San Marcos may seem small compared to its neighboring cities of San Antonio and Austin, but for what it lacks in size it makes up for in personality. On any given day, you can stroll the charming streets of downtown to enjoy an early morning coffee, local shopping, one-of-a-kind restaurants and famous dancehalls.
We pulled together a list of our 10 favorite things to know about this marvelous little town we call home. Go ahead — enjoy a self-guided tour any day of the week. There’s always something exciting to see and someone new to meet.
- Simply put, San Marcos is a food paradise. There are a whopping 60 dining locations in the downtown area, consisting of everything from drive-thrus to romantic outdoor seating options. Insider tip: Blue Dahlia’s atmosphere is magical and the food is even better.
- Downtown San Marcos is home to more than a dozen murals of all sizes. The large 78666 mural by David Perez in Kissing Alley provides a perfect photo-opp and the two small and secretive murals by Rene Perez make for a fun scavenger hunt.
- Bypass traffic by taking a train to the Live Music Capital! The San Marcos Amtrak Station is conveniently located downtown and transports passengers to and from Austin in one day. Feeling adventurous? Stay on and venture all the way to Oklahoma. Fun fact: San Marcos is the only city in Texas that offers a round-trip to Austin in one day.
- If you haven’t tried a Manske Roll at Gil’s Broiler, stop everything you’re doing and enjoy a piece of heaven on earth. In fact, that’s exactly what former President LBJ did when he was in town. And if he couldn’t be there, he would have the rolls shipped directly to the White House.
- Venture two blocks from downtown San Marcos and you’ll find the Chief Placido Memorial Statue. Placido was a leader of the Tonkawa Tribe, and his statue faces former Texas Ranger Jack Hays’ statue because they were friends during the Mexican-American War.
- Did you know Kissing Alley was named one of the most romantic main streets in the country? The picturesque space holds intimate concerts and weddings against a beautiful backdrop. Be sure to check out one the upcoming Kissing Alley events.
- Hays County has quite the story to tell. Be sure to visit LBJ Museum of San Marcos, Calaboose African American Museum, Hays County Museum and Charles S Cock House Museum & Cottage Kitchen which hosts weekly luncheons every Friday.
- Who needs the big city when you have big-time Broadway stars right here in your backyard? Located on the Texas State University campus, the Patti Strickel Harrison Theatre boasts a beautiful, multi-million dollar performing arts center with impressive entertainment most any night of the week.
- Established in 1986, San Marcos is home to the third longest-running Main Street Program in the state. Since 2012, the city has seen more than $53 million in reinvestment of the downtown area, both from the public and private side.
- It’s rare to visit downtown and not see some sort of event taking place. More than 25 events are hosted downtown each week, consisting of everything from live music to the San Antonio Street Farmers’ Market. See a full schedule here.