Texas Travel

City Spotlight: McKinney

By Kristy Alpert 3.6.17

What do you call an 1840s pioneer town-turned-leisure destination? If you guessed “McKinney,” then you’re in luck. Most recently known as a commuter city for residents who drive 30 miles to and from Dallas offices every workweek, McKinney now lures visitors who make weekend commutes to experience the city’s charms. Here’s a look the history of this quaint city, and what to do when you visit:

How McKinney Got Its Name

McKinney was established in 1848, just a few short years after pioneers arrived to claim free land in exchange for helping to introduce settlers to the area. Locals were offered up to 640 acres, a firearm, and assistance building their homestead; word quickly spread, and soon businesses, farms, and manufacturing companies dotted the rural landscape.

With a population of pioneering residents, the city adopted the name of a fellow forward-thinking Texas settler, Collin McKinney, as it began building the city’s legacy. McKinney was one of the five men who drafted the Texas Declaration of Independence; and since taking on his honorable name, the city did the Republic of Texas congressional representative proud when it was named the No. 1 Best Place to Live by CNN/Money magazine in 2014.

What to Do

  • Shop. The heart of the city rests in Historic Downtown McKinney, where visitors have instant access to more than 100 retail shops. Visitors browse one-of-a-kind galleries and shops such as LAST Art Gallery, the Made in McKinney store, and Fair & Square Imports. McKinney is also home to the first-ever environmentally friendly Wal-Mart, built in 2005 and known worldwide as “The McKinney Experiment.”
  • Get a ticket. See a musical act or play at the McKinney Performing Arts Center, housed in the historic Collin County Courthouse. 
  • Go back to nature. Explore the trails of the Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary or take on its ropes course.
  • Sight-see. Don’t miss McKinney’s Chestnut Square Historic Village, home to nine historic homes and buildings dating back to 1850. At the square’s Faires House, bullets from the one Civil War battle fought on McKinney soil were discovered burrowed in the home’s foundation.
  • Eat good food. Restaurants range from tapas to fine dining. Every restaurant on the downtown square is independently owned, including Sugarbacon Proper Kitchen, Harvest Seasonal Kitchen, and Hug’s Café, where adults with special needs serve up handcrafted sandwiches, hearty soups, and desserts as they help fulfill the restaurant’s goal to change the world one hug at a time.

But you don’t have to become a resident to enjoy this North Texas charmer. It’s well worth a visit.

For more information, visit www.visitmckinney.com, and don’t forget to use your Texas Farm Bureau membership to score some exclusive deals on hotels and car rentals in McKinney.

© 2017 Texas Farm Bureau Insurance