Retail Roundup: San Marcos Area Shopping, Dining and Entertainment

San Marcos Downtown Square is the heart of the city — a magnificent blend of history and small town atmosphere with a mixture of modern finds and vintage vogue. Quaint boutiques with one-of-a-kind shopping are ideal for those who appreciate unique products and want to support local businesses.

With over 40 shops, many restaurants, and lively nightlife action, downtown is enjoyed by people of all ages. A selection of vintage, Texas State University-themed new and unique treasures can be found in local shops like Papa Bear, STRUT, Retro Exchange, Bada Bling, Twice Blessed, Accessory Diva, Angie’s Sweatshop and Barefoot San Marcos.

Superfly’s Lone Star Music Emporium has a huge selection of Americana and Texas Music on CD and vinyl in addition to an impressive selection of music-themed T-shirts and other merchandise. Bicyclists find everything they need at the Hub Bicycle Lounge, while skaters can outfit themselves at Texas Skate, the local skate shop.

Café on the Square, Stellar Café, and Root Cellar Café and Gallery are all great breakfast spots to sip a cup of morning java while admiring local artwork. The work of local artists is displayed throughout many of the restaurants and shops in the downtown area.

For comfort food, Chimy’s Cerveceria has the best hamburgers and margaritas, soups, salads, quesadillas and waffle fries with a hopping happy hour. And for dessert, Rhea’s Ice Cream is a must-stop for unique flavors of delicious home-made ice cream, each made with its own distinctive twist.

World-Class Outlet Shopping

San Marcos is a veritable shopping mecca.

The San Marcos Premium Outlets are one of the most visited shopping attractions in Central Texas. Stores include Neiman Marcus Last Call, Gucci, Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th, Coach, Victoria’s Secret Outlet, Fendi, Vera Bradley, Pottery Barn and many more. With over 140 stores, there are great deals for almost anyone and savings of up to 65%.

The nearly adjacent Tanger Outlets features even more colossal discounts and savings at more than 100 shops such as American Eagle Outfitters, Banana Republic, Eddie Bauer and Old Navy. Nearby dining includes OutBack Steak House, River City Bar & Grill and Cracker Barrel. The Tanger Food Truck Plaza serves a vast array of dishes from Cajun cuisine, Tex-Mex, to farm fresh fixings.

Live Music, Blockbuster Movies and the Best Restaurant in Hays County

The Marc, located on The Square, is a live music venue that boasts three full-service bars, an upper level balcony, with capacity to accommodate nearly 1,000 fans, two projector screens that show images of the stage, and a large dance floor.

The well-known Cheatham Street features live music from bands both the new and legendary while Taxi’s Piano Bar & Live Music is another great hangout that also hosts improv comedy and karaoke nights. Bar One 41, Barfish Lounge, and Black Rabbit Saloon each provide dancing, drinking, sports bars and “big kids” game rooms.

The Texas Cinema-Starplex 12 Theater is always a draw when locals want to check out the latest from Hollywood. And the Theater Center at Texas State mounts several stage productions throughout the year.

For fine dining, locals love Cody’s Bistro & Lounge. Cody’s was recently voted “Best Overall Restaurant” during the 4th Annual Taste of Hays County. While the menu includes wildly good daily specials and regular items such as divers scallops with lychee gastrique and braised duck in a red wine reduction, many frequent diners recommend the steaks. Both the NY Strip garnished with goat cheese and pancetta compound butter and served with bacon-wrapped asparagus and rosemary potatoes, or the ribeye with balsamic reduction and served with a green bean medley and baked potato are tender, flavorful, and thoroughly satisfying.

San Marcos may still look like a small country town, but life in San Marcos has been redefined. Rural living with big city flair makes this town a great place to call home.