Situated in Rio Grande Valley, McAllen is known as the square dancing and bird-watching capital of Texas. McAllen's population nearly during the winter months, as senior citizens and tourists of all varieties flock to McAllen's tropical Gulf Coast climate. Increasing commercial development in McAllen's Northern district has expanded the number of permanent residents in North McAllen, making the city ideal for young families and elderly retirees alike.
NEIGHBORHOODS AND DISTRICTS
- Downtown: The heart of the city, this area has been heavily influenced by Mexican culture and architecture. Merchants take advantage of the warm weather by selling goods outside their storefronts, creating an open-air market feel in this area.
- South 17th Street, on Downtown's west end, has been designated as the city's entertainment district, featuring nighttime shopping, bars, and nightclubs with music venues.
- North 14th Street is considered the local arts district, with numerous galleries and studios, as well as the McAllen Public Library.
- The Civic and Business/Financial District in downtown's southeastern region is home to McAllen City Hall, which was built in 1992. There are also a number of apartment complexes in the downtown area as well.
- North McAllen: For much of the 1990s, North McAllen had a reputation as a high crime area. Recently, North McAllen has seen a great deal of residential and commercial development, with residents forming neighborhood associations and embarking on beautification projects that have drastically changed the face of this neighborhood.
- South McAllen: Southern McAllen has traditionally been home to McAllen's industrial and commercial developments, though some residential areas, like the Victorian Square subdivision, exist near the McAllen Country Club.
ECONOMY AND INDUSTRIES
McAllen's proximity to the Mexican city Reynosa has heavily influenced the town's culture and economy.
Retail and tourism are major sources of revenue in McAllen.
Two of McAllen's largest employers are the McAllen Foreign Trade Zone and Sharyland Business Park.
The Rio Grande Valley is known for its fertile ranching lands, and McAllen's economy is heavily dependent on the following agricultural products:
- Aloe Vera
- Sugar Cane
- World Birding Center is one of the premiere bird watching destinations in the United States.
- Veteran's War Memorial features a number of granite walls inscribed with the names of local veterans.
- The McAllen Municipal Park on North Bicentennial Boulevard is the largest in the city, featuring sports fields, a pool and waterslide, and picnic areas.
- Palm View Municipal Golf Course.
- Bird-watching is considered a major recreational activity in McAllen, which is positioned on the migratory path between North and South America, presenting ample opportunities for bird- and butterfly-watching expeditions.
- McAllen Convention Center is home to many of McAllen's annual festivals.
- La Plaza Mall
- El Centro Mall
- North Cross Shopping Center
- The Valley Symphony Orchestra and Chorale performs throughout the year in McAllen and nearby Edinburgh.
- Palmfest, an annual festival held in early October at the Convention Center, celebrates the unique culture of the Rio Grande Valley with food, music, and dance.
- Dias Festivos is the annual Christmas celebration at the Civic Center, featuring local arts and crafts.
- The Texas Citrus Fiesta, held in January, includes a parade in neighboring Mission and features costumes made from local produce.
- The McAllen International Birding Festival
- International Food Festival is held each year in March at the Convention Center.
Higher education in McAllen includes:
- South Texas Community College offers associate degrees in a number of fields and has its main campus near downtown McAllen.
- University of Texas Pan American in nearby Edinburgh offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees.
McAllen Independent School District serves most of the city. Other districts serving parts of the city include:
- Edinburg Consolidated Independent School District
- Hidalgo Independent School District
- La Joya Independent School District
- Pharr-San Juan-Alamo Independent School District
- Sharyland Independent School District
- Valley View Independent School District
Residents are also encouraged to apply to magnet schools operated by the South Texas Independent School District. Idea Public Schools is a group of magnet schools that incorporate the International Baccalaureate curriculum. International Baccalaureate schools include:
- Lamar Academy
- Cathey Middle School
- Travis Middle School
- Fossum Middle School
- The Monitor
- The McAllen Valley Town Crier
- Radio stations broadcasting in McAllen include KHID 88.1 FM (Public Radio) and KRIO 910 AM (Spanish Language).
- KNVO 48 (Univision) also operates from McAllen.
- The Rio Grande Valley Silverados are a minor league basketball team.
- Rio Grande Speedway is a quarter-mile dirt track with races held twice a month from March through November.