Like any sprawling metropolis with ample housing available, teasing out the best San Antonio neighborhood in which to launch a home search can be daunting. With our handy guide offering you community snapshots of the most popular areas (and a couple of affordable, underappreciated gems), you’ll be able to narrow your options quickly and efficiently.
Note that the most popular neighborhoods in San Antonio are clustered on the city’s north and west sides where the bulk of business and residential growth has occurred in recent decades.
Picture leafy, tree-lined streets dominated by idyllic mid-century homes, and you’ve got the general idea of this very affluent, popular community. Although just 5 minutes from downtown, Alamo Heights is its own incorporated city-within-a-city. It is bordered by Olmos Park, Brackenridge Park, and Fort Sam Houston. As you’d expect, the schools are top-notch for families, but singles will find a growing number of trendy apartments near the historic Pearl Brewery. Also popular (and slightly more affordable) is the adjacent community of Terrell Hills.
Technically an upscale, gated, master-planned community wedged into the Northwest quadrant of the Hwy 281 and Loop 1604 exchange, the phrase “Stone Oak” in popular vernacular covers the larger, more diverse Timberwood Park area.
Locals openly profess great love or hate for this part of town, with traffic congestion being the overwhelmingly cited drawback. That problem has eased somewhat in recent years with updates to the highway system, and Stone Oak area residents enjoy the easy access to excellent hospitals, an outstanding public library, swanky restaurants, and all the major big-box retailers (including Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods).
A little bit country but increasingly suburban, the unincorporated community of Leon Springs hugs IH-10 just outside of Loop 1604. For people who want easy, equal access to both the Alamo City’s urban core and the hill country—not to mention the abundant shopping options at La Cantera and The Rim, the location is ideal. The quaint small town of Boerne is 11 miles away, and there are two gorgeous walking trails (Friedrich Park and Crownridge Canyon Park) nearby.
For families, the four local elementary schools are among the highest rated in the region. Education and income levels are similar to more affluent neighborhoods like Alamo Heights and Stone Oak, but there are a couple of modest developments that make the area more affordable. In the market for a super swanky abode? Then check out The Dominion, one of the most expensive communities in Texas–and home to legendary country-western singer George Strait.
If you’ve ever imagined living in a small Texas town complete with a small town fair, a dance hall, and horse trailers on the highway, then the small town of Helotes is your dream come true. Convenient to major employers like Valero, UTSA, USAA and the medical center, Helotes is just outside of 1604 on the road to the small town of Bandera, the self-professed “Cowboy Capital of the World.” At the center of the Helotes community are older, established neighborhoods; newer tract homes surround them. For convenience, local shopping centers are chock-a-block with major chains and retailers.
Looking to get outdoors? You can head to nearby Government Canyon State Natural Area, featuring over 40 miles of hike and bike trails in the natural hill country environment. Want to live in a tiny house nestled in the hills? Check out the historic community of Grey Forest, just minutes away.
The area’s King William District proper remains popular with fans of historic architecture, although the residential price point in the district remains high and the inventory low. That said, concerted efforts to develop housing (primarily lofts, flats, and apartments) in the larger downtown area’s vibrant arts district (“Southtown”) and along Broadway near Alamo Heights are starting to pay off with young professionals and retirees. If either of those descriptions fit you, then the area is worth a closer look, especially if you are a fan of museums, quirky eateries, and a welcoming, multicultural vibe.
A master-planned community in Northwest Bexar County sited near Sea World, Lackland Air Force Base, and UTSA, the Alamo Ranch area is popular with young, growing families who want the classic, All-American suburban experience. Single-family homes abound–and more are being constructed every day. The schools are new, too. Highway construction along Loop 1604 has been brutal in recent years, but congestion is easing, promising to make the area more attractive than ever.
Comprised mostly of older, established neighborhoods but with a few newer developments sprinkled in, Shavano Park offers easy access to major corporate employers while maintaining a more low-key, suburban vibe. Like Alamo Heights, Shavano Park is incorporated and populated with upper-income, well-educated residents. It also boasts access to great schools. There are a number of apartments in the area and a growing number of modest-sized (albeit pricey) townhomes. Because it is situated on the IH-10 corridor but inside Loop 1604, commuters bound for the city center have the option of taking major thoroughfares exclusively or taking side streets.
In the market for a modest single-family home or apartment in an older, established neighborhood with good schools and quick, easy access to downtown via Loop 410 or IH-10? Castle Hills is still off the radar for many newcomers looking to make a purchase (and renters, too) but definitely worth a closer look. Shopping and dining options abound, crime in the area is low, and Salado Creek Greenway–one of city’s new linear parks–is handy for biking and hiking.
If historic fixer-uppers are your thing, you’ll want to take a look at Government Hill. Described as a “neighborhood in transition” by residents, the area dates back to turn of the nineteenth century and boasts a number of architectural styles. Government Hill is just outside Fort Sam Houston’s gates and is convenient to downtown. It’s an excellent option for people who want the historic vibe of the King William District but without the hefty price tag. (The same can be said of nearby Mahnke Park, too.)
Situated to the Northeast of San Antonio proper, over in Guadalupe County, the bedroom community of Cibolo is increasingly popular with Alamo City commuters who want suburban amenities but need to spend a little less on their mortgage payment. Like the bustling nearby communities of Schertz, Universal City, Garden Ridge, and Selma, Cibolo is convenient to Randolph Air Force Base, making it popular with military types, including retirees.