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About San Marcos

Once a small farming community, San Marcos began its growth in the 1950s after the Colorado River Aqueduct brought water to Southern California. Today, the city north of San Diego numbers just under 100,000 residents. San Marcos is home to Cal State San Marcos as well as the two-year Palomar College and the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences.

The Community of San Marcos

With 14 primarily residential neighborhoods, San Marcos is positioned between Interstate 5 and Interstate 15; the latter runs just to the east of the city. Highway 78 is the primary road through San Marcos and is where most of the businesses are located. The University District is in the eastern part of the city, just south of Highway 78. San Elijo Hills to the southwest is a master planned community that features its own town center and common area. Lake San Marcos is an unincorporated "island" in the southwestern part of the city.

What to Do in San Marcos

Jokingly known as "San Parkos," the city has a wealth of great outdoor spaces. Walk, explore and let the kids play at Discovery Lake, a beautiful urban park that lets you get closer to nature. You can enjoy the splash pad or go fishing in the lake, then enjoy a picnic near the small waterfall. Or, hike the trails at Double Peak Park for amazing views of the mountains all the way around to the ocean.

Explore The Antique Village, a 10,000-square-foot antiques mall with more than 60 vendors. There's always something new, and the booths are attractive and clean with a huge variety of vintag items.

Jack's Pond Nature Center focuses on outdoor education through exploration in the 23-acre Jack's Pond Park. The center hosts exhibits sponsored by different groups, like a display on bird habitats established by the local Audubon Society chapter. Students from Cal State San Marcos and local high schools help to create learning stations. Picnic areas and a play area are nearby.

One Place You Shouldn't Miss in San Marcos

The California Spirits Company offers detailed tours of the facility with tastings of the distillery's finest products, including rum -- Avalon is an award winner -- bourbon and vodka. Learn what goes into making these finely crafted alcohols. Founder Casey Miles also works with start-up distilleries, so you never know what you might be able to sample.

Dining in San Marcos

A kitschy place with to-die-for pies, Mama Kat's has been serving coffee, pastries, salads, sandwiches and pies for more than a decade. Come for breakfast or lunch. Can't decide on the best slice? Try the Whiskey Apple or Triple Chocolate Cream.

Sublime Ale House features craft brews and high-quality pub food with a twist like the Slap Yo Mama burger with Brie, caramelized onion and bacon jam; the Sublime Mac-n-Cheese with roast chicken, bacon, mushrooms and truffle oil; or the Get Figgy Wit It pizza that includes figs, prosciutto, arugula and a balsamic glaze. You could also choose from a variety of small plates to share.

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Somewhat Walkable
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