About San Antonio
Nested in the warm, rolling countryside between the Texas Hill Country and the South Texas Plains, San Antonio is a deeply historic town with a unique, cosmopolitan vibe. Though it’s often overshadowed by its northern rivals, San Antonio is actually the second-largest city in Texas, and the city’s population now stands at nearly 1.5 million.
65.7% of San Antonio residents identify as Hispanic/Latinx — the largest percentage of any metro area in the state — and 25% higher than the state average (40.2%). No surprise in this city that was originally colonized by the Spanish and was, of course, the site of the Battle of the Alamo, where Texas revolutionaries famously battled (and lost to) Mexican troops.
As the longtime home to the Joint Base San Antonio, the Alamo City is still very much an army town — it’s even known as Military City, USA — and the bases here provide a robust economic foundation and strong cultural connections among residents. The lessons learned on this military stage forever changed the course of human history, and the city’s historic battlefronts are some of the most popular tourist destinations in the world.
But San Antonio is also a place to have fun. A big Southern city with a small-town vibe, residents enjoy the tight-knit community, the modest cost of living and the incredible food, from Tex-Mex to Thai. In addition to The Alamo, several of Texas’ most popular attractions are located in San Antonio, including the River Walk downtown, which has been the envy of many American cities for decades.
With an ever-expanding job base and a gain of 150,000+ new residents in the last decade, this big city should definitely be a candidate for your next residence. If you’re considering moving to Texas, be sure to put San Antonio on your list.
Living in San Antonio
Cost of Living in San Antonio
San Antonio may be the second-largest city in Texas but it has the lowest cost of living among all the big cities in the state — including Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, and Austin — especially when it comes to real estate. The median gross rent in San Antonio is $1,090 and the median home value is just under $168,000, according to the U.S. Census, both far below the national average and the housing costs in other major metropolises in the Lone Star State.
When it comes to taxes though, the playing field is pretty level. Like other Texans, San Antonians are not subject to any state-imposed personal or corporate income taxes, but they must pay a 1.66% state property tax in Texas, an additional .55% property tax in San Antonio and a 8.25% sales and use tax in the city.
The Alamo City is no exception in Texas when it comes to traffic. Drive times in San Antonio are a bit shorter here but only because the population density is lower. San Antonians only have to suffer a 25.8 minute-commute, compared to Austin’s 26.1-minute slog, Dallas-Ft. Worth’s 27.3-minute trek and Houston’s 28.9-minute haul. The best way to spend that San Antonio commute is listening to your favorite Tejano hits or catching up on the latest episodes of San Antonio-based podcasts, like the entrepreneurially focused Building Something Out of Nothing or Salud Talks, which covers Latinx-focused issues in America
One reason for the slowdown is that 80% of San Antonio residents use a car to get to work. This really comes as no surprise, since the city’s public transportation system — VIA — doesn’t include rail service, making it one of the only large cities in America without it. A day pass for the bus costs $2.75 and an annual pass costs $365.00.
Please note: we are not tax experts and are not offering tax advice, other than you should consider obtaining additional information and advice from your legal and/or financial advisers who are fully aware of your individual circumstances.
San Antonio Job Market
The global pandemic may have caused many residents to flee the big cities, but not so in San Antonio. Over the past decade, the Alamo City has gained more than 145,500 new residents — nearly 39,000 since 2020 alone.
The job market may be one reason for the city’s population boom. In April 2023, the unemployment rate in San Antonio sat at 3.4%, its lowest value in the city since December 2022. Nonfarm jobs in the city grew by 4.2% overall in the past year, with industries like Mining & Logging (+12.5%), Leisure & Hospitality (+9.1%), Other Services (+6.9%) and Information (+6.0%) expanding the most.
At its heart, though, the Alamo City is a military town. (San Antonio’s other moniker is actually Military City, U.S.A.) The Joint Base San Antonio (JBSA) — home of the 502nd Air Base Wing — is considered the Department of Defense’s premier military installation, comprising Fort Sam Houston, Lackland Air Force Base, Randolph Air Force Base and Camp Bullis, a training center for the U.S. Army. Tens of thousands of active-duty members and civilians make their home on these bases, and more than 90,000 veterans call San Antonio home. Naturally, the JBSA is a huge economic driver in the region, supporting thousands of jobs and industries, including a new Boeing initiative that delivered the first F/A-18 Super Hornet to the Navy in 2021.
San Antonio’s biggest industries are Trade, Transportation & Utilities, Government, Education & Health Services and Professional & Business Services. Within the corporate sphere, San Antonio’s largest businesses center around the Healthcare & Bioscience industry, IT/Cybersecurity, New Energy and, of course, Aerospace.
At Port San Antonio and its industrial airbase, Kelly Field (SKF), many of these sectors combine to create a hub for technology and innovation. Business like Boeing, Booz | Allen | Hamilton, DeLorean Motor Company, Fidelis Cybersecurity and Kawasaki Robotics all make their home at the Port.
San Antonio is also a significant player in the healthcare sector, the South Texas Medical Center generates more than $40 million for the region annually.
Corporations and the military alike have a strong talent pool to pull from, thanks to the University of Texas at San Antonio, Texas A&M University – San Antonio and the five colleges of Alamo Colleges District. Business-education partnerships allow students to get hands-on training in the field while they pursue their degree, helping to establish them in their desired industry before they ever receive their diploma.
Tourism is another major economic driver in the Alamo city, and 2.5 million people make the journey to the historic site each year. The Alamo, along with the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, is the only UNESCO World Heritage Site in the state of Texas.
Weather in San Antonio
The climate of this south-central Texas city is hot, hot, hot. The Alamo City sees an average of 250 sunny days a year, and thanks to all that bright, clear weather, summer temperatures in the city can be blistering. From June through September, highs are typically between 90-100°F, and evening temps dip only into the 70s F.
The upside is that the mercury in San Antonio rarely drops below freezing for a meaningful amount of time. Winter lows are usually in the upper 30s F to low 40s F, and daytime highs, even in January, usually reach the low 60s.
Thanks to its proximity to the Gulf of Mexico, San Antonio also has more humid air and more rain than other regions to the south and west. The city receives an average of 32 inches of rain each year, and May and June can see upwards of four inches per month.
Neighborhoods in San Antonio
If you’re thinking of moving to San Antonio, there are so many neighborhoods to consider for your new home. This friendly city has cool in-town districts, like Alamo Heights — where cultural destinations like the McNay Art Museum and hip hangouts like the Alamo Quarry Market beckon. Or, maybe the Southtown Arts District is more your speed, where indie art galleries and microbreweries feed the city scene. In the Pearl/Broadway Cultural Corridor, you’ll find relaxing spots like the Japanese Tea Garden and educational wonders at The Witte Museum, showcasing the city’s natural history collection.
If you really want to live in the center of it all, Downtown San Antonio is where it’s at. The Alamo City has managed to do what other large cities only dream of: making a tourist-centric district appealing to locals. With the all the amenities of the city’s famous River Walk and easy access to the corporate offices in the area, working professionals find this area to be a well-balanced live-work-play situation. Housing downtown comprises traditional apartments and condos, airy lofts and detached, single family homes from Victorian to contemporary. Real estate prices start in the low $200s and swell to above $2 million.
San Antonio has many popular suburbs (hence the traffic), and one of the most popular districts is the Northeast Inner Loop. Just north of Alamo Heights and east of the San Antonio International Airport, the Northeast area is a sprawling, family-oriented district. There are hundreds of acres of public outdoor spaces to enjoy, from the trails of McAllister Park to the fully accessible rides at Morgan’s Wonderland. Housing in this dense, suburban district ranges from very modest apartments (<$100K) to well-appointed, recently built single family homes (>$300K).
The Fort Sam Houston neighborhood is a near-town district east of Midtown and the McAllister Freeway that is very popular with military families. The area offers easy access to the Joint Base San Antonio’s Brooke Army Medical Center as well as highly affordable housing, ranging from small apartments to multi-families and modest single-family ranches. The western regions of the district are close to cultural attractions like the San Antonio Botanical Garden and Breckenridge Park, where the DoSeum and San Antonio Zoo are located.
Tanglewood Ridge is a far northwest suburb situated between the South Texas Medical Center — a major medical research hub — and the University of Texas at San Antonio. This small district just off I-10 offers all the conveniences expected of the far suburbs — big box stores, family-friendly restaurants and proximity to green spaces like Bamberger Nature Park and the Leon Creek Greenway. Tanglewood Ridge has a range of single-family homes, from mid-century ranches to quirky bungalows and new four-bedrooms in the upper $200s.
Note: If you’re thinking of moving to San Antonio, it’s important to thoroughly research neighborhoods or areas in the city where you might be interested in living. Before you decide where you are going to live, make sure you understand the area’s cost of living, commute time, tax rates, safety statistics and schooling information.
Top Attractions in the Alamo City
If you’re relocating to San Antonio, you are moving to one of the most culturally rich cities in the country. With historic sites like The Alamo and the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, and popular contemporary venues like SeaWorld and Hopscotch, you will never run out of things to see, learn and do.
No one in San Antonio has ever forgotten to see the Alamo, but the Fort Sam Houston Museum hasn’t made it to the top of every history buff’s bucket list, but it should. This important museum of military history tells the story of the city’s historic battles and how the Joint Base San Antonio was founded.
San Antonio’s River Walk is a feat of engineering and entertainment. The idea to establish the district is well over 100 years old, and one of the area’s first establishments — The Original Mexican Restaurant — opened in 1899 and survived until the early 60s. Flooding plagued the city at every stage of the project’s development, but once bypass channels for the San Antonio River were created, the district really began to flourish.
With its artfully designed bridges and historic architecture, the River Walk connects hotels, restaurants, shops and cultural destinations like the Briscoe Western Art Museum and the Majestic and Empire Theatres, where you can see Broadway musicals, comedy shows and concerts. Local events on the River Walk draw large crowds to the already bustling area. The Armed Forces River Parade, artisan shows and holiday boat caroling are especially popular. And boat rides on the river after dinner are always fun, especially on the new colorful barges, where you can even sit down to a meal.
Art afficionados have several museums to satisfy their interests, but one of the coolest is Ruby City. This contemporary art space was designed by world-renowned architect David Adjaye, who designed the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture. This San Antonio venue showcases some of the hottest artists practicing today.
Another beloved downtown San Antonio destination, Hemisfair is an urban public space like no other. Once the site of the 1968 World’s Fair — Hemisfair encompasses three parks, numerous private businesses and residential living space. The playground at Yanaguana Garden provides an inclusive, accessible space for children of all abilities, with a splashpad, giant chessboard and a rotating net climber for budding daredevils. Interactive public art, from murals to sculptures, makes this cherished park even more dynamic.
If you’re looking for other family-friendly spots to beat the heat, try one of the area waterparks. Aquatica (next to SeaWorld) can get crowded with tourists, but spots like Schlitterbahn in New Braunfels is a fave with locals — there are multiple tube chutes and lazy rivers and even uphill water coasters.
Let’s not forget that the Alamo City is also a sports town, and there are no bigger stars in town than the San Antonio Spurs. The three-time NBA championship-winning team plays at the SBC Center, as do the WNBA’s Silver Starz and the Antonio Rampage of the American Hockey League. Minor-league baseball is also popular in San Antonio (go Missions!), and the Senior PGA’s SBC Championship is played annually at San Antonio’s Dominion Country Club.
When it comes to food, San Antonio is more than just great Tex-Mex and barbeque. In 2017, the city was designated as a Creative City of Gastronomy by UNESCO — only the second place in the country to receive the honor. You’ll find delicious eats from all over the world here, from the aromatic plates at Moroccan Bites or the Jamaican flavors of The Jerk Shack, where you can feast on curries, fried plantains and the unlikely named pick-me-up, Rundown Shrimp.
For a taste of the Gulf in the middle of South Texas, head to Southerleigh Fine Food and Brewing at Pearl, a one-time brewery reimagined as a culinary hub and marketplace. The Galveston-style shrimp boil and crawfish roll will transport you to the eastern waters of the bay, but the establishment is also famous for their pressure-fried chicken, which is served with flaky biscuits and red-eye gravy.
In this Spanish-centric enclave, you might not expect to find great Italian, but Battalion fills that gap with force. An assortment of creative pastas and small plates draws melds familiar Southwestern favorites — like Fresno chiles and charred corn — with Italian staples like preserved lemons, pancetta and ricotta. The red beet ravioli with scallion oil paired with an order of the grilled cauliflower with pistachio dukkah is particularly inspired. On Blanco Road, you’ll find one of the region’s only outfits for Neapolitan pizza: Dough. This San Antonio favorite not only excels in the woodfired pie category but also stands out for its house-made burrata, which is infused with truffle essence and filled with mascarpone and ricotta.
In the game of gastronomic bingo, many south Texas smokehouses will let you check off the boxes for both BBQ and Tex-Mex in one. At 2M Smokehouse, the pickled nopales (that’s cactus) and the chicharoni macaroni are a perfect foil for a full slab of their pork ribs. South BBQ has plenty of Mexican-inflected dishes of its own — south borracho beans and house-made tortillas are two of their standard sides, and every item on their menu tastes good with their jalapeño-tomatillo salsa and guacamole, especially the pulled pork BBQ tacos. On the River Walk, Domingo delights at any time of day, but brunch is a particular treat, especially if you have out of town guests. Their short rib quesadillas are a crowd favorite, and the churro waffles are an instant cure for cranky kiddos.
Get Ready to Relocate to San Antonio
All set to move to the Alamo City? Get a moving quote for San Antonio.
Working with professional, long-distance movers like United Van Lines can make your move to San Antonio a seamless experience.
If you’re moving cross-country, we offer customized, full-service moving packages to take care of everything for your cross-country move, including packing and unpacking, storage needs, car shipping, debris removal and more. The MyUnited Move Portal will keep track of all the details for you.
Are you moving to San Antonio from another place in Texas? United Van Lines can also assist you with local moves/movers. If you’re moving within Texas or even moving within the Alamo City itself, United Van Lines’ interstate Texas agents/movers can provide local moving services/local movers who will help you move within the Lone Star State independently under their own businesses and brands.
Want to handle your own move to San Antonio? United Van Lines provides a wealth of helpful moving resources for the DIY mover, including packing tips, regional guides, and moving checklists.
If you’re still deciding which city to move to in the Lone Star State, check our United Van Line’s Guide to Moving to Texas for information and resources about Texas’ most popular cities.