McAllen Travel Guide

Browse 2 travel reviews, travel blogs and 17 travel photos from real travelers to McAllen.

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McAllen Overview

McAllen is a town of about 140,000 (up 31% since 2000) located near the intersection of US Highways 83 and 281 in Hidalgo County in the South Texas Plains section of Southern Texas. The settlement of the McAllen area began with the introduction of irrigation to dusty Southern Texas in the 1890s. Then in 1903 the St Louis and Brownsville Railroad built a rail line from Corpus Christi to Brownsville with a spur line to Hidalgo. A depot was built here and in 1904 plans were made for a town site. However not much was done and another town site sprang up just east of the ranch of John McAllen. The town was named East McAllen and was adjacent to the earlier town site of West McAllen. When the main irrigation canal and the building boom caused by better planning favored East McAllen, West McAllen pretty much died out and the towns became one site. The town of McAllen was incorporated in 1911.

Although travelers had passed through and explored South Texas, it wasn't until the 1740's that established settlement began to dot the landscape, mostly on the south side of the Rio Grande.

Situated along the Texas and Mexico border, this city is 58 miles from Brownsville, the Southern most tip of Texas. Hot and sometimes humid, this tropical climate is well suited for proximity to South Padre Island and is popular with Spring Breakers.

It wasn't until the early 1850's, when John McAllen arrived in the Rio Grande Valley, did development begin to come together where McAllen is today. John McAllen and others established a town site in 1904 known then as West McAllen and the St. Louis, Brownsville and Mexico Railroad reached the town site a year later. In 1907, other developers started a town on their own land tract and named it East McAllen.

Today, McAllen enjoys explosive growth and the near-constant addition of new and beautiful buildings in our city. The Texas State Bank building was erected in 1998 in north McAllen.

Popular Nearby Destinations

Mission is a small town west of McAllen on Us 83 in the Rio Grande valley.
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