Located approximately seventy miles from the Gulf of Mexico, McAllen is located at the tip of Rio Grande Valley in Hidalgo County, Texas, United States.
McAllen is recognized as the 22nd largest city in the state, with a population of 142,210 people after the 2020 census.
The city attracts individuals from different parts of the world as they get to enjoy the extraordinary beauty of the environment, mild winter weather, and low cost of living.
The city is filled with fascinating culture and history that defines the people and makes them stand out from other communities.
Don’t miss out on the excitement when you visit the International Museum of Art & Science, McAllen Nature Center, 17th Street Entertainment District, Trapped RGV Escape Rooms, the Firemen’s Park, and more.
Are you planning an exploration of McAllen? Here are the top things to do in McAllen, TX.
Things to Do in McAllen, TX
1. McAllen Nature Center
McAllen Nature Center stretches exactly 20-acre of nature space and is located pretty close to downtown McAllen.
The Center was built with the primary purpose of giving the people of the community a chance to get outside and have fun.
The McAllen Nature Center is a well-known bird-viewing center that offers adults and children various essential programs.
The Center is home to almost a mile of ADA-authorized nature trails, forested land, and a scenic cactus garden.
There is a wetland ecosystem and meadowlands here, home to a large variety of birds. So, watch out for ducks, horned owls, herons, teals, and more.
The Center also features picnic tables where you can hang out with some of your close friends. You can also join a guided tour or yoga classes.
Address: 4801 W. Business 83, McAllen, TX 78501, United States
2. International Museum of Art & Science
Aside from having fun, always look forward to learning something new whenever you go on a vacation or tour.
To your list of top things to do in McAllen, TX, add a visit to the International Museum of Art & Science for a more educational experience.
The International Museum of Art & Science offers the public several educational programs and exhibits which are exclusively related to the Rio Grande River’s ecosystem.
There is an attractive science playground where our little ones can explore and learn more about the Rio Grande.
You will also find a science exhibition constructed by NASA displaying planetary and celestial systems precisely the way it is seen by satellites and telescopes.
The International Museum of Art & Science features an exhibition space of more than five thousand square feet packed with exhibits, including thousands of folk art and a permanent collection from several centuries ago. Visit the gift shop and purchase unique gifts and souvenirs for yourself or your family and friends.
Address: 1900 W. Nolana Avenue, McAllen, TX 78504, United States
3. Nuevo Santander Gallery
Nuevo Santander Gallery is a museum that specializes in items exclusively related to the American Old West.
A visit to this family-owned and operated shop should be on your checklist of the best things to do in McAllen, TX, especially if you are an art enthusiast. Nuevo Santander Gallery is home to a diverse collection of items.
You can purchase beautiful paintings in different patterns created with oil, pastels, or watercolor focusing on traditional authenticity made by local artists.
Nuevo Santander Gallery offers military uniforms, old West arms, saddles, spurs, and many vital items about Rio Grande Valley’s rich history.
There are unique antique furnishings here, including Mexican items and religious collectibles. The gallery is considered an artwork itself with doors made of the ironwork of 150 years and nicely designed interiors with unique walls.
Address: 717 N. Main Street, McAllen, TX 78501, United States
4. Quinta Mazatlan
Quinta Mazatlan, a 1930s Spanish-style mansion built in McAllen, serves as an environmental enlightenment and birdwatching center.
Over two hundred and thirty bird species are said to move within the area surrounding the Rio Grande Valley, although some are just roaming while others reside there.
Quinta Mazatlan is a recognized home of hummingbirds with Buff-bellies (known as rare creatures) and lots of other unique species.
This property is just about twenty minutes from the downtown region of McAllen, and it is a place for roaming butterflies.
There are lots of innovative programs available, including botanical and historical tours for both locals and visitors, whether young or old.
You can also explore the series of nature trails here as you also get to enjoy the breathtaking environment.
Address: 600 Sunset Drive, McAllen, TX 78503, United States
5. McAllen’s New Park and Spray Ground
McAllen’s New Park and Spray Ground is a popular park that is highly recommended, especially to families looking for a park to spend time in.
The Park is home to water jets explored by the community’s children as a perfect way to cool off.
There is a nicely maintained basketball court, volleyball court, and a skateboard ground for those who want to try their skills.
McAllen’s New Park and Spray Ground feature many jogging and walking trails, which are well paved, as well as fields for athletic rehearsals.
The Park consists of picnic shelters and tables where you can relax and grab a meal with your loved ones.
This dog-friendly Park has barbecue grills, a large playground for children, a baseball field, and good restrooms. Spending some time in this Park is one of the fun things to do in McAllen, TX.
Address: 5201 N. 29th Street, McAllen, TX 78504, United States
6. McAllen Heritage Center
If you want to learn about the history and culture of the city, visiting McAllen Heritage Center is one of the best things to do in McAllen, TX.
McAllen Heritage Center was founded in 2008, and it features an extensive collection of pictures, artifacts, and videos relating to the history of the city.
The Center serves as an eye opener to the vast history of Rio Grande Valley and how European Alonso Alvarez de Pinada discovered it in 1519.
You get to learn more about the first settlers in the region, which began in the 1740s by Jose De Escandon, and the era when the city was founded in the 20th century.
There is an extensive display of artifacts such as high school jackets, cheerleader uniforms, military memorabilia, and more.
The McAllen Heritage Center is always open from 1 pm to 5 pm and Saturday from 11 am to 4 pm. There is no entry fee, but donations are highly appreciated.
Address: 301 S. Main Street, McAllen, TX 78501, United States
7. Earth Born Market
Earth Born Market is another excellent market that usually attracts many people from different parts of the country to the city.
Shopping at Earth Born Market is a must add to your list of top things to do in McAllen, TX, as you get to shop for different kinds of items.
Earth Born Market is owned and operated by the Holbrook Family, including the farm, which focuses on producing the best organic items.
They offer the public the freshest and highest quality products for affordable prices you might not get elsewhere.
Shop for fresh, locally sourced, raw items, including fruits, freshly pressed juices, vegetables, citrus, and more.
The farm produce here are free from synthetic fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides, making them healthy for consumption.
Address: 4508 N. Taylor Road, McAllen, TX 78503, United States
8. 17th Street Entertainment District
No list of fun things to do in McAllen, TX, would be complete without a visit to the 17th Street Entertainment District.
The 17th Street Entertainment District is nestled in the Center of McAllen and is known as the happening spot in the city.
The district’s extensive collection of restaurants and taverns offers various entertainment modes.
Don’t get it twisted; 17th Street Entertainment District is actually for everyone, although it is visited mainly by young individuals.
This destination is for those who want to enjoy a casual dinner with loved ones, dance the night away while they vibe to live music entertainment or relax while sipping a drink at the bar.
The 17th Street Entertainment District provides professional guards to secure the place and its large parking spot.
Address: 17th St., McAllen, TX 78501, United States
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9. McAllen Farmers Market
The McAllen Farmers Market is a public market where you can purchase naturally sourced farm items in McAllen.
The market is packed with several vendors offering a large assortment of commodities catering to patrons’ every need.
You can purchase freshly harvested vegetables, dried fruits, eggs, honey, dairy, grass-fed meats, and other farm produce.
There are various beauty products to shop for, including health products, artwork, craft works, decor, etc. The McAllen Farmers Market is focused on encouraging patrons to adopt a healthy eating lifestyle by providing quality items.
The market is open only on Saturdays from 10 am to 1 pm, get up and ensure you go on time, so you don’t miss out. If you want to learn how to prepare some of the city’s traditional dishes, visit the McAllen Farmers Market.
Address: 4001 N. 23rd Street, McAllen, TX 78502, United States
10. Costa Messa
Costa Messa was established in 2002 and is known for serving deliciously prepared meals with eminent touches of Gulf of Mexico style.
The restaurant focuses on offering customers the original Mexican meal with tastes you can’t get elsewhere and for reasonable costs.
The meals are prepared with locally grown ingredients which are always fresh and healthy for usage to promote healthy eating habits.
They serve meals like Enchiladas Suizas with Chicken White, botana platter, Caldo De Res, Chile Relleno, Caldo Tlalpeño, Choriqueso, Guacamole Al Molcajete, and more.
Costa Messa’s staff and owner are all friendly and pleasant; they take time to attend to guests and make them comfortable.
Address: 5248 N 10th St, McAllen, TX 78504, United States
11. Veteran’s War Memorial
Have you ever heard about the tales of Texans who died while fighting for their country? If not, add a visit to the Veteran’s War Memorial to your list of top things to do in McAllen, TX.
The Veteran’s War Memorial is a property of five acres founded to honor the lives of those lost for the county’s sake.
The building is characterized by a roof built in the form of a flying eagle with a tall spire 105 feet extending through the top.
The names of the soldiers who fought during WWII, the Vietnam War, WWI, and the Korean War are inscribed on its granite walls.
The Veteran’s War Memorial was created with another significant aim of enlightening the next generation about the level of patriotism shown by American Veterans.
Address: 3129 Galveston Ave, McAllen, TX 78501, United States
12. La Plaza MallLa Plaza Mall is a great shopping center that is a must-visit for everyone who wants a fun-filled shopping time.
The Mall is tagged as the largest indoor shopping center in the whole of southern Texas, featuring more than one hundred and fifty merchants.
You will find everything you need, from housewares, clothing, electronics, cosmetics, toys, sporting goods, and more.
La Plaza Mall houses full-time salons, a play area for children, a spa, and banks; the play area hosts educational play and parties.
In case you begin to feel hungry after a while of shopping, there is a dining section where you’re offered various food options, including coffee, sandwiches, pretzels, salads, and more.
Patrons get to enjoy a free Wi-Fi network and ample parking space, plus clean bathrooms, and there are strollers available. Exploring this Mall is one of the best things to do in McAllen, TX.
Address: 2200 S. 10th Street, McAllen, TX 78503, United States
13. Trapped RGV Escape Rooms
Trapped RGV Escape Rooms offers you an opportunity to integrate into an exhilarating adventure that feels just like real life.
This game involves searching for clues, ideas, vital keys, and interpreting puzzles or riddles that will help you escape the room.
There are four escape rooms available; you can pick whichever one you want to explore or suits your personality.
Trapped RGV Escape Rooms was established for those who want an immersive 60 minutes experience that they will never forget. Exploring the Escape Rooms is one of the fun things to do in McAllen, TX.
Here, you and your team get to learn how to work together and test your ability to solve problems as a group.
Address: 609 W. Business 83, McAllen, TX 78501, United States
14. Deloreans 80s Bar
Go back in time when you walk into this unique bar and club; Deloreans will make you dance along to the incredible music from the 80s.
Aside from music, you also watch videos from way back in the 80s and get a feel of what life was like during that era.
Deloreans offers visitors a wide variety of specialty cocktails for them to enjoy, coupled with incredible live music.
The bar is all about offering customers an unforgettable experience as all they do is party all night long.
The club has existed for about eleven years and has continuously served the people, including offering happy hour specials.
Deloreans features an outdoor seating area for those who want to relax outside for more comfort and enjoy the scenic environment.
This bar is a venue for private events and special events, including bachelor’s or bachelorette parties, birthday parties, and so on. The bar is open from Thursday to Saturday from 8 am-2 am, and Friday from 8 pm-1 am.
Address: 2200 W Nolana Ave #2204c, McAllen, TX 78504, United States
15. Embassy Suites by Hilton
Embassy Suites by Hilton provides a safe and conducive environment for guests to feel comfortable and live with peace of mind.
If you’re still confused about where to reside during your stay in the city, booking a room at Embassy Suites by Hilton is one of the best things to do in McAllen.
Guests are offered non-smoking rooms, a digital key, a free Wi-Fi network, complimentary breakfast, and pets are also allowed into the rooms.
There is an onsite restaurant and bar that offers a wide variety of dining options and flavorful drinks.
Embassy Suites by Hilton features an outdoor pool, a fitness center, a free parking garage, meeting spaces, and a business center.
Address: 800 Convention Center Blvd, McAllen, TX 78501, United States
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16. The Cine El Rey
The Cine El Rey was founded on the 22nd of April, 1948, by Interstate Theatres Inc. and worked actively for forty years before it was shut down.
Later in 2001, the theater was reopened after going through a series of renovations under new ownership, and it has been open since then.
The theater, elegantly designed in a stadium-style setting, has an excellent sound system, plus a large stage where it all happens.
There is a concession where you purchase delightful snacks and drinks to enjoy as you watch the live performances.
Address: 311 S 17th St, McAllen, TX 78501, United States
17. Palm View Golf
Palm View Golf is a popular golf course in McAllen and a favorite place for many golf players who need a fantastic experience.
It is a par 72, 6771-yard golf course featuring scenic rolling fairways and beautifully nurtured Bermuda grass.
There are also artificial lakes, which modify the beauty of the environment and make it more soothing to the public.
Other features that make this course stand out are the outdoor driving range which is lighted with marked greens, and a hitting room featuring automatic swing estimation.
Golfing in Palm View Golf is one of the fun things to do in McAllen, TX.
Check out the pro shop and pick from their extensive golf equipment and attire collection.
Palm View Golf features a full-service restaurant where delicious breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served, plus the Dining Room grille.
You can also order any beverage from the extensive list of drinks offered, featuring both non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks.
This golf course is also a great place for several events, including wedding receptions, corporate events, and more.
Address: 2701 S. Ware Road, McAllen, TX 78503, United States
18. The Firemen’s Park
Are you in the mood to step out and hang out with family and friends? Then, visiting Wonderful Firemen’s Park should be on your list of fun things to do in McAllen, TX.
The Wonderful Firemen’s Park is home to several walking trails ideal for those who would like to go for a smooth walk within the property.
The Park features a gorgeous pond of three acres open to the public for boating or fishing; fishing lines and boats are also available for rentals.
Engage in a friendly competition with your friends over a volleyball game. In addition, there is a playground for the little children.
The Park also features picnic tables with a pavilion and barbecue grill for family and friends’ get-togethers or reunions.
Address: 201 N 1st St, McAllen, TX 78501, United States
19. McAllen Public Library
Whether you’re an academician or not, add a visit to McAllen Public Library to your McAllen, TX, checklist.
McAllen Public Library is an award-winning library that takes proof in serving and contributing to the educational growth of the community.
The library offers a large variety of classes and events for everyone, both children and adults, ranging from computer training for grown-ups to story-telling for children.
A massive collection of books, audio, and videos is constantly increasing and advancing.
Visitors also get to enjoy free Wi-Fi with a conducive reading space. McAllen Public Library encourages visitors to use its website to learn more about its services and receive access to digital resources.
Address: 4001 N 23rd St, McAllen, TX 78504, United States
20. McAllen Art Walk
The McAllen Art Walk might sound strange to those just hearing it for the first time, but it is fun and unique.
The Art Walk takes place from September to May, usually on the first Friday of every month, and it is done in a bid to showcase the city’s culture.
During this period, both locals and tourists are asked to come out and take a walk through the museums, art studios, and art galleries in the area.
Discovering new artworks during this Walk is one of the fun things to do in McAllen, TX.
After McAllen Art Walk, an after-party is held at Archer Park during the nighttime when artists, musicians, and cosplayers are available to offer live performances.
There are crafters, buskers, and food stands scattered throughout the Park, where you get to enjoy delicious local meals.
Address: 1009 Laurel, McAllen, TX 78501, United States
21. South Texas CollegeAn educational establishment, South Texas College allows visitors to come in for tours at designated times.
South Texas College features a book store, art studios, and student center offering tours that extend for at least an hour.
You can take a stroll throughout the campus and make a stop at every essential academic facility here, so make sure you come with highly comfortable shoes.
Only a particular number of individuals are allowed during each tour session; you’re highly encouraged to register on time.
South Texas College offers tours throughout the year except for August and January when the number of persons registering are high.
Address: 3201 Pecan Blvd, McAllen, TX 78501, United States
22. Delia’s Tamales
If you are a Tamales fan, having Delia’s Tamales, the best tamales joint in the city, should be on the list of top things to do in McAllen, TX.
The eatery began at home, where tamales were prepared and delivered to different houses, but currently, they operate six other branches.
Delia’s Tamales offers customers eighteen varieties of tamales to choose from, so you will find one you enjoy.
They offer vegetarian and vegan tamales prepared with original flavors and ingredients for affordable costs, which doesn’t match the services offered.
Don’t hesitate to try out some of the eighteen various types of tamales and experience how tasty they are, and share them with your friends and family.
Address: 3400 N 10th St, McAllen, TX 78501, United States
23. McAllen Performing Arts Center
McAllen Performing Arts Center officially opened its doors in 2016 and has slowly grown to become actively part of the people and culture.
The Center is known as a state-of-the-art facility that offers guests the best, with a seating capacity of 1,800 persons.
This performing art center offers exciting music shows, comedy shows, dance shows, theater presentations, and lots more.
McAllen Performing Arts Center is made up of a passionate team of individuals who are also highly experienced as well as ambassadors to the arts; you can join if you wish.
Address: 801 Convention Center Blvd, McAllen, TX 78501, United States
24. The McAllen Country Club
The McAllen Country Club is among the top-notch locations for golf outings and special occasions in Rio Grande Valley.
This private country club offers several fun activities for the entire family. McAllen Country Club presents its members with one of the best golf courses in South Texas.
The Championship 18-hole golf course has small greens and tree-lined fairways that prove to be a challenge for professional and beginner golfers.
The Golf Club also has a stunning green, full-bag storage accommodation, a fully stocked Golf Shop, and a separate practice range.
The wide clubhouse pool features everything you need, like a diving area, lap lanes, a baby pool, lots of deck spaces to soak in the sun or unwind, and room to play watersports.
The McAllen Country Club also has a state of the art equipment, including free weights, strength training, cardiovascular, exercise balls, and other workout equipment.
If you prefer to take a class, there are group and individual training sessions, including Pilates, Zumba, Water Aerobics, Yoga, core solutions, and Zumba.
The club offers massage therapists and personal trainers if you are interested in getting relaxed after a workout.
During the summer, the club holds a summer program for swimming, tennis, and golf. Junior golfers can improve their skills throughout the year with different programs that include specialized training and tournaments.
Furthermore, McAllen Country Club presents five dining areas to enjoy delicious meals with loved ones, including a weekly Friday buffet and Sunday brunch.
If you want to eat outside or enjoy a margarita, there’s a bar and grill.
Address: 615 Wichita Ave, McAllen, TX 78503, United States
25. New & Again Antique Mall
If you like shopping for antiques, you shouldn’t miss a trip to New & Again Antique Mall. This place is an antiques-art-and Craft small mall.
They have more than 40 dealers who offer a collection of antiques, home décor, collectibles, and lots more.
Visit New & Again Antique Mall and shop in an air-conditioned environment. You can also spend some time in the Tea Room, where fresh sandwiches are made daily.
Additionally, you can enjoy delicious bread pudding, iced tea, and fresh coffee.
Address: 1101 Upas Ave, McAllen, TX 78501, United States
26. Klement’s Grove
Among the best places to visit in McAllen is Klement’s Grove. This family-operated store, established over three decades ago, specializes in natural and tree-ripened citrus fruits.
Klement’s Grove is an excellent spot to find good juice, snacks, and fruit. You can select from the Ruby Red and Rio grapefruit or the pineapple and Valencia oranges since they are sold in large quantities here.
Additionally, the store sells jams and jellies that you won’t find anywhere else. When you visit the store, you can pick your own fruit from the trees or purchase plant saplings if you want to grow your own tree.
Although Klement’s Grove opens only during the citrus season, which is November to April, it’s not a place to miss.
Address: 4508 N Taylor Rd, McAllen, TX 78504-9740
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Plan Your Trip to McAllen
McAllen is a renowned city in Texas and a popular destination for many tourists seeking an unprecedented experience.
The city offers visitors and locals countless opportunities to get outside and have a fantastic adventure exploring all the outdoor amenities.
Don’t forget to come with a recording device or camera to capture all the special moments which will serve as perfect remembrance.