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10 Best Things To Do In Mckinney Texas

best things to do in McKinney, Texas

The grass is always greener on the other side. As we drive into McKinney from a dull, gray Dallas suburb (that looks about as soulless as Privet Drive), I note that this is actually true. McKinney is greener. The trees – taller, thicker – look more mature. The grass, avocado green, spreads further and wider. 

Best things to do in McKinney: McKinney is greener, big green paths and tall trees

Although the population of McKinney rivals Frisco and Allen, McKinney has managed to maintain pockets of small-town charm. You’ll find family-friendly parks, cute shops by the dozen, historic museums, and a big Texas secret (I’ll let you in on it in a bit). 

Here are Passport To Eden’s top picks for the best things to do in McKinney, Texas!

World Collection Park

Best things to do in McKinney: Crape Myrtle trail

World Collection Park is one of my favorite McKinney attractions. I love visiting on peak summer mornings when the skies are blue and the sun is cool.

Once you stroll past the entrance, you’ll meet a small, concrete path flanked by trees and grass. The walkway slices through a grid of Crape Myrtles, World Collection Park’s pretty-in-pink highlight.

In fact, most of World Collection Park’s seven-acre space is dedicated to Crape Myrtles. Here’s why: in 1991, Neil Sperry, a kind-eyed radio host and horticulturist, had an idea. Sperry wanted McKinney’s relationship with Crape Myrtles to match Tyler’s relationship with azaleas. I mean, why not? Crape Myrtles are gorgeous, rouged plants. They are undeniably Southern, full of charm and grace.

Best things to do in McKinney: close up of pink flowers

The concept was put into motion. And after a lot of hard work and heavy labor, the project paid off: in 2014, The Texas State House of Representatives declared McKinney to be “America’s Crape Myrtle City.” It really is.

Today, there are tens of thousands of Crape Myrtles in McKinney. If you can, take a driving tour to see them all. And if you’re short on time, head straight to World Collection Park, a concentration of myrtles rounded up into one serene, Studio Ghibli-like scene.

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General Info

Address: 6452 Collin McKinney Pkwy, McKinney, TX 75070

Cost: Free

Heard Natural Science Museum

Best things to do in McKinney: sign for Heard Museum

Heard Natural Science Museum And Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the best things to do in McKinney. Scratch that, it’s one of the best things to do in DFW. If you’re looking for kid-friendly attractions in the metroplex, Heard is your answer.

Heard is many attractions rolled into one. Permanent and seasonal exhibits reside indoors. A vibrant network of trails rest outside. The exhibits are deliberately educational. You’ll find information about Texas Nessie, Tootsie, and Peanut (don’t worry, I giggled at the names too. the latter are 34 million-year-old tortoise fossils – who would have guessed?).

Officially, Heard is a science museum but in a way, it embraces Collin’s history through its showcase of rocks, minerals, and fossils. And the hikes, which dip into a 289-acre expanse, are my favorite part. Most of the trails are easy. Start with the just-shy-of-one-mile Wood Duck Trail, one of the longer paths onsite. Wood Duck Trail curls around a small wetland area. You’ll see ducks and geese floating on marbled green waters.

To be honest, I love that a place like Heard exists in McKinney. Whenever I drive through the suburbs and see the chaos of cranes, cones, and construction, it’s nice to remember a little sylvan plot nested behind stucco and brick and wood.

General Info

Address: 1 Nature Pl, McKinney, TX 75069

Cost: $12 Per Adult

McKinney Farmers Market

McKinney Farmers Market

Like most local farmers markets, McKinney Farmers Market offers a mix of arts and crafts and local honeys and big cuts of meat. It’s a year-round, Saturday staple. In the winter, the produce selection seems slim and small; scented soaps and waxy candles replace mid-day bites. But it’s important to remember that everything here is seasonal. In the summertime, McKinney Farmers Market’s stalls rack up more fresh goods, making it the place to be for a local grocery spree.

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General Info

Address: 315 S Chestnut St, McKinney, TX 75069

Chestnut Square

historic Chestnut Square in McKinney

McKinney Farmers Market is situated in Chestnut Square, a quaint and cozy preserved village. I would be remiss not to mention it. Chestnut Square is a time machine. You’ll find yourself walking through over-century-old history. The area is small and shaded and includes a clapboard chapel and a handful of cute homes.

Hour-long, docent-led tours are available Thursdays and Saturdays at 11:00 AM sharp, starting at the Dixie Store (aka the Welcome Center). You’ll get to sample the square and dive deep into its history.

General Info

Address: 315 S Chestnut St, McKinney, TX 75069

Cost: $10 Per Person

Heard-Craig Center For The Arts

yellow patio of Heard-Craig Center For The Arts

Heard-Craig Center is one of the most underrated things to do in McKinney. There’s always something happening here: art history lectures, scones tours (my inner Mrs. McCarthy approves), poetry society meetings. Past the building’s daffodil yellow exterior is a warm and welcoming home for the arts.

General Info

Address: 205 W Hunt St, McKinney, TX 75069

Cost: $10-$15 For Tours, Some Events Are open To The public

Collin County History Museum

post office exterior of Collin County History Museum

If you’re a frequent blog reader, you know that I love learning about Texas history. Some rabbits holes I’ve fallen down in the past include digging into the scandal-driven tale behind San Antonio’s Pearl Brewery, finding out who gifted Highland Park’s Teddy Bear statues, and discovering how rowdy Hell’s Half Acre turned into calming water gardens. So unsurprisingly, the next attraction on this list of things to do in McKinney is….(*drum roll please*)…The Collin County History Museum!

The Collin County History Museum (open Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays) is a rampage of local (partially McKinney-centric) history. Consolidated within the exhibits are old photographs and manuscripts and archival newspapers. The building itself, a stately, 20th-century post office, is impressive. The interior is much more modest, giving space to a humble, small-town museum layout.

General Info

Address: 300 E Virginia St, McKinney, TX 75069

Cost: Free

Historic Downtown McKinney

Historic Downtown McKinney shops and restaurants and leaves in the fall

From the crisp air that tugs against your ears as you walk past brick-front facades to the feeling of housemade lattes warming up your soul, there’s something relaxing about Historic Downtown McKinney. It’s a charming town square that’s also a bustling entertainment district. A long line-up of events passes by each year: Texas Music Revolution, Oktoberfest, Scare On The Square.

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General Info

Address: 111 N Tennessee St, McKinney, TX 75069

Fair And Square Imports

interior of Fair And Square imports

Fair And Square Imports looks like a Joshua Tree implant. It’s not. This right-in-downtown-McKinney, earthy-toned, boho boutique was started by Kate Jones and her partner Andrew. It’s a people-centric, labor of love. Each item is one-of-a-kind, handmade, and fair trade.

Fair And Square’s curation is carefully and compassionately compiled. Jones only purchases from “small-scale artisans, co-ops, non-profits, and farmers” across the globe. Take your time in the store. Slowly sift through everything, from the wooden tabletop games to the luxurious cashmere throws. If you’re looking for a gift, you’ll find it here.

General Info

Address: 219 E Louisiana St, McKinney, TX 75069

Adriatica

standing in a secret Croatian village in McKinney

Would you believe me if I told you there’s a secret Croatian village in McKinney? There is.

Hidden away behind a body of apartments is a Texas-made cutout of a little Croatian fishing town. You’ll find a cobblestone path, khaki-colored exteriors, and waist-high plants draping stout pots.

best things to do in McKinney: visiting Adriatica, statue

The lake isn’t the saturated teal of Croatia’s coast but it’s a strong, vibrant blue and picture-perfect in its own way. Put on your vacation outfit of choice and walk through the area with the confidence of an American tourist in Europe. It’s okay to pretend you’re in Croatia for a while. Stroll past the quaint bell tower. Snap a photo of Bella Donna Chapel (remember the time I almost gate-crashed a wedding? that was here). Escape for a minute (or two).

General Info

Address: 6602 Mediterranean Dr, McKinney, TX 75070

Towne Lake Recreation Area

top things to do in McKinney: gorgeous green Towne Lake Recreation Area

Towne Lake Recreation Area is hands-down one of the best things to do in McKinney. It’s a large community park with an even larger lake. There’s an overwhelming number of activities within the park: fishing, hiking, biking, disc golfing. Want to play volleyball? You can do that too.

standing in front of Towne Lake Recreation Area In McKinney

My favorite part is the loop trail, which slowly ambles along shallow, geese-studded waters. You’re right off a big road, but there are portions of this path that feel quieter and more secluded.

And it’s greener. The grass – a soft, rain-wet green – spreads to the tips of the pond. The trees – taller, thicker, leafier – look more mature. McKinney is greener.

General Info

Address: 1405 Wilson Creek Pkwy, McKinney, TX 75069

Cost: Free
sincerely anshula

Did you enjoy this list of things to do in McKinney? What would you add to this list of things to do in McKinney? This is by no means a comprehensive post and I love hearing your recommendations!

7 Comments

  • Sarita
    April 3, 2022 at 7:46 PM

    I would add Third Monday Trade Days! It’s a flea market and so much fun to visit with family. If you like Towne Lake, Erwin Park is another nice park in McKinney too.

    Reply
    • Anshula Varma
      April 7, 2022 at 11:04 AM

      Oh, I love Third Monday Trade Days! I’m not sure why I didn’t add it to this list of things to do in McKinney (#regrets). That is an amazing addition to this guide. Thank you! 😊 xx – Anshula

      Reply
  • Dwayne
    April 5, 2022 at 5:35 PM

    Since you love coffee shops, you should check out the Coffee Museum at the Historic Flour Mill! I haven’t been there yet but it sounds really interesting.

    Reply
    • Anshula Varma
      April 7, 2022 at 11:03 AM

      Oh, I haven’t been there yet! Bookmarking this suggestion (that is right up my alley)! Thank you!

      Reply
  • Jennie
    April 7, 2022 at 2:33 AM

    Thank you for suggesting this list of places. My family and I are planning a trip to McKinney, and World Collection Park is definitely on our list; it looks beautiful in your photos.

    Reply
    • Anshula Varma
      April 7, 2022 at 11:00 AM

      Oh, that’s so exciting! McKinney is a great day trip from Dallas. I took the photo of World Collection Park in July last year! Usually, Myrtles start blooming in late May so anytime after that would be a good time to visit to see the myrtles. 😊 xx – Anshula

      Reply
  • Ching
    May 16, 2022 at 4:21 AM

    Thanks for your recommendation! I like your photos too 🙂

    Reply

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