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Jan 31

5 Things to do in McKinney to Make Your Trip Special

Posted on January 31, 2020 at 10:53 AM by Beth Shumate

Guest Blog by
With 19th century buildings, historic streets and a homey atmosphere, McKinney, Texas, offers a  such a unique experience. History is alive and well in this old Texas city where people celebrate its unique and charming personality. From it’s gorgeous historic villages, parks and it’s people, one can definitely feel that nostalgic ambiance of a city with a long and colorful history. In this article, we list out five of the best ways to make your visit to this historic city a memorable one. If you want to know more, here are other
things to do in McKinney

Experience the Community’s Rich Heritage

For those who want to immerse themselves in history and culture, visitors would love it in McKinney. The place is filled with warm and welcoming locals and fascinating historic sites for tourists to enjoy. Here are some of the things you should definitely consider

Heritage Village at Chestnut Square

Chestnut Square Bell 071This idyllic village is made up of six historic houses that are filled with artifacts showing the lives of the people in Collin County dating back to the 1850s. The village also has a few other historically accurate shops like a blacksmith shop, one-room schoolhouse, and a general store.

Heard-Craig Center for the Arts

This historic house, built in 1900, is a gorgeous testament to life at the turn of the century, filled with artifacts that transport you back to that time. In 1970, Kathryn Heard-Craig gave this 7,000-square foot house to various educational and art organizations to support the local art scene. Today, the property is home to an art gallery featuring notable local Texan and McKinney artists They hold an annual art exhibition called “Art Meets Floral” where artists recreate paintings within the home, using flower arrangements

Collin County History Museum

Located at the old Post Office building, this historical museum is home to artifacts, pictures, and other memorabilia that showcases the history of Collin County. The museum’s exhibits include old documents, rare land titles, and even vintage maps. Today, the museum holds many notable events like the "McKinney Then and Now exhibit." This focuses on photos and relics that highlight the day-to-day lives of locals throughout McKinney's history. Ipads provided when you walk into the museum allow you to scan across an historic photo to see on the iPad what that location looks like today. It's a perfect outing for all ages! 

Legends of McKinney Ghost Walk

If you’re up for some spooky action then this one’s for you! Take a self-paced, after-dark tour of McKinney’s historic district that are said to be rife with paranormal activity. Costumed storytellers await visitors at stops provided on a tour map to tell about the community's legends. The main tour is help over a weekend in October (leading up to Halloween), but other paranormal tours of Chestnut Square's haunted buildings are held other times of the year or by appointment.

Be transported into the Mediterranean without leaving Texas

Adriatica_Bella Donna Chapel summer 2012 pics _chapel_002Cobbled streets, beautiful brick houses and picturesque European architecture fill this village tucked into the heart of McKinney. Adriatica is a small enclave inspired by the Croatian village of Supetar. This 45-acre community located in the Stonebridge Ranch are of the city was designed to be sustainable and a truly functional village. The brain-child of Jeff Blackard, this charming village offers a unique Old World village experience just like the rural villages where this was inspired. Notable landmark includes the Bella Donna Chapel, a quaint chapel on a small island that is a popular wedding location, the eye-catching bell tower and several shops and restaurants. Enjoy an evening with friends, too, at Zin Zen Wine Bistro for live music, wine, and tasty dishes.

Commune with Nature

If the call of the outdoors is something that you enjoy, McKinney has a lot in store for you. From leisurely bike trails to life-like dinosaur installations, there is surely something to feed your appetite for the outdoors. 

Heard-Natural-Science-Museum-Wildlife-SanctuaryHeard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary

See dinosaurs come alive in the Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary with their Dinosaur Live! Exhibit that visits the sanctuary every September through February. This annual event showcases life-size animatronic dinosaurs spread throughout the nature trail. The fun-filled exhibit is great for families who want to explore the prehistoric world.  When the dinos aren't there, there is still plenty to do including walking miles of nature trails through several habitats, enjoying a picnic, and taking part in zip line and canoeing days.

Erwin Park bike trail

For bike enthusiasts as well as casual riders out there, there is a great bike trail that you should definitely check out. The Erwin Park bike trail is an eight-mile looping trail winding through the rural Erwin Park found in the north central area of the city. It traverses on pretty even distribution of flat trail in the meadows as well as rocky terrain in the woods. This is perfect for people who just want a nice casual ride or for those seeking a bit of a challenge.

Towne Lake Recreation Area

If laid back picnics or some leisure fishing is more your thing then Towne Lake Recreation Area is perfect for you. This park sports a 22-acre lake with a fishing pier where people can enjoy paddle boating. This also has playgrounds for the kids, sand courts for beach volleyball, and even a horseshoe pitching court. Perfect for a laid-back Sunday with family and friends. 

Savor the local cuisine

A visit to McKinney would not be complete without trying out the amazing culinary options. The city prides itself on having a delectable selection of some notable dishes that every traveler should try. With more than 15 eateries in the historic downtown, there is something to satisfy almost every appetite. All but one of them are locally-owned, mom-and-pop places offering everything from pastries to steaks! And many of them source their food from area growers. 

Local Yocal Farm-to-Market

steak101 classThis wonderful market carries fresh, organic, locally-sourced meat and poultry products as well as other artisanal goodies including granola, dairy products, bread, grilling rubs and sauces and more. They hold Steak 101 classes where you can sample some of the highest quality steaks. The class also gives you a primer on anything steak from raising cattle to meat preparation and certification.

Food tours

The downtown square has two food tour companies that every foodie would surely love - Food Walks of Texas and the We Ate Well Food Tours. These tours let visitors sample different delicacies and cuisines from various eateries within McKinney. The food is meant to showcase the unique flavor and heritage of the city.

Night Life: Live Music , Comedy & More

For those looking for more fun after dark then McKinney got you covered. Most local restaurants often have live music in the evening to entertain guests. These musical performances showcases local authentic Texan talent and music that anyone will surely love. Stand-up comedy is also quite popular in the local scene. The Comedy Arena is one such venue where you get to see stand-up performances three times a week. Nothing beats a fun night enjoying a comedy performance with friends and family. And for people who enjoy video games, you'll find an authentic video arcade, Arcade 92, just two doors down from the Comedy Arena. 

No matter how you choose to spend your time in McKinney, you're sure to have a memorable visit and want to return again and again.