McKinney, Texas has the warmth and charm of a small town with its historic downtown, tree-lined streets, and tight-knit community. Located just 30 miles north of Dallas, McKinney is a unique town that’s enjoyable for those who live here as well as those who visit. There is plenty to see and do here for the vacationer and the person just passing through. McKinney has many historical sites, a wildlife reserve, a handful of local breweries, a performing arts center, and many first-rate restaurants.
1.Heard Natural Science Museum and Wildlife Sanctuary
© Heard Natural Science Museum and Wildlife Sanctuary
The Heard Natural Science Museum and Wildlife Sanctuary was founded with the help and vision of one local woman, Bessie Heard. Her goal was to see a piece of nature preserved for future generations. And she also hoped it would be a place where people could learn about conservation and preservation. In 1967, her vision became a reality. Today, the property features a 289-acre wildlife sanctuary, hiking and nature trails, several acres of wetlands, a plant garden, indoor and outdoor exhibits, educational programs, conservations projects, live animals, a butterfly house, and more. The Heard attracts tens of thousands of visitors to its grounds each year.
1 Nature Place, McKinney, TX 75069, Phone: 972-562-5566
2.Chestnut Square Historic Village
© Chestnut Square Historic Village
Chestnut Square Historic Village is located right outside of downtown McKinney and features six historic homes, a model of a small schoolhouse, a chapel and a store. In addition, the village includes a blacksmith shop, a reception house, and gardens. Inside each of these buildings, there are period artifacts that give visitors a glimpse into what life was like in Collin County from 1850 to 1940. Chestnut Square Historic Village is here today thanks to a small group of women who gathered in 1973 with an interest of preserving a piece of McKinny’s history and heritage.
315 S. Chestnut Street McKinney, TX 75069, Phone: 972-562-8790
© Tupps Brewery
Tupps Brewery is located at the historic Cotton Mill, where customers can feel comfortable by putting their feet up on tables while enjoying a handcrafted beer. Customers are also encouraged to write their name on the wall or add one of their personal bottles to the Brewery’s bottle tree farm. At Tupps Brewery, the philosophy is that great tasting beer derives from a careful balance of both art and science. For the art component, they evaluate the appearance, the smell, and the taste. As for science, they rely on their brewhouse, hydrometers, microscopes, and other state-of-the-art devices.
721 Anderson St, McKinney, TX 75069, Phone: 214-856-7996
4.McKinney Performing Arts Center
McKinney Performing Arts Center was built inside of the historic Collin County Courthouse. It’s a multi-purpose facility that seats 427 guests for live shows such as off-Broadway musicals, comedy shows, concerts, and theater. Tickets to any of the events held throughout the year can be bought online, over the phone, or in-person at the Emerson Ticket Office. Besides live performances, the McKinney Performing Arts Center is available to rent for events or meetings. And there are several different types of rooms at varying prices. Many restaurants and boutique shops are situated just outside of the Performing Arts Center.
111 N. Tennessee, McKinney, TX 75069, Phone: 972-547-2650
5.Lone Star Wine Cellars
© Lone Star Wine Cellars
Ron and Deanna Ross are the proud owners of Lone Star Wine Cellars. They started the business in 2002 after transforming their 100-acre ranch into a winery. Besides a winery, their ranch is also home to wildlife including more than a hundred different species of deer. Inspiration for Lone Star Wine Cellars originated from Ron’s grandfather, Percy Walter George who owned Crystal Grill and Casino that included an underground speakeasy. Percy had a passion for wine-making and passed it down to his children and grandchildren. All the wines that get produced at the Lone Star Wine Cellars are bottled under the label “The Ranch Wines.”
103 E Virginia St?, McKinney, TX 75069, Phone: 972-547-9463
6.Franconia Brewing Co.
© Franconia Brewing Co.
Dennis Wehrmann and his wife moved to Texas from Germany to fulfill a life long dream of opening up a brewery. He came from a family of brewmasters dating all the way back to the early 1800s. His grandfather owned a brewery in Tanna Germany, his mom was a brewery lab technician, and many of his uncles were brewmasters or part of the brewing business in some capacity. Dennis himself attended Doemens Brewmasterschool in Munich, Germany, and graduated with a Masters Degree in 1999. Paying homage to his heritage, he brews and serves authentic German Style Bier at Franconia Brewing Co.
495 McKinney Pkwy, McKinney, TX 75071, Phone: 972-542-0705
7.Harry's at the Harbor Restaurant
© Harry's at the Harbor Restaurant
Harry and Jan, the owners of Harry’s at the Harbor Restaurant, met while living in Fort Worth, Texas. They married in 1987 and later moved to McKinney in 1998. After 34 years in IT Management, Harry grew tired of corporate life and wanted something more. He dreamed about opening up a business that incorporated all the things he and Jan loved, which was great food and spirits, family, sports, and good conversation. After talking to life-long friends who had many decades of restaurant experience, they decided to all team up and create Harry’s at the Harbor Restaurant.
6601 Mediterranean Dr. McKinney, Texas 75070, Phone: 214-592-0240
8.Italian Garden Restaurant
© Italian Garden Restaurant
Italian Garden Restaurant became part of the McKinney community in 2010. Executive chef and owner, Besfort "Benny" Polisi had a vision for bringing a fine Italian dining experience for all guests who walked through the door. Benny trained as a cook at a young age. His grandmother taught him many things while growing up in his home country of Albania. Over the years, Benny became a more knowledgable, experienced, and passionate cook. He blends these qualities into every dish he creates, which all originate from the freshest and finest ingredients. Nearly all the dishes at the Italian Garden Restaurant are made from scratch.
500 N. Custer, Suite 100, McKinney, TX 75071, Phone: 972-540-9333
© Dillas Quesadillas
Dillas Quesadillas was a dream of Kyle Gordon’s for many years. The idea to open a restaurant that specialized in quesadillas came to Kyle while he attended the University of Texas. At first, the idea was fun to think about. At that time he didn’t imagine it would become a reality. He loved to make quesadillas at home and often ordered them while dining out. Then during his junior year of college, he mapped out a business plan, a menu, and sketches of the restaurant's design. Six years after graduating, in 2013, Kyle raised enough money to start his dream business, and it’s been flourishing ever since.
3510 W. University #200, McKinney, TX 75071, Phone: 214-491-4144
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9 Best Things to Do in McKinney, TX
- Heard Natural Science Museum and Wildlife Sanctuary, Photo: Heard Natural Science Museum and Wildlife Sanctuary
- Chestnut Square Historic Village, Photo: Chestnut Square Historic Village
- Tupps Brewery, Photo: Tupps Brewery
- McKinney Performing Arts Center, Photo: lenblr/stock.adobe.com
- Lone Star Wine Cellars, Photo: Lone Star Wine Cellars
- Franconia Brewing Co., Photo: Franconia Brewing Co.
- Harry's at the Harbor Restaurant, Photo: Harry's at the Harbor Restaurant
- Italian Garden Restaurant, Photo: Italian Garden Restaurant
- Dillas Quesadillas, Photo: Dillas Quesadillas
- Cover Photo: McKinney, Texas - Unique by Nature