San Marcos is a city in the North County section of San Diego County, California. Outside the San Diego region, it is best known as the home of California State University, San Marcos. The city is bordered by Escondido to the east, Encinitas to the southwest, Carlsbad to the west, and Vista to the northwest. San Marcos experienced a period of growth from 1956 onward, when the first water from the Colorado River arrived. Several small businesses were founded and the population rapidly increased to 2,500. San Marcos became an incorporated city on January 28, 1963. In the 1970s, San Marcos was flourishing as the third fastest-growing city in the state with a population of 17,479 by 1980. The population continued to boom over the next two decades, reaching 33,800 in 1990 and 82,743 in 2000. Recently, the growth of California State University, San Marcos has led to industries, such as the high-tech sector, setting up shop in the city.
San Marcos is known for having some of the best restaurants in North County. Old California Restaurant Row features a large concentration of restaurants offering a variety of cuisines. The City features several golf courses such as St. Mark Golf Club. There are many fine hotels in the city including The Lake House Resort, Residence Inn, Hampton Inn, Ramada Inn, and First Choice Executive Suites.
San Marcos has also become known for its abundance of open space and parks in recent years. Miles of trails have been planned and constructed to facilitate biking throughout the city. A popular destination is the top of Double Peak Park, which features a panorama of northern San Diego County from the highest coastal peak in the county. On a clear day one can see the San Bernardino Mountains in Los Angeles and the skyscrapers of downtown San Diego. An illuminated cross, which stands on a hill above Lake San Marcos and is visible at night from many parts of the city, has been a community landmark for decades.