The Ultimate Moving Guide to San Antonio, TX
With little-to-no cold weather, a thriving economy and numerous attractions to enjoy, San Antonio, Texas, is a popular place to live. Compared to other cities in the state, San Antonio boasts a lower cost of living, despite providing access to many of the same benefits.
Cost of Living in San Antonio
In most respects, San Antonio’s cost of living comes in lower than national averages for housing, utilities and healthcare. The city also comes in under the national averages for aspects like:
- Home prices: $175,400
- Rent: $881 (one bedroom)
- Utilities: $123
- Self Storage: $60-$200
Neighborhoods in San Antonio
San Antonio is home to many unique neighborhoods, each with its own aesthetics and attractions:
- Alamo Heights — Alamo Heights is located just north of downtown and features the Broadway Cultural Corridor, which includes the McNay Art Museum and a plethora of upscale entertainment options. This area is ideal for someone who wants to be centrally located and avoid a lot of downtown’s hustle and bustle.
- Downtown / River Walk — The River Walk, located downtown, is one of San Antonio’s biggest tourist attractions, where you’ll find plenty of restaurants and entertainment options. If you want to be in the heart of the city, this is where you’ll find it.
- Eastside / Sunset Station / Dignowity — Located on the city’s east side, these neighborhoods feature older, vintage homes and provide easy access to a wide variety of dining and entertainment options.
- Stone Oak — Founded in the 1980s and located on the far north-central side of San Antonio, Stone Oak is an exclusive master-planned neighborhood of upscale homes that spans 12 different subdivisions.
- Boerne — Boerne (pronounced burn-ee) is located on the far northwest side of metropolitan San Antonio and features well-manicured streets, a historic downtown filled with shops and restaurants, and several annual festivals.
- Helotes — Helotes is also on San Antonio’s northwest side but meaningfully closer to the city. With less than 9,000 residents, Helotes evokes a rural feel with many parks and solid schools.
- Schertz — Schertz is a family-friendly suburb that sits on San Antonio’s northeast side and spans three different counties (Guadalupe, Bexar and Comal). The city boasts a large concentration of families and an excellent school system.
San Antonio Job Market
The average annual salary for a San Antonio resident is $115,000. This includes a low of $29,000 and a high of $513,000. Compare this to national averages of $48,516 per year at the low end and $145,500 at the higher end.
San Antonio is home to top companies like Southwest Research Institute, Valero Energy Corp., Toyota, the H-E-B supermarket chain and the Fortune 500 company USAA. You’ll also find several military bases, including Lackland Air Force Base, Fort Sam Houston, Camp Bullis and Randolph Air Force Base.
Given this, some of the most common occupations in San Antonio and their average annual salaries include:
- Nursing Assistant / Aide: $27,500
- Waiter / Waitress: $21,420
- Customer Service Representative: $33,100
- Retail Salesperson: $28,350
- General Office Clerk: $34,730
Zooming in and taking a closer look at San Antonio’s top employers, including their average high and low salary ranges, these numbers change to:
- Southwest Research Institute — This research and development company pays employees between $46,000 and $203,000, depending on the position.
- Valero Energy Corporation — This oil and gas company pays employees between $17,000 and $128,000.
- Toyota — Toyota motors pays their employees between $18,000 and $87,000 to work in their San Antonio plant.
- H-E-B (supermarket chain) — The H-E-B supermarket chain pays employees between $19,000 and $94,000 per year.
- USAA — Pay at USAA, an insurance company, ranges between $30,000 and $100,000+ per year.
Things to Do in San Antonio
With a metropolitan population of 2.5 million people, San Antonio is chock full of fun and exciting things to do during your free time.
There are several outdoor activities you can enjoy in San Antonio, including:
- San Antonio River Walk — The River Walk was created as a flood control measure, but today it features numerous restaurants and entertainment options lining the beautiful river. The attraction remains busy year-round, although you’ll experience a surge during cooler months.
- Eisenhower Park — This 320-acre park features six miles of paved and unpaved trails and an observation tower at 1,278 feet that delivers sweeping views of downtown San Antonio.
- Natural Bridge Caverns and Wildlife Ranch — Natural Bridge Caverns is one of the largest in Texas, and you can explore much of it through one of their tours. Plus, there’s a 450-acre ranch where you can view exotic, native, and endangered animal species like ostriches, zebras, buffalos, and a wide variety of other wildlife.
- Fiesta San Antonio — What began as a parade to honor those who lost their lives at the Alamo and the Battle of San Jacinto has turned into a festival celebrating San Antonio’s different cultures, including carnivals, food, parades and pop-up shops selling clothing and keepsakes.
- Texas Folklife Festival — A three-day festival held in downtown San Antonio that celebrates different cultures and ethnicities and features food, crafts, music and dancing.
- Diwali — Advertised as the largest Diwali festival in the U.S., Diwali San Antonio celebrates the Festival of Lights by featuring vendors who sell Indian food, clothing, jewelry and more. There are also special guest speakers and entertainers.
Parks and Attractions
When it comes to parks and other attractions to visit in San Antonio, some of the most popular include:
- San Antonio Zoo — San Antonio’s year-round zoo features birds, reptiles and mammals from around the world, including Dino Land and Dragon Forest for the little ones.
- LEGOLAND Discovery Center — The LEGOLAND Discovery Center features everything LEGO, including a miniature interactive San Antonio cityscape, a 4D cinema, the Kingdom Quest ride-along game, Merlin’s Apprentice ride, and the ability to meet and greet your favorite LEGO characters.
- SeaWorld — SeaWorld San Antonio features rollercoasters, a water park, shows with belugas, dolphins and orcas, and even one-on-one animal experiences. It’s important to keep in mind that some of these options cost extra, in addition to your park entrance ticket.
- The Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center — Founded more than 35 years ago by a band of Latinx artists, this center features artwork that helps promote Chicano, Latino and Native American culture and traditions.
- The San Fernando Cathedral — Part of the Archdiocese of San Antonio, the San Fernando Cathedral was built between 1738 and 1750 and continues to hold mass today. You can also host an event at one of the Cathedral’s venues and spaces.
- Spanish Governor’s Palace — The Spanish Governor’s Palace, a National Historic Landmark, was built in the early 18th century and restored in the 1930s. Today, it offers tours exploring its history, significance, antique period pieces and landscaped courtyards.
- Six Flags Fiesta Texas — This amusement park boasts rides that deliver maximum thrill for the brave or tamer options ideal for family and children. The park is open year-round, although the summer months are the most popular (and the hottest).
- Alamo — Although the Alamo is best known for its 1836 battle against Mexico, the site has been home to five different nations, and five different army garrisons have found protection within its walls. The site is open from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. every day, although its illumination at night is especially beautiful.
Food and Drink
There is a wide variety of culinary options in the San Antonio area. Below, you’ll find some of the more popular options.
- Mi Tierra Cafe and Panaderia — In business for more than 80 years, this Tex-Mex cafe is a world-famous landmark that serves downtown San Antonio visitors and residents alike. Popular dishes include chili con carne, nachos, queso, refried beans, enchiladas, fajitas, tamales and chalupas.
- La Gloria - Dominion — The La Gloria - Dominion restaurant was founded by Chef Johnny Hernandez in 2015 and has served up tasty Mexican-inspired dishes ever since. Popular options include tacos, tortas, sopes, quesadillas and tostadas.
- Casa Rio — Casa Rio sits directly on the San Antonio River Walk and was the first establishment to do so. Today, the restaurant serves a variety of Tex Mex-inspired dishes such as chili con carne, flautas, chili relleno and enchiladas.
- La Fonda on Main — La Fonda on Main has served high-end Tex-Mex to its customers since 1932. Savory dishes include oak-grilled fajitas, camote enchiladas and churros for dessert.
- Alamo Quarry Market — Advertised as a premier lifestyle center, the Alamo Quarry Market features 13 different restaurants, including Fleming’s and J. Alexander’s, as well as apparel, home furnishing and jewelry stores.
- Pearl Brewery — Originally founded in 1883, the modern Pearl Brewery is an urban community featuring restaurants, shops and upscale residences. Popular dining options include Bakery Lorraine, Boiler House and Chilaquil.
Things to Know Before Moving to San Antonio
The fact of the matter is that no city is perfect. Here are a handful of things you need to know before moving to San Diego.
- Traffic — With more than 2.5 million residents, metro San Antonio’s roads can become especially clogged during rush hours. To avoid this, you’ll want to drive during off-peak times and avoid freeways.
- Public Transportation — San Antonio is a car-centric city. While their VIA Metropolitan Transport system serves much of the region, you’ll want access to a car for maximum convenience.
- Tourism — While there are millions of permanent residents, the city of San Antonio welcomes more than 34 million visitors annually. Fortunately, most are relegated to the downtown and River Walk areas.
- Weather — San Antonio’s rainfall varies but generally averages around 30 inches per year. Sometimes, heavy storms can create flash floods and make driving difficult. Also, summers are especially hot, with August high temps hovering around 96° Fahrenheit.
- Pests — Many pests call San Antonio home, including termites, spiders like the brown recluse and black widow, mosquitoes, and cockroaches. Fortunately, most of these creatures remain out of sight, especially during hot summer months.
There are a lot of things to keep track of when it comes to moving, including truck rental and related supplies (e.g., moving blankets and dollies), as well as a safe, secure location to store your belongings in the interim. The good news is that SmartStop has one location in the San Antonio metro region at 8239 Broadway St, which boasts a variety of helpful features, including air cooling, climate control, indoor parking and outdoor vehicle storage.