McAllen is located in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas, right across the Hidalgo Bridge that connects Texas to Mexico. It’s a true Tex-Mex experience, with about 81 percent of the population claiming some Mexican ancestry. Like many border towns, McAllen has a bit of a reputation for being dangerous, but that’s changing. Thanks to the city’s location and NAFTA, McAllen is a hub for international trade and it’s growing in popularity. In fact, Forbes named it one of the fastest-growing cities in the U.S. for 2018.
An affordable place to live, the average listing price of homes in McAllen is $196,971 and median rent per month is $1,400. The city has a number of planned communities, including Tres Lagos, which boasts a water reuse program, bike trails, lakes and a pool. Country Club Terrace is a high-end gated community where you’ll find luxury homes. North McAllen is where you can find some nice single family homes for about $200,000. Most of the architecture in McAllen is Spanish-style, and there is a lot of new construction.
The city has a tropical climate, so you won’t need to pack a coat when you move here. And there are plenty of ways to enjoy the warm weather. Fireman’s Park is home to Town Lake, where residents kayak, pedal boat and fish. On Saturdays the park hosts a farmers market where local farmers and artisans sell fresh produce, bread and homemade goods. Golfers can spend hours at Palm View Golf Course and animal lovers will want to watch for the many exotic bird species you’ll find in the Rio Grande Valley. You can go bird watching at Quinta Mazatlan, a Spanish Revival mansion that serves as a nature and birding center. If you haven’t had enough of the great outdoors, head to the McAllen Nature Center. The International Museum of Art and Science is Smithsonian Affiliated and is home to Picasso lithographs and plenty of Mexican and European art.
McAllen Food Park is packed with food trucks, and on every third Friday of the month, local bands and musicians serenade eaters during Food Park Unplugged. If it’s food you're after, you don’t have to stick to food trucks; there are more than 600 restaurants in McAllen. Shopping is also big in town; La Plaza is one of the top malls in the Rio Grande Valley.
Other sights to check out: Quinta Mazatlan is a Spanish Revival mansion surrounded by woodland rich in birdlife. Set in a 1930s former post office, it has local history displays. McAllen’s many parks include Fireman's Park, home to large Town Lake.