McAllen is young — and young at heart. With a median age of 27, the border city is a hub for nightlife, shopping and recreation in the Rio Grande Valley.
Steve Ahlenius, President and Chief Executive Officer of the McAllen Chamber of Commerce, says the city's low cost of living and year-round tropical climate attract countless young families and singles, including the 50,000 higher education students who call Hidalgo County home.
"The region's student population has been a huge economic engine in terms of retail, restaurants, music and culture," Ahlenius says.
When the sun goes down in McAllen, party-goers hit the 17th Street nightlife district, where more than 40 restaurants, lounges and nightclubs line trendy city streets. From the ultra-modern, bamboo-wrapped walls of the popular Lumen Lounge to the unforgettable fine dining of The Patio on Guerra, the entertainment district offers something for everyone.
Music and arts are a vital part of the culture in McAllen, and few venues showcase that passion more than PalmFest, an international folklife celebration held each fall at the McAllen Convention Center outdoor festival grounds. The event draws tens of thousands with non-stop music, entertainment, food and activities for the entire family.
And with the best retail selection in the Valley, McAllen is also a destination for millions of hard-core shoppers from across Texas and Mexico. More than 40 shopping centers and a plethora of high-end, discount and specialty boutiques in downtown McAllen offer shoppers popular brands combined with one-of-a-kind items unique to south Texas. And with 600-plus restaurants serving every possible culinary genre, the toughest part of shopping is deciding where to eat afterward.
McAllen Parks and Recreation
Picture-perfect temperatures make McAllen an unbeatable outdoor destination. The McAllen Parks and Recreation Department maintains 25 city parks designed to get kids of all ages up and moving.
In 2010, the department celebrated the opening of McAllen's Park and Spray Ground, located at 29th and Zinnia. The 20-acre park includes a child-friendly playing surface with automated spray features, a sand volleyball court, skateboard area, a half basketball court and 0.6 miles of walking trails. Other features include athletic practice fields, pavilions, picnic shelters and restroom facilities.
"The park has been extremely successful, with visitors playing from the time it opens to the time it closes," says Sally Gavlik, Director of the McAllen Parks and Recreation Department. "It's become a very vital aspect of the community."
Set to open in 2011 is Firemen's Park, located at First and Business 83. Guests will enjoy capabilities for overnight camping and a 10-acre man-made lake ideal for fishing, kayaking and canoeing.
"Parks are extremely vital here, and add to the quality of life for visitors who can go from one to the other and really experience a variety of activities," Gavlik says.