Expat’s guide to living in San Antonio


San Antonio is a hidden treasure of central Texas, where the desert meets the green, lush countryside. While arguably lesser known than other cities in Texas like Dallas and Austin, it is one of the oldest major cities in the state. The city of San Antonio is 63.8% Hispanic or Latino, with rich culture and history throughout the area. 

Life in San Antonio is famous for being laid back, likely due to the high heat and humidity in the summer. Temperatures can soar up to 85-90 degrees, though most of the year is usually temperate with clear skies. 

Places to Visit

The Alamo is an 18th-century Spanish mission and fortress preserved as a museum. Originally known as the Misión San Antonio de Valero, it is a symbol of Texan independence, situated right in the heart of the city center. It commemorates the pivotal Battle of the Alamo during the Texas revolution, later brought to notoriety in the 1960 John Wayne film.  

In the city center, you can also find the River Walk, a network of waterside pathways hidden below street level, lined with bars and restaurants that offer visitors a stroll through downtown accompanied by lights, live music, and fine dining. Downtown San Antonio offers entertainment, condos, and a great dining scene. It also has a vibrant party scene, with coffee shops, gyms, and lunch spots galore, plus the opportunity to catch a Spurs game at the AT&T Center.  

In the shade of the trees and buildings in the city, explorers can listen to authentic mariachi music with the heavy Spanish and Mexican influence of the city around every corner. 

The Job Market

San Antonio is a proud military region and holds one of the largest military bases in the country. It is a joint base combining Lackland Air Force Base, Fort Sam Houston, Camp Bullis, and Randolph Air Force Base.  

Government, healthcare, education, tourism, and recreation are popular industries in the city.  

There are also growing opportunities in bioscience, renewable energy, and manufacturing. Leading companies include Southwest Research Institute, Valero Energy Corp., and Toyota. 

It is also a famed destination city for leisure and hospitality. The income and unemployment rates in San Antonio are below the national average.  

Living Costs

Though San Antonio is a large metropolitan city, it is very affordable. If you are thinking about moving to Texas, San Antonio is a fantastic alternative to higher-priced cities in the state such as Austin. Rental prices are often more affordable, and renters can pay up to 60% less than those based in Austin. It is also a good location for retirees, given that there are no property taxes or individual income taxes. 

Neighborhood Picks

If you are looking for a family-friendly environment when moving to San Antonio, look no further than Castle Hills. This quaint town is located 10 miles north of downtown San Antonio and is close to the River Walk and the international airport. This well-established area boasts good family homes, schools, and a booming job market. 

Monte Vista is another picturesque district in San Antonio that offers beautiful architecture preserved from the early 20th century and an affluent neighborhood. 

Schools and Education

There are 445 public primary and secondary schools in San Antonio, with some of the most celebrated elementary schools including Curington Elementary, Cibolo Creek Elementary, and Fabra Elementary. 

Some popular universities in San Antonio include:

  • Trinity University
  • St. Mary’s University
  • The University of Texas at San Antonio

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