Let's take a stroll through San Antonio and visit the Southwest's most walkable neighborhood—Southtown Arts District.
Living in a place made for walking is important. If you have a kid, pushing a stroller to the park is essential to staying sane. And if you’re not quite done being a kid yet, being able to stumble home from a bar late at night is a major plus. We dug into hundreds of neighborhoods in our quest to find the most walkable across the country. We looked at the ratio and location of grocery stores, parks, and restaurants to single-family homes to identify five neighborhoods around the country where a car is truly optional. This list in hand, we took our research to the streets, interviewing locals in these and using Instagram photos from real people who live—and walk—in the Southtown Arts District to bring it to life.
The Southtown Arts District by the Numbers
Food, art, history, and culture converge in San Antonio in exciting ways that sometimes feel like a world outside the rest of Texas. Over the past few years, its urban core is getting a makeover, and the South Flores/Lone Star section of Southtown, also known as the Southtown Arts District, is its latest up-and-comer. A once-gritty industrial zone to the west of the ornate Victorians of the King William historic district, the average home price here is $285k. That’s typically low for the city’s urban core. For comparison: A McMansion in the ‘burbs will run you twice that amount.
37-year-old advertising executive Clara Guerrero recently ditched suburbia for a condo in the Steelhouse Lofts, a former turn-of-the-century brick warehouse. “It’s super fun, my friends are all closer, there are trendy things, but then rough areas too,” says Guerrero. “It’s authentic, but it’s true to the city.” It takes her less than 15 minutes to reach to the hiking/biking trail along the San Antonio River to walk her dog, or get to the new H-E-B grocery store (complete with pizza happy hour and beer on tap.) On First Fridays Art Walk and Street Market, she strolls to the nearby Blue Star Arts Complex, where vendors sell arts and crafts.
Local distillery/brewery Dorćol offers live music and an outdoor tasting room. Restaurants, both traditional and innovative, abound. Guerrero’s fave is Piedras Negras De Noche, a family-owned Mexican joint with great breakfast tacos. But The Fruiteria, a chef-driven Mexican tapas and cocktail spot, is conveniently located on the ground floor of her building.
However, even with so much at her doorstep in surrounding Southtown Arts District, Guerrero can be reluctant to leave her cool building, amid soaring temperatures that reach the 90s four months out of the year. “I’ll Uber to dinner, because I may not want to catch a sweat,” she admits.
METHODOLOGY: Trulia identified the top 5 most walkable neighborhoods in America as ZIP codes with at least 500 homes that were in close proximity to grocery stores, restaurants, and parks. Only ZIP codes with at least with more than 200 homes per square miles and where at least 50% of the homes were made up of single-family homes were considered.