McAllen, the City of Palms, is in the southern plains of Texas, USA. It is the largest city in Hidalgo County and the second largest city in the Rio Grande Valley after Brownsville. It is near the Rio Grande River on the border with Mexico.


McAllen, with a population of 130,000 at night and 180,000 during the day, is a fast-growing, dynamic city with an energetic vibe. It is the unofficial capital of the southernmost region of Texas, commonly referred to as the Rio Grande Valley, and acts as the social, financial, entertainment and shopping hub for the region which boasts 1.3 million residents. McAllen's vitality drives the city's tourism, business, education, shopping, and health advances, often placing it ahead of Texas and the nation. McAllen is one of the fastest growing cities in the United States, and is rated as one of the best U.S. places to do business and one of the top 8 safest U.S. cities.

The city has grown rapidly over the past century. In 1910 the population was about 150. The city now has a population exceeding 130,000, but serves the 4 million people within a 60-mile radius. Over 85% of the city's population is Hispanic or Latino; almost everyone in bilingual to some degree.

McAllen is the most popular U.S. shopping destination for Mexican residents. The city hosts millions of Mexican shoppers per year, and therefore accommodates a much larger number of retail stores and restaurants than other cities of its size. Many of the Mexican tourists and shoppers in the area come from Monterrey, a highly technologically advanced city and the third most populous in Mexico, with a population of about 4 million. A brief glance at a mall parking lot, however, will reveal shoppers from almost all 32 states of Mexico.

McAllen is renowned for its warm winter weather and low cost of living. In the winter months, large numbers of retirees live in the McAllen area. Affectionately called Winter Texans, they come predominantly from the midwestern United States and Canada and stay in RV parks, apartments, second homes and extended-stay hotels. Winter is "season" for McAllern, and the time with most of the social activities, many planned especially for Winter Texans.

McAllen is also the hub of the Rio Grande Valley for birding. 2.3 million birders visit the McAllen region every year. There are literally dozens of birding spots in the McAllen area, including the World Birding Centers, a complex of 9 sites dedicated to wildlife watching. 528 bird species and over 300 butterfly species have been recorded in the area, making it the most productive birding location in North America.

The first real development in the area that would later become McAllen occurred in the 1850s. That development was led by John McAllen. In 1904, he established a town site then known as West McAllen. In 1907, a separate group of developers established a town known as East McAllen. Eventually, the two towns merged and the City of McAllen was incorporated in 1911.

McAllen is surrounded by several medium size towns and cities. These cities are so interconnected that they sometimes appear to be one larger city. For census purposes the federal government includes all these areas under the heading McAllen–Edinburg–Mission Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). The MSA has been in the top 10 for several positive categories many times--that dynamic growth and change making every visit unique. Always, some new stores open along with new places to eat.

Get in

By plane

McAllen-Miller International Airport (IATA: MFE), 2500 S Bicentennial Blvd #100, +1 956-682-910. It is serviced by these airlines:

Valley International Airport located in Harlingen, TX is about a 45-minute drive east of McAllen. This airport is serviced by Continental, Southwest, and Sun Country. Offers regular direct flights to Houston, Austin, and San Antonio. Offers seasonal direct flights to Minneapolis, MN.

By train

There is no passenger rail service to McAllen. However, you can take Amtrak to San Antonio and connect via bus to McAllen.

By bus

The bus station is located at 1500 West Highway 83 in downtown McAllen. It is serviced by Greyhound which connects McAllen to cities throughout the United States. Additionally, there are several Mexican bus companies which connect McAllen to cities throughout Mexico. These carriers also create many times and opportunities to go by bus to Houston or other cities in the USA as well. In many cases, these companies cover the southeastern USA with their schedules.

By car

Get around

By car

The best way to get around McAllen is by car. There are several rental car services located in Mcallen: Hertz, Alamo, Budget, Enterprise, and others. Many of these can be found at the airport.

By taxi

Several taxi companies serve McAllen. Customers should call ahead to arrange a pick up.

By bus

Metro Mcallen is the bus system that serves McAllen. These buses run from 6AM to 11PM Monday through Saturday, and 8AM to 8PM on Sunday. The bus system covers only limited routes but also interfaces with RioTransit buses, which connect to other towns in the Rio Grande Valley.


McAllen has several hike and bike trails that run north and south.





The City of McAllen has 25 city parks.



Universities and Colleges

Public Libraries

McAllen has three public libraries, including the main library and two branch libraries.


Convention Center District at the corner of Ware Rd and Expressway 83. Large number of shops and restaurants surround the convention center.

Downtown has lots of shopping available especially along Main Street.

10th Street is a designated retail street with many shops both near downtown and the North 10th area from Dove to Trenton and the surrounding area. 10th Street near downtown has many eclectic and locally owned stores, and as you go north, these mix with more national retailers: Lowe's Kohl's, Target, HEB, Home Depot, and so forth.


With over 600 dining establishments in the City, excellent dining choices is one of McAllen's strengths. Tex-Mex is of course very popular, as is Chinese, barbecue, seafood and sushi, among others. McAllen offers dozens of popular chains such as Macaroni Grill, PF Chang's, and Johnny Carino's, and also excellent local favorites, many with chefs who have studied in the world's finest schools. Many restaurants serve meals featuring organic, locally grown products, and you will find a variety of live music featured in many establishments.



High churn rate in some locations and concepts- check for new ones for your trip.



Entertainment District

McAllen has a lively entertainment district in downtown along 17th Street. Multiple bars and nightclubs have recently opened in the area.

Other Downtown Spots

Other Night Spots


McAllen has 40 hotels and over 3,300 rooms, ranging from full-service to budget.


Go next

Get on 23rd Street and go south about 10 miles to Reynosa, Mexico.

Get on US 83 and go east 30 miles to Harlingen, TX.

Get on US 83 and go east 56 miles to Brownsville, TX.

Get on US 83 and go east 43 miles until you get to TX 100. Then take TX 100 east about 27 miles to South Padre Island.

Get on US 281 and go north about 94 miles. Turn right on TX 141 and go east 15 miles to Kingsville, TX, and visit the historic King Ranch.

Get on US 83 and go west 145 miles to Laredo, TX.

Routes through McAllen

Laredo Mission  W  E  Harlingen Brownsville
San Antonio Alice  N  E  Brownsville END

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