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McAllen
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McAllen Highlighted as Top 50 in U.S. for Best Places to Live

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U.S. News & World Report lists McAllen as #48 best place to live in U.S., 2nd best in Texas, #1 best border city and #121 best place to retire. Image source: Visitmcallen.com
U.S. News & World Report lists McAllen as #48 best place to live in U.S., 2nd best in Texas, #1 best border city and #121 best place to retire. Image source: Visitmcallen.com
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U.S. News & World Report lists McAllen as #48 best place to live in U.S., 2nd best in Texas, #1 best border city and #121 best place to retire

U.S. News & World Report unveiled the 2024-2025 Best Places to Live in the U.S list. The list ranks 150 U.S. cities based on cost of living, desirability, job market, and quality of life. McAllen took #48 in the list highlighting its quality of performance among different major cities in the U.S.

McAllen Mayor
Javier Villalobos

“This ranking only reinforces what we who live in McAllen already know: it is truly one of the best places to live not only along the border or in Texas, but also in the entire United States,” said McAllen Mayor Javier Villalobos.  “With so many amazing features highlighted in the ranking, McAllen is truly a great place for residents, visitors and business.”

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According to the news website, McAllen attracts visitors and residents with its vibrant atmosphere, quality of life, and diverse community. The city’s warm and welcoming population makes it a popular destination for winter Texans and Mexican nationals, who inject millions of dollars into the local economy through shopping and tourism. Due to its proximity to the border, Hispanic culture is strong and celebrated around the city.

Other Texas cities making the list included Austin, ranked as #9; as well as El Paso at #62; Corpus Christi at #77; Brownsville at #87; and San Antonio at #89 , making McAllen the second-best place to live in the Lone Star State behind Austin.

A good quality of life, an abundance of medical facilities, and a young, bicultural community are additional draws for the people who call McAllen home.

Other McAllen amenities featured in the ranking listed the city as a great place to spend a getaway during the summer, highlighting McAllen’s unique blend of outdoor activities and cultural experiences. Located near the Gulf of Mexico, McAllen attracts those who enjoy the water. Weekend pastimes range from pedal boating or kayaking in Town Lake at Fireman’s Park to taking day trips to the beach. But there are other ways in McAllen to enjoy the outdoors. Since the Rio Grande Valley is a major bird migration corridor, birdwatching is a popular activity, too.

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McAllen is often referred to as the retail center of southern Texas and northern Mexico. La Plaza Mall is positioned near a border entrance with Mexico. Another family-friendly option is the International Museum of Art & Science and the Mcallen Public Library which is the largest single-floor public library in the nation.

Annual festivals, including the McAllen Holiday Parade, presented by H-E-B, and the Fiesta De Palmas, draw residents in the region together, as well as attracting visitors from throughout South Texas and northern Mexico. As far as nightlife goes, a mix of nightclubs, pubs, and trendy restaurants comprise the city’s entertainment district on 17th Street.

The metropolitan area’s crime rate continues to be lower than the national rate, making it one of the safest cities in Texas and the United States. 

When it comes to the cost of living in the city, McAllen residents spend less than the national median on home purchases, as well as less than the national average on everyday expenses like food, transportation, and health care.

McAllen residents rely on their cars to get around. For those who don’t own a car, Metro McAllen public transportation buses run routes throughout the city. 

The area’s bike-share program, B-cycle, is a low-cost public transit option. Bicycles are stationed in locations around the region, providing a convenient and healthy transportation option. McAllen International Airport is just two miles from the city center. The airport is serviced by American Airlines, Allegiant Airlines, United Airlines and Delta Airlines for domestic flights and Aeromexico and Volaris for direct international flights to Mexico. Ground transport to other cities is provided by Greyhound buses and other regional Mexican bus lines.

Education and health services make up two large employment sectors in the McAllen area thanks to employers like the McAllen Independent School District, South Texas College, the University of Texas–Rio Grande ValleySouth Texas Health System and Rio Grande Regional Hospital, the report states. There are also opportunities in the public sector with various government entities and major industrial and retail employers.

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