The Art Market in San Marcos is filled with offerings by local artists. San Marcos Convention and Visitor Bureau

Fall is a spectacular time to be in San Marcos, Texas. The hot summer is over, and the cooler temperatures make it possible to leave the air conditioning behind and enjoy your time outdoors. And this scenic town in the Texas Hill Country is filled with outdoor activities and events to fill your fall calendar. Live music, running races, festivals, art displays, and water activities are all options on a San Marcos getaway. Here are 15 fall events that you don’t want to miss this year.

1. First Saturday Birding Hikes


Take advantage of cooler temperatures to spend some time outside with the local wildlife. A monthly guided birding hike will help you identify species. Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren

Autumn is the perfect time to get into nature and scope out local wildlife. Bird lovers can hit the trails at these monthly birding hikes hosted by local guide/photographer, Stephen Ramirez. The location varies each month at a local green space, preserve or park.

2. First Sunday San Market

This open-air market held on the first Sunday of each month features art and craft vendors, jewelry artists, plants from local gardeners and fresh produce from area farmers. Held in the Pita Shop parking lot on Old Ranch Road, the market is open from 10 a.m to 3 p.m., with live music starting at 1 p.m.

3. First Friday Block Party SMTX

Studio San Martian and the surrounding businesses host the First Friday Block Party SMTX, which includes art, entertainment, and community fun. The block party starts at noon and continues until 3 a.m. Event attendees can shop pop-up stores and have late-night snacks from Gumby’s Pizza.

4. Art Squared Arts Market


The Art Squared Art Market invites visitors to see creations by local artists each month. San Marcos Convention and Visitor Bureau

What could be better than a Saturday spent at the open-air Art Squared Art Market browsing arts and crafts and enjoying live music? Open from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m., the art market displays original artwork—available for purchase—from the artists themselves. You’ll also find free yoga or tai-chi classes, arts and crafts projects for the kids and an adjacent farmer’s market.

5. SPLASH Festival

San Marcos is a delightfully mermaid-centric community. From the legendary aquamaids that used to roam the waters of Aquarena Springs to modern-day art installations, the glittering mermaid has become a symbol of the history and future of San Marcos. The SPLASH Festival, held throughout September, celebrates the local mermaid culture as well as local arts and heritage. The month-long festival includes a mer-tini cocktail competition, a mermaid parade and a mermaid aqua faire.

6. Watch Unicycle Football

Every Sunday afternoon in the fall, Unicycle Football players gather in the parking lot of the San Marcos Activity Center to play a game of five-on-five football. The rules are similar to flag football, but with a few variations unique to the league necessary due to the fact that the players are riding on a unicycle. “Pedestrian football is outdated” is the official tagline of the Unicycle Football League. The games are free to the public.

7. Texas Junior Water Safari


The Texas Junior Water Safari is a 16-mile paddling race each fall. San Marcos Convention and Visitor Bureau

Dreaming about competing in the Texas Water Safari but not sure if you can handle 260 miles of kayaking? Try the Texas Junior Water Safari instead. This fun, fall event is a 16-mile canoe or kayak race on the San Marcos River. The race, which begins at 9 a.m., is a condensed—but still challenging—version of the Texas Water Safari.

8. Thursday Downtown Walkabout

Every third Thursday in San Marcos offers another opportunity to celebrate the community’s historic downtown. The Thursday Downtown Walkabout is a family-friendly event that runs from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and includes live music via the Kissing Alley Concert Series, in addition to food, drinks, art and shopping.

9. Country Roads 10K and Kids Run


Fall is the time to take advantage of the trails in San Marcos. San Marcos Convention and Visitor Bureau

Runners will find a new meaning to the phrase “hill country” at the Country Roads 10K and Kids Run, which features a 1.5-mile hill toward the end of the course. An easy .86-mile loop will be available for kids. Put that summer training to the test on this scenic course.

10. Monarch Fest

The San Marcos Discovery Center hosts the Monarch Fest in October. Join conservationists for a day of education about monarch butterflies. You can learn how to grow a monarch-friendly garden, buy some plants and enjoy live music plus food and drinks.

11. Pet Fest San Marcos

Looking for a dog-friendly event in San Marcos this fall? Save the date for Pet Fest. The event takes place at San Marcos Plaza Park from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. and includes a parade, games, pet demos and even a pet and owner look-alike contest.

12. Bigfoot Trail Race

This scenic trail race takes runners on a tour of the Spring Lake Preserve, where you’ll see meadows and forests while competing in a choice of 5k, 10k or 30k. The race supports Back on My Feet Austin, which aims to end homelessness.

13. Sacred Springs Powwow

Learn about Native Americans at the annual Sacred Springs Powwow in November. The festival features more than 100 native dancers, 60 native vendors and two drum groups. You’ll also find an Indian Market with arts and crafts and authentic Native American food.

14. Texas State University Football

Nothing says Texas in the fall like a college football game. The Texas State Bobcats play half a dozen home games each year. Get the tailgate supplies ready and enjoy a college football Saturday in San Marcos.

15. Farmer Fred’s Harvest Fall Carnival

Held at San Marcos Plaza Park, Farmer Fred’s Harvest Fall Carnival is an autumn tradition each October, featuring carnival games, a costume contest and hayrides. You’ll find plenty of eats to celebrate the season at this family-friendly event.

Written by Krista Diamond for RootsRated Media in partnership with San Marcos CVB.