Whether you’re looking for a day of antiquing, a weekend escape, or a festival celebration, McKinney, Texas, is steeped in hometown charm.
One of the oldest authentic downtowns in Texas, McKinney’s walkable square and immediate neighboring streets, located just 30 miles north of Dallas, are still a place to gather and play. Wrapping around the Collin County courthouse, the historic area has always been the center of social and commercial activity in the district and continues to host unique festivals nearly every month of the year.
The McKinney area was originally settled by pioneers who were offered free land by colonizers, who in turn were hired by the State of Texas to introduce settlers to the region. The offer typically included up to 640 acres of land, a gun, and help building a cabin. The first settlers arrived in 1841 and planted cotton and grains. The area grew slowly until 1872, with the arrival of the railroad, which provided a means for rapid transportation of agricultural goods.
For the next 50 years, cotton and textiles fueled the town’s growth and burgeoning prosperity. The booming economy meant larger homes, a better infrastructure, and a thriving cultural life. Through its preservation efforts, McKinney now offers the best of the old as well as a vibrant present.
Collin County Courthouse, built in 1875, is the centerpiece of the downtown square.
The landmark property now houses the McKinney Performing Arts Center.
Browse specialty shops, art galleries, furniture and antique stores, craft-oriented businesses, gift shops, and apparel boutiques while taking in a variety of restaurant choices. You’ll find no chain fare here. Instead, options include everything from pub food to tapas to fine dining.
Colorful displays outside shops beckon visitors. Antique and collectible
shops intermingle with home decor boutiques, nostalgic eateries, and clothing stores.
A visit to Mom and Popcorn is a visual feast as well as a sweet one.
Items are artfully displayed and include nostalgic treats, flavored popcorns and homemade fudge.
Vintage-style lunch boxes create a tempting display along one wall. Eating at your desk is much more appealing when the meal comes out of a cool container.
Bear Market is the store for treasure hunters; it features surprises and styles galore, from retro funk to campside collectibles. Plan to spend some time here—two floors of fabulous finds fill this fascinating shop.
Carla gets a kick out of the fun-house mirror.
If you’re looking for something specific, just ask owners Susan and David Wideman. Their knowledge of the inventory is encyclopedic.
Chase Hall takes early 20th-century British antiques to a whole new level. Collectibles and furnishings sourced and shipped from England and around the country grace this shop.
The beautifully preserved brick structure adds to the beguiling atmosphere.
Originally an old locksmith shop that once employed North Texas’s most infamous robbers, Bonnie and Clyde, The Menagerie is an antique furniture paradise that’s full of history. Owner Karen Davis has an interior design background and an eye for great furnishings.
The inventory at Patina Green Home and Market is an ever-evolving mix of modern day and vintage pieces for the home.
Owners Kaci (an interior designer) and chef Robert Lyford have a passion for real food, serving a seasonal lunch and dinner menu, farm fresh produce, and house-made packaged foods to go.
Even the loo is a feast for the eyes!
Confession: We could’ve spent hours in Miss Henny Penny’s Groovy Coop. The displays are lively, cheeky, and colorful.
Midcentury vintage items mix with retro-inspired merchandise, and the selection of old vinyl is amazing.
Furnish your home, accent the kitchen, and fill the air with the sounds of classic tracks.
Browse through an eclectic mix of shopping choices, from nostalgic mom & pop vintage shops to upscale designer boutiques.
The window displays and shop vignettes draw you in to closely examine the compilations of objects. Endless ideas will fuel your creative juices as you walk the aisles of inspiring shops.
My Favorite Room, which offers design services as well as unique merchandise, illustrates just how compelling a monochromatic color scheme can be. Layers of cream, beige, white, ivory, and tan blend into a textural symphony of fabrics, metal, and wood.
Draped with stoles and lace, a choir of tailor’s dummies oversees the showroom.
Taste temptations abound in McKinney’s top-notch restaurants, breweries, and wineries. Harvest Seasonal Kitchen knows exactly where its food comes from—the chefs grow it themselves. Each of their seasonal menus features organic, local, and regional products and celebrates the seasonality of ingredients and the varied contributions of farmers.
Spoons Café is housed in a converted 1920s building that was originally the Texas Power and Light Company. Fun, hip, and casual, the cafe is designed with an open kitchen that allows you to watch the cooking crew create breakfast all day, as well as other favorites such as meatloaf, mashed potatoes, fresh salads, and made-from-scratch soups.
Tom and Cleo Meredith, owners of The Pantry, feel a special sense of history and family in serving delicious diner favorites amid the original brick walls and wooden floors of the 1898 building, home of Hope Hardware for 80 years.
McKinney offers the usual lodging options at chain hotels, but for a unique stay, opt for one of the town’s charming bed & breakfast establishments, or make yourself at home at the centrally located Grand Hotel, where every guest room is individually decorated.
For an intimate venue, you just can’t beat the McKinney Bed & Breakfast. It’s big on hospitality and offers a charming spot to renew, refresh, and reconnect with companions while making new friends.
Located in a spacious Federal/Classical style home built in 1870, the Dowell House has a rich history and an elegant ambiance.
Nature lovers have plenty of opportunities to commune with the great outdoors in and around McKinney. The Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary offers nature trails through different habitats and an exotic animal exhibit. Myers Park and Erwin Park feature rolling hills, rustic woods, and bike trails. For fishing and bird enthusiasts as well as those who want to spend a day boating or swimming, Lavon Lake, which is located on the east fork of the Trinity River, is a mere 15 to 20 minutes east of town.
Shopping is just the icing on a many-layered cake in the McKinney area. Third Monday Trade Days features more than 900 vendors selling everything from homemade crafts and Chestnut Square Historic Village brings you the experience of life in the 1850s with a collection of historic houses and buildings. It also hosts a seasonal farmers’ market.
Heard-Craig Center features antiques, an art collection, and gardens in and around a 7,000-square-foot historic mansion and grounds. Don’t miss the formal teas.
Pecan Grove Cemetery has, since 1845, been the final resting place for pioneers, gunslingers, and soldiers from the Texas Revolution, Mexican War, Civil War, and every conflict since.
If you can, hang around for Second Saturdays, when the downtown square hosts live music and sidewalk shopping. This vibrant and historic community encourages a repeat visit, or two.
© Caruth Studio