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Texas State University

Getting to Know San Marcos

Over the years, certain places in San Marcos have cemented themselves as staples, and new hangouts are always popping up as the city grows. Get to know — or revisit — these local spots in and around the Texas State campus!

On Campus

Immerse yourself in the Southwest, dive into nature and go rock climbing, all without stepping off campus!

This museum and archive at the top of Alkek Library displays a wealth of photos, artifacts, manuscripts and more, devoted to the culture of the Southwest and Mexico. Admission is free.

Take a glass-bottom boat tour to learn about the natural beauty and endangered species of the upper San Marcos River. Afterwards, stroll through Discovery Hall to see live animals and interactive exhibits.

Take fitness classes, climb on the rock walls or join an intramural sports team! The rec center also has pools, weight rooms, cardio equipment, yoga studios and more.

a young male student poses in texas state gear in front of the 78666 wall mural


People in San Marcos appreciate creativity, and there are plenty of opportunities here to see all the different forms it takes.

Mural alley: The ever-changing Imagine Alley is always worth a stop. See the latest murals before new ones take their place!

Rene Perez’s hidden art: Keep an eye out for this artist’s quirky, painted street art characters.

Mermaid sculptures: Look out for the seven-foot-tall mermaid statues, each one decorated differently, that make up a public art project led by the San Marcos Arts Commission.

The Great Outdoors

Take in the city’s natural beauty — including its heart and soul, the San Marcos River — at these parks and trails.

Texas State’s own slice of heaven on the riverbanks. Students can check out tubing equipment at the Outdoor Center!

Swim, kayak, bike or picnic at this park that’s located just off Cheatham Street.

Discover Spring Lake and the trails that surround it. Great for hiking, biking and birding.

Coffee Spots

Looking for a place to meet up for a study group? Need some caffeine? These coffeehouses fit the bill.

  • Tantra
  • Stellar Café
  • Wake the Dead
  • Jo's Cafe
  • Café Azteca
  • The Coffee Bar



a young female student sips coffee at the root cellar bakery

Student and Staff Restaurant Picks

Bobcats know food. Let these recommendations be your guide as you explore the dining scene and find your own faves.

a group of students gather around pizza at pie society

Pie Society: “I love Pie Society because it’s not your normal pizza place. You get to try really different kinds of pizza and toppings by the slice. The Balance of Power is my favorite!”

Zelick's: “Zelicks offers a fun indoor/outdoor space to lounge, enjoy catching up with friends and study on a beautiful afternoon!”

Dos Gatos: “Hands down, Dos Gatos is the best kolache bakery in Texas! Whether you like sweet or savory, they offer a little bit of everything.”

Gil's Broiler: “Gil’s is an iconic spot here in town. Just knowing that it’s the oldest restaurant in San Marcos makes it feel like you’re taking a step back in time.”

Alvin Ord's: “San Marcos’ best little sandwich shop.”

The Root Cellar: “The Root Cellar is a great place to take family and friends when visiting town. They have such a friendly staff and a variety of delicious dishes!”

a group of students walk along the square during third thursday


Fly solo or gather up a crowd for a daytime jaunt or night on the town.

Sunset Bowling: Whether you’re eager for competition or just looking for a way to unwind, visit the lanes at Sunset.

San Marcos Farmers’ Market: Local farmers and artisans gather each Saturday on the Square to sell fresh produce and homemade goods.

Art Squared: Browse original artwork, chat with the artists and try the drop-in activities during this outdoor event on the Square. Second Saturday of the month, March through December.

Cheatham Street Warehouse: Head to this beloved venue to catch the next big act! On Wednesdays, songwriters perform original work during Kent Finlay’s Songwriter Circle.

Third  Thursdays: Stroll through the Square and enjoy food, music and shopping, San Marcos style.

Photo Guide

You’d better believe that San Marcos is marvelously photogenic! Frame the perfect shot or take a great selfie at one of these locations.

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