In Hidalgo County, McAllen is located west of Harlingen on US 83 and US 281 near the Rio Grande River, the United States/Mexico border and the Gulf of Mexico.
McAllen is part of the McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, Texas metro area.
McAllen adopted a home rule charter in 1927. Canning factories, a winery, tortilla plants, wood-working plants, and some oil exploration increased the population to 9,074 by 1930. The town was a petroleum and farm chemurgic center with a population of 11,877 in 1940, by which time it had adopted the nickname the City of Palms.
The city remained one of the top three ports of entry to the United States from Mexico in 1992. McAllen celebrates several annual events, including the Candlelight Posada, held in Archer Park in early December, the Fourth of July Fajita Cookoff, the Texas Citrus Fiesta, Springfest!, Borderfest, and the Annual Texas Square Dance Jamboree.
The city population was estimated at 84,021 in 1990.