San Marcos or more fondly known as San Marvelous sits in the heart of central Texas. San Marcos was founded in 1851 along the spring-fed river. The history of San Marcos goes back nearly 12,000 years based on archeological findings. San Marcos is the home to Texas State University, the famous outlet mall, and a beautiful river. There is also the historic downtown scene with quaint shops, music venues, and the gorgeous Hays County Courthouse. With so much history, culture, and beauty San Marcos offers adventure for everyone. Enjoy our list of top things to do in San Marcos!
Top Things to do in San Marcos
The San Marcos River: The San Marcos river is a spring fed river that stays a cool 68-72 degrees year round. There is always something to do on or near the river. A favorite past time of visitors and residents alike is tubing the river. You can head over to the Lions Club to rent a tube, get shuttle service, and air to fill up your personal tube.
If tubing isn’t what your thing there is also kayaking at the Olympic Outdoor center. The Olympic Outdoor Center offers Stand up and paddle (SUP) yoga, lessons, and whitewater kayaking. You can learn more here.
Have a family BBQ at one of the several parks along the river. The best swimming spots can be found over at Rio Vista Park right by the playscape. There is something for everyone when it comes to the San Marcos River.
The Meadows Center: The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment (formerly known as the Aquarena Springs Center) is located just off of Aquarena Springs Drive. The Meadows Center is home to the famous glass bottom boat tours and the beautiful Spring Lake Park. This is one of those absolute “must do” things to do in San Marcos. The Meadows Center offers the glass bottom boat tours, paddling tours, the Spring Lake Natural Area, the Discovery Hall, and much more. There is on-site parking for a small fee and the tours do cost but it is well worth it. Have fun while learning about the importance of water and the environment. This is my kid’s favorite thing to do in San Marcos.
Purgatory Creek Natural Area: This natural area sits over the Edwards Aquifer recharge zone and offers meadows, canyon lands, Juniper bushes and much more. This 9.1-mile trail is broken into three sections: Prospect Park, Upper Purgatory, and Lower Purgatory. Each area offers a different view of the natural area and level of hiking experience needed. Prospect Park does have a 1-mile accessible area while the other two areas do not. Due to the vastness of this Natural Area, it is important to always practice safe hiking! Purgatory Creek Natural Area is a fun and free thing to do in San Marcos. So load up your family and take a hike!
Wonder World: Have you ever thought of what a cave looks like? Well at Wonder World Park you can see for yourself. There are guided tours of the Balcones Fault line as well as an observation tower. You can also experience an anti-gravity house which is interesting! Don’t forget to go to the wildlife petting park or take a train ride. Wonderworld is one of the most fun things to do in San Marcos. There truly is something for the whole family.
Catch a Texas State Game: San Marcos is home to Texas State University which offers plenty of games for the sports enthusiasts. Between Football, Basketball, Volleyball, Field and Track, Baseball, Softball plus more Texas State Bobcats don’t disappoint. There is always a game happening in San Marcos. Catching a Texas State Game is a family event you don’t want to miss. Be a part of the action today!
Dicks Classic Car Museum: This museum is a part of the Central Texas Museum of Automotive History. Founded in 1980 the museum is dedicated to the history and preservation of the classic automobile. Dicks Classic Car Garage has over 80 cars from 1901 to 1959. This a great place to visit for the classic car enthusiast or novice. Dicks Classic Car Garage also has photo shoots, special events, and tours available.
Sunset Lanes Bowling: With 24 lanes this classic style bowling alley has fun for the whole family. Whether you are going for a birthday party, family night out, or want to join a league Sunset Lanes Bowling has something for everyone. There is a concession stand with some of the best hamburgers around! Sunset Lanes Bowling is now smoke-free and offers some of the best prices in town.
San Marcos Farmer’s Market: Fortunately it’s easy to support local farmers at the San Marcos Farmer’s Market. The market is open twice a week on Tuesdays and Sundays. Tuesday you can buy local good from 3pm-6pm at the Hopkin’s location. Saturday’s market is open 9am-1pm. Plan a dinner with what you get from the Farmer’s Market today.
XIT Escape Room: If you are looking for a mind puzzling adventure the XIT Escape Room is for you! With 4 different rooms for different groups, this is a heart-pounding fun experience. The rooms range from a minimum of 2 people to a maximum of 8 people, due to the type of rooms this an activity best for older children or a date night. Check it out today!
Shopping at the Outlet Mall: With hundreds of stores and over a few miles of shopping, the San Marcos Outlet Malls have everything you need for holiday shopping to summer fun! Better known as “The Outlet Mall” the mall consists of the Premium Outlets which has your traditional brands up to luxury shopping and the Tanger Outlets that has everything from jewelry stores, dining, and luxury brands. The Outlet malls are also surrounded by local shops, dining, and coffee shops. Be prepared to have a lot of bags to carry.
The Spot: Movie, Dining, Games, and more The Spot has something for everyone. With luxury seating, a bar, and arcade games this is a great place for a daytime family outing or evening night with the ladies, gents, or on a date. The spot is adult only after 6 pm so be prepared. Go catch a movie now!
Sights & Sounds Festival: This is by far my favorite thing to do in San Marcos! There is so much to see at the Sights & Sounds Festival it is worth more than one trip. Between the Christmas lights, old Bethlehem, and school choirs there is so much festivity. Don’t forget to check out the food area and support local non-profits! There is also shopping to pick up something for everyone on your list. Sights and Sounds is a San Marcos staple and going is a tradition.
The Happy Painter: Previously Cafe Monet, this family-owned pottery studio is a great place for a date night, fun with the kids, or catching up with friends. With a variety of objects ranging from $6-$55, everyone will find something to love and the staff makes easy fun a breeze. Happy Painter also hosts birthday parties for children and adults.
There are so many things to do in San Marcos that you can easily be a tourist in your own town. Whether it’s date night, a family outing, or some alone time shopping San Marcos has something for every occasion. You can always find something to do in San Marcos.
Image Credit for Top Things to do in San Marcos: By WisdomFromIntrospect