If you want Texas-sized charm and opportunity, McKinney may be the place for you. Located about 30 miles from Dallas, McKinney is a suburb that has big-city amenities (including big-city jobs), and its growth is just exploding. In only 10 years, McKinney went from a population of around 131,000 to 195,000, and is one of the fastest growing cities in the country.
So, what’s special about this small city situated in the midst of big ol’ DFW? Beyond economics (the median household income in McKinney is around $87,000 and there’s a very healthy job market), McKinney has a quaint downtown with eclectic shops and vibrant restaurants and boasts a tight-knit community that welcomes you right in.
Top Industries and Employers: In McKinney, healthcare is the top industry with Medical Center McKinney being one of the top employers in the city in addition to Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems.
Best Coffee Shop: SNUG on the Square is a laid-back coffeehouse that also serves breakfast — with warm, inviting couches and spaces for local artists to show off their work.
Best Local Beer/Brewery: TUPPS Brewery, housed in an old cotton mill, is a public version of your living room, where you’re encouraged to put your feet up and write your name on the wall (okay, so maybe you don’t do that at home).
Must-Have Meal: Everything is bigger and better in Texas, including the porterhouse steak at Rick’s Chophouse, which is made for two.
Best Co-Working Space: LIFT, which is located right on the square, offers bottomless coffee, personal mentoring, supportive space for entrepreneurs, freelancers and remote workers to come together.
Best Meetup Spot (When Meeting Up Is a Thing Again): The Yard, which is essentially an oversized backyard hang, is a space where you can sip a margarita and play horseshoes — without having to deal with the responsibility of mowing it.
Creative Hub: McKinney Art House is an art collective inside a colorful house that offers art and pottery classes as well as summer camps and birthday parties for the more creatively inclined.
Favorite Weekend Activity: Take a bite into history with Food Walks of Texas, which is a guided food tour of downtown McKinney where you learn about the architecture and history of the city while also stuffing your face with the best eats in town.
Free Way to Have Fun: Towne Lake Recreation Area has 108 acres for you to hike, frolic, walk your dog or just pull up a hammock and enjoy.
Local Dream Job: A neurologist or cardiologist at Medical City McKinney, the region’s premier acute care hospital.
- Jamie Birdwell-Branson