Drive 30 miles north of downtown Dallas and you will find yourself in McKinney, which was named in 2014 as the Best Place to Live in America by Money Magazine. After Plano, this is the biggest city in Collin County with more than 181,000 people as of 2017. It’s also the third fastest-growing city across the United States and that speaks a lot to the livability of McKinney.
The history of McKinney can be traced to March of 1849 when William Davis donated 120 acres to establish what would become the town site. A decade later, the town of McKinney was incorporated.
For more than a century, McKinney was the predominant commercial hub of Collin County. Products such as flour, cotton, and corn shipped from its mills and factories. At the turn of the century, the town already had a textile mill, banks, dairy, and newspapers. From just 35 people in 1848, the population ballooned to more than 4,700 in 1912.
By the 1950s, the population of McKinney already surpassed 10,000 people. But Plano overtook the city by 1970. In the 80s, a good portion of the residents in the city were actually workers for companies based in both Plano and Dallas.
Major corporations have established headquarters in McKinney. Companies like Raytheon (perhaps the city’s biggest employer), Torchmark, Wistron GreenTech, Simpson Strong-Tie, and Emerson Process Management. But the business climate also helps homegrown companies such as Brandon Industries, RMCN, and Encore Wire to continue to grow.
Corporations typically move in on one location based on the following factors–good business climate, stable and educated workforce, and potential for growth. It seems McKinney has plenty of these factors. The unemployment rate here is lower than the average in the United States.
While the sales tax in McKinney, just like the rest of Texas, is higher compared to the average in the United States, the zero income tax helps residents hold on to more of their income.
If you lived here, you will most likely save a lot of money each year just because you are not paying a high income tax.
The median household income in the city ($82,988) is higher than the average in the US ($53,482).
What to Do in McKinney
At the center of the city is the historic district which is full of rich tradition that can be traced back to the cities beginnings in 1848.
You can see that residents here love the historic district and most want to make sure that it’s well preserved.
Even today, you walk around the city and you will find some historic houses and buildings like the Union Depot, Scott House, the US Post Office building, the Ritz Theatre, Veterans Administration Hospital, and others.
People love to go to the historic McKinney Square, sit down in one of the coffee shops there and just watch the world go by. The residents here are very friendly and you can generally make a friend in no time if you just walk around the city. The city is very peaceful so you can generally walk after midnight and not worry about your safety.
While progress forces the city to move forward, officials have managed to ensure a healthy balance between the old and the new. The historic district today has plenty of shopping and dining options. There are also a lot of pop-and-mom stores that have operated in McKinney for generations.
In October, McKinney comes alive with the Oktoberfest while the Arts in Bloom, which is typically held in the summer, gathers more than 100 artists, performance artists, and exhibitors who take part in the three-day event.
McKinney Real Estate
As you travel around the city you are bound to see many crepe myrtles, which are a staple of southern living. They grow easily and when they bloom, they give the city a distinct look, especially during the summer and autumn when they fully show their full splendor.
For people who are tired of the hustle and bustle of urban life, McKinney is an ideal place to settle down. You won’t find too many residents here who grew up in McKinney. They moved in from Plano, Dallas, or Arlington as they looked for a quieter place to live
Dallas is just 30 miles away so it’s easy to take the take public transportation or drive your car if you want to visit the bigger city. Plano, meanwhile, is just 20 minutes away. The best thing is that you can just go home to a safe and idyllic life if you get tired of the chaos of the urban jungle.
Families also move to McKinney because of the school system. In fact, the McKinney Independent School District is a top-rated public school district, which consistently produces quality students.
Among the best elementary schools here are Earl & Lottie Wolford Elementary School, Lizzie Nell Cundiff Mcclure Elementary School, Dean and Mildred Bennett Elementary School, Glen Oaks Elementary School, and Imagine International Academy Of North Texas.
For middle school, you have Dowell Middle School, Dr. Jack Cockrill Middle School, and Scoggins Middle School.
For high school you have Mckinney Boyd High School, Mckinney North High School, and Imagine International Academy Of North Texas.
McKinney features a lot of mature trees that dot its paved streets. You can still see a lot of historic houses and some of them are listed on the market if that’s what you are looking for.
The median list price of houses in McKinney is around $360,000 with a per-square-foot cost of $142. You will typically find a three-bedroom, two bath house in McKinney and they usually feature big yards with beautiful gardens that are very well-maintained.
The whole city has that suburban feel. There are a lot of green space that serves as a safe refuge for residents who want to exercise, walk their pets, or bond with their kids.
Here in the city, residents know their history and they have a connection to the cities’ roots even if most of them are not really from here. That blend between the old and new has made McKinney consistently one of the best places to live in America.