Nicknamed “San Marvelous,” San Marcos is largely a college town thanks to Texas State University, so there are many things for students as well as the community's full-time residents to do.
San Marcos has two individual malls – San Marcos Premium Outlets and Tanger Factory Outlet Center – which are located adjacent to each other. The shopping destinations have a combined 300 stores and hire many students from nearby Texas State University. Retailers include Armani, Calvin Klein, Neiman Marcus and Nike.
Root for the Bobcats
Bobcat Stadium has served as home field to the Texas State University Bobcats football team since 1981, and TSU competes in the Sun Belt Conference. The stadium seats 30,000 and has good sight lines, and tickets for the fall games are sold at very affordable prices.
Experience the Wonder
An unusual theme park is Wonder World Park, whose highlight is an earthquake-formed cave. Visitors tour Balcones Fault Line Cave and then exit to enjoy other attractions like a train ride, 110-foot observation tower, an anti-gravity house, Mystery Mountain and a petting park. Wonder World is open year round.
Ride the Boat
Glass-bottom boat rides for 30 minutes are part of the learning experience at The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment, located on Spring Lake and dedicated to researching the water-related challenges of the world. The Spring Lake center is affiliated with Texas State University, and public boat-ride tours occur six days a week.
Proceed with Speed
Dick's Classic Garage houses a collection of 90 classic automobiles from the early 1900s through the 1950s. The oldest vehicle on display is a 1901 Curved Dash Olds, and other models represent old-time carmakers such as Auburn, DeSoto, Duesenberg, Kaiser, LaSalle, Packard, Studebaker, Stutz Bearcat and Tucker.
Raise a Glass
Relax with a glass of wine on the enclosed patio or riverside deck at Three Dudes Winery, open seven days a week from noon-6 p.m. The tasting fee is $5 to sample any four wines, and their selections include merlot, Texas red, Texas white, Chenin Blanc and white Zinfandel.
See Live Bands
Located in downtown San Marcos is Texas Music Theater, a great venue for live music that attracts many local bands and out-of-town artists. The acoustics are excellent thanks to owners who poured money into the 70-year-old building, and today the site features three full-service bars, an upper-level balcony and a 1,000-spectator capacity.
Have a Microbrew
Former Californians Dennis and Kim Middleton moved to San Marcos in 2011 and founded Middleton Brewing, a microbrewery with a cordial staff and a dog-friendly atmosphere. Their Belgian-style beers have names like Quartzite, Opal, Garnet and Topaz, while American-style selections include Pepperhead, Bobcat Red, Third Coast and Easy Rider.