Seeking a charming, historic, delicious, and downright fun place to call home? While cities like Austin and Houston have recently become all the rage, San Antonio has long been a solidified Texas darling. You may know San Antonio as the home of the Alamo, the Tower of the Americas, and the River Walk — the 15-mile pedestrian shopping center. Or maybe you consider San Antonio the birthplace of Tex-Mex cuisine. The locals, however? They know there’s much more hiding in plain sight throughout the diverse neighborhoods and history of Alamo City.
Come to San Antonio to get your fill of historic Spanish Colonial missions, top contemporary museums, theme parks, great food, nightlife, and friendly locals — everywhere from the bustling downtown area to the suburbs. Whether you’re relocating for a short stay or are planning on moving to San Antonio more permanently, it’s hard not to fall in love.
But not sure what neighborhood is right for you? No problem; that’s why we’re here — to give you the 4-1-1 on the best San Antonio neighborhoods and suburbs.
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What are housing costs like in San Antonio?
On the whole, housing costs in San Antonio don’t vary too much from the national average, making it a pretty affordable place to live. As of June 2021, RENTCafé lists the average monthly rent in the U.S. at $1,482 and the average rent in San Antonio at $1,115 per month. Zillow puts the typical value of a home in the U.S. as of July 2021 at $298,933 (an increase of 16.7% over the previous year) and the typical home value in San Antonio at $226,665 (up 17.5% from the previous year).
7 of the Best San Antonio Neighborhoods and Suburbs to Put on Your Radar
There are more than 30 main neighborhood and suburb areas in San Antonio, giving new and old residents the opportunity to find the perfect community for them. Here are a few of our favorites to help give you a head start in the search for your new home.
For each spot, we’ll cover typical housing types and costs, along with the overall vibe, quality of schools, things to do, and even types of neighbors. And since San Antonio is a car-forward city, we’ve also included some general commute times to factor in as you weigh your options.
Downtown San Antonio
If you’re looking for San Antonio’s hot spot/melting pot neighborhood, Downtown is where it’s at. Thanks to a good collection of museums, theaters, music venues, bars, restaurants, clubs, and public transportation options, you’ll be hard pressed to find a dull moment here — or a reason to own a car, for that matter. Downtown life mostly appeals to young professionals, students, and families who want to be in the heart of the city’s action. As for public schools, though? According to Niche, most of them come in a bit below average.
Like many typical downtown areas, you’ll find a ton of luxury high-rise condos and apartments. However — rather uniquely — you’ll also get a peppering of Victorian mansions and other historic homes here. According to Zillow, as of July 2021, the typical home value in Downtown San Antonio is $469,398, making it one of the most expensive places to buy in the city area, though not the most expensive (we’re looking at you, Terrell Hills, with a typical home value of $798,130). Renting in Downtown is also higher, with RENTCafé listing average rent at $1,424 per month, more than a 25% difference from the city average.
Downtown is known for the San Antonio River Walk, a 15-mile pedestrian-only stretch full of food, fun, and things to do. In fact, it’s the state’s most popular attraction. But folks who live here know the neighborhood has more to offer (and we’re not just talking about the Alamo — yes, the Alamo — either). Catch a performance at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, bone up on local history and culture at the Institute of Texan Cultures, or pre-party with cocktails served on the longest wooden bar top in Texas at The Esquire Tavern before hitting the club.
Hoping for historic heart with hip attitude? Then X marks the spot in Monte Vista, one of the oldest districts in the country — and one of the most up-and-coming neighborhoods in San Antonio. Great dining, nightlife options, walkability, and a quick 10-minute ride into Downtown are big pluses here. Everyone from university students to retirees loves this centrally located neighborhood and its convenient access to green space, well-balanced urban/suburban feel, larger-sized houses, and good community vibe.
As of July 2021, according to Zillow, the typical home value in Monte Vista is $594,257. Listings range from anywhere between $476,000 for a historic duplex house to more than $1 million for a 1930s home with gorgeous established gardens. According to August 2021 listings on Apartments.com, rent seems to have less variation, and you can expect to pay around $1,000 a month for a one-bedroom apartment or between $1,300 and $1,800 per month for a two-bedroom place.
Whether you make Monte Vista your next home or end up elsewhere, you’ll probably find yourself in the ‘hood at some point — if not to visit the San Antonio Zoo then to grab brunch or dinner at one of Monte Vista’s trendy restaurants, like Nola Brunch & Beignets or Barbaro.
And while this neighborhood is on the rise, according to Niche, the public schools here leave a bit to be desired with a C+ score overall (though Young Women’s Leadership Academy and Great Hearts Monte Vista North both received A’s from the site).
Southtown (Arts District)
Directly south of Downtown you’ll find heaps of hip and a happening art scene in San Antonio’s Arts District, also known as Southtown (Get it? South of Downtown?). It’s kind of like the Brooklyn of San Antonio, replete with a fun and creative community, independent boutiques and eateries, public murals, and cool ways to spend your days and nights. Unsurprisingly, this neighborhood is big amongst artists, young professionals, singles, and students.
Southtown is flush with a good variety of homes, from vintage bungalows to historic Victorian estates to more modern condos. Southtown comprises five smaller neighborhoods: King William, Lavaca, Collins Garden, Roosevelt Park, and Lone Star. According to Zillow, the typical home values vary, depending on the neighborhood, but range from as low as $131,086 in Collins Garden to as high as $466,698 in historic King William, as of July 2021. The home values have been increasing at different rates, as well, with Lavaca’s typical home value only increasing by 6.6% in the last year and Collins Garden increasing by 23%. It’s probably safe to say the lower home values are making that particular part of Southtown more desirable.
Rentals in the area include condos, smaller apartment buildings, and houses. Similar to the home values, rent differs depending on the particular Southtown neighborhood. According to Apartments.com, as of August 2021, you can expect to pay about $1,000 a month for a 1-bedroom in Lavaca, while a similar apartment in King William will run you closer to $1,500 a month.
Tourists haven’t quite “discovered” Southtown just yet, keeping outings here feeling local and community-oriented — for now. Want to soak up the spirit of the neighborhood? Join the lively First Friday street fest, pop into local galleries and artist studios on the Second Saturday Art Walk, or just take a stroll along King William Street and ogle at the historic mansions after downing a delicious lunch inside The Guenther House, a beautiful Art-Nouveau-era mansion boasting a restaurant, museum, and more.
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Six miles north of Downtown lies the affluent neighborhood of Alamo Heights, where decent-sized yards, great schools, and a strong community vibe attract a fair amount of families. Residents here live among leafy, tree-lined streets, a variety of housing styles, and an easy yet upscale suburban feel. Of course, the fact that it’s also super walkable, sports a hip vibe, and is conveniently located less than 15 minutes from both Downtown and San Antonio International Airport only sweetens the deal.
Homes here truly run the gamut and feature restored, renovated, or newly-built houses, ranging in size from cozy cottages to massive mansions. And while it’s true Alamo Heights has some of the city’s wealthiest residents, the home prices have a good range. According to Zillow, the typical home value is $663,671 (as of July 2021). Rather rent? As of August 2021, RENTCafé lists the average rent in Alamo Heights at $1,293 per month (a 5% change over the prior year).
Love museums? Living here will put some of the city’s best at your doorstep. Locals here have easy access to The Witte Museum’s art, natural history, and science exhibits; more than 5,000 years of art and culture via the collections at the San Antonio Museum of Art; and interactive discoveries at The DoSeum, a family-friendly favorite. Public schools here are top notch, as well, and receive an impressive overall A+ from Niche.
Boerne goes big on community and manages to maintain a trendier (yet still charming) take on the typical American small town. In fact, this suburb is so beloved, many brave the 30-minute-minimum, traffic-filled commute to work in San Antonio. Great schools, several parks (plus access to Hill Country hiking trails), and a host of family-friendly events in town make Boerne a top pick for folks with families. And to top it off, Niche gives public schools here an overall A+ .
For the most part, homes in Boerne are big, beautiful, and on large lots with green yards. According to Zillow, prices can range anywhere from around $280,000 to nearly $10 million, though the typical home value is $448,772 (as of July 2021). Average monthly rent in Boerne will cost around $1,214, according to August 2021 data from RENTCafé.
Think moving to the suburbs is going to be a snoozefest? You’ve definitely never been to Boerne, Texas! This small town has a big heart and an even bigger event calendar. Movies in the Park is a popular monthly family outing, for example, as is the annual Outdoor Family Fair. Other cool things to do here include the Boerne Chocolate Walk (yum!), underground cave tours at Cave Without A Name, and community skateboard competitions — or simply grabbing a beer and bout of live music with friends at the The Dodging Duck Brewhaus (and restaurant).
Positioned 22 miles northwest of Downtown, Helotes is a top San Antonio suburb. Good schools, small-town feel, and close-knit community vibes make it a great pick for families, while the range of housing, from starter homes to sprawling mansions in gated communities, attracts residents in several different life stages and price points. This is a good spot for anyone who wants to be far enough removed from the city to get that rural/suburban feel (complete with small wildlife and lots of fresh air) without being too far from the amenities of the big city.
With a typical home value of $411,929 (according to Zillow as of July 2021), housing in Helotes runs higher than in San Antonio — but, as we mentioned, there’s a good range available. As far as renting goes, RENTCafé lists the average monthly rent at $1,189 (as of August 2021).
Helotes is served by the Northside Independent School District, and Niche gives public schools here an overall above-average grade of B+, with 36 schools receiving an A-level rating.
Folks who live in Helotes, Texas, spend their time participating in community events, like movie nights in the park and local festivals. One of the biggest events is the annual Cornyval — think of it as a carnival-meets-harvest-festival, celebrating the town’s corn crop heritage. For year-round excitement, strap in and zip over Hill Country on the Helotes Hill Country Ziplines, go wine tasting at Helotes Creek Winery, and take in the views with a hike or bike through the Government Canyon State Natural Area.
Alamo Ranch is a master-planned community neighborhood about 20 miles northwest of Downtown, near San Antonio SeaWorld. Residents here have practically everything they need right inside the gates of this community (grocery, shops, dining, entertainment, and more), so they don’t even have to leave unless they want to. But when they do, Alamo Ranch’s proximity to Loop 1604 makes most of the San Antonio metro area easily accessible.
Expect large homes, lush landscaping, and tranquil surroundings — all wrapped up neatly with an affluent suburban vibe. Behind the gates, you’ll find a wide variety of homes and prices within the Alamo Ranch subdivisions. According to local Keller Williams realtors, the entry point is still relatively affordable with prices starting as low as $150,000. With a variety of builders and diverse floor plans and upgrades available, though, options are abundant, and you can find homes at various price points, up to $575,000. That being said, renting here isn’t very common.
Alamo Ranch is stocked with community features. In addition to upscale amenities like playgrounds, jogging trails, and sports courts, this neighborhood offers residents niche extras, such as an aquatic center with an Olympic-sized pool and kids’ waterpark, plus a huge 9,000-square-foot retail complex full of entertainment, shopping, and dining options (also named Alamo Ranch)! Like Helotes, this area is served by the Northside Independent School District, and schools here are top-notch.
|Curious how San Antonio stacks up against other areas in Texas? Don’t worry, we’ve got the goods: |
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— 15 Things You Need To Know About Living in Houston
— Houston’s Best Neighborhoods and Suburbs
Planning Your Move
Looking forward to going big (get it?) and getting settled in your new San Antonio home? The PODS blog can help you with that! We cover all sorts of tips and tricks to help you with your next move — everything from how to pack for a long-distance move to tips for moving with portable containers. When it comes to making moves, big or small, we know it’s never too early to start planning and there’s always something fun to do in your new home. From tips and tricks to flexible and friendly service, PODS has your back every step of the way.
Katherine Alex Beaven is a frequent contributor to the PODS blog who has moved 20+ times because she loves to experience new places.