McAllen, TX In a Weekend
McAllen offers the best of both worlds: lively shopping, dining and nightlife options as well as plenty of open spaces and healthy outdoor fun. Here's a sample itinerary to discover some of the best things to do and see in a quick weekend visit.
Day 1: Costa Messa, Music Afterhours
6 p.m. – Dinner at Costa Messa Restaurant
Fuel up for your McAllen weekend by starting out the weekend at Costa Messa Restaurant, a casual Tex-Mex/Mexican restaurant that's always packed with locals. Meals come complete with chips and three salsas and caldo de res, a traditional Mexican beef and vegetable soup seasoned with cumin, cilantro and lime. A favorite dish is the chile relleno, and dessert offers white and chocolate tres leches cake or flan.
8 p.m. – Explore McAllen's Live Music Scene
McAllen is home to a thriving local music scene that includes festivals like Another Music Festival, South of the City Limits. The Music Afterhours program offers live music twice a month on Fridays from October through May. Hear live music nearly any night at venues like Scala Live Music & VIP Bar and the historic Cine El Rey.
Day 2: Bird-watching, Nuevo Progreso and More
9 a.m. – Breakfast tacos at Taco Palenque
Ready for more Mexican food? Hope so, because McAllen loves its breakfast tacos at Taco Palenque. Options include everything from basic bacon & egg and ham & egg options to more exotic tacos like barbacoa (a Mexican version of barbecue traditionally eaten on Sunday mornings) and chicharron, a taco made with fried pork rinds.
10 a.m. – Quinta Mazatlan Bird-Watching
McAllen is home to many rare bird species only found in the Rio Grande Valley. Try bird-watching at Quinta Mazatlan, a 10,000-square-foot mansion circa 1930s that hosts a mix of native and exotic plants and wildlife. Guests can choose from guided nature walks, speakers, and hands-on classes.
12:30 – Lunch at Blue Onion
Take a break from McAllen's burgeoning Mexican cuisine scene at Blue Onion, which focuses on creativity, fresh ingredients and healthy dining options. Standouts on the menu are hummus, signature grilled flatbread and a daily "meal in a bowl."Blue Onion also has a well-priced wine list and a full bar.
2 p.m. – Shopping in Nuevo Progreso
McAllen is known for superior shopping, with standout deal destinations including La Plaza Mall, Palms Crossing and downtown McAllen. There's also a favorite for Winter Texans across the border in Mexico: Nuevo Progreso. Get great deals on furniture, leather, pottery and clothing in this popular spot about 25 minutes east of McAllen. Everything is located on the strip for easy shopping on foot. Remember your passport – you’ll need it to re-enter the United States.
6 p.m. – The Patio on Guerra for dinner
Splurge for dinner at The Patio on Guerra, where fine dining includes prime steaks and seafood options including ceviche, seabass and tilapia. The Patio also boasts a lengthy wine list and often offers live music.
8 p.m. – 17th Street Entertainment District
Spend some time in the heart of McAllen's lively and growing entertainment district. 17th Street is a great place to explore countless options for good spirits and good company.
Day 3: Archer Park and Delia's Tamales
9 a.m. Archer Park
Start your day with a walk or run through Archer Park (101 N. Broadway), the city's oldest park and one of the remaining historic landmarks in McAllen. In the center of the park stands a gazebo that was originally dedicated as a bandstand in 1918.
11 a.m. – Tamales at Delia's
Wind down your weekend with a to-go bag of McAllen's best-kept secret: Delia's Tamales (4800 S 23rd., 956-630-3502). Tucked into a nondescript corner of a small shopping center, the small eatery serves up a menu of drool-worthy tamales (and not much else). Orders are by the dozen or half dozen in flavors including spicy pork, cream cheese and jalepeno and even a sweet tamale with raisins, cinnamon and nuts.
If you're in McAllen for a bit longer, there's plenty more to do. Our best bet? Catch some of the biggest Broadway shows presented at Broadway in McAllen.