Looking for fun — and better yet, totally free — activities you can enjoy with the kids? McKinney boasts a ton of exciting things to enjoy around town when you know where to look. That’s why Crème de la Crème of McKinney put together this list of free things to do in our very own city. Whether you’re seeking out a serene place to enjoy nature on a calm walk or something interactive to keep the kids entertained, McKinney really has it all. Check out our list of seven fun things to do close to home.

Head to Historic Downtown McKinney

You’ll find fun boutiques, restaurants, and bars in the downtown McKinney area, but you can make a visit here totally free (and fun!). The area offers family-friendly events throughout the year, such as the “Home for the Holidays” event that takes place at the end of November and beginning of December.

You don’t have to wait for the holiday season to enjoy this McKinney area, though. With a quaint downtown atmosphere and original architecture, the historic area makes a great place for a long walk outdoors with the family without traveling far from home.

Take a Trip Back in Time at Chestnut Village

Your kids know what life is like in McKinney today, but they can explore what it meant to live in Collin County long ago. Chestnut Village takes visitors on a trip to the years between 1850 and 1940, giving a unique insight into what life was like for some of our area’s early residents.

The Heritage Village offers do-it-yourself tours tailored to families with kiddos looking to explore their history along with free farm tours hosted by three local farms. The Saturday farmers market is another great way to enjoy this area of McKinney when you’re looking for an easy family outing.

Enjoy the Outdoors at Towne Lake Recreation Area

The entrance sign to Towne Lake Park near McKinney, TX.

Image via Flickr by steevithak

You’ll find plenty of opportunities for fun outside at Towne Lake Recreation Area. It starts with a huge play structure, which is ideal for kids. The oversized playground structure includes two big slides as well as learning stations and a climbing wall. You can even set the kids up with an app called “Play Biba” to add some interactive games and stories while having fun outside.

The recreation area also boasts a nature trail if you’re looking to go for a walk outdoors. The 1-mile trail is perfect for hikes, but the fun doesn’t stop there. The 22-acre pond offers even more chances to enjoy the great outdoors. Go for a leisurely stroll with the kids to see the ducks, or grab your fishing poles for a day out on the fishing pier.

Browse the Flea Market With Third Monday Trade Days

Third Monday Trade Days is a longstanding McKinney tradition, so you’ll want to mark their next weekend on your calendar for a fun activity to do with the kids. The upscale flea market opens up only on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday before a month’s third Monday. Even if you don’t buy anything, it’s plenty of fun to browse the goods and take in the atmosphere here.

The market features 700 spaces of furnishing, home decor, accessories, apparel, handcrafted items, and more. You can grab a snack at the food trucks or just take in your festive surroundings. As the oldest (and biggest) monthly trade day or flea market in North Texas, Third Monday Trade Days dates back to McKinney’s county-wide market from back in the 1870s. You’ll find the market right in the historic Buckner Community, making this event another way to explore McKinney’s roots.

Hike or Bike at Erwin Park Trail

Looking for another way to get out and enjoy nature with the kids? You can’t go wrong with McKinney’s Erwin Park Trail. The 8.9-mile loop trail offers a moderate-level hike. You can take your dog out with you for the day as long as you keep them on a leash, then enjoy a fun day out walking as a family. The trail is a great place to bike as well.

There’s plenty to enjoy once you get to the trail area. In addition to a great place to walk, you can explore a pond and creek or enjoy a meal with a group at one of the picnic tables and barbecue pits.

Find the Frogs in Downtown McKinney

McKinney’s downtown area is home to various clay statues of frogs painted in bright colors. You’re sure to delight the kids as you make a game of finding the unique frog characters all around historic downtown. Many frogs even have a name and a special story to go with them.

While you’re browsing the shops, look for these cute critters with the kids. You’ll find them in front of many stores in downtown McKinney.

Go on a Geocaching Adventure

Are your kids itching to go on a real-life treasure hunt? They can right here in McKinney! This free, outdoor activity lets participants use a GPS or mobile device to play a game of interactive hide and seek with geocaches. 

The Stormwater department in McKinney offers a Finding Geo program with six geocaches in the downtown area of the city. Kids will have tons of fun on the interactive search, and can even take some free stuff home once they find it. They can even learn some facts about stormwater while they go along. This is fun everyone in the family can enjoy!

There’s Crème de la Crème’s list of all the fun and free activities you can enjoy with your kids right here in McKinney. We hope our list gives you some inspiration the next time you’re looking to plan a day out with the whole family. From nature walks to trips into history to real-world treasure hunts and everything in between, McKinney has it all. What’s your favorite free thing to do close to home? Did we miss one of your favorite free McKinney activities? Drop us a line so we can check it out!