McKinney, Texas – An Adventure in Dining, Shopping, Texas History and Nature


History buffs, foodies and shoppers alike will all find something fun and exciting when exploring historic downtown McKinney. Visitors to this North Texas town will get a true sense of Texas flavor when walking the streets of the authentic and picturesque downtown square. The past truly coexists right alongside the present day in McKinney’s historic downtown district, one of the best tourist spots in the city.

Classified as a National and Texas Main Street City, as well as a recent Texas Cultural District designee, McKinney remains actively involved in both the restoration of its historic roots and the revitalization of the downtown square, which also happens to be the city’s most popular spot with visitors and locals. Its more than 120 specialty shops, boutiques, wineries, art studios and one-of-a-kind eateries have drawn people from across the United States and international travelers from more than 85 countries to explore the 14 blocks that make up the downtown area.

“Our downtown square is without a doubt McKinney’s gem. It’s rich in both heritage and bustling with exciting activity,” said Visit McKinney Executive Director Dee-dee Guerra. “It’s an especially popular destination for bus tours, because there is something for everyone – shopping, dining, museums, wine rooms, art, history – all found within several walkable blocks. Bus parking is readily and easily accessible, too.”

The historic downtown walking tour is a big hit with tour groups, as are tours of Chestnut Square Heritage Village, the Collin County History Museum and Heard-Craig House, which offer intriguing aspects of McKinney’s story that dates back to the mid-1800s when cotton was the town’s most profitable resource. Visiting groups also thoroughly enjoy the Bad Boys and Desperados trolley tour featuring McKinney’s very own Belle Starr impersonator who shares tales of the town’s more notorious visitors from days gone by.

“McKinney has so much to offer a tour group any time of year. The city’s special annual events that take place throughout the year make for great tour trips,” Guerra said. “If your group enjoys large events, you may wish to schedule a visit during one of downtown McKinney’s signature festivals like Arts in Bloom in April, Oktoberfest in late September and Home for the Holidays over Thanksgiving weekend.”

Looking for an eatery? The Visit McKinney office will be happy to set up one of downtown’s two food tours. Taking part in one of these culinary excursions will provide guests with tastings at up to eight restaurants. They offer a craft cocktails tour, too. These tours serve up a great introduction to downtown McKinney’s dining scene.

Those who would rather dine on their own can enjoy a personal tasting adventure by ordering a steak at the refined Rick’s Chop House (located in the Grand Hotel), or one of the inventive creations on the rotating, super-seasonal menu at Rye

Stop by Square Burger for a salmon, tuna, lamb, turkey or grass-fed beef burgers, salads, chef-inspired entrees and homemade ice cream sandwiches to top it all off. Do not forget the sweet potato fries – a local favorite. 

Cadillac Pizza Pub has something for every palate such as gourmet pizzas topped with locally sourced ingredients and a lengthy beer menu. 

The Pantry specializes in comfort foods in a rustic setting. Do not leave without having a piece of pie. Check out the flavor the locals crave – the chocolate chip cookie pie with or without whipped cream. 

For those who enjoy sitting outside in a garden setting, head to The Yard with its outdoor bar, fire pits, ping pong tables and dining areas all located under a canopy of tree branches. 

For authentic Texan barbeque and other meaty Southern delights, head to Hutchins BBQ or Local Yocal BBQ Grill, both highly rated by diners and critics alike. Most of the downtown eateries use locally grown and resourced ingredients, so visitors get a true taste of North Texas almost anywhere they go.

Groups interested in nature will enjoy the trails and exhibits at the Heard Natural Science Museum and Wildlife Sanctuary. More adventurous visitors may wish to ask about scheduling one of the Heard Museum’s special outings – a ropes course, zip line or canoe experience. For groups interested in gardens and native landscaping, the Crape Myrtle Trails World Collection Park (especially when in bloom, May through October) and the research gardens at Myers Park (any time of year) are must-sees.

With so much to see and do, a visit to McKinney will no doubt entice groups to return soon to experience even more. Plan a group getaway to McKinney to sip wine on a tree-shaded patio, savor local craft beer, partake of some of the Dallas area’s best cuisine or treasure hunt for that special item.

For group options and more information, click on or phone (888) 649-8499. 

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