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San Antonio is a Texas city that is steeped in history, while also packing a modern and progressive vibe. Nowadays, the city is a thriving business center, while also being a popular tourist attraction. Home to the Alamo and the San Antonio Spurs — as well as the iconic Riverwalk along the San Antonio river — the city is also a great destination for those who enjoy warm weather year-round.
San Antonio boasts more than 1.5 million residents, making it the second-most populous city in Texas after Houston, which comes in at 2.3 million. It’s also the seventh-most populous city in the U.S. San Antonio experienced 16% growth between 2000 and 2010, ranking it among the top 10 fastest-growing cities in the country. In terms of total area, San Antonio spreads across 461 square miles, making it comparable to Los Angeles in terms of size.
The closest major city to San Antonio is Austin, which lies 80 miles away. Houston is 200 miles east, making it a great choice for a weekend trip.
San Antonio has a humid subtropical climate, which means that summers can be quite hot, with average temperatures reaching the mid-90s. Winters are mild here, with temperatures averaging in the 60s during the day and dropping to the 40s at night. May, June and October are the rainiest months, seeing four to five inches of rain, on average, which is more than New York City receives. However, the rest of the year tends to be dry, and you can get up to 220 days of sunshine in San Antonio.
In spite of its large population, San Antonio doesn’t feel crowded, and the locals are friendly and easy to interact with. Its large area allows for plenty of amenities — such as ample parking spaces, as well as cycling lanes — making it a very bike-friendly city. San Antonio is also a large university hub, with the University of Texas San Antonio seeing around 28,000 students each year.
San Antonio’s warm climate can be both a pro and a con. But, if you’re hoping for a white Christmas, you won’t get one here. Another con is the city’s public transportation, which is not as widespread as it is in other, similarly sized cities. This can result in longer commute times, and San Antonio ranks 39th in traffic congestion in the U.S., although it fares better than Austin or Houston. Also, if you’re a young professional seeking employment in a cultural field, you’ll have better luck in nearby cities like Austin, as the local scene does exist, but it’s not as thriving.
San Antonio enjoys a great ethnic diversity. Most of its residents are Hispanics and Caucasians, who have been living together in the city for almost 300 years.
The cost of living in San Antonio is below the national average and also lower than the median figures for Houston and Austin. Groceries and other consumer prices are higher in San Antonio than in Austin, but rent and restaurants are cheaper. Living in San Antonio is also less expensive than living in Houston.
Public transportation in San Antonio is provided by VIA Metropolitan Transit, which operates a total of 112 routes. The price for a day pass is $2.75 or $38 for a monthly pass. The city also has a bike-sharing program, which costs $12.99 for a 24-hour pass or $100 for an annual pass.
A three-course meal for two in a mid-range restaurant in San Antonio is $55, on average. A meal in an inexpensive restaurant costs about $13, and a regular cappuccino around $4.
Monthly utilities for a 915-square-foot apartment in San Antonio are $167.19, which is, on average, $30 higher than what you would pay in Austin.
The average rent for an apartment in San Antonio is $1,115 per month.
The average apartment size in San Antonio is 857 sq. ft.
Rent for a studio apartment in San Antonio ranges between $610 and $4,073 per month.
Rent for a 1-bedroom apartment in San Antonio ranges between $500 and $4,685 per month.
Rent for a 2-bedroom apartment in San Antonio ranges between $358 and $5,851 per month.
Rent for a 3-bedroom apartment in San Antonio ranges between $402 and $8,414 per month.
San Antonio has a lower unemployment rate than the rest of Texas, while also boasting a diverse economy. Some of the city’s major industries are IT, healthcare, bioscience and aerospace, as well as new energy industries.
San Antonio’s major employers include H-E-B Texas Grocery and the United Services Automobile Association.
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San Antonio has 29 colleges and universities offering various programs, making it a great city for those pursuing a higher education. The University of Texas San Antonio is the largest in the area, while San Antonio College is the oldest public two-year college in Texas, offering 75 associate degree programs with courses that can transfer to four-year colleges.
One of the most popular attractions in San Antonio is, without a doubt, The Alamo — the 18th-century historic Spanish mission and fortress that is often called the “Shrine of Texas Liberty.” The Spanish frontier mission at the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park is another landmark worth checking out, especially because it is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In terms of museums, don’t miss the San Antonio Museum of Art — located on the Riverwalk — or the 90-year-old Witte Museum, both of which have free admission on Tuesdays.
San Antonio offers plenty of attractions for families with kids. For a thrilling day out, check out the Six Flags Fiesta Texas in La Cantera and its 10 roller coaster rides. The San Antonio SeaWorld definitely deserves a visit, as does the San Antonio Zoo and its more than 3,500 species.
If you prefer a stroll through San Antonio’s parks, Brackenridge Park is a 343-acre oasis right in the city, complete with kids’ playgrounds and walking trails. For something unique, the Japanese Tea Garden is a great spot to enjoy some peace and relaxation while watching the gorgeous koi ponds.
San Antonio has only one professional sports team, the San Antonio Spurs, who have won five NBA championships since 1999.
When it comes to events, the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo in February is one of the city’s highlights, attracting more than 1 million visitors each year. Also, the Fiesta San Antonio in April celebrates the city’s historic heritage, as it honors the heroes of the Alamo and the Battle of San Jacinto.
Shoppers in San Antonio will find everything under the sun at the Riverwalk Mall downtown. This shopping center is complete with dozens of stores and entertainment venues, such as an IMAX theater and a comedy club, as well as exquisite restaurants, such as the Fogo De Chao.
Those relocating from California or New York should bear in mind that San Antonio — like the rest of Texas — has no rent control laws. This means that landlords can increase rent when your lease expires, and, depending on demand, rent increases may vary when you renew.