McALLEN TEXAS

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McAllen TexasJohn McAllen, from Scotland, moved to South Texas in the 1850s. Eventually he became one of the largest landowners in the Rio Grande Valley. By 1904 he had around 80,000 acres and started a town. Called West McAllen. At that point in time there was no East McAllen. But, in 1907 a developer named James Brigg founded East McAllen, which soon became the dominant town and when West McAllen faded away, East McAllen became McAllen.

Modern day McAllen caters to thousands of tourists, in both winter and summer, attracted by the sub-tropical climate, proximity to Mexico, birding and citrus groves.

A lot of snowbirds from Canada and the Midwest escape the cold to spend winter in the McAllen area, which is why McAllen has a lot of mobile home parks, with tourist agencies catering to the snowbirds with activities like square dancing, shuffleboard, bridge and domino tournaments.

The McAllen economy is based on tourism, agriculture likecitrus, oil and trade with Mexico.

Reynosa, Mexico is about 8 miles south of McAllen, just across the Rio Grande. Reynosa is a bigger and old city than McAllen, with about a half million residents to McAllen's 120,000. Zona Rosa is a shopping destination catering to U.S. visitors looking for handicrafts, just a short distance from the International Bridge.

You can pick your own fruit at Eggers Acres, on Shary Road, west of McAllen. This is a family run citrus market run by the Eggers family who's grandfather developed the Ruby Red grapefruit.

Map of McAllen Area & 
Additional McAllen Information

If it is birding you are looking for there is Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park, 588 acres of subtropical woodlands. There are biking and hiking trails to take you into the wilderness to bird watch. Another birding favorite is Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge. Over 300 species of birds can be found in this park, as well half the butterfly species native to North America.

Quinta Mazatlan is a 1930s country estate in the heart of McAllen is the World Birding Center location. The estate is a Spanish Revival adobe hacienda surrounded by tropical landscaping and trails winding through 15 acres of birding habitat.

WHERE TO STAY IN McALLEN

You'll find many of the chain motels and hotels that you find in other towns in America. Casa De Palmas Renaissance McAllen Hotel is a restored 1918 Spanish style hotel, which is also a Texas Historical Landmark.

WHERE TO EAT IN McALLEN

Go to La Cucaracha in Reynosa, 3 blocks southwest of the International Bridge for lobster in plush surroundings. Go back to McAllen for Tex-Mex at Johnny's Mexican Food, specializing in chili rellenos. At Tom and Jerry's chicken fajitas and chicken-fried steak are the specialties, in homey surroundings.

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