Living In McKinney, TX: What It's Really Like [2022 Edition]
“Unique by nature,” that’s McKinney, Texas. This beautiful community is just 30 miles north of Downtown Dallas.
McKinney has diverse neighborhoods and thriving businesses, top-ranked schools and an historic downtown. It is one of the fastest growing cities in the U.S. with a population of over 200,000 residents. Still, it retains that “small-town feel” with a strong sense of community. In 2014, it was named the #1 Best Place to Live in the U.S. by Money Magazine.
A Brief History
McKinney has a strong history dating back to the 1800s. It was named after the pioneer and land surveyor Collin McKinney. Not only did he help draft the Texas Declaration of Independence but also had the privilege of signing the document.
The town of McKinney was named the seat of Collin County in 1848, incorporated in 1849, and re-incorporated in 1859. McKinney began to grow more consistently in 1872, when the Houston and Texas Central Railroad came through.
By the mid-1880s, McKinney, a city that thrived on cotton and grain, had 2,000 residents, newspapers, flour mills, churches, banks, and an opera house. As the community continued to grow, larger homes were built for the city’s prominent residents. The most impressive of them were built in the 1890s.
While holding closely to its historic roots, McKinney is firmly established in the 21st century.
Shopping in Downtown McKinney
While it’s true that Dallas is only half an hour away, there’s no need to make the trip to enjoy a day of shopping. McKinney is home to 120+ shops. Whether you’re looking for a new outfit, furniture, unique décor items for your home, a piece of art or an antique for yourself or to give as a gift, you’ll find it downtown.
Dining in Downtown McKinney
No matter what type of food you’re in the mood for, you’ll find it in McKinney.
Tripadvisor named these the top 10 restaurants as of July 2021: Hutchin’s BBQ and Grill, Rick’s Chophouse, Harvest, Cadillac Pizza Pub, Square Burger, Eggsquisite Café, Spoons Café, Rye. Craft Food and Drink, Patina Green Home and Market, and the Starwood Café.
Services (and More) in Downton McKinney
You’ll also find City Hall, the Chamber of Commerce, and several financial institutions downtown.
If you’re looking for a haircut or a day of pampering, check out one of the several salons and day spas.
McKinney is committed to developing and showcasing the arts. Residents enjoy what the Heard-Craig Center for the Arts and the McKinney Performing Arts Center have to offer.
Things to Do in McKinney
It makes sense that a city with a strong sense of community would host several events for residents and tourists.
Those who love events centered around food and drink, will want to attend McKinney Oktoberfest. Fine art and fine wine more your thing? You’ll want to attend the Arts in Bloom event. Looking for events for the whole family? How about the Red, White, and Boom Parade or the Trick or Treat Trail? Love Christmas? Then, you’ll want to come Home for the Holidays … a McKinney Christmas.
Healthy Living in McKinney
Thousands of acres in McKinney neighborhoods are devoted to the health and well-being of residents. Do you love to go walking or cycling? Do you want to play baseball, volleyball, or soccer? Do you prefer working out and swimming at the local fitness center? You can do it all in McKinney. And if you want to explore nature, alone or with your family, there’s no need to leave the city.
No matter your age—from preschooler to teenager, from young adult to senior—McKinney offers countless opportunities for you to live a healthy lifestyle.
And if you’re in need of medical attention, you can rest easy knowing there are three hospitals in the city: Baylor Medical Center, Medical City McKinney, and Methodist McKinney Hospital.
Sports in McKinney
Texans love sports. Living in McKinney gives residents easy access to the Texas Ranchers, the Dallas Mavericks, and the Dallas Cowboys. Plus, McKinney offers several little leagues opportunities for children and young people who live in the city.
Opportunities for youth include basketball, volleyball, baseball, cheerleading, softball, flag and tackle football, lacrosse, soccer, tennis, and wrestling. The city has great sports fields and great coaches. Like elsewhere in the state, the community is very sports-conscious and very competitive.
Golfing in McKinney
Golf is a big deal in the city. From the host of the AT&T Byron Nelson Tournament, the TPC Craig Ranch Golf Course, to the Stonebridge Ranch Country Club, which boasts a “Texas-size” 27-hole course; from the Oak Hollow Golf Course to the Heritage Ranch & Golf Country Club, residents of McKinney spend several hours each year on the links.
Schools in McKinney
The city has several top-ranked schools, as does Melissa, where some McKinney residents send their children. Not only do the schools in McKinney place a high priority on academics but also sports and, especially at McKinney High, the band program.
Among the top-ranked schools in the city are Glen Oaks Elementary and John A. Baker Elementary, Dr. John Cockrill Middle School and Imagine International Academy of North Texas, McKinney North High and McKinney Boyd High.
Learn more about life in McKinney on their website: https://www.mckinneytexas.org/
Real Estate in McKinney
Housing in McKinney offers something for everyone, from rental apartments and condominiums to expansive, multi-million-dollar estates in gated communities. Even if you’re looking for a home on acres of land in a portion of the city with a rural feel, McKinney has what you’re looking for. The median price of homes in McKinney is $309,000.
You can think of McKinney as having four quadrants. Downtown McKinney is in the southeast portion. This is the section of the city people are referring to when they use word such as “quaint” and “like living in a Hallmark movie.” This is where you’ll find the Old Town Square, where residents hold numerous festivals. It’s also where you can find various shops, including those with a more nostalgic feel, like 540 Mercantile and McKinnery Knittery; more modern stores and services, such as Exit Plan, an Escape Room Adventure and Carpe Diem Comics; and so many more.
If you’re interested in a newer, developing community, you’ll want to check out the master-planned neighborhoods in the northwest quadrant of McKinney, including Trinity Falls. Like all McKinney neighborhoods, those in this section of the city are built with active families in mind.
Residents who prefer a rural setting call the northeast section of McKinney home. If you’re looking for a beautiful home on acres of land, if you want to raise cattle or horses yet still be close to all the big city amenities, you’ll want to check out homes in this area.
Finally, if you’re looking for luxurious living in master-planned communities that people are raving about, you’ll want to consider a home in the southwest quadrant of McKinney. The homes are truly amazing, the landscaping is beautiful, and the surroundings are second to none. You’ll find communities such as Stonebridge Ranch and Craig Ranch in this area of McKinney.
Among the unique McKinney neighborhoods are Adriatica, Craig Ranch, Isleworth, Stonebridge Ranch, and Tucker Hill. Each has its own charms, style, and amenities.
Only five and a half miles from Downtown McKinney, this 45-acre, mixed-use development was fashioned after a small Croatian fishing village. The Mediterranean-style condos and villas along cobblestone streets transport you to another place and time.
Just because Adriatica is small doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of things to see and do. In the mood for a brunch with friends? Check out the Starwood Café. Does French cuisine appeal to you? How about lunch at Gregory’s Bistro? And if you want to relax and enjoy a stunning view of the water, you’ll want to check out Harry’s at the Harbor.
The Bella Dona Chapel, the Adriatica Bell Tower, and the Promise Fountain add to the unique atmosphere of the community. The many walking and cycling trails, as well as The Fitness Blueprint Gym, are evidence that the community planners had the health of the residents in mind.
Ninety percent of the approximately 2,200 residents own their homes. However, if you’re looking to rent, there are beautiful apartments in the community’s St. Paul’s Square. And if you’re an active senior, 62 or over, you’ll want to check out the Adriatica Senior Living facility.
To learn more, visit https://www.adriaticavillage.com/
Many McKinney neighborhoods are master-planned communities. Craig Ranch, eight and a half miles from downtown, is one of them. Residents have easy access to work, shopping, dining, entertainment, and more. And if you’re a golfer, you’ll want to check out the TPC Craig Ranch Golf Course, which was named one of the best golf clubs in DFW. It is the host of the AT&T Byron Nelson Tournament.
As is the case in other McKinney neighborhoods, residents can enjoy a healthy lifestyle. Craig Ranch includes the McKinney Soccer Complex, the Craig Ranch Fitness Center and Spa, the Michael Johnson Performance Center, as well as a ballfield, beach volleyball courts, and more.
Like the community of Adriatica, ninety percent of residents own their own homes. With a wide range of prices, there is something for everyone.
If you want to learn more about Craig Ranch, visit https://www.craigranchliving.com/
The community of Isleworth, six and a half miles west of Downtown McKinney, sits amidst a golf course and is surrounded by ponds and lakes. Of course, this is a perfect location for golf lovers, but residents who like to get out for a walk or bicycle ride will enjoy the many trails.
Isleworth is part of Stonebridge Ranch, and, therefore, enjoys the benefits of being part of this expansive, gated community, including the restaurants and social events, as well as the Stonebridge Ranch Country Club.
About 64 percent of the approximately 2,000 residents of Isleworth own their own homes. Whether you want to buy or rent, this lovely neighborhood may be just what you’re looking for.
“We believe in treasuring our past, supporting a premier and neighborly lifestyle today, and actively investing in our future together.” (www.stonebridgeranch.com)
Residents enjoy the Stonebridge Ranch Aquatic Center, featuring a junior Olympic-size swimming pool, and the Stonebridge Ranch Country Club, which has a “Texas-size” 27-hole course as well as an 18-hole course.
This community is slightly over five miles from Downtown McKinney. Approximately 66 percent of residents own their homes. Whether you’re a homeowner or renter, Stonebridge Ranch has much to offer.
McKinney’s famous “front porch community” has a population of approximately 600 residents. The brownstone-feel, single-family homes were built in such as way as to foster the connectedness of a close-knit neighborhood.
About 90 percent of residents own their homes, each of which—although sharing similarities with others in the community—is unique.
If you like the idea of a small, neighborly community, you’ll want to check out Tucker Hill, just seven miles northwest of Downtown McKinney.
If you’re moving to the Dallas-Fort Worth area, be sure to check out the city of McKinney.
Homes For Sale in McKinney, Texas
NTREIS data last updated February 25, 2024.