If you’re thinking about moving to San Antonio, TX, – a city rich with history, culture, and gastronomic delights – it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the pros and cons of possibly calling Alamo City home. Like any city, living in San Antonio comes with its set of pros and cons, each playing a role in shaping the overall experience for its residents
Whether you’re drawn to the city’s cultural festivals or its warm community spirit, San Antonio has something to offer for a wide range of individuals. In this Redfin article, we’ll dive into the pros and cons of living in San Antonio, providing valuable insights for anyone contemplating a new chapter in this captivating and historic city. Whether you’re planning to buy a home in San Antonio or rent an apartment in the city, this guide will help you make an informed decision about making this city your home.
Pros of living in San Antonio, TX
1. Convenient location
San Antonio’s central location in Texas makes it a prime hub for weekend getaways, offering residents an array of diverse destinations within a manageable drive. Whether seeking coastal retreats in Corpus Christi, the cultural allure of Austin, or the scenic beauty of the Hill Country, San Antonio serves as a convenient starting point for various excursions.
“Located to the north of San Antonio, Boerne stands out as a sought-after destination for San Antonians looking for day trips or convenient overnight getaways,” explains Tori Bellos of Visit Boerne, a resource hub for visitors. “Our downtown area, affectionately known as the Hill Country Mile, exudes charm with its quaint, historic, and walkable streets. This vibrant district is adorned with unique, independently owned boutiques and upscale restaurants, offering a diverse range of dining options, from casual brew pubs to fine dining establishments. The Mile, embraced by the scenic Cibolo Creek and its accompanying Cibolo Trail, provides a picturesque setting for a leisurely stroll and grants access to two of the seven local breweries that proudly call Boerne home.”
2. Relatively low cost of living
San Antonio is celebrated for its relatively low cost of living. The city boasts reasonable housing costs and a variety of housing options to suit different budgets. In fact, in October, the median sale price in San Antonio was $270,000, nearly $145k below the national median sale price. In addition, everyday expenses, from groceries to transportation, tend to be more budget-friendly compared to many other major metropolitan areas. This affordability extends to recreational activities and dining out, allowing residents to enjoy the city’s vibrant culture without straining their wallets.
3. No state income tax
One of the significant financial advantages of living in San Antonio is the absence of state income tax. This allows residents to retain more of their earnings, contributing to a higher disposable income. Whether individuals are employed in the city’s thriving job market, entrepreneurs launching their ventures, or retirees enjoying their free time, the lack of state income tax is a critical factor in the overall affordability of living in San Antonio. This fiscal benefit not only attracts new residents but also enhances the city’s appeal as a destination where individuals can maximize their financial resources and enjoy a more tax-friendly lifestyle.
An undeniable advantage of living in San Antonio is the city’s abundance of year-round sunshine. With over 250 sunny days annually, residents enjoy a consistently warm climate that fosters an outdoor-centric lifestyle. The sun-drenched days not only contribute to the city’s vibrant atmosphere but also provide ample opportunities for outdoor activities, from exploring the scenic parks and trails to partaking in cultural events and festivals.
5. Things to do
San Antonio offers a wealth of activities for residents, from leisurely strolls along the iconic River Walk to exploring historic missions and indulging in a diverse culinary scene. Green spaces like Brackenridge Park provide outdoor escapes, while cultural institutions like the McNay Art Museum enrich the arts scene. Residents can immerse themselves in local events and festivals, such as the lively Fiesta San Antonio, or enjoy the vibrant nightlife at the Pearl District. With a blend of history, culture, and urban experiences, San Antonio caters to a dynamic and fulfilling lifestyle for its residents.
“Rediscover our downtown charm with a night at one of the new swanky riverside hotels, such as the Canopy,” suggests Chef Johnny Hernandez, a celebrated chef, entrepreneur, founder and President of Grupo La Gloria and True Flavors Inc. “Dine at one of the many options, enjoy a cocktail at a rooftop bar, immerse yourself in the captivating SAGA at Main Plaza, and take a leisurely stroll along the newly developed San Pedro Creek.”
Johnny Hernandez also suggests checking out the enchanting holiday river lights – a must-see spectacle. “Hop on a bike and explore the historic missions along the Mission Reach of the San Antonio River. Be sure to make a pitstop at Confluence Park; it’s truly amazing, offering an outdoor classroom experience like no other.”
6. Food scene
San Antonio boasts a vibrant and diverse food scene that is a culinary delight for residents and visitors alike. Fueled by a rich cultural tapestry, the city offers a fusion of Tex-Mex, traditional Mexican, and Southern flavors, creating a unique gastronomic experience. From the iconic River Walk to the historic Market Square, San Antonio’s eateries showcase an array of delectable dishes, including mouth-watering tacos, sizzling fajitas, and savory barbecue. The city’s culinary landscape is not only defined by its renowned local establishments but also by a burgeoning food truck culture that adds a dynamic and innovative touch to the dining scene.
Johnny Hernandez recommends checking out Shiro Japanese Bistro. “The sashimi is impeccable, rolls are unique, and they have an excellent selection of hot entrees and appetizers.”
“Among my favorite spots in San Antonio is The Pearl, an authentic downtown gem with delightful restaurants and a lively outdoor atmosphere for day or night outings,” shares local Marisa Hernandez, the author of the lifestyle blog Meximoments. “The city’s vibrant food truck communities offer fantastic outdoor dining options, highlighting San Antonio’s renowned Tacos and BBQ scene. Personally, I enjoy El Remedio Restaurant in the Medical Center area and the flavors of Garcia BBQ in Southtown—two culinary standouts in this diverse and flavorful city.”
7. History and culture
“San Antonio is truly a beautiful place to call home,” says Marisa Hernandez. “The city’s vibrant culture and strong sense of community create an incredibly welcoming atmosphere. You’ll find numerous pockets of peaceful neighborhoods to choose from, ranging from the charm of Olmos Park and Southtown to the tranquility of the Northside and Helotes areas. It’s an ideal setting for raising a family, with an abundance of nearby mini vacation spots like Bourne Lake, Fredericksburg, and the scenic Hill Country—a perfect escape for residents.”
“I’m truly impressed with how murals are seamlessly blending into our downtown areas, complemented by the rejuvenation of Civic Park in Hemisfair and the innovative Alamo Plaza experience,” states Johnny Hernandez. “Having resided in Southtown for 15 years, I’ve witnessed its evolution with delightful additions of restaurants and bars. The ongoing development along South St. Marys and S. Presa is particularly appealing, and the Second Saturday Art Crawl is a must-not-miss. I strive to stay connected to our cultural hubs, including the Guadalupe Cultural Arts, Centro Aztlan, and Blue Star Art Gallery, ensuring I’m immersed in the vibrant cultural scene of San Antonio.”
Cons of living in San Antonio, TX
1. Property taxes
If you’re moving to San Antonio and planning to buy a home, be aware that San Antonio has the highest property taxes in the country. If you’re interested in buying a home, use a mortgage calculator to estimate your monthly mortgage payment, including principal and interest, taxes, insurance, and more.
2. Cedar fever
San Antonio residents are familiar with the seasonal challenge known as cedar fever, a particularly intense allergic reaction triggered by the pollination of mountain cedar trees in the surrounding region. Typically occurring from December to February, cedar fever brings about symptoms such as sneezing, congestion, itchy eyes, and fatigue, affecting a significant portion of the population. The prevalence of mountain cedar in the Texas Hill Country exacerbates the issue, making this period a challenging time for allergy sufferers. Coping strategies range from over-the-counter remedies to minimizing outdoor activities during peak cedar pollen times.
3. Summer heat
San Antonio, TX, is synonymous with scorching summer temperatures that characterize the city’s climate. With average highs often surpassing 90°F (32°C) and occasionally soaring well into the triple digits, the summer months bring an intense heat that defines the Texan experience. The extended periods of high temperatures underscore the importance of staying hydrated and adopting heat-savvy practices.
4. Invasive wildlife
San Antonio grapples with invasive wildlife, notably fire ants, whose aggressive nature and painful stings create persistent challenges for residents. The city also contends with venomous snakes like the Western Diamondback Rattlesnake and Copperhead, posing safety concerns in suburban and rural areas. While these creatures contribute to the local ecosystem, residents must stay vigilant to coexist harmoniously with San Antonio’s diverse yet sometimes challenging wildlife.
5. Traffic congestion
San Antonio contends with notable traffic congestion, a challenge exacerbated by the city’s rapid growth and a heavy reliance on personal vehicles. Rush hours often result in extensive delays on the network of highways and roads, affecting both commuters and residents. The city’s sprawling layout and increasing population contribute to the congestion, prompting ongoing efforts to enhance public transportation options and alleviate the strain on roadways. As San Antonio grapples with the complexities of urban development, addressing and mitigating traffic congestion remains a key priority to enhance the overall quality of life for its residents.
Is San Antonio, TX a good place to live? Final thoughts
Living in San Antonio offers a multifaceted experience, blending benefits such as no state income tax, an affordable lifestyle, and a diverse food scene. However, challenges like traffic congestion and high property taxes are part of the equation. The decision to call San Antonio home involves weighing these factors, aligning personal preferences, and acknowledging the city’s unique attributes. Despite its imperfections, San Antonio remains a dynamic and culturally rich community, where the pros often outweigh the cons, creating a unique space that embraces diversity and celebrates its rich heritage.