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San Antonio City Guide

Remember the Alamo?

Looking to move to ‘The River City’? Get ready to become a part of the seventh most populous city in the country, a city steeped in rich regional history and culture. San Antonio happens to be the most populous city in the state of Texas, checking in with roughly 1.3 million. Each year 20 million tourists pay a visit to the city, making enormous contributions to San Antonio’s economy. The Alamo is the main attraction that tourists flock to— the infamous historical site is the source for the ‘Alamo City’ nickname. At the Alamo , situated in the heart of downtown, tourists (and San Antonio history buffs!) can learn about the Mexican American War and the influence of the Spanish Empire on North America.

The city’s economy revolves around financial companies like USSA and Cullen Frost Bankers. The supermarket H-E-B is based in San Antonio, and employs over 14,000 workers. Fortune Global 500 companies like Valero Energy Corporation and Tesoro Petroleum Corporation are based here as well. There is a strong military presence in San Antonio, and the defense industry employs over 89,000 workers. Over 100,000 students choose to pursue higher education at one of San Antonio’s 31 institutions, which speaks to the desirability of the city. Looking to work in the hospitals? University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio is the place for you. Trying to get a graduate alternative teacher certification? Check out Texas A&M at San Antonio. In this big western city, there is a school or a profession for everybody!

How does San Antonio Stack Up?

San Antonio is one of the cheaper major cities of Texas to reside in—Austin, Dallas, and Houston have all consistently been pricier since 2010 when comparing the median list prices. San Antonio beats out the competition when it comes to rent as well- with the median monthly rent at just a little over $1,000 a month, renters are getting a deal compared to the $1,500 median rent just a little ways north in Austin.

Neighborhoods in SA-Town

Be sure to carefully select a neighborhood according to where you are working in the city. Traffic and commutes can be pretty horrendous deep in the heart of Texas. After all, the city is populated by 1.3 million and thousands of tourists on a regular
basis. The average commute time for city dwellers is around thirty minutes. So before you sign that lease, make sure that the commute is manageable for you.

Downtown: As with any downtown residence, San Antonio’s downtown offers a plethora of pricy homes. Yes, they are conveniently situated by the Riverwalk and Aztec River Theater (one of the last surviving exotic-themed movie palaces in Texas!), the Alamo, and yes, you could probably walk to work— but before you sign a pent house lease, make sure that you have some money left to eat each week. If you are looking for peace and quiet, you should probably seek housing elsewhere, as downtown San Antonio is encompassed by not one or two, but three Interstate Freeways, which creates the ‘Downtown Loop’.

Alamo Heights: This is an extremely affluent incorporated town that lies to the north of San Antonio. While the median list price for homes has fluctuated here for the past few years, it is usually around half a million. Attractive features of this neighborhood include the new Alamo Quarry Market shopping center, where shoppers can enjoy California Pizza Kitchen, P.F. Chang’s, Coldwater Creek and Ann Taylor Loft.

South Side: Immediately south of downtown San Antonio is Southtown, a region comprised by three overlapping neighborhoods. You’re in luck if you’re looking to be close to hipster dive bars, vintage clothing store, art galleries, coffeehouses, mom and pop taco joints, and much more! The housing in this neighborhood is mostly late nineteenth, early twentieth century styles homes, with a variety of different styles, including both Victorian and red-tiled-roof Spanish revival. Travel further south in this area and you will find Palo Alto College and Texas A&M University at San Antonio.

Prospect Hill: Come live here if you’re interested in a historical community with reasonable pricing on San Antonio’s west side! This is a great neighborhood to start a family in, and many San Antonians do— half the residents have children. Here renters and home owners report average commute times, as most take thirty minutes or so to get to work. Some notable residents of Prospect Hill include Congressman Henry B. Gonzalez and actress Carol Burnett.

East Side: Looking to cheer on the Spurs? You’ll have a short drive if you live on the eastside, where the AT&T Center is situated. Check out the digs on San Antonio’s eastside in neighborhoods like the historic Knob Hill and China Grove. Revitalization has been felt on the eastside in recent years— the Eastside Promise Neighborhood has recently received grants for neighborhood wide improvements.

Transportation: The mass transit agency of San Antonio is called Via metropolitan Transit, or Via for short, taking its name from the Latin word for ‘road’ or ‘way’. Via services the whole city, as well as the surrounding areas like China Grove and Alamo Heights. The fares are reasonable when compared to other cities in the U.S. Via has a rapid bus transit service known as Via Primo, which connects the South Texas Medical Center and the main campus of University of Texas at San Antonio to downtown.

There are approximately 136 miles of bike lanes, routes, and off road paths in the city. San Antonio has also started utilizing a bike sharing service similar to the service being used in Denver, Colorado. San Antonio was ranked by Walk Score as the 40th most walkable of the largest fifty U.S. cities in 2011.

Now that you’ve got the scoop on San Antonio, get out there start searching Alamo City for your new abode!