San Marcos Travel Guide

  • Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve
    Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve
    by kuere
  • San Elijo Hills Trails
    San Elijo Hills Trails
    by kuere
  • San Elijo Hills Trails
    San Elijo Hills Trails
    by kuere

San Marcos Things to Do

  • lmkluque's Profile Photo

    by lmkluque Updated Jun 7, 2014

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    In the process of finding "Downtown" San Marcos, I came across the "Old California Restaurant Row." In many cities there are areas called "Restaurant Row" and these areas do have a few choices of restaurants clustered together to choose from, however, San Marcos' Old California Restaurant Row is quite impressive. On the corner of San Marcos Boulevard and Via Vera Cruz there are more restaurants than I have ever seen in one grouping.

    The buildings housing the various restaurants (more than fifteen!) are done in the old Spanish Colonial style which means it looks like an old Mexican town. The only draw back is the parking lot, which spoils the effect of the architecture

    Of course, I can't complain too much as this made it quite easy for me to park near the restaurant of my choice. This began as a produce stand along the road which is a common sight in the more rural areas of San Diego County. Sometimes the fruit/produce stand will grow into a cafe or restaurant, but this is a lot bigger and there are so many choices fro a delicious meal.

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    • Road Trip
    • Food and Dining
    • Family Travel

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San Marcos Hotels

San Marcos Restaurants

  • "Thai Cuisine!! "

    In the mood for Thai food? This is the place to stop. The entrance may give the feeling that the place is small, but not so. The first room was the expected size, about four booths along the side windows and across the entrance path, a deep-blue wall and colorful cloths on the tables gave character.There was a raised room behind the first dining...

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  • Italian Cuisine!

    Bruno's Authentic Italian Restaurant and Pizzeria seems to be one of the most popular dining choices for lunch during the week. It could be that the food is good and the prices are right. I will mention that the pizza prices are pretty high. They offer an Early Bird dinner special daily, priced at $10.00 or $11.00. On Sundays it's Champagne Brunch,...

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  • Chinese Cuisine

    China Wokery seemed almost as popular as Bruno's and they stand next door to each other. I haven't tried this one out yet but traditionally, Chinese food is not too expensive. I believe that they cook the food in front of you, but am not 100% sure about that yet and will let you know after I've tried it. There seemed not to be any patio dining, so...

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  • The best Italian in San Diego County

    If you are looking for outstanding, authentic Italian food and wine as well as pizza's baked in traditional Italian wood fire ovens, then this place is for you. The service is first class and the food is outstanding and you can't beat the price for all of the food that you get!!! This is a place where you can linger and talk with your...

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  • Excellent Mexican

    Excellent Mexican. Great food, service, atmosphere. Can be crowded evenings. The restaurant is in Old California Restaurant Row, sort of a restaurant shopping center with other themed restaurants cheek by jowl nearby. Guacamole was excellent and chunky. Enchiladas and Carnitas out of this world.

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  • Excellent Indian

    Great food, service, and atmosphere. Can be crowded evenings. Sunday Brunch Buffet available. Chicken Korma -- mild, sweet and spicy. Pappadum and curries appetizer -- sneaks up on you. Naan bread -- Excellent. Vindaloo Lamb -- not for the faint of heart.

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  • The Hottest Grill in town

    Started out with a drink called Hillbilly Punch (Peachtree® Schnapps, Amaretto, Bacardi® Rum, Cranberry Juice, Sweet & Sour & Sprite). For dinner, I had the Mesquite Grilled Steak Sandwich (cooked medium with lettuce, tomato and onions and served on a french roll with a side of Chipotle mayonnaise...comes with fries but I has grilled veggies and...

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  • Colorful, fresh and comfortable

    I've had the Penne Rosa (spicy tomato cream sauce sautéed with penne pasta, mushrooms, tomato and spinach and topped with parmesan, Italian parsley and parmesan crusted chicken) and Pad Thai (Thai rice noodle stir-fry with scrambled egg, carrots, cabbage and sweet chile and citrus and topped with lime, peanuts, Asian sprouts, cilantro and chicken...

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  • Great food and beer

    San Marcos Brewery & Grill is a restaurant specializing in "American Grill" classics... from steaks, pasta & seafood to burgers, sandwiches and salads. They produce only the finest "handcrafted ales" from their on-premise micro-brewery and serve each glass fresh from the tap. Some of the ales brewed on-premise include: California Pale, German...

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  • Fresh sauté and grill

    The goal of the company is to provide good, flavorful and wholesome food. You'll find something for almost every taste...noodle dishes, salads, soups as well as noodle-less dishes featuring thin-cut grilled beef, grilled chicken breast or sautéed shrimp. LJ had the Mushroom Stroganoff with Tofu (a savory sherry cream sauce, fresh mushroom and...

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  • Hometown Appeal

    Family ownwd and operated, the San Marcos Family Restaurant is a good alternative to cooking at home. Cozy, friendly atmosphere. Owners always present to be sure customers a happy and well taken care of. A great place for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. The Turkey Dinner is comfort food at its best! Real roasted turky and mashed potatoes over thick...

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  • Best Fish & Chips in all of San Diego...

    Located in San Marcos (just east of restaurant row), Churchill's Pub & Grille has become the stopping point for both ex-patriots, and locals alike. Based on the pub concept in merry old England, people love sitting in the classic wooden booths to enjoy Fish & Chips, Bangers & Mash, a large selection of European imports, a specialty martini list and...

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San Marcos Nightlife

  • Music House & Gourmet Grill

    Week day lunches for $5.95, Sunday Champagne Brunch (All You Can Eat Buffet $18.95) Of course, the best deal is Happy Hour (Reduced Apetizer Menu and $1.00 off all drinks. Daily 3 pm - 7 pm)During the day The BLVD is great place to eat. At night there is always something going on, from concerts to parties, fashion shows, well take a look at their...

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  • Late Night Dining

    They stay open later, but 11:30 pm on a weekend night is not late by my way of thinking. Well, this tip is mainly for the beer drinkers, because the on-premise micro-brewery ensures the freshest beer and many types. What makes this a great vacation stop is the fact that food is served and you can bring the kids along. The menu is typical America...

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  • A Caribbean carnival featured...

    A Caribbean carnival featured colorful dancers at 10 a.m. and the steel-drum band Natty Scat performed throughout the day, and ended at 2:30 p.m Then at night other activities like wet T-shirt, oil wrestling, oldie's dance contest, win, lose or draw Casino, body painting, amateur hour talent show, and sumo wrestling again!!! Oh yeah, how sexy that...

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San Marcos Local Customs

  • lmkluque's Profile Photo

    by lmkluque Updated Jun 8, 2014

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    There are little parks tucked in all over on the corners of cross streets and rarely have I seen anyone using them. They are not the most convenient spots and sometimes parking near one is difficult. Of course, since they are neighborhood parks, most people walk to them from home, so no need for parking options.

    A couple of times I've taken my food "to-go" and stopped at one of these parks and had an impromtu picnic. It is an especially nice solution during the summer when it is so hot in San Marcos. Sitting below a tree in the park is quite refreshing.

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Budget Travel
    • Travel with Pets

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San Marcos Sports & Outdoors

  • kuere's Profile Photo

    by kuere Written Mar 12, 2013

    excellent tracks. start for bikers to the Elfin Forest Receational Reserve quite difficult and technical, but once you're up there it's getting better

    Equipment: sandwiches ;)

    don't worry too much. the city is always close enough and you find picnic sites and water pits everywhere around the place. bikers just make sure you've got your equipment to change the tubes (not everyone is tubeless today))

    San Elijo Hills Trails San Elijo Hills Trails Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve
    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Cycling

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San Marcos Favorites

  • la_beba's Profile Photo

    by la_beba Written Oct 4, 2002

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    Favorite thing: Had the opportunity to go to Cal State San Marcos' first annual SpringFest where they had a tons of interactive events to celebrate spring, including fun morning activities that started at 9 a.m. (wacky games like inflatable sumo wrestling and bungee racing, scavenger quest, midday madness, pool volleyball, pool olympics, and funkerobics.

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