McALLEN — The city’s vibrant community, low cost of living and proximity to major attractions have earned it the third best place to live for quality of life, according to rankings released this week by U.S. News and World Report.
The publication, which is popular for its surveys, analyzed 150 metro areas and took into account factors like crime, quality and availability of health care, quality of education, average commute time, and the job market.
“This ranking is no surprise to anyone who lives in our great city of McAllen,” Mayor Jim Darling said. “Our City of McAllen administration and staff are some of the most creative, innovative and dedicated employees who daily work to provide the best programs, projects, events, infrastructure and services to ensure that all who live in McAllen are safe, healthy and enjoy all that our city has to offer.”
The report described the city “as a vibrant metro area and a major center for retail, international trade, tourism and manufacturing” and made mention of a number of amenities.
For starters, the weather is warm, which draws Winter Texans to the area and injects millions of dollars into the local economy.
Cost of living is also one of the lowest in the nation. According to the report, residents spend less than the national median sale price on home purchases, as well as less than the national average on everyday expenses like food, transportation and healthcare.
And when it comes to health care, the report noted there is “an abundance of medical facilities and a young, bicultural community.”
That community has a strong Hispanic culture that is celebrated and embraced, the report stated. Its ties to Mexico and the proximity to the neighboring country were also draws.
And when it comes to quality of life, McAllen has a number of events and festivals, including the annual holiday parade, which attracts tens of thousands of tourists.
And though COVID-19 has put a damper on social events across the nation, McAllen is gearing up to host its first event since the pandemic: Fiesta de Palmas.
“As the state slowly reopens, residents, business and organizations are finding themselves in a new normal. That new normal includes finding new ways to celebrate,” city officials said in a separate news release Friday.
“The McAllen Convention Facilities is preparing to welcome back guests to our facilities and events by reimagining creative ways to bring performing artists and the community together again,” said Yajaira J. Flores, McAllen Convention Center director.
Other key attractions mentioned in the report include the International Museum of Art & Science and the McAllen Public Library, which it describes as “the largest single-floor public library in the nation, offering everything from a children’s play area to an art gallery to a cafe.”
The city also offers a number of outdoor activities, including birdwatching, and is also conveniently located near the Gulf of Mexico.
Getting around town is also easy, with an average commute of about 20 minutes, the report indicated. It highlighted various transportation options, including the McAllen Miller International Airport, Metro McAllen, the city’ public transportation system which runs seven routes throughout the metro area, and B-Cycle, the city’s bike-share program.
“By working closely with the private sector, educational institutes and medical services, McAllen becomes an attractive place to work, learn and get healthy,” Darling said. “Throw in all the fun things to do here, and I would say we have the best place to live for quality of life anywhere.”
The report ranked Ann Arbor, Michigan, the second best place to live and Boulder, Colorado, the first.