The 17 Best Things to Do in McKinney, Texas: Your Ultimate Guide

Located just 30 miles north of Dallas, McKinney, Texas is a charming city with a rich history and plenty of things to do. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in McKinney.

From exploring the historic downtown area to experiencing the great outdoors, McKinney offers a variety of activities to suit any interest.

Historic Downtown McKinney

McKinney’s historic downtown district is one of the oldest in Texas, and it’s a must-visit destination for anyone exploring the area.

The downtown area boasts a nostalgic setting with over 120 unique shops, including art galleries, furniture stores, antiques, gifts, home décor shops, and apparel and accessory boutiques, as well as other specialty shops.

downtown mckinney, Texas, street view
Downtown McKinney Photo: Alison B.

One of the best ways to explore historic downtown McKinney is on foot. Take a stroll down Main Street, and you’ll see plenty of historic structures and buildings dating back to the early 20th century.

Some of the significant buildings include Old Collin County Jail, Old Collin County Courthouse, Smith Drugstore, and the Old Heard Opera House.

Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary

Founded in 1967, the Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary is a private 501(c)3 nonprofit organization located in McKinney, Texas.

The museum consists of a 289-acre wildlife sanctuary and a natural science museum for the primary purpose of educating children about nature.

Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary, McKinney Texas
Photo: Intaret S.

The Heard Natural Science Museum maintains an extensive group of natural science collections.

The collections include minerals and rocks, sea shells, insects (including moths and butterflies), bird skins, mammal skins, and a herbarium.

These archived collections are part of The Heard’s resource for its ongoing research, education outreach, and conservation efforts.

Visitors can explore the five miles of hiking trails, about fifty acres of wetlands, a two-acre native plant garden, a butterfly house, and observe live animals both indoors and outdoors.

The Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary offers a variety of educational programs and events for all ages throughout the year.

Chestnut Square Historic Village

Chestnut Square Historic Village is a must-visit attraction in McKinney, Texas.

Chestnut Square Historic Village, McKinney Texas
Photo: Guy H.

This charming village is a collection of six historic homes, a wedding chapel, a general store, and a replica of a one-room schoolhouse situated on 2.5 acres just south of McKinney’s downtown square. The grounds also include a blacksmith shop, smokehouse, and beautiful reception gardens.

The buildings at Chestnut Square reflect the architecture and lifestyle of Collin County from 1854 to 1940. Visitors can explore the interiors of the buildings and see period artifacts that show how people lived during that time.

The village also hosts various events throughout the year, such as the McKinney Farmers Market and the McKinney Wine & Music Festival, which are worth checking out.

One of the highlights of Chestnut Square is the Oldest House in McKinney, the Greek Revival Faires residence, built on Tennessee Street. Mr. Faires, a blacksmith by trade, came to Texas from Tennessee.

The house is a testament to the craftsmanship of the locals during that era and is a great example of how people lived in the 1800s.

Collin County History Museum

If you are interested in the history of McKinney and Collin County, the Collin County History Museum is definitely worth checking out!

The museum’s mission is to preserve and honor the past, connect with the present, and embrace the future.

Photo: Kristin S.

The museum is open year-round, Thursday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free, but donations are appreciated. The museum features exhibits that showcase the history of Collin County, including its people, culture, and economy.

You can learn about the early settlers of the area, the impact of the railroad on the region, and the growth of the local economy over time.

Photo: Henry S.

The Collin County History Museum also offers family research and genealogy projects. If you are interested in tracing your family history, the museum’s staff can help you get started. The museum also hosts events throughout the year, including lectures, workshops, and special exhibits.

Myers Park and Event Center

Myers Park and Event Center is a beautiful park and one of the best things to do in McKinney, Texas. It offers a wide range of indoor and outdoor event venues for all kinds of events. The park was originally created as the Collin County Youth Park in 1969 with acreage donated by John and Winnie Myers. Since then, it has grown into a popular destination for visitors and locals alike.

Myers Park and Event Center in McKinney Texas
Photo: Ashleigh J.

The park features lakeside gazebo wedding venue, research gardens onsite, show barns for livestock/dog/other shows, and home of the Collin County Farm Museum. The Landing, The Gazebo, Wells Bridge/Perennial Garden, Amphitheater, Pavilion, and Pole Barn are some of the venue spaces available for events. The Amphitheater can accommodate up to about 300 folks, or up to 750 with added bleachers. The Pavilion is perfect for small gatherings of up to 40 people.

Photo: Ashleigh J.

Myers Park and Event Center is also home to the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, which offers educational programs and services to the community. Visitors can learn about agriculture, horticulture, and natural resources through various workshops and events.

McKinney Performing Arts Center

The McKinney Performing Arts Center (MPAC) is a multi-purpose facility located at the heart of downtown McKinney, Texas. The facility is housed in the historic Collin County Courthouse and offers a variety of rooms for rent at a flexible cost. The theater seats 427 for live entertainment, including off-Broadway, comedy, theater, and concerts.

The MPAC is a cultural hub that offers a unique and professional venue for nurturing cultural, artistic, and educational opportunities in a supportive environment. The facility is dedicated to providing the community with a diverse range of events that cater to different interests and age groups.

The MPAC is a must-visit destination for anyone who loves live entertainment. Whether you’re a theater enthusiast or a music lover, you’re sure to find something that suits your taste. Some of the events that take place at the MPAC include musicals, plays, jamborees, national and local band shows, and music concerts.

Franconia Brewing Company

Franconia Brewing Company is one of the most popular attractions in McKinney, Texas. This brewery is known for its authentic German-style beers, which are brewed using traditional methods. Franconia Brewing Company offers tours of its facility on Saturdays at 11:30 am and 2 pm. The tour costs $15 and includes three pours.

Visitors to Franconia Brewing Company can also enjoy a game of Hammer-Schlaggen while enjoying their German beer. This traditional German game involves hammering nails into a tree stump, and it is a popular pastime in Bavaria.

Tap room outdoor seating Photo: Fraconia Brewing

In addition to its tours and games, Franconia Brewing Company also has a taproom that is open on Fridays from 4 pm to 8 pm and Saturdays from 11 am to 8 pm. Visitors can sample a variety of German-style beers, including Hefeweizen, Dunkel, and Pilsner.

If you’re a beer lover, Franconia Brewing Company is easily one of the best things to do in McKinney, TX.

Landon Winery

Landon Winery is a must-visit destination for wine lovers in McKinney, Texas. The winery has two locations in historic downtown McKinney and Greenville, both of which are close to Dallas and Fort Worth. Landon Winery is known for crafting award-winning Texas wines, and visitors can watch the wine-making process at either location.

The winery offers a variety of wine tastings, including a classic tasting, a premium tasting, and a chocolate and wine pairing. Visitors can also purchase wine by the glass or bottle and enjoy it on the winery’s outdoor patio. If you’re looking for a unique experience, consider attending one of Landon Winery’s wine dinners, which feature a multi-course meal paired with the winery’s best wines.

For those who want to learn more about wine, Landon Winery offers wine classes and tours. The winery also hosts special events throughout the year, such as live music, weekend festivals, and art classes. Be sure to check the winery’s events calendar to see what’s happening during your visit.

Tupps Brewery

Tupps Brewery is a popular spot in McKinney for beer lovers. The brewery offers a variety of handcrafted beers, including IPAs, stouts, lagers, and more. You can visit the taproom to taste the different beers and enjoy a pint or two with friends.

Photo: Elena K.

The taproom also serves food, so you can grab a bite to eat while you enjoy your beer. The menu includes snacks, sandwiches, and pizzas. You can also order beer to go if you want to take some home with you.

A flight of beers at Tupps Brewery in McKinney, Texas
Photo: Meisha C.

Tupps Brewery often hosts events, such as live music performances and trivia nights. Check their website or social media pages to see what’s coming up.

If you’re interested in learning more about the brewing process, you can take a tour of the brewery. The tours are offered on Saturdays and include a tasting of the different beers.

Erwin Park Hike and Bike Trail

Erwin Park Hike and Bike Trail is a perfect destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. This 212-acre park offers a wide range of activities, including hiking, biking, camping, and picnicking. The park features several challenging bike riding trails, a rustic campground, playground, picnic areas, and pavilions.

The park’s North Loop is a 2.7-mile moderately challenging trail that takes an average of 1 hour and 4 minutes to complete. The Full Loop is an 8.9-mile trail that takes an average of 3 hours and 4 minutes to complete. These trails offer breathtaking views of the park’s natural beauty and are perfect for hikers and bikers of all skill levels.

Erwin Park Hike and Bike Trail is also a popular destination for families. The park’s playground and picnic areas provide a perfect setting for a family outing, and the pavilions are available for rent for larger groups or events.

If you’re looking for a camping experience, Erwin Park has a rustic campground that offers a unique camping experience. The campground has several campsites with fire pits, picnic tables, and access to restroom facilities. The campground is open year-round, and reservations are required.

Overall, Erwin Park Hike and Bike Trail is a must-visit destination in McKinney, Texas. With its natural beauty and wide range of activities, it’s the perfect place to spend a day or a weekend.

Towne Lake Recreation Area

Towne Lake Recreation Area is a 108-acre park located in McKinney, Texas, that offers a variety of outdoor activities for visitors of all ages. The park is home to a beautiful lake, trails, picnic shelters, playgrounds, and more.

One of the main attractions of the park is the lake, which is perfect for fishing, kayaking, and paddleboarding. The park also offers several walking and biking trails that provide scenic views of the lake and surrounding area. Visitors can also enjoy the park’s playgrounds, which are great for children of all ages.

The picnic shelters are perfect for hosting family gatherings, birthday parties, and other events. The shelters are available for reservation and come equipped with picnic tables, grills, and electricity. The park also offers several open fields that are perfect for playing sports or having a picnic.

If you’re looking for a relaxing day out in nature, Towne Lake Recreation Area is the perfect destination. With its beautiful lake, scenic trails, and picnic shelters, the park offers something for everyone.

The Village at Allen

The Village at Allen is a must-visit destination for anyone looking for a fun-filled day or weekend in McKinney. This dynamic shopping, dining, and entertainment destination boasts over 1 million square feet of mixed-use development, featuring some of the area’s most popular attractions, including Cabela’s, Topgolf, and the Allen Event Center.

At The Village at Allen, you can indulge in retail therapy at some of your favorite stores, such as HomeGoods, Macy’s Backstage, Target, Ulta, and Burlington. You can also catch a movie at the Cinemark Allen 16 and XD, or grab a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants, including BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse, Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen, and Grimaldi’s Pizzeria.

For those looking for a more active experience, The Village at Allen has plenty to offer. You can test your skills at Topgolf, a premier golf entertainment complex that features a high-tech driving range and a full-service restaurant and bar. Or, catch a game or concert at the Allen Event Center, which hosts over 100 events per year, including concerts, sporting events, and family shows.

Overall, The Village at Allen is a one-stop-shop for all your entertainment needs. Whether you’re looking to shop, dine, or play, this destination has something for everyone.

Craig Ranch Fitness & Spa

If you’re looking for a place to get fit and relax in McKinney, the Craig Ranch Fitness & Spa is a great option. Here are some of the things you can do there:

  • Work out in the expansive workout floor, which features state-of-the-art equipment.
  • Take a dip in the 50-meter outdoor pool or the indoor lap pool.
  • Play a game of pickleball on one of the dedicated courts.
  • Join a group fitness class in one of the many studios, which offer everything from yoga to cycling.
  • Relax in the sauna or steam room.
  • Get a massage or facial at the spa.
  • Bring your kids to the dedicated kids’ spaces, which offer activities and games for all ages.

In addition to these amenities, the Craig Ranch Fitness & Spa also offers personal training and nutrition coaching. And if you’re a member, you can use the Craig Ranch Fitness App to view personal information, view and send statements, and more. Recently, Life Time purchased the Craig Ranch Fitness & Spa and plans to do an extensive multi-million dollar renovation. So, keep an eye out for even more exciting changes and updates to come at this popular McKinney fitness destination.

Heard-Craig Center for the Arts

The Heard-Craig Center for the Arts is a beautifully-preserved historic home built in 1900 located at 205 W Hunt Street, McKinney, TX 75069. The center is supported in part by the McKinney Community Development Corporation, the McKinney Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, and by the residents of McKinney.

The Heard-Craig Center for the Arts boasts an impressive collection of Texas art and artifacts that belonged to the Heard-Craig families. The art and artifacts reflect on the lives of this influential early McKinney family. The center is home to 20 McKinney Arts organizations, each of which has a monthly education program.

The grounds of the center are also impressive, with a garden and carriage house that serve as a popular wedding venue. The center offers quality arts and educational experiences that strengthen the vibrant cultural community in McKinney.

The Comedy Arena

The Comedy Arena is a must-visit spot for anyone who loves to laugh. Located in downtown McKinney, this comedy club features stand-up, improv, sketch, and comedy classes. You can even book it for corporate or private events.

The Comedy Arena is a small, intimate venue with a classy lounge feel. You can grab a drink and some food while enjoying the show. The club is known for its talented comedians and hilarious performances.

If you’re looking for a fun night out with friends or a unique date idea, The Comedy Arena is the perfect spot. Check out their website for upcoming shows and events.

McKinney, Texas, is a wonderful destination that offers something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for outdoor adventures, shopping, or cultural experiences, McKinney has it all.

From exploring the historic downtown area to visiting local wineries and breweries, there is no shortage of fun things to do in McKinney. You can also enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, biking, and fishing at nearby parks and lakes.

If you’re traveling with kids, there are plenty of family-friendly attractions like the Heard Natural Science Museum and Wildlife Sanctuary and the Chestnut Square Historic Village. You can also take them to play at one of the city’s many parks and playgrounds.

Overall, McKinney is a great place to visit whether you’re traveling solo, with friends, or with family. With so many fun things to do and see, you’re sure to have a memorable trip.


What is McKinney, Texas known for?

McKinney, Texas is known for its thriving historic downtown, cultural diversity, charming neighborhoods, and excellent quality of life. The city has been recognized as one of the fastest-growing communities in North Texas, with a build-out population of more than 350,000. McKinney is also known for its unique, rich, and diverse spirit, which is a result of the history that has shaped it. The city has intentionally preserved its history, crafting a town that offers the best of the old with a vibrant present and a very promising future.

Is McKinney a good place to live?

Yes, McKinney, Texas is considered a great place to live. The city has been recognized by various publications as one of the best places to live in the United States, thanks to its strong economy, excellent schools, low crime rates, and high quality of life. McKinney is also known for its friendly and welcoming community, with a diverse population that adds to the city’s charm. With its historic downtown, beautiful parks, and numerous amenities, McKinney offers a great balance of small-town charm and big-city conveniences, making it an ideal place to call home.

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