Near the heart of San Marcos, just off the highway, lies a couple of the most sensational outlet malls in the country. In fact, statistics say that the outlet malls in San Marcos are among the top tourist attractions in the state. Combined, the outlet malls (Premium Outlets and Tanger Factory Outlet Center) are one of the top employers of San Marcos and the top employers of students of Texas State University. The two adjacent malls together have more than 350 stores and more than 1,000,000 square feet of retail space. During the holidays, shoppers reach numbers that triple the population of San Marcos.
In 2006, ABC’s The View named the San Marcos Outlets the third best place to shop in the world. (Destinations in New York and Dubai ranked the highest.) The rankings were based on three criteria: bargains, short lines and unique inventory.
More than 6 million people visit San Marcos Outlet Malls yearly. This is more than any other Texas tourist attraction, even South Padre Island or the Houston Space Center. Numbers like this are indicative that the San Marcos outlet malls aren’t just about finding a bargain — they’re a full-fledged destination in their own right.
Family-Friendly and Fashion Forward
The malls represent more than three miles of storefronts, and feeling overwhelmed while trying to decide where to begin is a common malady. The Premium Outlets are popular for designer fashions, accessories, luggage, furniture, shoes, fine jewelry and children’s wear. The Premium Outlets are also the place to find quality merchandise and one-of-a-kind statement pieces to add to your wardrobe. If you’re looking for something chic and you just can’t find it locally, you’ll probably find exactly what you want at the Premium Outlet Mall.
San Marcos lies around and about in-between Austin and San Antonio and attracts legions of loyal shoppers from both cities. If you’re commuting between the two towns, you may find it nearly impossible not to stop here and engage in a little retail therapy.
A (Real) Shopping Workout is a Win-Win
Keeping in mind that the outlet stores are situated along a three-mile loop that spans two freeway exits, it can often be difficult to find time to hit all the places you want to go. Where else can you go for a long walk, get your cardio and do a little strength training as you heft your ever-heavier shopping bags? It may be one of the best whole body workouts, plus the additional bonus of coming home with exclusive brands at bargain prices. Seriously, though. Exploring the place can actually be a workout. Remember — especially in warmer weather, bring water and sunscreen. And no matter the season, dress for the weather and always wear comfortable shoes. There is a food court and various places to find water and soda, but it is better to come prepared.
In addition to the food court, there are several other places to grab a bite. Eateries like Johnny Rockets, Phil’s Philly Grill, China Max, Subway, Branding Iron BBQ, Villa Fresh Italian Kitchen, Auntie Anne’s Soft Pretzels, Haagen Dazs and Starbucks Coffee help keep shoppers’ stamina from flagging.
A few of the most popular stores are 7 for All Mankind, Abercrombie & Fitch Outlet, Burberry, DKNY, Gucci, Izod, Juicy Couture, Kate Spade New York, Ugg Australia, Armani, Michael Kors, Neiman Marcus Last Call, Tory Burch, Victoria’s Secret and Saks Fifth Avenue-Off 5th.
Year-Round Events and Entertainment
From the day after Thanksgiving through December 24th, every Friday, Saturday and Sunday afternoon features carolers and musicians performing holiday favorites. Performances take place throughout the center and inside the food court.
On Tuesdays, if you are 50 years old or better, you can take advantage of an added 10% savings at participating stores. Members of the military, veterans, and their families can show identification at the on-site Information Center all year long to receive a free VIP coupon book.
San Marcos Premium Outlets and Simon Youth Foundation awards one community scholarship a year, valued up to $1,500, to a deserving student from the local community. The Simon Youth Foundation Community Scholarship applications are available online and at the mall’s Customer Service desk.
For those who live in San Marcos, the outlet malls are convenient to visit as often as you like. If you live in the area, count yourself very lucky to have one of the best shopping areas in the state, and even in the country. Have fun, shop, shop, shop, and take in all of the season’s latest collections. Hours of operation are from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday.