The city of San Marcos, Texas, is located in between the cities of Austin and San Antonio. With a rich Texan history and fun experiences, things are always happening in this university town.
Enjoy hip and trendy activities, along with the historical sites that are spread all over San Marcos. Nature lovers will find a myriad activities to do within the city’s limits. With amazing restaurants, shopping, museums, parks, and plenty of activities for the kids — this town is what Texas Hill Country is all about.
Ready to learn more? Here are 15 things to do in San Marcos that we know you’re going to enjoy.
COOLEST PLACES TO STAY IN SAN MARCOS
- Most Unique. Crystal River Inn is a boutique Bed and Breakfast just 0.2 miles from city center. Enjoy a gourmet breakfast each morning amongst the immaculate grounds, to featuring rotating dishes such as Eggs Benedict, fruit crepes, and French toast.
- Best Budget Option. Wingate by Wyndham San Marcos is only 1 mile from city center with great rates. Schlitterbahn Water Park and the San Marcos River are all located close by.
- Best for Families. Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Austin San Marcos has the “suite” options those of us with kids really appreciate, along with complimentary breakfast and a pool. And all just 1.4 miles from city center.
CENTRAL TEXAS WING OF THE COMMEMORATIVE AIR FORCE
The Central Texas Wing of the Commemorative Air Force was established to keep World War II memories alive. You will find it inside a vintage airplane hangar built in 1942.
The museum boasts a collection of aircraft from the past. There is also a military museum and an entire library of military books. Hop into an actual airplane from World War II. For an even more memorable experience, make plans in advance for an actual flight in the old bird.
Plan to visit the museum on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. They’re open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
LBJ MUSEUM OF SAN MARCOS
The LBJ Museum of San Marcos is named for the 36th president of the United States. Lyndon Baines Johnson was a proud alumnus of Texas State University, which is located in San Marcos. He was awarded a history degree and a teaching certificate here.
The LBJ Museum is devoted to securing the legacy of his years at the Texas institution. There are permanent exhibits, including old photographs of the legendary LBJ. You will see unique statues and paintings from LBJ’s time, and captivating artifacts, like a voting machine from 1930. This is a history lesson unlike any other you have had.
Visit the LBJ museum on Thursday through Saturday. The operating hours are between 10 am to 5 pm. Admission is also free of charge.
LONGHORN RACING ACADEMY
The Longhorn Racing Academy should be on every race car enthusiast’s bucket list. Your dream to take the wheel of a race car on a professional race track will come true here.
Make your choice from the many world-class race cars available here. Ride-along with a real driver and test your need for speed at every screeching corner. A few laps on the race track will give you an answer.
Adrenaline junkies will also get a few professional high-performance driving lessons here. They then can let loose in a no-pace, no-speed limit session on the race track! This experience is for those 18+.
THE MEADOWS CENTER FOR WATER AND THE ENVIRONMENT
Take advantage of amazing outdoor thrills in San Marcos at The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment. It is a perfect place for lovers of water and wet fun.
Sign up for their educational Glass Bottom Boat Tours, which will get everyone excited. You will be able to see turtles, salamanders, and various fish through the glass bottom boats.
Accompany a guide for an even more educational tour around the Spring Lake area. Learn about the unique ecosystem found here and all the aquatic life. The endangered Blind Salamander, only found in Texas, is a popular area of interest.
After a stop at the gift shop, make sure to take a stroll through the grounds and look at all the exhibits.
The Mermaid March is a quirky and fun thing you’ll only find in San Marcos! You will find a collection of vibrant, larger-than-life sculptures of mermaids posted in different locations all around the city.
The 10 mermaids are very colorful and easy to spot as they stand about 8 feet tall. Grab your camera and pose beside all the mermaids in, what new visitors describe, as a treasure hunt.
Mermaids are an integral part of folk tales of the people of San Marcos. Listen to tales of how the mermaids saved stranded sailors and how they brought good luck to locals.
San Marcos is well known for its local craft brews. A good beer coupled with good food and excellent music is always a good plan. Middletown Brewing is an ideal stop for such an adventure.
The pub offers legit world-class brews from their awesome selection of drinks. Their burgers are made on order by hand from their burger shop. While you wait, sip on a beer while you enjoy live music from local bands. Time your visit to coincide with Middletons Culinary Zymurgy, when different chefs show their different culinary styles.
Your palate will thank you for a Middleton Brewery experience, and you will be begging for seconds every time.
SAN MARCOS RIVER
The San Marcos River is great spot to visit for outdoor fun. Water sports lovers and those who love kayaking will love it here. For those looking for relaxed fun, simply rent a tube and float down the San Marcos River.
Along the river, you’ll find Texas State Tubes and the Lions Club that offer tube rentals. You are allowed beer and food on the river, so you can make a day of it. Don’t forget your sunscreen!
Parking is available at the start and end of the float, so there is less hassle for visitors. A shuttle service is also available to get you and your family to your car. A visit to the San Marcos River is a must-do for all who visit this town.
SAN MARCOS ART CENTER
The San Marcos Art Center is found at the beginning of Downtown San Marcos. The San Marcos Art Center enables, fosters, and promotes the arts community of San Marcos.
The Art Center fulfills many objectives. You will enjoy fine art at the gallery space, with rotating artists featured. There is also a sales floor where you can make purchases. Clay and glass are a popular medium, and everything just begs you to take it home.
Visitors also have access to rare handcrafted jewelry you will not find at any regular stores. The San Marcos Art Centre is a popular meeting space where artists give demonstrations.
SAN MARCOS OUTLETS
San Marcos offers shopping-lovers an opportunity of a lifetime. Grab your credit card, wear some comfortable shoes and go shopping.
San Marcos Premium Outlets and Tanger Outlets offer discounts you cannot beat. There are more than 240 designer and name-brand stores for your discerning tastes.
At more than 1.2 million square feet, you will be shopping till you drop. It is the biggest shopping space in the nation. Gucci, Jimmy Choo, Invicta, Prada, Versace, jostle for your attention here. Everything is covered here, from jewelry to kids’ outfits, dresses, hats, handbags, housewares, and everything in between.
You will find brands at this shopper’s paradise that cannot be found anywhere else in the state of Texas. Happy shopping!
Wimberley Glassworks is famous for its impressive hand-blown glass, glass art, and one-of-a-kind light fixtures. All this is done in front of your eyes!
Watch gifted craftsmen create lovely pieces of art using methods that go back a hundred years or more. The live demonstrations are a sure way of enjoying your visit to San Marcos. The best part, it is free of charge!
Be sure to grab something at the shop or join the kids at a scavenger hunt.
WONDER WORLD CAVE & ADVENTURE PARK
One of the best attractions in San Marcos, Wonder World Park is an extraordinary theme park that’s home to the only safely-accessible earthquake cave in the United States.
Take part in a guided tour of the underground cave. You will learn about the area’s geological history, before moving on to the earthquake caves to admire the many formations found there.
Away from the underground, take an elevator to the park’s observation tower. The sights here are simply breathtaking.
Once you’re back above ground, take the kids to the petting zoo, or take a ride on the trackless train that takes you under a waterfall. The anti-gravity house is also another one-of-a-kind experience offered to you here.
TEXAS STATE UNIVERSITY BOBCAT STADIUM
Texas State University is ranked fourth-largest in the state of Texas, and it is found in the heart of San Marcos. TXST participates in Division I of the NCAA, so for football fans, a visit to Bobcat Stadium is a must.
Bobcat Stadium is on the university grounds and can hold 30,000 fans. The university also has Strahan Arena, with 10,000 seats. The arena is home to the women’s volleyball team.
Other facilities at Texas University Events Center include; a softball stadium with 1000 seats, a 2000 seats Bobcat Ballpark, a tennis center, and a soccer complex with a thousand seats.
Meet and greet the fearsome Bobcat mascot. Grab something maroon and gold at a store near you, and grab a seat for the big game.
THE WITTLIFF COLLECTIONS
Bill and Sally Wittliff established the Wittliff Collection in 1986. The collection is safe within the campus of Texas State University.
Lovers of knowledge will appreciate the many papers from J.Frank Dobie. J Frank was an accomplished local legend and author. You will also be amazed by delightful Southwestern and Mexican photography found here.
SPRING LAKE PRESERVE
Spring Lake Preserve is a little treasure well kept by San Marco. The preserve sits on 251 acres and is a source of the San Marcos River. It is an ideal day trip from San Marcos.
The preserve is great for hiking, biking, photography, and more.
Enjoy all these activities while enjoying nature’s finest views. The flora and fauna in the meadows and plateaus are just phenomenal. Try to spot deer and Mexican buckeyes.
CHEATHAM STREET WAREHOUSE
Cheatham Street Warehouse is a favorite for music lovers, especially country music fans. Lovers of live music will not be disappointed here.
The warehouse plays live music and has had icons grace their stage — like Guy Clark, Stevie Ray, and Willie Nelson, just to name a few.
SAN MARCOS FAQ
What is San Marcos best known for?
San Marcos, Texas, is best known for its history. The area is thought to be one of the oldest continuously inhabited sites in the Americas. In present day, it’s known for being home to Texas State University.
What to do on a rainy day in San Marcos?
There are lots of great things to do on a rainy day in San Marcos. Visit one of the local breweries, explore the Central Texas Wing of the Commemorative Air Force, or head on over to Wimberley Glassworks, just to name a few.
Is San Marcos closer to San Antonio or Austin?
San Marcos is in the middle of San Antonio and Austin, but it’s slightly closer to Austin. San Marcos is 30 miles from Austin, and 50 miles from San Antonio.
MORE INFORMATION FOR YOUR TRIP TO TEXAS
- YOUR TEXAS VACATION
- AMARILLO: 15 Super Fun Things To Do In Amarillo, Texas
- SAN ANTONIO: 16 Awesome Things To Do In San Antonio With Kids
- HOUSTON WITH KIDS: 22 Amazingly Fun Things To Do In Houston With Kids
- LUBBOCK: 18 Amazingly Fun Things To Do In Lubbock, Texas
WHERE TO STAY IN SAN MARCOS
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