McKinney TX Visitors Guide

Thanks to a rich history, boutique shopping, unique dining and a convenient location, McKinney, located just 30 miles north of Dallas, offers the perfect getaway. Ranked the “#1 Best Place to Live in America” by Money Magazine in 2014 and ranking 17th on Texas Highways’ list of Top 40 Texas Destinations, McKinney offers a charming change of pace from the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex’s urban sprawl. Explore nature at the Heard Natural Science Museum and Wildlife Sanctuary with its miles of trails, various habitats, exhibits, and the annual Dinosaurs Live.

Just over 30 miles north of famous downtown Dallas, McKinney, Texas is a gorgeous city with a small-town feel that is quite different from the Metroplex’s urban sprawl. Our friendly charm, green spaces, and comfortable pace belied the fact that McKinney, with a population of more than 136,666, is one of the fastest-growing cities in America.  McKinney also has an excellent school system and low crime rates.

Seasonal events, such as Red White & Boom, the Ice Cream Crank-Off, Oktoberfest, Home for the Holidays, Holiday Tour of Homes and Krewe of Barkus Dog Parade, offer family fun year-round. Enjoy performances at the McKinney Performing Arts Center and art exhibits at downtown art galleries. Unearth a treasure at Third Monday Trade Days; learn local history at the Heard-Craig House, Chestnut Square Historic Village and Pecan Grove Cemetery; or stroll the vibrant historic downtown square. For more information on McKinney, check out the downloadable visitors’ guide on their website.

Things to do in McKinney TX

McKinney, TX is a vibrant city located in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. Here are some things to do in McKinney:

  1. Visit the Chestnut Square Historic Village – a history museum showcasing McKinney’s life from the 1850s to the early 1900s.
  2. Stroll through the McKinney Farmers Market – a farmers market featuring locally grown produce, handmade crafts, and live music.
  3. Tour the Collin County History Museum – a museum that showcases the history of Collin County through exhibits, artifacts, and interactive displays.
  4. Explore the Heard Natural Science Museum and Wildlife Sanctuary – a museum and wildlife sanctuary that features exhibits on the natural history of North Texas, hiking trails, and a butterfly garden.
  5. Take a cooking class at the Kitchenwares on the Square – a cooking school that offers a variety of classes for beginners and experienced cooks alike.
  6. Go shopping and dining in the historic downtown McKinney square – a picturesque downtown area with several unique shops, galleries, and restaurants.
  7. Enjoy a show at the McKinney Performing Arts Center – a state-of-the-art performing arts center that hosts a variety of music, theater, and dance performances.
  8. Play a round of golf at one of the city’s many golf courses – McKinney has several public and private golf courses to choose from.
  9. Visit the Bonnie Wenk Dog Park – a dog park that features separate areas for large and small dogs, water fountains, and shaded seating areas.
  10. Attend one of the city’s many festivals and events – McKinney hosts several events throughout the year, including the McKinney Wine & Music Festival, the McKinney Oktoberfest, and the McKinney Holiday Tour of Homes.


The First settlers came to Collin County from Kentucky, Tennessee, and Arkansas around 1841. The County seat and the County were both named for Collin McKinney, Land surveyor, patriot, legislator, one of the 60 signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence, and author of the law creating counties in the northern part of the state. The first election was held in Collin County on July 13, 1846. The population of Collin County in 1850 was 1,950 which grew to 50,087 in 1900 and has now grown to over 300,000.

McKinney is located an equal distance from Dallas, Denton, Sherman, and Greenville, the surrounding county seats. In 1883 the first city hall was contracted to be built on South Kentucky street at a cost of a whopping $1,350.00. It was occupied in 1883 by the City Council consisting of the Mayor and Six aldermen. In 1909, the citizens voted a $10,000 bond issue for the erection of the second city hall, and also voted in the commission form of government to replace the old aldermanic form.

Collin McKinney, after whom the county seat and county were named, was of Scottish descent; born in New Jersey; one of ten children. In 1818, Senator George Washington Campbell engaged Collin to manage his vast estate in Tennessee while serving as Minister to Russia. After Campbell’s return from Russia, Collin owned and operated a trading post in Elkton. In 1823 Collin moved, along with several families, to near Texarkana. In 1831 they moved farther west and settled on Hickman’s Prairie on the Red River. Prior to 1846 he moved his family to a point near the line of Collin and Grayson counties where he was engaged in agricultural pursuits the remainder of his life. He is buried in a marked grave in the cemetery at Van Alstyne, Texas. When the new county was formed from Fannin County in 1846, it was named Collin in his honor. When the county seat was moved from Buckner to the county’s geographical center in 1848, he was further honored by naming the county seat…McKinney.