Daytrip to McKinney: Things to do, See & Eat

McKinney Attractions

McKinney (Texas) is less than 30 minutes from downtown Dallas but has a completely different atmosphere and character. This historic city with its own identity and family-run businesses. You can see how Texans lived 150 years ago at McKinney’s ensemble of preserved 19th-century buildings, or stroll down the city’s charming Main Street lined with independent shops. If you like great food and drink, you could easily spend your entire trip shopping at farmers’ markets, sampling local wines, or touring the town’s craft brewing companies.

image of outdoors and text that says 'McKINNEY Texas'
McKinney Texas aerial view; image via facebook

Visitors flock to McKinney for its slower pace, natural beauty, and historic downtown area, whether on a day trip for some shopping and sightseeing or a long weekend for some relaxation. It’s a great place to take the whole family.

Where to Stay in McKinney, Texas

When planning a weekend getaway in a new city, it’s easy to default to the most familiar hotel chain. Let me encourage you to consider a bed and breakfast when visiting McKinney, Texas. If you are shocked to hear this recommendation coming from me, I’m honestly a little surprised myself. It is no secret that I enjoy luxury accommodations.

For my first stay in bed and breakfast ever, the accommodations at McKinney Bed and Breakfast were top notch. It’s not a hotel and it’s not a home but for a McKinney getaway, it is better than both. I would be so happy to stay here with the hosts Vicki and Wayne Hill anytime. They took such good care of us with coffee and gourmet biscotti delivered right outside our door. Breakfast was several delightful courses. I had no idea how lovely a bed and breakfast stay could be. I look forward to coming back for another visit with them soon.

What to Do in Mckinney, Texas

Beyond food and relaxation, there is a ton to keep you busy from morning to night on your visit. McKinney has a plethora of sightseeing and tourism opportunities, whether you’re taking your sweetheart on a weekend getaway or the entire family on a road trip. A trip to the Heard Natural Science Museum or a hot air balloon ride are both excellent options for fun things to do with kids. Couples will also enjoy the city’s wineries and breweries, as well as the peace and quiet of the LAST gallery. And, regardless of age, everyone can appreciate some delectable smoked meat served up at a nearby barbecue powerhouse. This list should serve as a guide to some of the attractions in McKinney where you’re almost certain to have a good time.

Downtown McKinney Historic Square

While I’m not typically a hardcore shopper when traveling, I was completely taken with the shops surrounding the Downtown McKinney Historic Square. These are not your aunties boutiques and stereotypical antique shops. The shop owners here are in tune with today’s customers and have curated interesting and original selections of goods that cannot be found elsewhere. I was also happy to find that the personalities of the owners and staff were just as original as the goods they market. Every great travel experience is about the people and the people I met inside the shops of McKinney Texas will have me driving back to shop again and again.

Chestnut Square Historic Park

Chestnut Square, located a few blocks south of McKinney’s downtown, transports you to McKinney’s early days. When you explore the ten preserved buildings dating between 1854 and 1930, you will be able to see how the town’s communities worked and played. There is a chapel, a schoolhouse, a boarding house, a general store, and a variety of houses here. Volunteers dressed in historic costume and demonstrating skills needed to get by in 19th-century McKinney are cheerfully assisting in bringing these buildings to life.

Comedy Arena

One unique entertainment offering in McKinney is The Comedy Arena. If you are up for a night of laughs, you might want to give this a try for date night. The Comedy Arena is in downtown McKinney, TX just a little off the Square at 305 E. Virginia and is one of the few options that is supplying comedic entertainment every weekend of the year. There is a family-friendly show in the early evening and a more adult show just following later in the evening.

Enjoy Live Music

If you enjoy live music and visit on a weekend, you will be hard pressed not to find live music playing somewhere on McKinney’s downtown square. Almost every shop and restaurant has commissioned a musical act to perform. It’s clear that art and culture are valued by residents and visitors alike.

Where to Eat in McKinney, Texas

McKinney has a diverse range of dining options, from national and regional chains to one-of-a-kind restaurants and wineries. McKinney, in fact, has some of the best culinary experiences in all of North Texas. McKinney has the perfect place for you to satisfy your appetite, whether you want to grab a quick bite or enjoy a sit-down, leisurely dining experience.

As if breakfast at McKinney Bed and Breakfast wasn’t enough there are plenty of places to tempt your taste buds. There are plenty of options to satisfy your inner foodie in McKinney. Here are a few of our favorite recommendations from the weekend.

  • SugarBacon Proper Kitchen – Seasonal approach to American cuisine
  • Cadillac Pizza Pub – Pizza, Music, Beer
  • Hugs Cafe – Non-Profit employing adults with special needs
  • Patina Green Home and Market – Daily lunches served in an edgy antique shop
  • Paciugo Gelato Cafe – Italian ice cream and coffee
  • The Yard- McKinney’s backyard hangout with great food, cold drinks, games, and awesome vibes
  • Harvest Seasonal Kitchen-Farm to Table Restaurant
  • Frios Gourmet Pops- Fresh, Frozen, Gourmet Popsicles

Insider Tips About McKinney Texas

McKinney, Texas has so much to offer, from its thriving downtown cultural district to its amazing food scene to all of the tourist spots it has to offer families in its lovely country environment. It’s another burgeoning Texas city that’s bursting at the seams now that it’s the home of the AT&T Byron Nelson golf tournament.

Food Walks of Texas offers guided, walking food tours of historic downtown McKinney. Perfect for visitors or locals, you’ll learn about our city’s fascinating history while enjoying its best eats. In addition to delicious food tastings, you’ll learn interesting tidbits about the backgrounds and inspiration of the chefs/owners behind the eateries, as well as plenty of historical, cultural, and architectural information relevant to the historic downtown McKinney Square.

Look for the tiny door on the Downtown Square. This tiny door is one of my favorite insider secrets on the Downtown McKinney Square! If you keep your eyes open on one of the corners you’ll see a small door with stained glass just at the height of your shoes. An artist installed this artwork to remind those who were looking that there is always something to see if we’ll just pay attention. Let me know if you find this door when you walk the square here okay?

The UNIQUE letters are currently located in Mitchell Park and make a perfect photo to commemorate your visit. The City of McKinney launched the #IAMUNIQUEBYNATURE campaign to define the city’s image for our residents, businesses, and visitors. It speaks to the inherent uniqueness and embodies the spirit of community in McKinney, Texas.

There is so much more to explore I HIGHLY encourage you to bring a friend or your family and come to find your favorite spots in McKinney, Texas. Be sure to come back and tell me what you loved most, won’t you?

Best Things to Do in McKinney

  • Towne Lake Recreation Area
  • Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Lone Star Wine Cellars
  • Collin County Historical Society & Museum
  • Franconia Brewing Company
  • Oak Hollow Golf Course
  • Main Street
  • Chestnut Square Historic Park
  • Local Produce
  • Lewisville Lake
  • Mitas Hill Vineyard & Winery
  • Tupps Brewery

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