Discover McAllen, TX

There is something for everyone in McAllen, TX.

Kevin Litwin
On Wednesday, April 22, 2020 - 14:04

From music, dance and theater productions to art exhibitions and live jazz music, national and international arts feed this city’s already vibrant soul. McAllen is what the perfect South Texas community, with its trail system and parks to stay active, diverse cuisine, Southern hospitality and low cost of living. And finding the perfect job here is simple – more than 100 Fortune 500 companies have a presence in the McAllen MSA. 

Elevated Dining

The cuisine scene in McAllen is a delightful culinary experience, with a diverse local flavor that includes traditional Americana restaurants as well as Tex-Mex, barbecue, fine fare, Asian, Argentinian, and more. Unique independent restaurants are thriving all across McAllen, and the list of must-try foods is a long one. One restaurant – Prasad Foods – features all plant-based cuisine. Other top spots include Alicia’s Su Cocina, Maison Stivalet, Salomé on Main and Costa Messa.

Brian McCord

Historic Save

The Old Church is a 1940s former landmark church that the McAllen Chamber of Commerce saved from demolition. The Chamber invested $195,000 to renovate the North Main Street building in the Arts District, and it reopened in 2017 as an upscale venue for hosting special events. Anyone can rent the building, which features a 152-person capacity space and fully equipped catering kitchen.

Shop 'Til You Drop

Shopping is hopping throughout McAllen and it remains the most desirable shopping destination for residents of Rio Grande Valley and northern Mexico, and 40 of America’s top 100 retailers do business here. Major retail options include La Plaza Mall, Palms Crossing, Trenton Crossing, Northcross Shopping Center, Las Tiendas, and Rio Grande Valley Premium Outlets as well as small-store and wholesale shopping in the historic downtown business district.

Valley Symphony Orchestra

Acting Up

The $45 million, 1,800-seat McAllen Performing Arts Center opened in late 2016 with high-tech amenities ideal for staging music and theatrical performances. Adjustable acoustics can accommodate everything from heavy metal concerts to a symphonic orchestra, and a hydraulic system lifts and lowers the stage and orchestra as desired. Three levels of seating include the main auditorium, first balcony, and upper balcony, and recent shows at the McAllen Performing Arts Center included "Cats," "Blue Man Group," "We Will Rock You," and "The Nutcracker."

Nathan Lambrecht

Take the Bus

Metro McAllen is the public bus provider in McAllen, and Metro now has nine bus routes with about 300 stops. The system comprises eight intra-city bus routes and a paratransit bus service for eligible disabled patrons. Fees are reasonable; children under 6 ride free, and there is a $1 standard fare for adults with a discounted 50-cent rate for seniors and students with IDs. Hours of operation are Mondays through Saturdays from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sundays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The 4-1-1 On McAllen

  • Welcome Home: People are flocking to the McAllen area. In fact, moveBuddha named it the 17th most popular large city to relocate for 2018.
  • Arts & Culture: Led by the McAllen Performing Arts Center, the city’s arts and culture sector includes several historic sites, live entertainment, visual arts venues, community events and annual festivals.
  • Affordability: McAllen consistently ranks among cities with the lowest cost of living in the United States, and that attractive affordability has helped make it one of the fastest growing metros in Texas.
  • Safety: McAllen has the lowest overall crime rate compared to all major Texas cities and is also one of the safest cities in the nation. At the end of 2017, McAllen completed its eighth consecutive year with reduced crime, posting its lowest rate in 33 years.
Courtesy of South Texas College
  • International Flavor: Located only five miles from the U.S.-Mexico border, McAllen has become a natural magnet for international trade, as well as tourism, retail opportunities and manufacturing companies.
  • Friendliness & Hospitality: The friendliness of McAllen’s people helps to make the city a convention destination, with hospitality amenities including a great airport, many excellent hotels, restaurants, shopping, and entertainment, and the ease of walkability to get to all those places.
  • High Quality of Life: The median family income in McAllen tops a comfortable $50,000, and livability conveniences include a state-of-the-art library, in-town bus service, awesome parks and hiking/biking trails that can be enjoyed year round thanks to McAllen’s mild climate.
  • Diversity:  The City of Palms enjoys proximity to Mexico, and about 80% of the population is Hispanic or Latino. The city’s median age is 32, but it’s also a popular spot for retirees.
  • Healthcare: Access to quality health care is a key component to a truly livable community, and hospitals here collectively have more than 1,000 beds. McAllen residents have choices such as McAllen Medical Center, McAllen Heart Center, Doctors Hospital at Renaissance and Rio Grande Regional Hospital.


Kevin Litwin is the author of Crazy Lucky Dead and a freelance feature writer with a career spanning more than 20 years.