Forget McKinney’s status as a suburb of Big D; this quaint town has a personality all its own. Book a babysitter and pack a bag for you and your honey, or call your friends and ditch reality for 48 hours in this North Texas charmer.
Accommodations at the Grand Hotel & Ballroom situate you right near the action — the town square, that is. Each of the 44 rooms are decorated in different styles with antique furniture. Book early because the Grand Hotel often hosts wedding and events that occupy most of the hotel. The friendly staff is helpful in recommending attractions and restaurants.
If you’re looking to be in a quainter atmosphere outside downtown, try the McKinney Bed and Breakfast. The B&B has only three rooms, making it much quieter than staying closer to town. Husband and wife innkeepers spoil guests with al fresco breakfast and snacks.
At 289-acres, the Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Refuge is a haven for birders, wildlife lovers, and casual hikers. Walk any of the 6.5 miles of trails solo or check the Heard’s website for a list of bird walks and guided hikes.
If your idea of a stroll involves more window displays than warblers and wrens, park a block or two away from the Old Collin County Courthouse (you’ll be lucky to find a good spot) and weave in and out of the streets window shopping. Try on shoes at Pumps, shop ethically sourced goods at Fair & Square Imports, and update your wardrobe at Bloom women’s clothing boutique. But you won’t need an agenda for exploring the square. Just don’t miss the part sandwich shop, part antique store, part greeting card store called Patina Green Home and Market (a CultureMap editor’s pick). The owners prioritize locally grown goods, making the sandwiches taste extra delicious. Order the beet pastrami, or the smoked ham and cheddar, or anything, really.
You can’t go wrong with food from Spoons, Rye, Square Burger, or Square Sushi. For a classier affair, make a dinner reservation at Harvest to dine on the local and regional menu and craft cocktails. Sugarbacon also comes highly recommended by CultureMap editors. Health-conscious eaters should order the ancient grains salad and indulgers should get the barbecue shrimp and grits. Outside the square, Hutchins BBQ has the best brisket stuffed jalapeños this side of of the Mississippi.
Stop at Landon Winery on the square to split a bottle on the breezy patio with a cheese board or hummus plate, or belly up to the bar for a tasting of several of Landon Winery’s own vinos.
Venture outside the square for a McKinney-made beer at Tupps Brewery, adjacent to the historic cotton mill. The Texas Shade hefeweizen is an easy drinker but the Northbound 75, made with poblano peppers, makes for the most interesting brew. For the full experience, go on a Saturday afternoon while the brewery hosts live musicians. Order a flight or play one of the bar games, such as bean bag toss.