San Marcos’s  outlet stores rank among the top four tourist destinations in Texas. Depending on your perspective, this is either fascinating or depressing. Regardless, shopping for bargains is a phenomena that’s unlikely to wane in popularity any time soon, so people will continue to flock to San Marcos to spend hours or even days sifting through racks of clothes, shoes, accessories, and housewares in search of the ultimate deal at one of the nearly 250 stores in two main centers.
The biggest is Prime Outlets (3939 I-35 South, 512/396-2200, 800/628-9465, www.primeoutlets.com , 10 a.m.–9 p.m. Mon.–Sat., 10 a.m.–7 p.m. Sun.). Un-ironically designed after a classic shopping plaza in Venice, Italy, Prime Outlets offers more than 130 luxury and brand-name shops such as Neiman Marcus Last Call Clearance Center, Giorgio Armani General Store, Lacoste, Salvatore Ferragamo, Polo Ralph Lauren Factory Store, Coach, Crate and Barrel Outlet, Pottery Barn Outlet, Restoration Hardware, and Off 5th Saks Fifth Avenue Outlet.
The other main attraction, located just north of Prime Outlets, is Tanger Outlet Center (4015 I-35 South, 512/396-7446, www.tangeroutlet.com , 9 a.m.–9 p.m. Mon.–Sat., 10 a.m.–7 p.m. Sun.). Tanger contains more than 100 stores, including Kenneth Cole, Charlotte Russe, Old Navy Outlet, Polo Jeans Co. Factory Store, Limited Too, Samsonite Company Stores, and Wilsons Leather Outlet.