If you’re not bringing kids on your vacation to McKinney, then visiting the local breweries is a must.

There are several established pubs within the city, such as Franconia Brewing, TUPPS Brewery, and Choice Beverage Craft Beer & Fine Wines.

Each of them has its own unique spin on beer making and sales, but you’ll be satisfied with the refreshing and delicious drinks in every one of them.

There are tours offered here as well as sampling opportunities for the exceptional local beers produced.

You can even bring home a bottle or a jug for parties, special events, or a well-earned drink after a hard day at work.

Play at Oak Hollow Golf Course

For golfing enthusiasts, the Oak Hollow Golf Course is a must-add destination on your visit to McKinney.

This facility is well-known and has been awarded by various groups for its courses, services, and overall quality of gameplay.

Since it’s a public golf club course, everyone is welcome to visit and enjoy an outstanding golfing experience.

And even though it’s open for all, it has maintained its lofty status as an exceptional golf facility with its high-quality service, amenities, and programs.

You need to reserve ahead of time to play since many other golfers are also eager to play in this award-winning course.

See the Adriatica Village

Aerial view of Adriatica Village

Mistermckinney, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

With an ambiance comparable to a small European town, Adriatica village is another unique location that McKinney has in store.

It houses The Sanctuary McKinney, an events center, as well as many shops and restaurants.

But its most striking feature is the cobblestone houses and streets.

The bell tower of Adriatica Village

Jed Rollins, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This design was modeled after a village in Croatia, so the Mediterranean ambiance is everywhere.

The serene waterways, quaint residences, hidden chapels, and the landmark Bell Tower all add to the cozy vibe of the village.

It’s an ideal place for photoshoots and videos.

Your friend and loved ones might even think that you’ve been to a foreign location.

Pay a Visit to Juanita Maxfield Aquatic Center

Looking for refreshing, water-related activities on your next visit to McKinney?

The Juanita Maxfield Aquatic Center at 1701 N McDonald Street is an ideal choice.

A newly renovated public swimming pool, the facility offers a wide range of activities and programs for both children and adults.

You can enjoy swimming lessons, water exercise classes, floating rides, and many other activities and amenities at the location.

Cool off from the hot Texas sun, have a picnic with your friends or family, and enjoy a relaxing dip at the pool.

You can also rent the whole facility for private events!

There is a first-come, first-serve policy, so make sure to plan before visiting the facility for a hassle-free experience.

Wander around at Erwin Park

Among McKinney’s many outdoor recreation facilities, Erwin Park is one of the most famous locations.

Dotted by picturesque meadows, towering trees, easy trails and paths, camping grounds, and many other features, the site is the ideal getaway for those who truly want to be with nature.

The large expanse of open space makes for enjoyable hiking trips, photoshoots, nature walks, and other fun activities for everyone.

For longer vacations, you can set up camp in one of the camping grounds scattered around the 212-acre land.

The location is also a biker’s haven, as it includes 10 miles of mountain bike trails as well as two bike repair stations.

At certain months, you’ll find hundreds of flowers blooming in the scenic meadows of the park.

With the clear, unobstructed skies and verdant trees, these blooms make the place look like a classic Renaissance painting.

Dine at Harvest Seasonal Kitchen

Exterior of Harvest Seasonal Kitchen

Michael Barera, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Harvest Seasonal Kitchen is another well-known farm-to-table restaurant in the area that offers tasty dishes from seasonal ingredients.

This results in more pronounced flavors and textures that really give visitors an enjoyable dining experience.

For a true Texan cuisine experience, try their pork tenderloins, crispy ribs, crab tacos, and deviled eggs.

The establishment is also vegetarian-friendly, offering dishes like beet salad, cobb salad, and more.

With its local and seasonal menus, accessibility, and great service, it’s the perfect place to have brunch during your trip around McKinney.

Visit Mitas Hill Vineyard

This winery and vineyard offer an ambiance similar to that of Wine Country in California.

Here, you’ll find rows upon rows of verdant grapevines, from which fruit is harvested and turned into premium wine.

But aside from the exceptional alcoholic beverages, the site also has a wood-fired pizza oven that bakes savory dishes.

With their fresh fruit, premium wines, tasty cheeses, and artisanal pizzas, Mitas Hill Vineyard delivers a truly unique dining experience.

Browse Artworks at LAST Art Gallery

Do you value artistic creations?

Not only should art enthusiasts visit LAST Art Gallery, but so should everyone who simply wants to try something new and see some new places and artwork.

In 2014, Gail Delger, an accomplished artist and supporter of creativity, launched LAST Art Gallery, which is now located in the heart of McKinney, Texas.

Their goal is to exhibit the works of skilled local artists ranging from classic to diverse.

Since June 1, 2019, the gallery has been a co-op gallery, including many former artists and several new ones.

You could just find the ideal piece at LAST Art Gallery if you want something to decorate your walls.

Savor Wine at Lone Star Wine Cellars

Lone Star Wine Cellars is a family-run winery where friends meet and hang out for great music, taste the best wine made in the state, and unmatched wine club privileges.

The Ross family established Lone Star Wine Cellars in 2003 so that they may share “The Ranch Wines” among their families and neighbors in Historic Downtown McKinney.

Lone Star Wine Cellars is a welcoming environment where visitors feel at home and form enduring connections.

Taste their acclaimed North Texas wines and hand-curated assortment altogether.

Year-round long, they organize wine-filled gatherings and go to festivals that are welcoming to the guest, including their children.

Surround yourself with Amazing Scenery at Myers Park and Event Center

Acres of conserved wildlife, award-winning gardens, and breathtaking scenery provide a stunning background for a range of public and business events, anniversaries, and special occasions.

In 1969, John and Winnie Myers gave land to the Collin County Youth Park, which later became Myers Park and Event Center.

In addition to its magnificent scenery and event locations, it now has more than 158 acres.

The park provides a variety of rental facilities, including a Show Barn and Indoor Arena, Reception Hall, Gazebo, and group camping spaces.

Within the park’s boundaries lies the Collin County Farm Museum.

The park offers Collin County a first-rate venue for hosting important shows and events and chances for individual, group, and corporate use while displaying the agricultural history of the Blackland prairie.

Order the Famous Pies of Emporium Pies

Exterior of Emporium Pies

Michael Barera, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you always crave sweet food, then Emporium Pies is a must-visit shop in the historic downtown McKinney Square neighborhood.

Their pie selection changes seasonally, and all of their pies are baked by hand with premium ingredients.

The menu varies periodically at this upmarket shop featuring handcrafted, innovative takes on traditional pies.

They never utilize corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, or artificial preservatives and make all of their pies from scratch, according to their recipes.

They don’t use can fillings and genuine butter to produce all of their crusts.

Every mouthful reflects the quality and passion that went into it.

Visit Heard-Craig Center for the Arts

Exterior of Heard-Craig Center for the Arts

Susan Bartley, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Stephen and Lillian Heard constructed the venerable Heard-Craig Center in 1900.

Its mission is to support the fine arts with academic activities and exhibits, offer conference space to educational institutions, and uphold the Heard and Craig families’ heritage by preserving the historic estates.

This old estate features an art collection and antiques in addition to lectures and afternoon teas.

For the sake of the neighborhood and tourists, the Heard-Craig Center has started improving the museum and garden.

The Center is recognized as the city of McKinney’s first museum of art.

Among its art collection are hand-painted porcelain, glassware pottery, Victorian furniture, Asian art & artifacts, a textile collection, and much more!

Final Thoughts

McKinney is where history meets nature—a relaxed and comforting town perfect for those wanting to escape from busy lives.

Its proximity to the Dallas-Forthworth Metropolitan area makes it an ideal destination for a quick trip or a weekend getaway.

From historic sites to beautiful parks, endless attractions promise a fun and memorable experience for the young and old alike.

So make your plans today and use this guide to organize an unforgettable trip in the future!

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