Harlingen is a city in Cameron County in the heart of the Rio Grande Valley of south Texas, United States, about 30 miles (48 km) from the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. The city covers more than 34 square miles (88 km2), and is the second largest city in Cameron County and the sixth largest in the Rio Grande Valley. It is also the city with the least expensive cost of living in the United States. Harlingen is a principal city of the Brownsville–Harlingen metropolitan area, which is part of the larger Brownsville-Harlingen-Raymondville combined statistical area, included in the Matamoros–Brownsville metropolitan area.
Harlingen is the home of the Rio Grande Valley WhiteWings, a United Baseball League Minor league baseball team. The team has existed from 1994 to 2003 and from 2006 to the present time. In 2000, the WhiteWings won the Texas-Louisiana League championship. Valley Race Park is a racetrack for Greyhound dogs. Valley Race Park was the first greyhound track in Texas to accept Pari-Mutuel wagering. The facility is fully air-conditioned and the grandstands totals over 80,000 square feet (7,400 m2). The grandstand has over 400 monitors to pick up the 50 plus Simulcast Live Racing signals from the top Greyhound and Horse tracks from all around the United States. Valley Race Park shut down in the fall of 1995 but reopened five years later, in the spring of 2000. The World Birding Center has a location in Harlingen’s Hugh Ramsey Nature Park. Work continues on designs for a new 7,250-square-foot (674 m2) visitors’ center at Hugh Ramsey Nature Park. The two-story center will include a gift shop, observation tower, meeting rooms and enclosed viewing areas. Meanwhile, visitors at both Ramsey Park and the Thicket will find parking and extensive trails, as well as maps, information and public restrooms.
The city’s airport, Valley International Airport, has a service area that encompasses the lower Rio Grande Valley and northern Mexico, serving more than two million people on both sides of the US-Mexico border. Valley International Airport lies in the northeastern portion of Harlingen and offers a border-crossing option via the Free Trade Bridge at Los Indios. The city of Harlingen is at the confluence of U.S. Route 77 and U.S. Route 83, designated as Interstate 69E and Interstate 2 respectively. Interstate 69E runs through north-south through Harlingen while the city serves as the eastern terminus of Interstate 2. The Free Trade Bridge at Los Indios is a state-of-the-art international bridge located just 10 miles (16 km) south of Harlingen. With a full U.S. Customs inspection facility that accommodates up to 75 trucks simultaneously, the Free Trade Bridge is acclaimed as the most time-efficient border crossing in the Rio Grande Valley. The Port of Harlingen is located four miles (6 km) east of Harlingen on Highway 106. It is 25 miles (40 km) West of Mile Marker 646 on the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, which stretches from the Mexican border at Brownsville, along the entire coast of the Gulf of Mexico to St. Marks, Florida. Union Pacific Railroad has a local terminal and switching yard in Harlingen. The Harlingen Industrial Parks and Port of Harlingen have direct rail access.