Students living in McAllen are served by the public schools of the McAllen Independent School District. Parts of McAllen do extend into other school districts, such as Edinburg Consolidated ISD, Hidalgo ISD, Mission ISD, Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD, Valley View ISD, and Sharyland ISD, but the majority of students attend McAllen ISD. McAllen ISD is made up of twenty-four elementary schools, seven middle schools, and three high schools, in addition to Lamar Academy, which includes Options High School and the International Baccalaureate program. Magnet schools, parochial and private schools are also available throughout McAllen to the benefit of students.
Once students graduate and are ready to move on to a more collegiate setting, area colleges and universities such as the University of Texas-Pan American in neighboring Edinburg and South Texas College in McAllen and Weslaco awaits them. Other colleges and vocational schools include San Antonio College of Medical & Dental Assistants, South Texas Vocational Institute, and Texas State Technical College in Harlingen, Texas.
Grown and developed from an agriculturally based town to a strong retail and trade center, McAllen has always thrived from the strong economic impact of winter tourism. Additionally, a recent article published by the Brookings Institution noted that in the top 100 American cities, McAllen “is the only metropolitan area to show growth in both employment and production, in the first quarter of 2009.”
Attractions & Points of Interest
Located in Hidalgo County, McAllen was named an “All America City,” offering plenty to do within the borders and beyond. Take a ride on the Los Ebanos Ferry, the only hand drawn ferry across the Rio Grande, visit the International Museum of Art and Science, or check out the Quinta Mazatlan McAllen Birding Center, the Santa Ana Wildlife Refuge, and the Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park, the headquarters of the World Birding Center. Other areas of interest include visiting South Padre Island, Port Isabel, and the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, Texas. Of course, those interested in the shopping, culture and cuisine of our south of the border neighbors can venture into Mexico, crossing the border at Reynosa or Nuevo Progreso for the day or for an extended vacation.
Events in McAllen include the Music Afterhours Outdoor Concert Series, which features a variety of live bands from the Rio Grande Valley. Earth Day and Arbor Day are celebrated at the annual VIDA VERDE Festival, featuring shows, exhibits and entertainment. McAllen’s unique small town charm combined with the booming metropolis, culture and arts of nearby Mexico and South Padre Island, makes it a family friendly city soaked in southern style.
McAllen residents can also venture to nearby South Padre Island and Port Isabel and partake in the endless recreational opportunities that this seaside town offers. Featuring a bay front promenade, arts and museum district, waterfront restaurants, and an entertaining nightlife, South Padre Island and Port Isabel offers fun for the whole family. Plenty of golf, beaches and shopping top the list of things to do for the holiday in the sun. Residents and visitors can visit the Anzalduas Park, the International Museum of Art and Science, or to the Museum of South Texas History. The mild weather allows year-round outdoor recreation and entertainment day or night, while the beaches are the real draw for basking in the sunshine, strolling along the esplanades, or enjoying sand sports.
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