Well friends, this post is a long time coming.
Today, I’m going to talk all about our hometown of McKinney, TX.
One of the most popular emails/comments/questions I get is about McKinney. Mainly…if I go there, what should I do? Where should I eat? Where should I shop? So, today, I’m going to
I’ve told this story a million times, but it bears repeating.
I grew up in Irving, TX which is a very urban city that bleeds right into Dallas. After college, Andrew and I got married and moved to Detroit for a year and then when we returned, we moved right back to Irving. At this point, Andrew and I started planning our business and Andrew suggested we move to McKinney.
Well…I didn’t like that idea. At all.
As a native to the area (he was from Missouri), I thought McKinney was way too far north…up in the middle of nowhere. We loved McKinney (don’t get me wrong) and a few times a year, we would make the journey up there to visit their beloved historic square and eat at The Pantry (the pie is a-mazing!), so I was familiar with the town but that place was for special occasions and not every day life. We kept praying about it and Andrew really kept feeling God tell him we should move there…so VERY reluctantly, I agreed. (Now, McKinney is only 20 minutes north of Dallas, so it’s not like it’s far away…it was just such a different area than what I was used to.)
Now we’ve lived here for over 10 years and let me tell you…that Andrew Shull is a genius :). There is no place else I would rather call home than this little town of McKinney, TX. (And by little, I mean we have a population of over 150,000…but honestly, it feels SO LITTLE!). When I die, they better bury me in McKinney. This place is home.
So, now that you know how I got here…what do I like to do here?
Friends, all roads lead to the square…
McKinney has an historic town square that is the center of everything. Shopping, dining, entertainment, parades, festivals, farmers market, antique stores, butcher shop…it’s all on the square.
This is Ashby eating at our very favorite diner SPOONS (it serves breakfast/lunch/dinner all day long! The breakfast taco is my favorite!). I know a diner sounds really casual (and it is!) but it’s so quaint and happy that we find ourselves eating there on special occasions too (did someone say Valentine’s Day?).
Across the street from Spoons is LANDON WINERY and next door to that is RICK’S CHOPHOUSE. We enjoy both places often (just two weekends ago, we went with Tab & Erika) and so if you’re looking for a little more upscale, then those places are where you should head. (And pssst: if you keep walking, you’ll run into SNUG which is another cafe that makes this Pimento Cheese, Bacon and Candied Jalapeno Sandwich that will change your life, then you’ll need to stop and shop at GRAY LIVING before you stop again to eat at SQUARE BURGER #holysweetpotatofries).
Every year, the square gets decked out for Christmas and our family always enjoys a horse drawn carriage ride. You can read all about our annual tradition HERE.
The square is just the place to be.
Here the kiddos are at THE PANTRY (that restaurant where we would go for a special treat when we visited McKinney all of those times growing up). Did I mention that you should get the pie ;)? Right across the street from The Pantry is…
MOM AND POPCORN. This is a gourmet popcorn and candy store and let me just tell you…you cannot go inside without getting happy. This place is pure joy no matter how old you are! A few doors down from Mom and Popcorn is DOUG AND LYNDA’S SKI SHOP which I know sounds strange (considering we are in Texas) but this little shop is famous! People from all over the state come here for their ski stuff (to take on vacation). It’s only open during ski season but when you step inside, you’ll feel like you’re somewhere else (Colorado, maybe?). If you visit during the fall/winter/early spring…check it out.
MADE OF SUGAR & SPICE is a little party boutique. We had Kensington’s 5th birthday there and it’s ADORABLE!
Every year in September, we Oktoberfest on the square. I am OBSESSED with Oktoberfest and this annual event never lets me down!
Cheers to Oktoberfest!
Ashby is standing here in front of what used to be the courthouse but now it’s an arts and entertainment building. So many fun productions take place right inside.
Really and truly…if you visit McKinney, TX…all you need to do is visit the square. I didn’t include every restaurant and store (obviously), but here are a few more of my faves (but certainly not all!):
Cadillac Pizza (they have this brisket and goat cheese pizza that is life changing)
Petals and Vines
Plum Creek Primatives
So, that’s a little bit about McKinney. Of course, the city boasts more than just the square but…if you’re a visitor to our town and need things to do for the day/weekend, this is where you should head. There are even little B&Bs around the square if you want to stay the night.
From my little town to yours, happy Wednesday!
And PS: locals, please share your favorite spots too! I know I didn’t include everything delightful about our city!
Erika Slaughter says
Definitely the square!! So many things…you know I’m a fan of the condiments. Those sweet potatoes at Square Burger AND the sauce!! Also-anyone reading must try that brisket/goat cheese pizza from Cadillac. I’m STILL thinking about it and it’s been over a month! I couldn’t agree with you more. Love this little town and love that I get to call it home. 🙂
Oh my gosh your square reminds me a little bit of Stars Hollow! Liz @ Familyoffoley.wordpress.com
I love our town!! Perfect description, girl! Tupps Brewery is a great casual outdoor place to hang out with family or a large group! So thankful for McKinney!
I’m always so proud when a friend or family member visits and I get to take them to the square! Everybody always falls in love with it! The food is soooooooooooo good (so many favorites on the square), and my favorite antique store (I can’t think of it’s name) is the one on the corner several stores down from Ambrosia. It has tons of booths inside from different dealers, and I have so many great finds from there now in my home. I love exploring that store! Now…I’m going to need to try that pizza immediately.
Cori Cane says
Yes!! Antique Company Mall! That place is dangerous!!
Brooke Richardson says
The brisket pizza from Cadalliac is my most favorite pizza ever!!! Seriously it’s the best!!! Now I’m wanting it!!! Lol
Melissa Franco says
I be been living in Dallas for the past 2 years and been reading your blog since then. Ive always wonder about McKinney since it comes up in your blog every now and then. So this past Friday we decided to go to and visit. We loved it! It is a really cute little town. We went to the Pantry and the popcorn place and had a great time.We will have family in town this week and will probably take them there for lunch or dinner. I love reading your blog!
I just think of a Hallmark Christmas movie setting so that in itself makes me want to live there!
Laci Murray says
Your McKinney post always make me want to pack my Tennessee bags and head to Texas!!
Natalia ortega says
I definitely have to go to McKinney when I go to Texas next year! first time visiting! 🙂
I grew up in Fairview (and my parents still live there) so we have been going to the square my whole life! Definitely one of my favorite places ever! You should try out Hugs Cafe for lunch one day & the new shop Landry Kate (right next to Cadillac) is adorable!
Square Burger is a favorite! The farmers market on Saturday is amazing! And Trader Joe’s!!!
I live north of McKinney and come to McKinney often!
Don’t forget Hugs Cafe! New to the square but still so neat! A non profit cafe where most of the employees are adults with special needs! Such a great atmosphere and the food is amazing too!!
Ann Marie says
Cassie- I was just reading about this! I can’ wait to try~
We visited Frsisco earlier this summer and stopped in McKinney on our way home. We ate at Snug in the Square for brunch and it was delish! Plus when we left there was a police on a horse and my girls thought it was the best! He was so nice and let us pet the horse.
I have a question: do you know people who live in McKinney but work in Dallas? We have thought about moving there so many times, but my husband works downtown and it seems an awfully long commute. Just wondering if there are people who do it!
Shuana I have a couple friends who live in mckinney and work in Dallas. I used to commute there for student teaching when we first lived here and it took me about 30-40 minutes (but it wasn’t IN downtown, was before). My friends who work there don’t mind it but guess it depends on if you don’t mind traffic…they use it as time to listen to podcasts and such. Depends also what time you leave to beat traffic too.
Natalie Clark says
I got to enjoy your square this weekend with my mom and sisters and it did not disappoint! We actually ate at Snug for both breakfast and lunch because we loved it so much and because the other restaurants were packed. We shopped till we dropped and still didn’t get to see all the stores! I cannot wait to come back! I’ve already asked my husband for a full date day in McKinney soon!
I’ve only driven through McKinney en route to Dallas. Next time I’ll stop. First at the square, then at your house. 😉
I need to move there !!!
Snug on the square is one of my favorites! Being from Frisco, its nice to see the small(er) community of Mckinney. Its not my home but its definitely very homey! I believe I spotted you and the kids at the mall recently, how do you feel about meeting your followers? I wanted to say hello but I wasn’t sure if you were in a hurry and I didn’t want to take up your time. Love the blog!!
These posts over the years about McKinney made us travel out from CA to visit and we fell in love with it! Thanks Shay!! I see that we missed some great restaurants that I can’t wait to try on our second visit back. We had the best meals and gourmet cocktails on the square. So many of our pictures were our food and drinks! I also fell in love with the shopping on the square. The home decor, candles, art… I was in heaven (did I mention the candles?) lol. My husband kept reminding me that none of it would fit in my suitcase. Our next trip is house hunting!! This may get real!! This was a great post to read this morning!! Thanks again Shay!!
Angela Ellingson says
This is so great! You make me want to move there! Next time we visit Texas (my hubby used to be stationed at Ft. Hood when he was in the army and I got my RN degree from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor), we are definitely coming to McKinney! And hopefully we’ll run into my favorite blogger. 😉
I want a fun square in my town now. 😉 Unfortunately that won’t ever happen since our tiny Montana town only has around 1500 people, and not even one stop light.
Your blog always makes me so happy. Every post is just so positive and joyful! I’ve been reading for a year now and it is always a bright spot in my morning (a nice break from the news!). Thanks for sharing your town with us!!!
I agree with Liz above – sounds like Stars Hollow!
Do you have any photos of your town that you aren’t in?
haley@ Cupcakes and Sunshine says
I’m moving to Dallas in just a few days and can’t wait to visit all of these places!! pie first!!! 🙂
Great list! I’d also add Sharla’s (gorgeous store, lovely employees, outstanding selection of higher end skin care/makeup/candles/jewelry, etc.) Nan Lee, and Homeology (on par with Gray Living) to the list, too- all on (or right off) the Square. 🙂
We actually just went here. We went to visit Waco one day and then decided to head to downtown Dallas. It was a rainy morning and not much was open yet, we asked a lady at the Farmers Market where we should spend our day and she suggested McKinney. So we went, and spent the day shopping, and loved every minute there! We even at Cadillac Pizza, soooo good! I would love to go back (when it’s cooler of course!) and walk around again. So MANY cute little shops and so MUCH to do there. Loved it! Thanks for sharing!
I definitely want to visit! Contemplating a fall break trip to the Texas State Fair, McKinney and down to Waco to see the Fixer Upper’s Magnolia Market!!
Diana Barton says
I absolutely LOVE living in McKinney! I can’t think of a better place to raise a family! You mentioned most of my favorites on the square but a few more to add to the list are: Main Street Magic & Fun – a great little magic shop next to Local Yocal (a great local butcher). Main Street Magic hosts birthday parties and on the weekends you can go in and the magicians will perform tricks while you’re looking around. So much fun for the kids! And if you’re looking for delicious BBQ, head to Hutchins (just off the square towards 380). It’s the only place my husband will eat BBQ that isn’t his own! 🙂
Must go here!
Nan Lee Jewelry is my favorite!! We cut our Thanksgiving vacation short to come home early so we can go to the Christmas in the square kick-off weekend. Christmas in McKinney is the BEST!!!
I had the same feelings when my husband (the fiancé) wanted to move to mckinney. Thought it was so far from my hometown (farmers branch). Couldn’t imagine living elsewhere. Snug is my favorite but there are too many to choose from. My mom stayed at McKinney Bed and Breakfast and said it was amazing!!!
Vanessa H says
Shay, Erika, and/or Andrea (I read all y’all’s blogs, so I’ll take advice from any and all):
I have plans to visit McKinney in the next year on my bucket list (I’m not far as I’m in the burbs of Houston.), and I was wondering if you could recommend the best time to visit? I’m thinking a day and half over the weekend. Maybe Oktoberfest in September or during December. What do you think? Thanks!
I live in McKinney too, not sure where you are from, but it is still pretty darn hot through the end of September, and still really warm through October. (We’ve sweated through many Halloweens!) I think the weather is really nice in November/December. The weekend of Thanksgiving there is a super fun “Home for the Holidays” celebration on the square. I would choose then! 🙂
Sharon Krushcen says
You must be using your new mac to upload pics to your blog. As a fellow blogger and mac user I’ve learned you have to rotate each picture completely on it’s own and then upload. Hope this helps.
Love Patina Green! I’m on their mailing list and I live in FL…sigh…love McKinney, TX.
I’ve never been to Texas but if we ever get the chance to visit, McKinney is at the top of my list. I read all you McKinney girls ( you know who you are:) blogs and you all do such a great job of advertising your little home town, love it!
Honestly, I’ve lived in McKinney my whole life and it did used to be a quaint town. Since everyone has moved here from all over I have never experienced more rude people in my life (I know this because working at Starbucks the wealthy transplants to McKinney treat us terribly). So, I love what this town used to be but I cannot wait to move away in the next few years to somewhere where people are kinder and move slower. I do love your blog and the square is wonderful but this is just what I’ve noticed after 25 years here.
I love mckinney. I probably need a visit real soon!!! I love the antique company mall. Sooo many fun treasures there. Patina Green is amazing!!! Pretty much you can’t go wrong.
I wish I could move to McKinney but none of my family is in TX so it’s sort of a deal breaker. 🙁 I’d love to hear of some other cities around the country that are maybe similar to McKinney or awesome in other ways. Perhaps a good future topic for people to chime in on? Thanks for giving us a peek into McKinney!
I love the Groovy Coop and Doozie’s Corner! 😉 Sugarbacon on Thursday nights – live music, L????VE! When my son was smaller- he was a huge magic store fan…and we always stop by the public library.
A super cute boutique just opened between Homeology and Cadillac, called Landry Kate. Really cute clothes and home stuff! I also LOVE, with a capital L, Harvest! They have some super delicious sandwiches on their lunch menu! And Patina, but I think you mentioned those! I also love Nom Noms and Cavalli’s! 🙂 Love McKinney! Great post!
Oh what a great post! Sounds like a little town right out of a book. Great blog post.
Ashley Pera says
Where can I get a t-shirt like Andrew’s? You gotta be Mckinny… love that!
Mix and Match Mama says
It was a gift from Sean and Catherine. They had it made at a t-shirt shop by their house!
McKinney sounds like such a dreamy place to live!
Our town is about 15,000, which is a bit too small for me after growing up in Chicago.
That last photo of you and the kids is so perfect! 🙂
Ann Marie says
Y’all! Try RYE! It’s new… *well, 8 months now new. 😉 BUT, it is AMAZING! It’s small & cozy! Perfect for date night!
Michelle M. says
My husband and I LOVE Sugarbacon. We only visit McKinney a few times a year but definitely agree it has something special about it. Love all the fun traditions your family has in the middle of your home.
Such a timely post, as my husband and I (and our 3 kiddos) just moved into town on Monday! Frisco for a couple months and then to Prosper when our house is finished. I just moved away from my hometown of almost 34 years, so I’m feeling like a fish out of water, to say the least. We visited the sqaure last August and loved it! Needless to say, when we were looking for somewhere to go today, it’s right where we headed! Lunch at the Mellow Mushroom and of course, a stop at the candy store;-). Blessings to you!
Ashlan Z says
Will be traveling soon to visit a friend who lives close by, would love to check out your sweet town. Love your sweet blog!
Shay, a friend just recommended your blog. My in laws live in McKinney and one of my sister-in-laws works at the Chamber. We visit every year over Memorial Day… last year as we pulled into town I looked at my husband and said “you know, I think we could be really happy in McKinney ????” He was completely opposed to it as we had made 2 cross-country moved within 3 years but as I told my SIL, the dye had been cast. We are planning to put our house on the market after the holidays and targeting our move to McKinney this spring. I can’t wait, and I’m so glad to have found your blog. I’m also following Sheaffer Told Me To but would love any recommendations of other local bloggers that you or your readers can provide. Many thanks!!