McAllen is known as a snowbird destination, which means its peak travel season hits when areas like the Pacific Northwest reach their coldest temperatures. While McAllen comes alive during the months of November, December, January, February and March, these are also the busiest – and most expensive months – to visit. The hottest and wettest months of August and September tend to draw the least visitors, offering an opportunity for travellers to find the cheapest flights to McAllen.
Set against the Rio Grande near the Mexican border in southern Texas, McAllen is a popular destination for those looking to enjoy the region’s famed warm weather, no matter what time of year it is. In fact, McAllen’s enviable winter temperatures make it a popular destination with retirees, or so-called snowbirds, who flock to this Texan town to escape the harsh weather of the northern U.S. and Canada.
With the population swelling in the winter months, this is when McAllen comes alive with activity. Annual events are centered around these months, but there is also plenty to do throughout the year. Two state parks and a wildlife refuge offer an escape into the natural side of Texas, and the nearby World Birding Centres are some of the top spots in the country to catch glimpses of rare birds in their natural habitat. Indeed, birding is one of the most popular pastimes in McAllen.
But if the indoors are more appropriate, perhaps visits to McAllen’s International Museum of Art and Science, Museum of South Texas History or Hidalgo Pumphouse Museum are in order. There is also shopping available at La Plaza Mall and the Rio Grande Premium Outlets.
McAllen’s southern neighbors have welcomingly influenced the local dining scene, and authentic Mexican fare can be found throughout the city. Tex-Mex is another big draw, and international influences from Europe and Asia can also be seen in McAllen’s culinary scene. When it comes to nightlife, the bars and clubs of downtown 17th Street stay energetic well into the night.
The local public transportation system maintains seven bus routes throughout McAllen, connecting passengers with destinations throughout the city, but routes and times are limited, so plan bus travel in advance. Taxi companies operate in the area and can be reserved by phone, but it is easier, and often cheaper, to get around by hiring a car and driving.
The city is served by McAllen-Miller International Airport (MFE), less than three miles from the city centre. An airport shuttle can be reserved to travel into town, and there is also a local bus route that connects the airport with the rest of McAllen. Car hire counters are also at the airport for those wishing to hire a car for their stay.