Content Produced in Partnership with Tour San Marcos

Less than an hour’s drive from Austin or San Antonio is a place lovingly called San Marvelous. Home to Texas State University and numerous outdoor activities, San Marcos, Texas has been noted as one of the fastest growing cities not just in Texas but in the entire country. According to Texas Monthly, San Marcos has been averaging an eight percent increase in population since 2012. Despite its growing population, the town has managed to hold on to its small town appeal.

This is only surprising to people who haven’t visited San Marcos — yet. The community has a go-with-the-flow attitude about life in general, and we’re not just saying that because the San Marcos River flows directly through town. Happy to embrace the old and the new, the steady population boom has brought with it plenty of new entertainment opportunities, including shopping, restaurants and urban adventures, and visitor interest to San Marcos. Whether you’re craving the great outdoors or a cold brew, it’s clear that San Marcos is a city continuously on the rise and more than ready for visitors like you.

New Restaurants

Each month a new restaurant, bar or coffee shop is opening in San Marcos. In addition to authentic Irish cuisine at Sean Patrick's Irish Pub and Texas Grub and craft beer at The Buzz Mill, new restaurant Blue Dahlia Bistro is also making a splash. The European-style bistro with a lovely garden area that looks like something straight out of Tuscany already had two locations in Austin before moving its way to San Marcos. The local chain features fresh small plates and hearty dinner options, making it perfect for a romantic date night or a special treat-yourself meal throughout the week.

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It's Got Style

It’s best to include an extra bag or two before you head to San Marcos as you’re very likely to need it once you check out its shopping scene. We mean that literally — San Marcos is home to the largest outlet mall in the entire US. With trendy boutiques, local goods and national chains, you could spend hours perusing the shops around downtown proper, too. Boasting itself as “a little bit hippy, Texas and gypsy,” River Rose boutique is perfect for grabbing that special date night outfit. Pitaya, also downtown, features a range of options so you’re always ready to look your best and explore the best of downtown, whether that be by the river or at one of the many local breweries. For something a little more unusual, check out Paper Bear for everything from children’s toys to handmade souvenirs made by local artisans.

Holding on to Its Roots

Despite all the new restaurants and shopping areas popping up in town, San Marcos isn’t afraid to stick to the classics. Dick’s Classic Garage and Car Museum has been around since 1980. Showcasing vehicles and parts from the 1900s to 1950s and just recently hosted the area’s first Comic Con event. Interested in visiting? The museum is open Monday through Saturday from 10am-5pm and Sunday from noon-5pm.

Making Waves

You’ll learn quickly water is a way of life in San Marcos. The community is incredibly active, and visitors can partake in a number of attractions including glass bottom boat tour and guided stand-up paddle board excursions while they’re there. One of our favorite new excursions for the 2018 year includes the full moon kayaking tour on Spring Lake. Put on in partnership with REI, all gear and instruction is covered. You just have to mark your calendar and wait for the full moon for an adventure that will have you saying, “San Marcos really is San Marvelous.”