Your Expert Guide
McKinney: Elevated, family-friendly living with old-town charm
There are so many great places to live in Dallas that it helps to have an expert on your side. The Neighborhood Guide presented by Briggs Freeman Sotheby's International Realty gives you insider access from the agents who live and work there, providing in-the-know info about your possible new community.
Not only has real estate agent Bess Dickson guided clients to their dream homes in McKinney for many years, but she has also spent countless hours of her own personal time in the neighborhood. And it all started with her family.
While her daughter played elite-level soccer at Craig’s Ranch in McKinney, Bess connected with parents on the sidelines and sought out places to relax and grab a bite between games.
To this day, one of her favorite parts of town is the charming courthouse square in Historic Downtown McKinney. “It’s a magnet for festivals, food, and fun!” she says.
She also affirms that those Friday night football games are the “real deal” in McKinney: “You will meet people in attendance whose kids graduated years ago!”
Bess — who also happens to be an avid runner and two-time salsa cook-off champion — offered up a few of her personal favorites about life in McKinney. Here's her guide to the area:
Where to eat & drink
“It’s nearly a can’t-miss situation, stepping into any of the eateries surrounding the Historic Courthouse Square,” says Bess.
For a made-to-order sandwich and soup in the afternoon, Patina Green is a lovely treat. Head to Harvest for evening farm-to-table fare, and never say no to slice of pie from Emporium Pies. It’s a “must-do finale to any meal and well worth the wait in line!”
If you’re hankering for a good beer experience, Bess says to check out Tupps Brewing. It's located in the historic Cotton Mill and even hosts the occasional beer and food tastings. “One of my favorites is Tupps & Tamales — sign up for their emails so you don’t miss!” she adds.
Where to play
Bess suggests an oft-overlooked experience that was gifted to McKinney by a longtime resident: the Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary. “Spending a long day there will not be enough to appreciate all there is in this tucked-away, nearly 300-acre park,” she says.
Another option is the Collin County Farm Museum for a quirky, fun afternoon.
What to see
Don’t sleep on the McKinney Farmers Market, according to Bess. Held nearly every Saturday, it’s unlike many other local farmers markets because the offerings come straight from the farmers — rather than vendors reselling produce and other wares.
“If you’re looking for a most unique experience, consider signing up for the Local Yocal Steak 101 class,” says Bess. “Learn all things steak, sample a few different bites, and meet other folks interested in good beef (I had to say it!)!”
Just outside city limits, Bess loves the seasonal farm tour and four-course dinner experiences at Profound Foods in the neighboring town of Lucas. It’s “one of the most unique meet-your-neighbor-and-farmer-experiences around,” she says.
Where to live
“McKinney homes are sure to please every taste because of the variety, from historic clapboard farmhouses to modern, clean-lined mansions,” says Bess. “West of U.S. 75 are thoughtfully designed, master-planned communities with world-class golfing, excellent schools, and miles of trails.
“East of 75 is the old courthouse square along with a mix of historic homes and newer one- and two-story traditional homes," she says.
Bess reveals that a growing niche market in this area is active living communities — like Del Webb within the Trinity Falls development — especially as Gen-Xers age.
Another unique gem is Adriatica Village, which features 100-percent stone-built residences and shopping around a lake.
“Rumor has it that the inspiration for the design was the developers’ honeymoon trip to the Baltics,” adds Bess.
Bess Dickson works and plays in McKinney. For more information on buying and selling a home in the area, click here, email email@example.com, or call 214-736-3921.