San Marcos Like a Local

San Marcos' Hidden Gems: A Guide For Visitors

October 19, 2015

by Dane Kolbaba, Founder and Executive Director at Austin Party Ride

Nestled on the emerald banks of the San Marcos River, in the heart of Texas Hill Country, San Marcos offers fun, excitement and adventure for everybody. San Marcos is known for its natural beauty, with both the San Marcos and Blanco River running through town, which is also adorned with smaller creeks and parks. San Marcos also has a vibrant culture, with a bustling downtown that has earned San Marcos a reputation as one of the “10 Most Exciting Small Cities In America”. In this post we analyze the 6 Hidden Gems in San Marcos that every visitor should experience.


Wonder World

The definition of a “hidden gem”, Wonder World is the only cave in the United States formed by an earthquake. Located on the Balcones Fault Line, Wonder World is a site of awe-inspiring natural beauty. As an added bonus, Wonder World also features other attractions, like an anti-gravity house, an observation tower, and shopping.

The Wittliff Collections

Hidden away on the top floor of the Texas State University library, The Wittliff Collections are a treasure trove of Texas history. Featuring props from Lonesome Dove and original scripts and drawings from King Of The Hill, The Wittliff Collections will make you swell with Texan pride. And it’s always free! 

Centerpoint Station

If you’re visiting San Marcos’ Outlet Malls, make sure to visit Centerpoint Station, which is located right across the street. Part boutique, part bakery, part cafe, Centerpoint Station also features some of San Marcos’ best burgers. It’s dripping in local atmosphere, so pay a visit if you’re looking to experience the real San Marcos.

Gil’s Broiler

San Marcos is famous for its Manske Rolls, a delicious, plump, buttery version of a cinnamon roll. Gil’s Broiler is the home of the Manske Roll, making it a must-stop if you’re looking to fully experience the local flavor. Find out what made LBJ so obsessed he ordered Manske Rolls to the White House!

LBJ-MLK Crossroads Memorial

Speaking of LBJ, San Marcos is the only city in the country where LBJ and MLK streets meet. In 2014, an honorary sculpture was raised at the crossroads, honoring the two great men, and the possibility of peace and harmony for all.

Paper Bear

This little shop in downtown San Marcos is part boutique, part trick shop. Paper Bear features an inventory of toys and gag gifts, as well as home decor and beautiful jewelry. You can get lost for hours picking through their bins of quirky oddities. Paper Bear has something for everybody!

Dane Kolbaba is the Founder and Executive Director at Austin Party Ride. Austin Party Ride provides travel transportation for groups and families to and from Austin and San Marcos.