Best Things To Do In McKinney

There’s so much to love about McKinney, Texas, from its flourishing downtown cultural district to its fantastic food scene to all the attractions it offers for families in its lovely country setting. Now that it’s the home of the AT&T Byron Nelson golf tournament, it’s another up-and-coming Texas city that’s bursting at the seams.

McKinney is about 45 miles north of Dallas and would make a great break from the big city. Whether on a day trip for some shopping and sightseeing or a long weekend for some relaxation, visitors head to McKinney for its slower pace, natural beauty, and historic downtown area. It’s a great place to bring the entire family.

Here are just a few reasons to plan a visit to McKinney soon.

1. The Historic Downtown Cultural District

McKinney has an authentic and quaint historic downtown square with a lovely courthouse in the middle. The courthouse is now the McKinney Performing Arts Center. The square is home to boutiques, specialty shops, art galleries, wineries, a hotel, and a video arcade. You’ll find some of the best diners on the square, and the majority of the restaurants are locally owned. 

2. The Downtown Food Tour

During a walking food tour of downtown McKinney, you’ll taste some of the best food in the area while learning about the history of the city. Food Walks of Texas offers several of these guided culinary adventure walks. There are several tours to choose from, from adults-only tours that include cocktails to tours that are open to children 12 years and older. Private tours are also available.

3. The Antique Company Mall

The Antique Company Mall is home to some of the best antiques, vintage finds, and collectibles in North Texas. Whether you’re looking to add to your collection or seeking that one-of-a-kind piece for your home, there is a good chance that you’ll find what you’re looking for here. The mall is rather large, so be prepared to shop till you drop!

4. The Southern Chic Retreat

The Southern Chic Retreat is a girlfriends’ getaway waiting to happen. Think about it — you can do all the stuff you love to do, but just away from home and with your friends. Craft, paint, play, spa, and sleep at this adorable restored 88-year-old home in the charming historic downtown district. What fun! 

Fountain in Towne Lake Park.
Towne Lake Park (Photo Credit: Visit McKinney)

5. Towne Lake Park

Take a break from shopping and sightseeing with a picnic and walk in lovely Towne Lake Park. Fill your picnic basket with yummy food, sit under the pavilion, and marvel at the beautiful trees and the nice pond. It’s a kid’s haven out there, and your grandkids may never want to leave.

6. The Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary

Bring the grandkids to the wonderful Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary for hands-on science and nature experiences, animal encounters, a butterfly sanctuary, beautiful gardens, and a kid-size pioneer village. Everyone will have a good time staying busy and making memories. You’ll love the live dinosaur exhibit! Guided nature tours are also available — the sanctuary is especially pretty in the spring. 

Crape Myrtle Trails in Texas.
Crape Myrtle Trails (Photo Credit: Visit McKinney)

7. The Crape Myrtle Trails

McKinney boasts a huge number of crape myrtles. In fact, you’ll find every variety of crape myrtle in the world in this Texas city. The city’s Crape Myrtle Trails are in a residential area, but the proud residents welcome visitors to drive around and marvel at their stunning crape myrtles. Be sure to plan on some time to see these wonderful trees. The best time to admire them is between June and August, with peak season being late June and early July. To print a map of the driving tour, visit the Crape Myrtle Trails website.

8. McKinney Farmers Market At Chestnut Square

A fantastic market takes place on Saturdays at the lovely Chestnut Square Historic Village. The McKinney Farmers Market at Chestnut Square is one of the largest and most popular open-air markets in North Texas. It offers local grass-fed meats, a wide selection of arts and crafts vendors, live music, face-painting, pony rides, and all kinds of food trucks. There is something for every member of the family to enjoy here!

Pro Tip: Check the website for specific opening times. Hours tend to change during the winter months.

Adriatica Village in McKinney, Texas.
Adriatica Village (Photo Credit: Visit McKinney)

9. Adriatica Village

A little community in itself, Adriatica Village in central McKinney is home to The Sanctuary McKinney (a music and event center) as well as family-friendly restaurants and lots of shops. Don’t miss the Bella Donna Chapel, a popular wedding venue.

10. Third Monday Trade Days

This is a flea market like no other! On the third weekend of each month, vendors from all over set up their wares. Third Monday Trade Days in McKinney is the oldest and largest monthly flea market in North Texas. It is located in the historic Buckner Community. If going shopping is something you enjoy, be sure to plan your visit around the third weekend — and bring a big car!

Pro Tip: There are plenty of places to rest your feet and get a bite to eat. Restrooms are also available. 

11. Landon Winery

Landon Winery is conveniently located right in the middle of downtown. The patio is shaded, so you’ll have no problem relaxing outside. Not only can you enjoy a wine tasting, but you can also take an art class, learn what wines pair well with certain foods, or try your hand at winemaking. If you’re there on a weekend, you’ll enjoy live music.

12. Erwin Park

McKinney is bursting with cool parks. At Erwin Park, you and your grandkids can ride bikes for miles, and then hike the rest of the 7-mile hike-and-bike trail that’s located in the park. When you’re done or want to take a break, there are plenty of picnic tables under pavilions where you can rest your feet. You can even camp in the park. Make it a day, and make more of those memories that you’ll cherish forever.

13. The Heard-Craig Center For The Arts

The Heard-Craig Center for the Arts is a top-rated nonprofit that has been a long-standing presence in the community. It is located inside a quaint historic mansion downtown that houses stunning art and antiques. You can catch an art history lecture there on the first Wednesday of the month and enjoy an afternoon tea to complete your experience. Art tours are available as well.

14. The Breweries

Want to get out and about without the kids in tow? Sure you do! If you have someone to stay with the kiddos, head to Franconia Brewing to tour the brewery and sample year-round and seasonal beers. 

There is another brewery in town worth visiting: Tupps Brewery is set in a special environment that embraces the feel of the historic cotton mill. Tours are also available here. Dive in and visit both!

Live music in McKinney, TX.
Live music in McKinney (Photo Credit: Visit McKinney)

15. The Music

Many McKinney restaurants, wineries and breweries, and other venues regularly host wonderful musicians. Locals love this, and it’s becoming a weekly tradition to gather at these places to enjoy family time and fun. McKinney locals are always eager to share their favorite places with visitors.

16. The Accommodations

If you find yourself wanting to book a long weekend in lovely McKinney, you’ll have many options for overnight stays. Chain hotels, boutique hotels, bed and breakfasts, and campgrounds are all available. McKinney Accommodations is a great place to start planning your visit.

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