No matter what time of year you visit McKinney, you’ll always find fun and exciting experiences and places to explore. But a visit to this Dallas suburb in the fall months holds the promise of special memories, thanks to signature festivals and plenty of fun to be found throughout the city.
September kicks off McKinney’s fall season with the arrival of the T-rex and his animatronic dinosaur friends for the Dinosaurs Live event at the Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary that runs September 3 through February 20, 2023. Guests visiting The Heard can also visit the Native Texas Butterfly House and Garden, open through October 2, as well as take part in Second Saturday Bird Walks, Zip Line Days, and the always popular Halloween at The Heard on October 22.
Experience the most authentic Oktoberfest outside of Munich when McKinney’s historic downtown square transforms into a Bavarian plaza filled with the flavors, sights, and sounds of German beer, food, music, games, dancing, and more. Younger visitors will enjoy the kids area, the carnival, and events like the Weenie Dog Races. No tickets are required for this always highly anticipated annual event, held September 23–25. As part of this celebration, Visit McKinney and Downtown McKinney are partnering on a McKinney to Munich sweepstakes. (Click here for details.)
October ushers in a cultural experience at McKinney’s Día de los Muertos, a celebration of Latin American culture held in McKinney’s Mitchell Park in Downtown McKinney on October 15. Also that day, take in the beauty of Towne Lake Park at the McKinney Wine & Music Festival where you can sample offerings from 30 award-winning wineries and 15 delicious restaurants while enjoying live music.
Each fall, you can learn more about McKinney’s ghost stories during ghostly haunting tours at Chestnut Square Heritage Village in September and October, as well as the village’s Legends of McKinney Ghost Walk the last weekend in October. Another popular event to enjoy at Chestnut Square all year long is the village’s top-rated Farmers Market held every Saturday 8 a.m.–12 p.m. from April through December and 9 a.m.–12 p.m. from January to March.
In addition to Chestnut Square, history buffs can also explore early Texas history at the Collin County History Museum with its interactive exhibits, and the art and history tours and events hosted at the Heard-Craig Center for the Arts. Or take a guided historic or public art walking tour for a more personalized experience.
Many other fun and memorable experiences await you in Historic Downtown McKinney all year long. Enjoy flavorful cuisine at almost two dozen eateries in and around the square, many of which source their menus’ ingredients from area farmers and artisanal food producers. Many of these restaurants and the four wine rooms on the square also host live music from both up-and-coming musicians during open mic nights and established performers. Other entertainment options available in Downtown McKinney include a vintage video arcade, comedy club, and coming later in the fall, an axe throwing bar.
Just across Highway 5 from the downtown square is the Historic Flour Mill district where you’ll find the new McKinney Silo Mural Project, completed in late August by internationally-known Australian artist Guido van Helton. Also at the Flour Mill is the Texakona Coffee Museum, gift shop, and coffee house. And on the south end of this district is the new site of TUPPS Brewery, still under development but slated to open by early 2023. No need to worry, though—TUPPS is still serving up ice cold beers, seltzers, food, live entertainment, and other distinctive events in its current location at McKinney’s Cotton Mill.
McKinney’s own Adriatica Village provides guests with experiences unlike any you’re likely to find elsewhere in North Texas. Adriatica gives guests a taste of Croatia, thanks to its cobblestone-like streets and Mediterranean architecture, while offering entertainment at The Sanctuary and delicious cuisine at eateries including Zin Zen Wine Bistro, Cavalli’s Pizza, and Harry’s at the Harbor.
Southwest McKinney is home to the city’s newest entertainment district, Hub 121. Located in Craig Ranch, Hub 121 features dining at several exciting new restaurants and an open-air amphitheater for live music. You can enjoy the concerts sitting in this lawn area or from the two-level patio at the adjacent ChopShop McKinney Sports Garage and its attached Wine A Little McKinney wine room. Elwood BFD is also in Hub 121 and more restaurants will be opening soon.
Plan your visit to McKinney this fall with this online trip planner!