McAllen is the twentieth most populous city in Texas and the largest city in Hidalgo County, Texas. It is located at the southern tip of Texas in the Rio Grande Valley (not a geographical valley) and is part of the Southern United States. It is on the Rio Grande, across from the Mexican city of Reynosa, and is about 70 miles (110 km) west of South Padre Island and the Gulf of Mexico. Today the McAllen–Edinburg–Mission metropolitan area is one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the United States, The introduction of the maquiladora economy and the North American Free Trade Association led to a boom in international trade, cross-border commerce with Mexico, and health care. McAllen is a regional retail destination for northeastern Mexican states. While McAllen’s total population is 20th among Texas cities, it ranks 12th in overall retail sales, and third in the state in total retail sales both per household and per capita.
In the mid-1980s, fueled by trade and the growth of the maquiladora (in which components are shipped to Mexico, assembled and shipped back), the economy began to improve in Hidalgo County. McAllen sits across the border from Reynosa, a large manufacturing centre. After the peso devalued it became easier to woo companies to put their plants in Mexico with support operations in Texas. Workers came for jobs, winter Texans returned to enjoy the sun, and Mexicans came to spend money. Thanks to tourist dollars, McAllen has the highest retail spending per capita in the state, according to its Chamber of Commerce.
Birdwatching – The McAllen is positioned on the migratory path between North and South America, presenting bird and butterfly expeditions. The landscape hosts a diverse wildlife population. The Quinta Mazatlan is the historic Spanish colonial mansion and is McAllen’s wing of the World Birding Center and is a great place to explore and learn about the flora and fauna in McAllen. Children of all ages can register for the science programs, tours and special events throughout the year. Quinta Mazatlan has something for everyone! The McAllen Dog Park is another place for recreation for dogs of all sizes. The lighted park is located off of Tamarack and 2nd Street. The park is divided into two sections, a big dog and small dog side. The park is usually open until 10pm every night. The 2nd St. Bike path is another place to enjoy a stroll. This path stretches for several miles and runs from North to South on McAllen’s East side. The path is lined with trees, shade, and the occasional marker to let you know where you are at. Bill Schupp Park is park in North McAllen that has giant playscapes for climbing, sliding and having fun. The park has plenty of space to play ball, have a picnic, and there are plenty of trails for running. There is also a sunken garden area for performances. Palm View Golf Course is located on South Ware Rd. just South of Highway 83. The golf course has 18 holes plus a driving range. This course hosts numerous tournaments year round.