Situated in the south of Texas, McAllen is a city that celebrates international trade and tourism, has a bicultural community, and has several sites for people to visit.

Additionally, the city boasts year-round sunshine, making it an ideal place to visit anytime during the year. 

McAllen has something for everyone, whether looking for vibrant shopping districts, outdoor activities, live music and performances, or historical centers.

Every year, 18 million people explore McAllen, creating a booming tourism industry.

The city offers sightseeing, nightlife, and family-friendly activities. 

For those wondering, “What is there to do in McAllen, Texas?” This list features the top attractions in McAllen, perfect for those wanting to get the most out of their visit.

For those wanting to explore further, Texas has many things to do and places to see, so visiting nearby cities is necessary.    

Table of Content

1. McAllen Public Library

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by McAllen Public Library (@mcallenlibrary)

McAllen Public Library is a must-see attraction for families and those looking for a perfect reading spot in McAllen.

Founded as a one-room library in 1932, it has since expanded into an award-winning library well-received by guests. 

Visitors can read any of the books in their expansive catalog, book a study room for group study sessions, grab a bite from the Rise and Shine Cafe, and take a walk along the Dewey Decimal Trail, which features 10 pictorial guideposts corresponding to the 10 subject areas of the Dewey Decimal System.  

Pro Tip: 

Check out the events page to see and register for various events hosted at the library. 

Type of Attraction: 

Indoor recreation, Local hub 

Time To Spend: 

1-2 hours

Visitor Information:

  • Price: Free
  • Timings: Monday to Thursday, 9 AM to 9 PM, Friday and Saturday, 9 AM – 6:00 PM, Sunday 1:00 PM – 9:00 PM
  • Days: Open Daily
  • Website: McAllen Public Library
  • Phone: +1 956-681-3000
  • Address: 4001 N 23rd St, McAllen, TX 78504

2. Quinta Mazatlan

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Quinta Mazatlan (@quintamazatlan)

Quinta Mazatlan, a Spanish Revival-style mansion, is an attraction that can’t be missed when exploring McAllen.

Constructed in 1935 and opened to the public in 2006, the mansion is surrounded by nature and serves as an urban sanctuary for birds and other wildlife. 

This site perfectly captures nature and history in McAllen.

It offers several monthly events such as festivals, photography workshops, and movie showings for visitors who want to enhance their experience at Quinta Mazatlan. 

Pro Tip: 

Visit in the morning to see the birds. 

Type of Attraction: 

Botanical gardens, Historical site 

Time To Spend: 

2-3 hours

Visitor Information:

  • Price: Free
  • Timings: Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday, 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM; Thursday, 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM
  • Days: Closed on Sunday and Monday
  • Website: Quinta Mazatlan
  • Phone: +1 956-681-3370
  • Address: 600 Sunset Dr, McAllen, TX 78503

3. La Plaza Mall

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Quinta Mazatlan (@quintamazatlan)

Since 1976, La Plaza Mall has been a go-to spot for shopping and dining in McAllen.

The mall features 184 specialty stores and is the largest mall in South Texas. 

Visitors can find everything from sporting goods to teen fashions at  La Plaza Mall, making it an ideal place for shopping in McAllen.

In addition to several options for retail shopping, visitors can enjoy a variety of dining options, such as seated table service, order at the counter, and outdoor dining, which are offered to visitors. 

Pro Tip: 

Check out the events and news page for a list of up-to-date events at La Plaza Mall. 

Type of Attraction: 

Shopping center, Cultural hotspot 

Time To Spend: 

2-3 hours

Visitor Information:

  • Price: Free
  • Timings: Sunday, 11:00 AM – 7:00 PM; Monday to Thursday, 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM; Friday and Saturday, 10:00 AM to 9:00 PM
  • Days: Open all week
  • Website: La Plaza Mall
  • Phone: +1 956-687-5251
  • Address: 2200 S 10th St, McAllen, TX 78503

4. McAllen Nature Center

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Quinta Mazatlan (@quintamazatlan)

Spanning 33 acres, McAllen Nature Center is home to over 200 species of birds, 80 species of butterflies, and 20 species of reptiles and amphibians.

Originally established as a botanical garden in 1962, the site has expanded to include wildlife and trails

Exploring McAllen Nature Center is a great family activity as binoculars and children’s nature kids can be used.

Visitors are welcome to walk, run, watch and photograph wildlife, and picnic during their visit, making McAllen Nature Center a must-see attraction. 

Pro Tip: 

Check out the McAllen Nature Center Facebook page for updates on events and programs. 

Type of Attraction: 

Conservation Center, Wildlife Park

Time To Spend: 

1-2 hours

Visitor Information:

5. McAllen Convention Center

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Quinta Mazatlan (@quintamazatlan)

McAllen Convention Center is a multi-purpose convention center that spans over 170,000 square feet.

Since 2007, it has hosted conferences, concerts, and sporting events

The center offers a variety of entertainment opportunities for guests, with recent features such as Jurassic Fest, the Broadway show Chicago, and the music festival Sunset Live.

Visiting the McAllen Convention Center is necessary for those wanting to visit a constantly changing and dynamic attraction

Pro Tip: 

Check out the McAllen Convention Center Facebook page for updates on upcoming concerts and events. 

Type of Attraction: 

Entertainment center, Events hub 

Time To Spend: 

2-3  hours

Visitor Information:

  • Price: Varies depending on the event
  • Timings: Monday to Thursday, 1:00 – 5:00 PM
  • Days: Closed on Saturday and Sunday
  • Website: McAllen Convention Center
  • Phone: +1 956-681-3800
  • Address: 700 Convention Center Blvd, McAllen, TX 78501

6. South Texas College

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Quinta Mazatlan (@quintamazatlan)

Founded in 1993, South Texas College is a public community college with an enrollment of approximately 31,000 students across their six campuses.

The college is accredited to award Bachelor’s of Applied Technology, Associate’s of Applied Science, and Associate’s of Arts. 

Their Pecan campus includes several administrative buildings, libraries, and academic buildings perfect for those wanting an educational tour in McAllen.

Pro Tip: 

Use this map to navigate the Pecan campus. 

Type of Attraction: 

Educational center, Learning facility 

Time To Spend: 

1-2 hours

Visitor Information:

  • Price: Free
  • Timings: Monday to Friday, 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
  • Days: Closed on Saturday and Sunday
  • Website: South Texas College
  • Phone: +1 956-872-8311
  • Address: 3201 Pecan Blvd, McAllen, TX 78501

7. Nuevo Santander Gallery

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Quinta Mazatlan (@quintamazatlan)

Since 1998, Nuevo Santander Gallery has been the place to visit when looking for Old West arms, antiques, and fine Mexican collectibles.

Their antique collection includes guns, military uniforms, furniture, and religious pieces dating back to the 1700s. 

In addition to art, their gallery has a selection of European antiques and reference books for sale.

Many of the artifacts in their exhibit tell the story of life on the Rio Grande and of colonial Mexico, and the gallery is designed to have the warmth of a Spanish Mission. 

Pro Tip: 

Check out their Instagram for images of collectibles and original works they keep. 

Type of Attraction: 

Art gallery, Historical center

Time To Spend: 

1  hour

Visitor Information:

8. International Museum of Art & Science (IMAS)

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Quinta Mazatlan (@quintamazatlan)

The International Museum of Art & Science (IMAS) has been educational in McAllen since 1967.

This museum is dedicated to exhibiting Latin American art and educating visitors about science

Their main attractions include the Hubble Space Telescope, sculpture garden, and art collections.

In addition to viewing exhibitions, visitors can explore various events the museum offers each month, ranging from orchestra recitals to visual artist receptions. 

Pro Tip: 

Read through the plan your visit tab for details on exhibits and to view the museum guide. 

Type of Attraction: 

Art & science museum, Educational center

Time To Spend: 

2 hours

Visitor Information:

  • Price: $5 for General Admission, $3 for Children, Students, and Seniors
  • Timings: Wednesday to Sunday, 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
  • Days: Closed on Monday and Tuesday
  • Website: International Museum of Art & Science (IMAS)
  • Phone: +1 956-681-2800
  • Address: 717 N Main St, McAllen, TX 78501

9. Earth Born Market

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Earth Born Market (@earthbornmarket)

Earth Born Market is a specialty farmer’s market that provides locally grown, USDA-certified organic citrus, vegetables, fruits, and freshly squeezed juices for customers.

This market emphasizes the use of renewable resources, the conservation of soil and water, and the cultivation of produce without pesticides and GMOs. 

Visitors can purchase a variety of organic groceries, single-serve juices, and homemade jellies while touring this attraction.

Additionally, samples of all items made in-store are available. 

Pro Tip: 

Search up what fruits and vegetables are in season for the best produce finds. 

Type of Attraction: 

Local hub, Farmers market

Time To Spend: 

1  hour

Visitor Information:

10. 17th Street Entertainment District

17th Street Entertainment District is an attraction known for its vibrant nightlife in McAllen.

The district offers various bars, restaurants, and clubs for visitors to enjoy. 

People watching and strolling around is another activity visitors can experience while at 17th Street Entertainment District.

Additionally, the district nears Food Park, giving visitors even more food options. 

Pro Tip: 

Use an Uber to avoid tough parking. 

Type of Attraction: 

Entertainment district, Nightlife center

Time To Spend: 

2-3  hours

Visitor Information:

  • Price: Free
  • Timings: Tuesday to Thursday, 9 PM – 2 AM; Friday and Saturday, 9:30 AM to 2 AM
  • Days: Closed Wednesday and Monday
  • Phone: +1 956-222-4134
  • Address: 209 S 17th St, McAllen, TX 78501

11. Town Lake at Firemen’s Park

Town Lake at Firemen’s Park is the perfect summer outdoor attraction for families.

The lake spans three acres and is surrounded by a ½ mile-paved trail, playground, and picnic areas, making it a great recreational spot in McAllen. 

Activities such as intro to kayaking, fishing tournaments, and paddle boarding are offered.

Picnic tables, grills, fishing poles, and pavilions are available for rental for those looking to enhance their visit to the town lake.  

Pro Tip: 

Wear sunscreen and pack a cap to protect from the sun. 

Type of Attraction: 

Recreational park, Outdoor attraction

Time To Spend: 

2-3  hours

Visitor Information:

12. McAllen Performing Arts Center

Opened in 2017, the McAllen Performing Arts Center is the city’s premier entertainment and cultural event center.

It was built to replace the McAllen Civic Center, which had existed for almost four decades. 

The McAllen Performing Arts Center offers several live performances, concerts, and theater productions for visitors to view.

Family-friendly events such as Poke-Fest and Jurassic Quest are also offered, making this McAllen attraction perfect for all ages. 

Pro Tip: 

Check out the events calendar to know what performances are scheduled for the month. 

Type of Attraction: 

Performing arts center, Live performance theater 

Time To Spend: 

1-2  hours

Visitor Information:

  • Price: Varies depending on the show
  • Timings: Monday to Thursday, 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM (for box office)
  • Days: Closed Saturday and Sunday (for box office)
  • Website: McAllen Performing Arts Center 
  • Phone: +1 956-681-3800
  • Address: 801 Convention Center Blvd, McAllen, TX 78501

13. Mercado District

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Earth Born Market (@earthbornmarket)

Mercado District is a two-story food hall and marketplace with over 100 independently owned Texas businesses.

Visitors can explore a variety of shopping and dining options that showcase the best local craftsmanship and entrepreneurship. 

Their dining options highlight food from different cultures, allowing guests to indulge in various meals.

Exploring Mercado District is perfect for those looking for a vibrant and eventful attraction in the city. 

Pro Tip: 

Check out the restaurant tab for a list of places to dine. 

 Type of Attraction: 

Shopping center, Food hub

Time To Spend: 

2-3  hours

Visitor Information:

  • Price: Free
  • Timings: Tuesday to Thursday, 11:00 AM – 10:00 PM; Friday and Saturday, 11:00 AM – 11:00 PM
  • Days: Closed Monday
  • Website: Mercado District
  • Phone: +1 956-540-7438
  • Address: Mercado District

14. The McAllen Heritage Center

The McAllen Heritage Center is a museum featuring exhibits that educate visitors about McAllen’s history.

Locally donated memorabilia, artifacts highlighting the first 100 years of the city, and murals are on display. 

This historical site in McAllen also offers tour requests for guests who want a more comprehensive understanding of McAllen’s heritage.

For those wanting to view art made by local artists, the McAllen Heritage Center keeps various local art for visitors. 

Pro Tip: 

Check out the news and announcements tab for more information on events the center hosts. 

Type of Attraction: 

Historic center, Cultural institution 

Time To Spend: 

1-2  hours

Visitor Information:

15. Mcallen Farmers Market

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Mcallen Farmers Market (@mcallenfarmersmarket)

McAllen Farmers Market is a hub for fresh produce in McAllen, artisan goods, learning opportunities, and collaboration among community-based organizations.

Consumers can buy local produce such as free-range farm eggs, raw/natural honey, dried fruit, nuts, and baked goods. 

In addition to shopping for food, visitors can buy handcrafted jewelry, health and beauty items, and repurposed crafts.

Picnic tables and hiking trails are also available so guests can enjoy the market further. 

Pro Tip: 

View the McAllen Farmers Market Facebook page to learn which vendors will be there. 

Type of Attraction: 

Farmers market, Shopping hub 

Time To Spend: 

1-2  hours

Visitor Information:

Best things to do in McAllen, according to Reddit

If you’re looking for the best things to do in McAllen, this reddit thread in r/RioGrandeValley offers a wide variety of answers from locals. 

A must-see is the Quinta Mazatlan, and a stroll along the McAllen Hike and Bike trail is a great place to enjoy a leisurely walk, bike ride, or jog.

For more outdoors, the Fireman’s Park, which features playgrounds, picnic areas, and sports fields, is a great place to visit. 

On Saturdays, visitors can check out McAllen’s Farmers Market, which offers fresh produce, local crafts, and food vendors.

The McAllen Municipal Pool is great for swimming, relaxing on the sun deck, and enjoying water activities with friends or family. 

Visitors can explore the McAllen Heritage Center, which features exhibits, artifacts, and photographs to learn about McAllen’s history and culture.

For those wanting to watch live performances and music, the McAllen Performing Arts Center hosts concerts, theater productions, and dance performances at its state-of-the-art venue.   

These tips from reddit offer a great list of activities to do in McAllen, so visitors have no shortage of places to explore. 

Is there anything to do in McAllen??
byu/Arish78 inRioGrandeValley

Conclusion 

McAllen offers a wide variety of activities that cater to everyone’s tastes.

With outdoor spots like Town Lake at Fireman’s Park, historical centers like Quinta Mazatlan, and shopping centers like La Plaza Mall, McAllen has no shortage of things to do. 

For those looking for a combination of shopping and the outdoors, the McAllen farmer’s market is the perfect place to visit.

The city’s rich history has resulted in attractions like the Nuevo Santander Gallery, a great spot for those looking to enter the past. 

This city, situated in the south of Texas, deserves to be highlighted as a city with many places to explore.

McAllen is a vibrant, diverse, and culturally rich city that can’t be missed.

Visitors should combine a mix of hidden gems and fan favorites when exploring McAllen to get a true feel of what the city offers.