McAllen area, United States

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McAllen, USA: Vacations and travel info

Fountain in McAllen

McAllen is an important trade center, a social and cultural melting pot that takes full advantage of its location on the Mexico border. McAllen is one of the main trade cities in the state of Texas, the third-fastest growing city in the US, and, according to the Wall Street Journal, it is one of the forerunners in the country's real estate market.

Río Grande Valley (RGV)

Public Library of McAllen

McAllen is located in the region known as The Valley or the Rio Grande Valley (RGV) on the banks of the Rio Grande, which is commonly called the Rio Bravo by Mexicans. It serves as a natural border between the US and Mexico.

During the last few decades, McAllen has become an important city for trade, business, and government in the south of Texas. It now acts as the base for the federal government in the Rio Grande Valley area, which includes major cities, such as Brownsville, Edinburg, Mission, Harlingen, and Pharr.

McAllen Before and Now

McAllen in 1954

Many years ago, at the start of the 19th century, a ranch called Santa Anita Ranch, property of the Spanish rancher Jose Manuel Gomez, stood where the center of the city of McAllen stands now. The rancher's granddaughter Salome acquired the adjacent lands when she married John Young, who was a rich businessman from Brownsville. When John Young died, his widow married John McAllen, who managed to expand the lands of the ranch even further, and changed its name to McAllen Ranch. John McAllen was able to make the property so great, that the city of today (at time of writing) hasn't reached the size of the original ranch.

When the industrial revolution and the railway came to the area at the start of the 20th century, the ranch used part of its lands to establish a railway community called the McAllen Townsite Company. Within a few years the McAllen post office was set up, bringing together many of the ranches in the area.

Fauna of McAllenA short distance away another railway community appeared, called East McAllen. This small town grew even faster than the original, and was home to the first bank in the region; this was also the first building to be built with bricks, instead of wood. Over time East McAllen grew enough to absorb the original community, and in 1911 the recently created city of McAllen requested authority from the federal government to start the process of municipal legislation, a request that was granted in 1927. The city has continued to grow as a commercial, industrial, and tourist city ever since.

The Mexico Border with McAllen

Mexican Influence in McAllen

When you visit McAllen you'll have the chance to experience the cultural mix of Mexico and the US. This can mainly be appreciated in the language, as many people are bilingual, speaking English and Spanish, however, the official and predominating language is always English. In McAllen you can celebrate the Day of the Dead just as much as Halloween and you'll even hear Mariachi music in the local schools. There is also a strong blend of cultures in the region's cuisine and informal trade.

If you're an international traveler and you enter the city from the Mexico border, you should be aware that there are many processes that can make your passage across the border quicker and easier. Always have your passport within easy reach. McAllen has two bridges that connect the two countries:


  • Anzalduas International Bridge
  • Hidalgo International Bridge

Public Transport in McAllen

METRO Public Transport in McAllenIn downtown McAllen you'll find different forms of public transport; one of these is the METRO system, which offers access to other local transport, and even travel to cities around the US and abroad. This modern transport system in McAllen is highly regarded with regards to its routes, journey times, and punctuality. Check the route and timetable before you get on any bus at one of the information modules located at Central Station, McAllen Public Library, the Chamber of Commerce, or City Hall, this should help avoid any confusion, and will allow you to arrive at your chosen destination quicker.

Reasons to Visit McAllen

Chamber of Commerce of McAllen
  • Trade in McAllen: This is one of the major attractions of this growing city, thanks to its border location and proximity to important manufacturing companies, both in Mexico and Texas.
  • Medical Services in McAllen TexasMedical Tourism in McAllen: In the city you'll find the McAllen Medical Center, one of the only hospitals in the area equipped with facilities for organ transplants, among other specialties, making it the leader in the Rio Grande Valley health market. There are also other important hospitals here, including Rio Grande Regional Hospital and Doctor's Hospital at Renaissance in Rio Grande Valley.
  • Schools in McAllen TexasEvents in McAllen: The McAllen Convention Center is a complex spanning over 60,000 square feet, featuring outdoor areas, conference rooms, theaters, concert halls, theater shows, conventions, and much more. The schools and universities in McAllen also have excellent facilities for hosting different types of cultural events.

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