Moving To San Antonio Texas? (The Truth About Living Here)

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San Antonio is one of the most densely populated cities in the United States. Families of all backgrounds, income levels, cultures, and interests come together to make this city one of the greatest in the nation. Although you’ll have (literally) millions of neighbors, San Antonio will never fail to feel like home, sweet home. Keep reading to find out why.

A Brief Overview Of San Antonio Texas

 

Currently, the population in San Antonio, Texas ranks as the seventh highest in the nation and the second-most populous within the state. Federal census data estimated the city to be home to approximately 1.5 million people as of 2019.

This city has a rich history that has led to its prosperous present-day existence. It was founded in May of 1718 and officially incorporated as a city in June 1837. However, before these dates, it was home to one of the early Mission sites in the United States.

The geographic features of the area, including the many escarpments and waterways, and location suited to defensive applications, was comparatively ideal for a budding population to move into.

From its humble beginnings in the 1800s, San Antonio has grown into a tremendous residential and industrial area. It is booming with all varieties’ business, production, and life – from wildlife to human civilization.

Over the years, the city has developed into a massive metropolitan, home to several residential neighborhoods, including Alamo Heights, Live Oak, Universal City, and many more.

Moving to San Antonio: About Your Future Neighbors

Whether you’re moving to San Antonio with your family, your own as a young entrepreneur, or are looking for a peaceful yet invigorating living in your post-retirement years, San Antonio is the place to be.

The 1.5+ million people who live in San Antonio are quite diverse in terms of age groups. Most of the population (63%) falls between 18 and 64, although the average age is a little younger than 34 years old.

Because of San Antonio residents’ age distribution, you’ll find an abundance of opportunities to engage with your community as a young individual or couple. This is perfect for the young entrepreneurs looking to start a new life in the great city of San Antonio, not only for new career opportunities but to begin anew with networking and social connections.

San Antonio, Texas, downtown city skyline at dusk.

However, a closer look at the surprisingly even age distribution in the San Antonio Metro Area shows that you and your family members, young and old alike, are more likely to find similarly-aged friends than you may have expected:

  • 0-9 years old: 14%
  • 10-19: 14%
  • 20-29: 16%
  • 30-39: 15%
  • 40-49: 12%
  • 50-59: 12%
  • 60-69: 9%
  • 70-79: 5%
  • 80+: 3%

As you’re traveling throughout the city and talking to people, though, expect to pay your respects to American veterans on occasion. About 7% more of San Antonio’s population are veterans than in the rest of the state of Texas, totaling about 9% of the city’s residents.

(Just be mindful of when you do and don’t choose to say “Thank you for your service,” since some vets don’t welcome the phrase as warmly as you might expect. )

San Antonio’s Location and Environment

This incredible city is nestled 80 miles away from Austin, TX, at San Antonio River’s headwaters, specifically on the Balcones Escarpment. ( The Balcones Escarpment is one of Texas’ many geographic markers, a steep sheet of rock that separates areas of significantly different elevations.)

As you travel about and explore your brand-new home, make sure that you’re prepared to deal with the weather. Fortunately, San Antonio is pretty moderate in terms of its climate. While it can get quite hot during short periods of the year, most of the time, the environment hovers in the 40-60 range. The extreme ranges are as follows:

  • Lows tend to range from about 40°-75°F
  • Highs range from 60°-95°F

What’s to Like About Living in San Antonio?

No matter what time of year and what little corner of San Antonio you decide to settle into, this city is beloved by its residents for a seemingly endless list of reasons. To get an inkling of why people flock to this city, here are a few reasons why Americans (and folks from around the world!) love living here:

  • Undeniably gorgeous scenery: In the spring, go out and look for the inarguably beautiful wildflowers that grace the roadsides, complemented by the beautiful treetops dotting the horizon of Alamo Heights. The shine of the city’s riverways are unlike any in the country, composing a beautifully pristine scene where anyone can pursue tranquility.
  • Rich historical heritage: As mentioned above, San Antonio is overflowing with an amazing historical background. From the Spanish explorers who flowed into the land in the 1600s, to the 1836 Battle of the Alamo (once you move here, you’ll never stop getting reminders to “remember the Alamo”), to the 1898 presence of the Rough Riders.
  • Local cuisine: This state is infamous for the saying, “everything’s bigger in Texas.” Not only are the palates diverse, but the servings can be massive, too! People from far and wide love chowin’ down on Tex-Mex, and will occasionally invite some seafood onto the plate as well. Cajun food is a popular style you’ll see in San Antonio kitchens.
  • Southern hospitality: This concept is not taken lightly down here in San Antonio. Although the city is chock-full of more than one million residents, everyone still manages to make each other feel at home. Newcomers are often pleasantly surprised at just how personable everyone is, and take great joy in simple hello’s shared between neighbors.
  • Bustling with activity: You will never run out of things to do down here. Interested in visiting a museum? No problem! Every Sunday, the San Antonio Museum of Art welcomes guests for free from 10 am to noon. Got a hankering for some southern cooking? Keep an eye out for food trucks and pop-up stores every Tuesday downtown!

Now, you have a general perspective on what to expect when you up and move yourself and the family down here to San Antonio, TX. Still, you may need a bit more detail to give you that final push and give you the assurance you need to know that you’ve truly made the right decision in your move.

For a closer look at what it’s really like to live in San Antonio and everything that entails, here’s more information on the neighborhoods, economics, and general realities of day-to-day life in this amazing city.

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What Are The Neighborhoods In San Antonio?

 

As some have stated in the past, San Antonio is less of a huge metropolitan and more of a conglomerate of small towns. The most popular neighborhoods include:

  • Alamo Heights
  • Castle Hills
  • Northeast (McAllister Park)
  • Woodlawn Heights
  • King William Historic District
  • And more

Despite the many neighborhoods there are to choose from, there are a handful of residential areas that are considered to be far superior to others.

Real estate experts and casual San Antonio residents agree that the following areas should be in your top three choices to build a life in San Antonio.

Aerial view of san antonio

Alamo Heights

Alamo Heights is one of the most beloved areas in this grand city. One of the major points of attraction is its location: only four miles away from downtown!

If you’re a city-slicker who needs to live in close proximity to the bustling activity of a grand metropolitan, this neighborhood just might be perfect for you. It’s positioned in the ideal place for you to get to where you need to go and fast.

This neighborhood is located nearly at the center of the “wheel” of San Antonio’s highway structure. Here, you’ll have easy access to 410, 35, 10, and 37. So, whether you’re getting ready for a simple grocery trip or you’re on your way to a relaxing vacation, the journey out of your neighborhood will be easy as pie.

The neighborhood boasts a cozy community feel, with a local dog park and baseball fields where you can congregate and have fun with other families. There are even a few nature trails where you can birdwatch with neighbors once a month.

Finally, one of the best parts about living in Alamo Heights is that there’s no HOA (Homeowners Association)! So, you’re free to decorate your home as you please (within reason) and are lucky enough to evade those pesky fees.

Stone Oak

A bit more affluent of a neighborhood, Stone Oak is one of San Antonio’s most prestigious neighborhoods. The housing is a bit more expensive in this area and is most protected within gated communities and 24/7 security.

This is perhaps the best place for those who have a bit of an inclination to go on shopping sprees, given its proximity to the Village at Stone Oak. Still, that’s not all there is to do. Residents that want to indulge in their love for the outdoors can enjoy the beautiful natural areas, such as Panther Springs Park.

Here, you can go hiking and indulge in the picturesque scenery. Or, if you’d like a peaceful day out with a few buddies, head to Canyon Springs Golf Club. Here, you can still bask in the great outdoors while sprinkling a bit of fun competition into your leisure.

Stone Oak is a great place to live for people from all walks of life, especially for families with children or people with particularly high-value belongings. Why? It’s been deemed to be safer than a whopping 78% of residential areas nationwide, with an almost nonexistent violent crime rate.

Are you looking for a secure, well-to-do location to move yourself and your family? Look no further than Stone Oak.

Timberwood Parks

Situated farther North than either Alamo Heights and Stone Oak, Timberwood Parks is quite unique in that you’re more likely to find homes available with relatively large plots of land, as opposed to the suburban (and suburban-adjacent) living in Alamo Heights and Stone Oak.

The average property here sits on about a ½-acre or larger, so keep your eye out for your ideal plot. The available land makes this area a great spot for prospective homeowners who aim to do a bit of homesteading or simply want a large garden to keep them occupied day to day (great for people in retirement!).

Timberwood Parks marks the beginning of hill country down here in San Antonio, so it’s the perfect transition into rural life if that’s what you’re looking for.

Even in such a setting, you don’t have to give up access to the convenient amenities in the area. You can still reach downtown San Antonio very easily while enjoying the peace of wildlife and nature in your country home.

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How is the Job Market in San Antonio?

 

You won’t have a shortage of work or money-making opportunities when moving down to San Antonio, TX. One of the reasons it became the seventh-largest city in the United States is its strong economy. It’s powered by several industries, including aerospace and biomedical science. The top employers and these booming industries are all discussed below.

Industries

Professionals in San Antonio are some of the most distinguished in the country, rising above compared to others in the nation. The local government (rightfully) boasts its cultivation of a business-friendly climate over the centuries, attracting industry leaders to this day.

According to the City of San Antonio official representatives, the most notable industries in which residents can find work include:

  • Healthcare and Bioscience: Astonishingly, one out of every six people living in San Antonio have careers in this industry. The field is full of nationally renowned healthcare facilities, biotech companies, and other such institutions. San Antonio maintains close ties with the South Texas Medical Center, which brought in $23.9 billion back in 2014.
  • Aerospace: The city of San Antonio is fervently dedicated to leading the country in aerospace research, as well as the maintenance, repair, and overhaul of aerospace hardware. The experts who fulfill these roles also retain a strong engineering background and perform the testing of this equipment as well.
  • Information Technology (IT) and Cybersecurity: Industry leaders such as Geekdom and TechStars Cloud nurture educational and professional relationships with the locals to maintain the region’s IT authority, specifically Cloud Computing and Cybersecurity.
    • Thanks to the city’s abundant military affiliations, professionals in this industry have unmatched access to tech and research opportunities in this sector. For this reason, San Antonio boasts the largest concentration of cybersecurity experts in the U.S.

picture of a technology cyber security professional

As you look for work within these sectors, you may want a bit more detailed guidance on just which companies offer the best (and most) career opportunities. If so, here’s a closer look at who’s hiring in the San Antonio workforce.

Top Companies to Work For

Fortunately, you won’t have to look very far in San Antonio to get your foot in the door of the metropolitan’s most prosperous industries. If you’re looking to start up a new career when you move here, keep your eye out for openings in the following businesses:

  • Valero Energy Corp.: In the last Fiscal Year (FY), Valero earned slightly more than $93.9 billion. This corporation is one of the United States’ leading producers of renewable fuels, and the world’s top petroleum refiner.
  • Andeavor Logistics LP: This company earned just over $34.9 billion in the last FY. They’re the nation’s leading full-service logistics company, primarily serving the western and mid-continent U.S. regions in the operation of crude oil, refined products, and natural gas pipelines.
    • MPLX LP recently acquired this company, so they no longer go by the name of ‘Andeavor.’
  • Rush Enterprises, Inc.: Although there is quite a gap in income between Rush and the two leading San Antonio corps, $4.71 billion is still a pretty chunk of change to rake in. Over the years, Rush has grown into North America’s largest commercial vehicle dealership network since its birth as a lone GMC truck dealership in 1965.
  • NuStar Energy LP: As one of the largest independent liquids terminal and pipeline operators in the United States, NuStar earned about $1.81 in the most recent FY. They’re not restricted to America, but work in Canada and Mexico as well.

Despite the plentiful work opportunities in San Antonio’s corporations, you may have a preference for the small-business side of the economy. Fortunately, your options are not restricted to these large franchises. There are plenty of smaller companies that you might be more comfortable with:

  • CaptureRX: A moderately sized healthcare tech company, founded in 2008.
  • Woodhouse Day Spa: This business thrives in six locations across San Antonio, and offers a unique work opportunity, separate from the energy and tech-focused industries that characterize the area.
  • Assessment Intervention Management: Those who have a heart for working with people with special needs should consider this small business. At its core, it is a “special education department for hire,” simultaneously advocating for more inclusive legislation and improved mental health resources.

Not interested in working for someone else? If you’re a budding entrepreneur, San Antonio is still a wonderful place for you to live in. The U.S. Census Bureau estimated 97% of all San Antonio and Texas businesses to be small businesses (less than 100 employees).

Plus, if you’re a first-generation family, the opportunities here are endless, as studies show that over 30% of business owners in the area are immigrants.

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How Is The San Antonio Real Estate Market?

 

Truthfully, housing is getting tougher to lockdown across the U.S., especially with the continued economic scare the nation is currently experiencing. Still, people were moving this part of the Lone Star state long before the impending recession.

In fact, San Antonio is so attractive to prospective, out-of-state homeowners that this city alone saw an inflow of nearly 260,000 residents between 2010-2019. This means that, in only 10 years, this metropolitan grew by approximately 12%!

Since you’ll be one of the hundreds of thousands of brand-new homeowners (or renters) upon moving to San Antonio, you’ll need to know what to expect when planning to move your family there.

Just like all housing markets throughout the U.S., the real estate climate in San Antonio, TX is in constant flux. You can still expect to live a much more budget-friendly life here than you would in more expensive regions of the country, such as California.

There are currently more than 500 homes available on the market for sale – and that’s just on Zillow! The prices range quite dramatically, from the low $60K up to extremes of $5.9 million and even $7 million.

Apart from these distant ends of the spectrum, the average home price you’ll encounter in San Antonio is about $240,000. You’ll want to act on these purchases rather quickly, as the listings typically remain for about 111 days on average.

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How Much Does It Cost To Live In San Antonio?

 

Now, more than ever, people are extremely cautious with their finances. It’s crucial that you plan your money in advance and know what to expect in regard to the cost of living in San Antonio, TX.

Still, you don’t have to worry too much about it. Most people who find themselves moving to San Antonio do so because of the relatively light economic burden compared to where they’ve emigrated from.

For one, you may be wondering about transportation. If you have your own car, expect to pay around $1.60/gal at the pumps – an amazingly low price, thanks to the fact that Texas is the nation’s top oil producer. However, if you need public transportation while living in San Antonio, budget for a monthly bus fare of about $35.

Other factors to consider when preparing for your San Antonio living expenses include:

  • Food and groceries: Compared to the national average, it’s about 5% cheaper to feed yourself and your family after moving to San Antonio. Estimates show that a single adult Texans should budget for just under $3,000 annually for food, while families with two children should raise that to about $8,800.
  • Utilities: Since San Antonio is considered a monopoly metropolitan, you can generally expect to pay less than your neighbors living in deregulated areas for utilities. Unfortunately, living in Texas as a whole means that you’ll be paying about 10% than the U.S. national average in utilities, typically around $122 monthly.
  • Healthcare and medical: Healthcare is just a touch more expensive here than most places in the U.S at about 1.1% higher rates. A short, 15-minute visit to a private doctor may run you about $100 per visit. (Prices may change with insurance.)
  • Taxes: In this aspect, you’ve hit the gold mine. Texas does not impose state income or estate taxes on its residents. However, you’ll still be paying a sales tax, which can range from 6.25-8.25%, and an average gas tax of $0.20/gal.

Unfortunately, San Antonio is on the list of cities whose cost of living is rising much faster than wages are. Still, it is lower than the national average in many respects, according to some estimates.

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Is San Antonio A Good Place To Retire?

 

Many older folks prefer to spend their post-retirement life in significantly calmer, friendlier, and more rewarding areas than where they spent their time working. Plus, a more budget-friendly place is always welcome, too. This is why thousands of retirees prefer to enhance their golden years by moving to San Antonio!

As mentioned above, Texas does not require its residents to pay state income or estate taxes, so you’ll want to keep that at the forefront of your mind as you’re planning to move your life out to this beautiful metropolitan.

picture of Group of retired friends support concept

The area is full of spectacular retirement communities that are sure to make you feel right at home, including:

  • Hill Country Retreat: Located in one of San Antonio’s historic district, this 55+ community is full of gorgeous views of nature and wildlife. A favorite amenity here is the 28,000 sq. ft. clubhouse known as “The Resort,” which offers fitness equipment and community spaces for exercising and connecting.
  • Roseheart: Within this community are more than 200 beautiful single-family homes, all brought together by a community fitness center and even a clubhouse kitchen! It’s located just off the Charles Williams Anderson Loo, so it’s close to a shopping center if you want to get some nice things for yourself.
  • Campanas: Here, you can choose from 300 single-family homes, and a community that boasts a 10,000 sq. ft. clubhouse, complete with an entertainment center, gym, and game room. Feel free to enjoy the communal kitchen or get out into nature on the nearby bike trails.

Slightly less than one-third of San Antonio’s population is 50+ years old. So, you’ll easily find opportunities to build your community when participating in popular activities like sight-seeing down the River Walk, learning about the animals at the San Antonio Zoo, or even boxing with fellow adults and seniors.

Make sure you have insurance if you intend to engage in any high-energy activities, as the average price for a short doctor’s visit can reach up to $100, as mentioned above.

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What Are the People And Culture Like?

 

Part of the reason why this city is overflowing with so much activity and happy residents is because of its astounding cultural diversity. In fact, San Antonio is home to the UTSA (The University of Texas at San Antonio) Institute of Texan Cultures.

This is a center where people from around the world are welcomed to learn about the state’s Danish, Dutch, Belgian, Italian, Irish, Spanish, North American Indigenous peoples. Whether you choose to visit such educational centers or prefer to experience the city’s culture in other ways, every moment of your life here will be filled with the joy of diversity.

picture of Elderly Father and mature son are saluting with the beer in front of the grill in their house backyard on a beautiful day.

The music playing across the metropolitan, the Spanish Missions that still stand throughout the landscape, or the late generations of families descended from the local Indigenous tribes, Tejanos, and more, all played a critical role in shaping the city to be what it is today.

You can get a feel for these cultural distinctions by simply taking a stroll through Texas’ historic neighborhoods, or acquainting yourself with the 3.2-mile River Walk. Visit La Villita Historic Arts Village to delve into the creativity of the past, the styles of which still live on in the architecture, painting, and other crafts that reside within the boundaries of San Antonio today.

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What Are The Popular Things To Do In San Antonio?

 

If you’re moving to San Antonio, boy have you got quite a few things to add to your list for getting to know the area! This city is overflowing with opportunities to delve into Texas history, connect to nature, shop for fun clothes and other retail items, taste the unique Texan cuisine, and so much more!

Here’s a sneak peek at all the things you can do in San Antonio, whether you’re on your own, with the family, or going out with friends:

  • Segway Tour of San Antonio and the Alamo: You can “Remember the Alamo” with your friends and family in style, while riding on one of the most convenient vehicles in the modern era: the segway! You’ll get to learn about San Antonio’s Spanish-influenced history and visit a variety of photo spots over about a 1.5 hour period.
  • San Antonio Ghost Walking Tour: Anyone got an itch for spooky entertainment? Then make your way over to the infamous ghost tour of San Antonio’s haunted areas, led by professional paranormal investigators. In this tour, you’ll hear some of the city’s most tragic stories and learn just why the areas are deemed “haunted.”
  • San Antonio Zoo: There’s no overlooking one of the nation’s most beloved zoos! Get face-to-face with 750 unique species of wildlife in this 56-acre park on a perfect day out with your loved ones.
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Pros and Cons of Living in San Antonio

 

Just like all cities across the states, there San Antonio is distinguished by its own advantages and drawbacks. To summarize just what this amazing city can (and maybe, cannot) offer you, here’s a brief pro and cons list of what to expect when moving to San Antonio, to wrap up your thoughts.

Pros

  • The cost of living here is significantly cheaper than many areas in the U.S., including Massachusetts, California, D.C., and New York.
  • There is so much to do for residents of all ages, from touring, to historical education, to fun activities such as visiting the Zoo
  • There is an abundance of natural wonders here, in the form of nature trails and open landscapes
  • You can find affordable plots of land in some areas

Cons

  • The cost of living is rising faster than wages
  • Summer temperatures can get pretty uncomfortable (and flash flooding can happen!)

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Fun Facts About San Antonio Texas

 

  • The city gained its namesake from San Antonio de Valero, the Spanish settler who built his first (temporary) Mission. The Saint, along with thousands of other European settlers who would sporadically move in and out of the region of Texas that is now San Antonio were drawn to the natural assets of the area.
  • The population is largely comprised of the descendants of various European immigrants, including, but not limited to, Germans, Irish, and Italians. Of course, Tejano descendants make up a large portion of the population as well.
  • San Antonio is the seventh-largest city in the nation.
  • Church’s Chicken first started in San Antonio back in 1952.
  • San Pedro Park is the second-oldest park in the U.S. and was officially named a public park in 1852. It was used as a camp for prisoners of war during the Civil War.

 

Further Reading: Looking For More Texas Resources? Check These Articles Out!

 

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