San Marcos, TX
San Marcos is a city and the county seat of Hays County, Texas, United States. The city is a part of the Greater Austin Metropolitan Area. San Marcos’s limits extend into Caldwell and Guadalupe Counties, as well. San Marcos is on the Interstate 35 corridor between Austin and San Antonio. Its population was 44,894 at the 2010 census and 67,553 at the 2020 census. Founded on the banks of the San Marcos River, the area is thought to be among the oldest continuously inhabited sites in the Americas. San Marcos is home to Texas State University and the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment.
In 2010, San Marcos was listed in Business Week’s fourth annual survey of the “Best Places to Raise your Kids”. In 2013 and 2014, the United States Census Bureau named it the fastest-growing city in the United States. In December 2013, it was named number nine on Business Insider’s list of the “10 Most Exciting Small Cities In America”.
In 2010, San Marcos was listed in Business Week magazine’s fourth annual survey of the “Best Places to Raise your Kids.”In 2013 and 2014, the United States Census Bureau named it the fastest-growing city in the United States. In December 2013, it was named #9 on the Business Insider list of the “10 Most Exciting Small Cities In America.”
The river is a popular recreational area and is frequented by residents and tourists for tubing, canoeing, swimming, and fishing. The Texas Water Safari starts in San Marcos on the first Saturday in June each year. Due in part to its natural beauty, the city was nicknamed “San Marvelous”. San Marcos references the nickname in its “Keep San Marcos Beautiful” campaign.
The town center (referred to locally as “the square”) was laid out in 1851 and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The Hays County Courthouse, which sits in the center, was built in 1908. The downtown area surrounding the courthouse is home to many of the city’s bars, restaurants, boutiques, and music venues, making it a top entertainment destination. The Marc, directly across the street from the courthouse, hosted the 2011, 2012, and 2013 Lone Star Music Awards.
In addition to the historic downtown, San Marcos has five residential historic districts. It also boasts of at least 40 homes and buildings on the National Register of Historic Places.
The San Marcos and Blanco Rivers flow through the city, along with Cottonwood Creek, Purgatory Creek, Sink Creek, and Willow Springs Creek. Each of these rivers and creeks has parks or nature preserves with hiking trails along it.
The San Marcos River rises from the San Marcos Springs. The springs are home to several threatened or endangered species, including the Texas blind salamander, San Marcos salamander, fountain darter, San Marcos gambusia, and Texas wild rice. The river begins at San Marcos Springs, rising from the Edwards Aquifer into Spring Lake. The upper river flows through Texas State University and San Marcos and is a popular recreational area. It is joined by the Blanco River after four miles, passes through Luling and near Gonzales, and flows into the Guadalupe River after 75 miles (121 km). This course is the first leg of the Texas Water Safari, marketed as the “World’s Toughest Canoe Race”. San Marcos has many areas meant for recreation, but one of the most popular is Sewell Park. It is an open area along part of the San Marcos River. Because of its location on the Texas State University campus, the park is a popular spot for college students to swim, play, or just hang out. Many activities are available at Sewell Park, such as volleyball, picnics, and swimming/tubing. It is also known for being the spot where some newly graduated Texas State students jump into the San Marcos River after their graduation ceremony.
For more than 20 years, as of 2008, the San Marcos Performing Arts Commission and the San Marcos Parks and Recreation Department have hosted the Summer in the Park concert series with live music at an outdoor venue every Thursday night from June to August.
The Cheatham Street Warehouse helped launch the careers of George Strait, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Randy Rogers, Todd Snider, James McMurtry, and Terri Hendrix, among others. The Cheatham Street Foundation continues work to preserve Texas music traditions and has offered seminars on the business end of the music business.
Contributing to the music scene in San Marcos, Texas State University hosts the Hill Country Jazz Festival and Eddie Durham Celebration annually.