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Local Love! San Antonio Edition

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Considering a move to San Antonio? See what locals have to say about what makes their city great.

While known for the Alamo and other missions, San Antonio, TX, is an up-and-coming city with all the activities and diversity of a large metro but the familial, comfortable feel of a small town.

Foodies, history buffs, activity junkies, and basketball fans, rejoice! After breakfast tacos or a class at the Culinary Institute, the number of activities a resident can partake in is endless: the annual Fiesta San Antonio (celebrating history and culture, with, of course, more great food), the River Walk, a high-intensity and energetic game with five-time NBA Champions the San Antonio Spurs, and the Witte Museum are just a few.

And given its size, the cost of living is affordable and highly prized. The San Antonio real estate market is growing to accommodate the booming tech and arts industries, as well as the diversity of restaurants and other small businesses. More than 65% of city residents own a home, and the number of homes for sale is in the thousands, not including the suburbs of the main metro.

The median sales price of a home is just under $300,000, with an average monthly rent of $1,400, giving those wishing to move here plenty of reasonably priced options among the budding neighborhoods. But with so much to learn when moving to a new city, sometimes the best way is to hear from the locals themselves. Check out what San Antonians had to say about living in their city!

What is your city’s source of pride?

“The first thing that springs to mind is our annual Fiesta celebration, which takes place in April. For two weeks, the city enjoys a ‘party with a purpose,’ and it gives everyone a chance to let their colors shine. It is a long-standing tradition to collect medals and sport them proudly while attending. Along with music and parades is the food — there is nothing like Fiesta food. Sampling the culinary delights of Fiesta means tasting some of the most delicious gorditas, grilled meats, and tacos.” — Lauren Serrato, Coldwell Banker D’Ann Harper, Realtors

“Our history and culture. The San Antonio Missions (there are four others besides the Alamo!) are the only UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Texas; our city’s tricentennial is coming up, and we have a 10-day Fiesta every year to honor our history and celebrate our culture. Oh, and the five-time NBA Champions San Antonio Spurs are our other source of pride.” — Mary Kate Hull, SA2020

“Our biggest sources of pride come from our rich culture and heritage. The residents of San Antonio LOVE San Antonio and boast their city to anyone who will listen. It’s one of the great things about living here.” ― Matthew Contreras, BarbacoApparel

“No matter your age or interests, San Antonio has something for everyone. With some of the best food, sports, culture, arts, and outdoors, this city never disappoints.” — Crag Pietramale, The Broadway

If you’re a transplant, what brought you to San Antonio? If you’re a native, why do you stay?

“I’m a native for sure. It’s easy to stay; the folks here are so friendly that I regularly find myself chatting with shoppers at the grocery store or while standing in line at the bank. As a city, it’s in such close proximity to the Capitol, beaches, and the surrounding Hill Country — anything is just a drive away.” — Lauren Serrato, Coldwell Banker D’Ann Harper, Realtors

“San Antonio has been home for 19 years. I originally moved when my family moved (I was a kid) but decided to stay for college, then decided to stay as an adult. I love the feel of San Antonio, the culture, the proximity to other great Texas cities and towns, and the opportunity that SA provides.” — Ariane Etemadi, SA2020

“Even though San Antonio is the seventh-largest city in the U.S., it still has a small-town feel that you can’t find anywhere else. People are warm and friendly, and the cost of living is very reasonable.” ― Nydia Huizar, BarbacoApparel

“I was raised in San Antonio and briefly considered moving when I was younger but stayed to be close to family. I’m so happy I did stay; this is a great city to raise my boys in.” — Sara Blanco, Sara K Blanco Photography

What sets San Antonio apart from other Texas metros?

“So many images are conjured when I contemplate what sets us apart as a city. Watching flamenco dancers on the River Walk while enjoying a margarita and a plate of enchiladas. A drive out to the Hill Country in the fall and watching the leaves change color at Lost Maples. A Christmastime drive through Santa’s Ranch or Incarnate Word with the windows down to enjoy the mild winter air. Springtime bluebonnets and Indian paintbrush blooms along the highways and family pictures in the colorful fields. It’s the collective familiar places that allow us to share memories created apart, together.” — Lauren Serrato, Coldwell Banker D’Ann Harper, Realtors

“Our vibrant culture.” — Gabriella Uresti, San Antonio Pets Alive

“San Antonio is much more laid-back and colorful than the major metros of Texas. The real estate market is somewhat more immune to giant fluctuations in pricing, so we avoid a lot [of] issues created by housing bubbles.” — Danny Johnson, Flipping Junkie

“Even though San Antonio is the seventh-largest city in America, it’s still a far cry from what we think of as a big city like Chicago, New York, or Los Angeles. This historical Texas city hasn’t lost its sense of community. It’s often said San Antonio is a big city with a small-town feel.” — Crag Pietramale, The Broadway

What makes you a true San Antonian?

“I’ve witnessed a pretty dramatic positive change in the city over the last 10 years, and I feel a sense of pride about that. And I’m sure to make sure everyone I know is aware of how much awesome stuff we should be celebrating.” — Ariane Etemadi, SA2020

“My love for breakfast tacos!” — Gabriella Uresti, San Antonio Pets Alive

“Our whole business celebrates San Antonio and Hispanic culture! We live the SA lifestyle by eating the awesome Mexican food, participating in Fiesta, and loving the Spurs!”― Nydia Huizar, BarbacoApparel

“Every true San Antonian knows the Spurs players even if you don’t watch basketball!” — Sara Blanco, Sara K Blanco Photography

We know that San Antonio is known for the Alamo, but are there emerging industries or tourist attractions drawing more people into town?

“I love exploring — and recommending — places just outside the pages of a tour guide. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but the Pearl has grown and changed over the last several years and provides a very different experience from other areas of town. Same thing when you go south into Southtown, King William, and Lavaca, or east over into Dignowity Park, or west over to Guadalupe Street. This city has lots of wonderful little pockets of culture and pride that should be shared with anyone who is curious about what San Antonio has to offer.” — Ariane Etemadi, SA2020

“Tech startups. Art industries are booming. Our cost of living is also very good!” — Gabriella Uresti, San Antonio Pets Alive

“Our beautiful and always expanding River Walk definitely draws tourists. Also, our repurposing of old industrial sites such as the Pearl Brewery and upcoming Lone Star Brewery as business, residential, and tourist attractions.” — Sara Blanco, Sara K Blanco Photography

“The food scene in San Antonio is becoming a major draw for people from all over the world. We now have a Culinary Institute of America location just north of downtown as well as some of the best Tex-Mex anywhere.” — Danny Johnson, Flipping Junkie

What is San Antonio’s best-kept secret?

“I don’t think many outsiders think of San Antonio as an arts city, but there’s a lot happening here. We have great museums, monthly art walks, and some awesome events and organizations. I love that at SA2020, we get to work with arts partners and really see what’s happening in that scene.” — Mary Kate Hull, SA2020

“We have a huge foodie community, and there [are] a lot of world-class restaurants, along with a culinary school in our Pearl district.” — Gabriella Uresti, San Antonio Pets Alive

“Not sure if it’s a secret, but Cool Crest Miniature Golf is one of my FAVORITE places in San Antonio! After being closed for a short period of time, the super-retro course has reopened and is better than ever! Well-kept grounds and 1950s music? Say no more.” ― Nydia Huizar, BarbacoApparel

“The Bracken Bat Cave. It houses the world’s largest colony of bats. The sight of so many bats flowing out of the cave in the evening is a sight to see.” — Danny Johnson, Flipping Junkie

What advice would you give to those moving to San Antonio?

“Explore, explore, explore! We are a big city with lots of things to experience. I know so many people that are only familiar with one or two neighborhoods, but there are great experiences everywhere, and you may miss something great! It may take you awhile, but you’ll be happy you did it.” — Ariane Etemadi, SA2020

“Taco Bell is not a Mexican restaurant, and it is hot every day except a few days in January or February.” — Gabriella Uresti, San Antonio Pets Alive

“Be prepared to add a few notches to your belt. San Antonio has the best Tex-Mex food of anywhere in the world, hands down. A night out isn’t complete without stopping for tacos on the way home, and nothing pairs better with a cold beer than a big plate of nachos. Our Tex-Mex becomes a part of who you are.” ― Matthew Contreras, BarbacoApparel

“I would recommend spending time in the area you think you may want to live in. San Antonio has so many great areas and neighborhoods, but they are all very unique, and it’s important to find your fit.” — Sara Blanco, Sara K Blanco Photography

What, in your opinion, is the most up-and-coming neighborhood in your city?

“Our offices are on the Eastside, and we’ve seen so much exciting growth here just in the past year. Hopefully, Dignowity Hill is the next up-and-coming neighborhood.” — Mary Kate Hull, SA2020

“San Antonio is booming right now, so it’s hard to pick just one neighborhood. Anything in or around the downtown area, specifically the Dignowity Hill and Five Points neighborhoods, is really seeing significant growth with an influx of new businesses and residents. This is a really exciting time to be living in the city and watching newcomers fall in love with it the way its native residents have.” ― Matthew Contreras, BarbacoApparel

“The Leon Springs-to-Boerne corridor is rapidly growing.” — Sara Blanco, Sara K Blanco Photography

“Alamo Heights is the most up-and-coming neighborhood as it is centrally located inside the loop and constantly adding more attractions. [ZIP code] 78209 is close to the city’s urban core, yet residents love the quiet lifestyle that the neighborhood offers. The family-friendly community is complete with classic homes, incredible restaurants, beautiful parks, and top-ranked schools. Oak-lined streets, charming shops, and best of all, the highly acclaimed dining are just a few of the perks of being an ‘oh-niner.’” — Crag Pietramale, The Broadway

Where can you find the best barbecue in San Antonio?

“Aside from my backyard on a Saturday afternoon (it’s the same answer no matter who you ask), there are a couple of places that strike my fancy. Blanco barbecue is my current go-to spot.” — Lauren Serrato, Coldwell Banker D’Ann Harper, Realtors

“Rudy’s and Two Brothers.” — Gabriella Uresti, San Antonio Pets Alive

“King’s Highway Brew and Cue. If it’s not the best barbecue in the state, it’s at least the best in the city. Their brisket is full of flavor without being overly greasy, and their sides are fantastic. Their Spanish rice has a great lime flavor, and the borracho beans are so good, they could be eaten on their own.” ― Matthew Contreras, BarbacoApparel

“The best barbecue in San Antonio is Rudy’s. There are several locations, but the original store in Leon Springs is the one you’ve got to visit. The brisket is second to none, and you’re guaranteed to leave with a bottle of their barbecue sauce. It’s amazing!” — Danny Johnson, Flipping Junkie

What’s your favorite weekend activity in or around San Antonio?

“A stroll through some of the local parks. Eisenhower or Hardberger Park offers plenty of shade and the beauty of nature without leaving the city. If you visit Eisenhower, be sure to visit the Observation Tower, which provides a peek over the trees, and if you look closely, the Tower of Americas is visible on a clear day. Some trails provide more of a hiking experience, while the paved trails are great to walk or take the family pet for a walk.” — Lauren Serrato, Coldwell Banker D’Ann Harper, Realtors

“Exploring new places to eat and drink! Oh, and nice strolls through parks and other walkable areas are a really great way to explore during the cooler spring and fall months.” — Ariane Etemadi, SA2020

“I really enjoy spending time at Brackenridge Park, which is home to great institutions like the San Antonio Zoo, Witte Museum, Japanese Tea Garden, Sunken Garden Theater, and the Botanical Garden. It’s a great park that really offers something for everyone and boasts some stunning views of downtown. It’s my favorite place in the city.” ― Richard Diaz, BarbacoApparel

“Every Saturday and Sunday, San Antonio’s famous Pearl Brewery hosts an enchanting farmers market located right in front of the historic Brewhouse. This is the perfect place to eat and shop along the beautiful banks of the San Antonio River. The vendors proudly produce only fresh and local products.” — Crag Pietramale, The Broadway

Have you considered a move to San Antonio, TX? Share why you love the city in the comments below!

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