Thinking about moving to San Antonio, Texas? If so, you’re in good hands.
I’ve lived in San Antonio for the past 6 years and have definitely learned a thing or two about the honest pros and cons of living in San Antonio.
Home to a population of 1.5 million residents, Houston is the second-most populous city in Texas (and the 7th most populous city in the country). Needless to say, you’ll be in good company if you choose to call this vibrant city home.
But I don’t want to get ahead of myself so let’s cover everything you need to know about living in San Antonio, based on firsthand experience. Don’t hesitate to reach out with questions, I’m here to help!
Pros & Cons of Living in San Antonio, Texas
If you plan on visiting to get a lay of the land before moving to Houston, I highly suggest this great hotel. It’s the one I recommend to my own family and friends when they visit.
Note: This post is part of the Local Living Series, wherein locals share honest insights of living in a specific city through comprehensive pros and cons lists. If you’d like to reach out to the author directly with questions, please do so in the comments below and our team will ensure it gets to the right person.
Pros of Living in San Antonio
#1. Low cost of living
Contrary to popular belief, a large population doesn’t always equate to a large price tag. Even though San Antonio is one of the most populous cities in America, the cost of living in San Antonio is 8% lower than the national average.
When compared to similarly-sized cities (San Diego and Philadelphia) the reasonable cost of living becomes even more impressive. Living in San Antonio is 13% cheaper than living in Philadelphia and a whopping 78.5% cheaper than living in San Diego.
To that end, if you’re moving to San Antonio for a large metro area you’ll be in for a pleasant surprise. Everyday items cost less around here, everything from groceries, utilities, healthcare, personal care, transportation and eating out. Hard not to love that.
The low cost of living in San Antonio is a big reason why the city appeals to young families and retirees. Your dollar goes a lot further after moving to San Antonio. Plus, the affordable housing market doesn’t hurt either, let’s cover that next.
#2. Affordable housing
Alright, I can already envision the hate mail getting stamped, but hear me out. First, no city in America is immune from the housing crisis. Home prices across the nation have soared to unfathomable highs compared to previous years and San Antonio is no exception.
However, the current housing prices in San Antonio are much lower than the national average. But don’t just take my word for it, I have the statistics to back this up.
The median price of a home in San Antonio is $300,000, a spike of nearly 25% from the previous year, but still way below the national average of $438,000. To that end, if you plan on moving to San Antonio, there’s no time like the present because home prices are on the rise and moving fast.
#3. The stable job market
One of the biggest draws for folks moving to San Antonio is the healthy job market that doesn’t show signs of slowing anytime soon. Employing more than 80,000, Joint Base San Antonio is the largest employer in the city.
If you’re not moving to San Antonio for the military sector you’ll find jobs in a wide range of industries, from healthcare, aerospace, bioscience, renewable energy, technology and IT. Some of the largest employers include Toyota, USAA, Wells Fargo, Southwest Research Institute and Valero Energy Corp.
What’s more, San Antonio receives an average of 34 million visitors per year. The tourism and hospitality industry is thriving, which in turn creates even more jobs at restaurants, hotels and local shops.
#4. San Antonio is the fastest growing city in the country
Alright, so this little fact can be a pro OR con of living in San Antonio — depending on how you slice it. I’m choosing to place it in the perk category because growing cities have a way of adding excitement and breathing new life into a comfortable place.
You should know by now that I’m relying on actual facts while curating this list of the pros and cons of moving to San Antonio, so let me throw one into the mix:
According to the US Census Bureau, with 13,626 newcomers, San Antonio saw the greatest gain in new residents between 2020 and 2021.
Chock it up to the housing market, affordable cost of living in San Antonio, or whatever you’d like, but the fact remains: San Antonio is attracting folks from all over the country.
#5. There’s no state income tax
There are a handful of American states where state income tax is not a thing and luckily Texas is one of them. Those living in San Antonio are expected to pay their fair share of federal income tax, property taxes and a sales tax of 8.25%, but state income tax is off the table.
I can’t stress how advantageous this is in the long run. I moved to Texas from Oregon, which had a state income tax up to 9%, which means I get to keep $100 for every $1,000 I make. So yes, speaking from personal experience, the lack of state income taxes is a huge perk of moving to San Antonio, Texas.
#6. Sunshine year-round
If living in a sunny place is non-negotiable for you then moving to San Antonio is the right call. The city averages 220 days of sunshine per year!
In terms of temperatures, you’ll see some fluctuation while living in San Antonio. Winters are cool (averaging highs of 64°F) while summers are oppressively hot (average highs clock in at 98°F). But fret not, we’ll cover the brutal summer temps in more detail below.
#7. San Antonio is recognized as a gastronomic city
Allow me to share a fact that surprised me more than any other after moving to San Antonio. In 2017 the city was designated as a Creative City of Gastronomy by UNESCO, becoming the 2nd city in the US to receive such a prestigious designation.
The biggest impetus for the award is the significance of Tex-Mex cuisine — the blissful marriage of Mexican and American cuisine. San Antonio is also known for serving some of the best tacos in the country. Fighting words, I know, but I stand by them.
Aside from the flavorful Tex-Mex cuisine you’ll find cuisines from all over the world, but perhaps none more tantalizing that traditional Texas BBQ. Regardless of your meal of choice, make sure to wash it down properly by swinging by any of the local breweries (my personal favorite being the Alamo Beer Company).
#8. The San Antonio River Walk & the Alamo
Mentioning a river walk on a list highlighting the pros of living in San Antonio might surprise folks that have never experienced this urban waterway before, but I’m happy to elaborate.
The beautiful 15-mile San Antonio River Walk serves as the vibrant cultural hub of the city. Welcoming more than 14 million people per year, this is the top attraction in the city.
Rent a boat or grab drinks at the waters edge to see why this area is so beloved by visitors and locals alike. You’ll find ample bars, hotels, restaurants lining the canal with picturesque footbridges connecting both sides.
If you’re more of a history buff, make sure to visit the Alamo where 189 Tejanos and Texians lost their lives in 1836 fighting for Texas liberty. The Alamo is considered one of the most historically significant places in America, which means visiting this important site should be near the top of your list after moving to San Antonio.
#9. Texas state pride
There’s no place like Texas and Texans take great pride in that! I’ve never lived in a place with such strong state pride. In fact, it’s not uncommon to see the Texas State flag flying high alongside (or instead of) the US flag.
In many ways, Texas feels like its own country – from the vibrant and bold culture to the phenomenal festivals and entertainment. People love living in Texas and they want you to know it. This in turn builds a sense of community unlike anywhere else, which brings me to my next point …
#10. Southern hospitality
I’m going to wrap up the pros of living in San Antonio with my personal favorite: unmistakable southern hospitality, which never fails to hit the spot.
San Antonio may be one of the largest cities in the country but it still continues to give you that small-town vibe. Some of my coworkers are lifelong locals and often tell me that the sense of community and kindness is their favorite thing about living in San Antonio.
Folks around here are known to be very polite, friendly and hospitable which is one of the main reasons people are attracted to San Antonio. You might find it easier to make friends in San Antonio compared to other similar-sized metro areas.
All this to say, the warm and inviting southern spirit made moving to San Antonio so much easier on me. If you’re open to striking up conversations and coming out of your comfort zone, you will find that Texas is a very friendly city. People are generally laid back and are strive to live a normal, no-frills life.
Cons of Moving to San Antonio
#1. Living in San Antonio may be challenging if you suffer from allergies
I’m not going to sugarcoat it — one of the worst things about living in San Antonio is the constant battle with irritating allergies. Some folks don’t realize that San Antonio is one of the 10 worst cities in America for those that suffer from allergies.
The biggest culprit? Mountain cedars, those buggers. The trees are extremely common in San Antonio, which is unfortunate because they disperse unholy amounts of pollen during Ceder Fever Season. The season runs from November thru March, with the worst months being January and February.
All this to say, if you’re one of the 67 million American that suffer from pollen allergies, you might want to reconsider moving to San Antonio.
#2. San Antonio has some of the highest property taxes in the nation
If you’re moving to San Antonio in the hopes of purchasing a home, you should know that San Antonio has the 4th highest property taxes in the country. The effective property tax rate clocks in at a steep 1.85%, which is well above the national average of 1.07%.
If you’re interested in buying a home, use this handy calculator tool to determine your estimated tax rate.
#3. The summer heat is a bear
You quickly learn after moving to San Antonio to take advantage of cooler temps because summer is coming (and if you’ve seen Game of Throne I’m here to tell you that their “scary” winter doesn’t hold a candle to our summers).
Summer in San Antonio is an unrelenting affair because of the subtropical climate. It’s so dang hot, and so dang muggy. The average summer temperatures hover around 95°F, but the worst part is that nights don’t bring much reprieve because the temps don’t cool cool off throughout the night.
So, what does that mean for folk moving to San Antonio? For starters, the summer activities you enjoy in other areas may not be a viable option in Texas. The blistering sun has a way of burning (rather than tanning), so any extended time outside requires caution and proper hydration.
You’ll sweat the second you step out the door and will find yourself in constant want of a shower. But you’re lucky if you even get to a point where you have the energy to leave the house! The inevitable lethargy that accompanies San Antonio summers has some folks counting down the days for Ceder Fever Season.
#4. Poor air quality
If you’re asthmatic or just conscious of the air quality in your area, then you might want to think twice about living in San Antonio. In fact, in terms of air pollution, San Antonio sadly ranks as the 25th worst in the country.
Exposure to smog and other irritants in the air can trigger severe asthma attacks, which is why this issue should be taken into consideration (seriously) before moving to San Antonio. The ozone pollution is especially hazardous for older adults, young children and folks with chronic lung disease.
#5. The city is always under construction
One of the biggest things to know before moving to San Antonio is that the city feels like it’s always under construction. You’d expect this in a Concrete Jungle like NYC, but San Antonio? What in the world?
If you plan to live in downtown San Antonio, you’ll need to be aware of the constant loud noises caused by new construction, repairs and demolitions. As mentioned earlier, the city is quickly growing and irritating construction noises are part of the growing pains.
#6. Invasive fire ants, baby
If this is your first time hearing about fire ants then I envy you more than you will ever know.
Most folks from the south know about these bad boys and you will too within days of moving to San Antonio.
First things first — fire ants are aptly named and they are as terrible as they sound. Want to run across the lawn? Fire ants. Romantic picnic with your special someone? Fire ants. Normal childhood involving grass? Lol, fire ants.
The fire ants are named after their ability to inflict painful stings by injecting a toxic venom from their abdomen. One of the worst things about living in San Antonio is that fire ant infestation can happen anywhere from your backyard up to your kitchen.
You simply can’t escape them, but the advantage is that you only need to be “burned” once to know to avoid them for good.
#7. Locals may not like your moving here
Listen, I know this sentiment is not unique to San Antonio, but it warrants mention.
Like with any recently discovered place, locals aren’t too keen on transplants and treat newcomers with weariness. The unexpected popularity of living in San Antonio comes with growing pains, to be sure.
Some locals will give you the cold shoulder and blame you for the uptick in traffic and housing prices. This mentality is prevalent in many growing cities across the country.
Try not to take it personally (because it isn’t), we’re all merely chasing the best version of our lives and it’s okay to move around.
#8. You’ll need a car to get around while living in San Antonio
Well, this con of living in Texas probably doesn’t need much explanation. Simply put, you’ll definitely need to own a car while living in San Antonio because things are spread far apart and public transportation is unreliable. You’ll want to add the cost of owning and maintaining a car into your budget before taking the plunge.
Moving to San Antonio Texas? Other Things to Consider
I consider the things below as neither pros nor cons of living in San Antonio — these are neutral things to take into consideration that will impact your way of life. You might love these things or hate these things, but the decision to live in San Antonio is ultimately up to you, just take these factors into consideration.
#1. The politics
Texas is a red state and even with the recent influx of liberals, the state still sways red. You’ll see republican apparel and flags along the road and in every town, you can’t escape it.
If you’re a republican then you will feel comfortable and welcomed here. As a liberal, it may be harder to find your footing for a while, but it’s definitely possible.
#2. Gun culture
As you probably already know, Texas is a loud and proud gun carrying state. It’s not uncommon to see people openly carrying firearms while running errands.
Guns are a way of life in Texas. Expect to get invited to a gun range more than once by your new friends, it’s what folks do for fun around here.
#3. Football is a way of life
Football is religion while living in Texas. Everyone and their dog roots for one team or another so you better be prepared.
The passion isn’t reserved just for professional teams either! You’ll need to pick a favorite college team and maybe a high school team for good measure.
The exhilarating sports scene is alive and well in Texas, make no mistake about it.
Pros & cons of living in San Antonio (post summary)
- Low cost of living
- Affordable housing
- The stable job market
- San Antonio is the fastest growing city in the country
- There’s no state income tax
- Sunny weather year-round
- San Antonio is recognized as a gastronomic city
- The San Antonio River Walk & the Alamo
- Texas state pride
- Southern hospitality
- Living in San Antonio may be challenging if you suffer from allergies
- San Antonio has some of the highest property taxes in the nation
- The summer heat is a bear
- Poor air quality
- The city is always under construction
- Fire ants, baby
- Locals may not like your moving here
- You’ll need a car to get around while living in San Antonio
- The politics
- Gun culture
- Football is a way of life