Moving to San Antonio, TX

With year-round blue skies, a rich cultural history, and a welcoming vibe lauded in 2016 by Travel and Leisure, it’s understandable that most people think of San Antonio chiefly as a tourist destination. UNESCO’s designation of five frontier missions—including the Alamo—as a “World Heritage Site” only adds to that perception.

In contrast with similar large-scale metropolitan areas, San Antonio has a lower cost of living, a higher rate of employment, and a real estate market ideal for first-time homebuyers and retirees. Plus, from downtown digs and older homes in Monte Vista and Alamo Heights to popular suburban communities like Stone Oak and Alamo Ranch, there’s an array of neighborhoods available for young professionals, families, and empty nesters alike.

Officially the city covers 465 square miles. The downtown is nested at the core of two concentric loops, 410 and 1604. In recent years, growth has been concentrated on the city’s north side, creating an economic lopsidedness that south-side leaders aspire to correct.

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Traffic

The highway system is well maintained but, like most major cities, it’s beginning to feel the strain of population growth and urban sprawl. There’s been abundant roadwork in recent years, and there’s talk within the popular citizen-driven SA 2020 vision plan about increasing reliance on public transportation and bicycles.

To that end, the city is developing green belts and linear parks designed to connect communities through bike and hike trails. Still, with few exceptions, most people routinely rely upon their own cars to travel for work or pleasure.

Weather

It’s South Central Texas, so San Antonio is H-O-T for a big chunk of the year. While there are bouts of dry weather and the occasional extended drought, newcomers are surprised sometimes by the summer humidity. This makes sense when you factor in that the city center is only a few hundred miles from Texas Gulf Coast beaches. Officially, San Antonio has a “humid subtropical climate” and averages 31.91 inches of rain per year, but there’s a lot of variability in the landscape and vegetation across the city. Areas close to downtown can appear more tropical. The further north and west you travel, for example, the more apt you are to see cacti and scrub trees.

The upside to the summer heat is that winters are mild, with the occasional January ice storm shutting the city down for a day or two every few years. Given the warm, sunny weather, snow cones and margaritas are more popular than snow plows and shovels.

Summer average (June — Aug):  93.6℉ high, 73℉ low [Source]
Winter average (Dec — Feb):  64.3℉ high, 40.6℉ low [Ibid.]

Economy

The world may know San Antonio as “The Alamo City,” but boosters frequently refer to it as “Military City USA.” Given that there’s been a military presence in the area for 300 years (including the current U.S. Department of Defense’s largest medical center), it’s no surprise to find a sizable community of locals employed at Lackland Air Force Base, Fort Sam Houston, and Randolph Air Force Base.

Non-military industries thrive here, as well, especially: hospitality and entertainment; manufacturing; biotechnology and biomedicine; energy (including businesses related to the Eagle Ford Shale); and information technology.  Cyber security is a growing economic sector with industry insiders recognizing The University of Texas at San Antonio’s cyber security program as the best in the nation. Major corporations include USAA, Toyota, Valero, Clear Channel, Frost Bank, Rackspace, and HEB.

Unemployment rate: 3.4% (as of May 2016) [Source]
Average weekly wages for all industries: $841.20 (fourth quarter 2015) [Source]

San Antonio, TX Arts and Entertainment

Beto's Alt-Mex

Beto's, Broadway Street, San Antonio, TX, United States

Bird Bakery

Bird Bakery, Broadway Street, San Antonio, TX, United States

The Cove

The Cove, West Cypress Street, San Antonio, TX, United States

Cured

Cured, Pearl Parkway, San Antonio, TX, United States

Folc

Folc, East Olmos Drive, San Antonio, TX, United States

Hot Joy

Hot Joy, South Alamo Street, San Antonio, TX, United States

La Fonda on Main

La Fonda On Main, North Main Avenue, San Antonio, TX, United States

Mary Lou's Cafe

Mary Lou's Cafe, McCullough Avenue, San Antonio, TX, United States

SoBro's Pizza Co.

SoBro Pizza Co., Broadway Street, San Antonio, TX, United States

Two Bros BBQ Market

Two Bros BBQ Market, West Avenue, San Antonio, TX, United States

Restaurants
Beto's Alt-Mex
Bird Bakery
The Cove
Cured
Folc
Hot Joy
La Fonda on Main
Mary Lou's Cafe
SoBro's Pizza Co.
Two Bros BBQ Market

The Alamo

The Alamo, San Antonio, TX, United States

ArtPace

Artpace San Antonio, North Main Avenue, San Antonio, TX, United States

Blue Star Complex

Blue Star Complex, West Travis Street, San Antonio, TX, United States

The Briscoe Western Art Museum

The Briscoe Western Art Museum, West Market Street, San Antonio, TX, United States

The DoSeum

The DoSeum, Broadway Street, San Antonio, TX, United States

McNay Art Museum

McNay Art Museum, North New Braunfels Avenue, San Antonio, TX, United States

Witte Museum

Witte Museum, Broadway Street, San Antonio, TX, United States

San Antonio Museum of Art

San Antonio Museum of Art, West Jones Avenue, San Antonio, TX, United States

Institute of Texan Cultures

Institute of Texan Cultures, East César E. Chávez Boulevard, San Antonio, TX, United States

Museums
The Alamo
ArtPace
Blue Star Complex
The Briscoe Western Art Museum
The DoSeum
McNay Art Museum
Witte Museum
San Antonio Museum of Art
Institute of Texan Cultures

Alamodome

Alamodome, Montana Street, San Antonio, TX, United States

The Cove

The Cove, West Cypress Street, San Antonio, TX, United States

Cowboy's Dancehall

Cowboys Dancehall, Northeast Interstate 410 Loop, San Antonio, TX, United States

John T. Floore Country Store

John T. Floore's Country Store, Old Bandera Road, Helotes, TX, United States

Majestic Theatre

Majestic Theatre, East Houston Street, San Antonio, TX, United States

Tobin Center for the Performing Arts

Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, Auditorium Circle, San Antonio, TX, United States

Sam's Burger Joint

Sam's Burger Joint, East Grayson Street, San Antonio, TX, United States

Tejas Rodeo Company

Tejas Rodeo, Steakhouse and Saloon, Obst Road, Bulverde, Comal County, TX, United States

The Woodlawn Theatre

Woodlawn Theatre, Fredericksburg Road, San Antonio, TX, United States

Nightlife
Alamodome
The Cove
Cowboy's Dancehall
John T. Floore Country Store
Majestic Theatre
Tobin Center for the Performing Arts
Sam's Burger Joint
Tejas Rodeo Company
The Woodlawn Theatre
Entertainment

Locals know that America’s seventh largest city has more than the legendary Alamo to recommend it. For starters, diversity is woven into the city and reflected in food, language, art, and architecture. There’s variety in social experiences, too.

Wherever you settle in San Antonio, you’ll be within an hour of hiking the hill country, sampling a glass from area wineries, enjoying the goings-on at the historic Pearl Brewery, catching a Spurs game or live music performance at the Alamodome, savoring enchiladas on the Riverwalk, or watching a colorful April Fiesta parade.

For the young at heart, there are several area amusement parks, including Sea World and Fiesta Texas as well as the world’s first-ever completely handicapped accessible park, Morgan’s Wonderland. Up for a road trip? You can reach the beach in less than a couple of hours.

Culture

According to the San Antonio Economic Development Foundation, San Antonio grew by 8.55% between 2010 and 2016. The city is projected to grow another 6.90% through 2021.

  • Race composition in San Antonio Metro Area:
    • White alone: 74.33%
    • Black/African American: 7.03%
    • Asian: 2.37%
    • Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander: .14%
    • American Indian/Alaska Native: .84%
    • Two or More Races: 3.54%
    • Other Race: 11.76%
  • Median Age: 34.1
  • The 2014 median household income in San Antonio was $50,075, compared to national median household income of $51,939.
  • Workers in the San Antonio-New Braunfels Metropolitan Statistical Area had an average hourly wage of $19.88 in May 2013, about 11 percent below the nationwide average of $22.33, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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