Outdoor Adventures

Nothing Square about The Square

The San Marcos Downtown Square

Overall Rating: 8     Good for: all ages     Time spent: 2 hours

2292670165_f659a05594_bThe Square of San Marcos refers to the perimeter of the Hays County Historic Courthouse. It’s bustling with life from the nearby Texas State University and is both populated and run largely by students and alumni. The exclusivity of the population, however, shouldn’t be any sort of a turn-off. Included in the surrounding buildings are bars, mom and pop shops, restaurants, and art exhibits. The courthouse lawn is also home to a variety of events year around including small music festivals. This place couldn’t feel any more like home with its historic buildings and friendly inhabitants.

I like to spend my days in the square doing one of two things: (1) Stopping by two of my favorite resale shops. The first is a store affectionately named “Junk in Da Trunk.” It’s a huge collection of vintage clothes, accessories, and collectibles. Hands down the cutest antique store I’ve ever been to. The second is only half resale, but whole vintage. Superfly’s Lonestar Music Emporium is way less country than you would imagine but does carry the largest selection of vinyl records that I’ve seen in a very long time. It truly feels like you’ve stepped into the 1960’s and I couldn’t be more excited about it. (2) Munching on the famously good Insomnia cookies. I mean, who couldn’t love a cookie shop that delivers fresh warm deliciousness to you until 3am? It’s a must try in the town of San Marcos.

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Speaking of 3am, the nightlife at the Square is nothing short of what you’d expect it to be 5 minutes away from a college campus. Live bands can be heard performing inside many of the 27 bars and lounges in the surrounding streets. It’s a trademark of this town, and not taking advantage of it would be a huge mistake.

All and all, the Square is a very cool place to visit if you enjoy historic towns and of course shopping. It’s a neat experience that you can’t necessarily find in a whole lot of cities outside of the Northeast coast. The Texas charm is very present in the mannerisms of shop employees and in the buildings themselves, but it’s contemporary enough to be a hit with teens and 20-somethings alike. It’s a wonderful stop for all ages during the day, and its really great for ages 21+ at night. The perfect combination for family vacations if you ask me.

I’ll be back soon!

Jen

 

Outdoor Adventures

The HOPE Outdoor Gallery and Other Underrated Places

HOPE Outdoor Gallery (The Grafitti Park)

Overall Rating: 10     Good for: ages 15+     Time Spent: 1 hour

IMG_6793The HOPE Outdoor Gallery is a place I’ve visited more than a few times in my relatively short lifetime, and it will always be one of my favorite places to be. Affectionately (and appropriately) nicknamed The Grafitti Park, HOPE took over an abandoned development project in downtown Austin and is now home to hundreds of layers of spray paint, and the love of locals and foreigners alike.

HOPE Gallery is the only art display of its kind the United States. It is for everyone and open to everyone. You’re welcome to bring spray paint and leave your mark on the wall, the ground, the grass, wherever. Artists use it to display their favorite quotes, support for sports teams, doodles, political statements, and much, much more. They pour their souls into these works of art on the walls for the entirety of Austin to see and it is absolutely stunning. You will never find anything like it anywhere else. The most fascinating aspect of this park is its constant change. It is so popular with artists that it will be completely refaced in less than a day. Every day. It will never be the same gallery that you left.

It is absolutely free to go, but it probably not best for small children. It is an unfinished building, so there are uneven surfaces, places to fall off of, and pipes sticking out of the ground. There’s also profanity allllll over the place, be careful. You should be warned: Parking Sucks

I can’t think of any more words to describe HOPE Outdoor Gallery, so I’ve left you with a slide show, for you to discover it for yourself.

With love,

Jenna

 

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