The skyline of San Antonio, Texas, is surrounded by a rainbow of clouds in the sky. There are also groups of lush, green trees in the foreground.

These Are the Pros and Cons of Living in San Antonio

San Antonio Texas

by Bridget Houlihan Posted on February 27, 2024

San Antonio, Texas, is also known as Alamo City, Mission City, River City, and Military City, USA, so it’s obvious there’s more than meets the eye. There are over 300 years of history to explore in San Antonio, but that’s only one of the reasons it has one of the highest population growths in the country. In fact, people from all walks of life can find a home in San Antonio — from young professionals to growing families and even retirees. There’s a little something for everyone, including lots of cultural, historical, and outdoor-centric activities. But just as it is with any city, it’s important to consider the positives and negatives before making the move. So here’s our list of pros and cons of living in San Antonio that we think you should know before you go.

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Fun Facts You Should Know About San Antonio

  • San Antonio has a population of more than 1.47 million.
  • It is home to The Alamo, which is visited by around 1.6 million people each year.
  • The sports drink Gatorade was invented by a San Antonio native.
  • San Antonio is home to the largest Mexican marketplace outside of Mexico, which can be seen in the Historic Market Square.
  • San Antonio is the 7th largest city in the U.S.

Life in San Antonio, TX — FAQs

Q: What are the negatives of living in San Antonio, Texas?
Some of the negatives of living in San Antonio include oppressive heat, bad traffic/drivers, and a lot of trash build up throughout the city.

Q: Is San Antonio a good place to live?
Yes, San Antonio is a good place to live, especially if you like no state income taxes, diverse culinary options, and lots of outdoor activities.

Q: Why is San Antonio so cheap?
According to BestPlaces, the total cost of living expenses such as housing, food, childcare, transportation, and healthcare is 8.7 percent lower than the U.S. average and 3.1 percent lower than the average for Texas.

Q: Why are people moving to San Antonio?
People love San Antonio’s warmer weather, friendly locals, diverse cultural offerings, sports teams, and laid-back lifestyle.

An image of the River Walk in San Antonio. It is dusk and to the left are tables and chairs under different colored umbrellas. To the right is a stone walking bridge.

San Antonio River Walk

Moving to San Antonio — Pros and Cons

If moving to south Texas sounds like a good idea, then San Antonio could be the right city for you. However, there are always advantages and disadvantages, no matter what city or town you decide to call home. It’s important to get all the different viewpoints on an area before you make your move, which is why we’ve compiled this list of San Antonio’s pros and cons, so you can make your decision based on the facts.  

Pro: Plenty To Do

No matter what your interests are, there’s always something fun to do — and plenty of places to explore — in San Antonio. The city is home to all kinds of historical locations, including The Alamo and San Antonio Missions National Historical Park. And did you know that San Antonio is also home to SeaWorld and Six Flags Fiesta Texas? If you have kiddos, you can also check out The DoSeum children’s museum. 

Rather take in a show instead? Then definitely hit up the Aztec or Majestic & Empire Theatres, which offer a variety of musical and theater performances. Shop the day away in La Villita Historic Arts Village or check out the Garcia Art Glass. And you can always stroll along the River Walk, of course, or take a boat cruise down the San Antonio River, if you want a more peaceful activity.

Con: Lower Wages

Although San Antonio has a lower cost of living compared to other large cities, it also has lower wages. The minimum wage in Texas is $7.25 (which will raise to $9.50 by the end of 2024), while the living wage in San Antonio is closer to $20.50 for a single person with no children. According to some residents, there are more lower-skilled and lower-paying jobs available in San Antonio than higher-skilled jobs. However, there are industries that offer higher-paying jobs, such as government, healthcare, and cybersecurity.

Pro: Incredible Food Scene

If you read anything about San Antonio’s benefits, often the first pro is that the food scene is incredible, and tacos are available everywhere! Because of its large Hispanic and Tejano populations, San Antonio is one of the best places — not just in Texas, but in the country — to get authentic Mexican cuisine. And the city has the designation of being a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy, a title which it shares with only one other U.S. city, Tucson, AZ. 

In addition to amazing Mexican food (and the popular breakfast tacos), you’ll also find lots of places to get Tex-Mex food and Texas BBQ. But that’s not all! San Antonio boasts of cuisine from a variety of cultures. Some of the hotspots include:

An image of the highway system in San Antonio, TX. There are different colored cars scattered in the picture driving on the roads.

Con: Tough Traffic and Lacking Public Transportation

One of the biggest complaints you’ll hear about from San Antonio residents is the lack of care from drivers on the road. As a city with more than 1.7 million people, there’s going to be some traffic on the road, especially during morning and evening commutes. However, it’s common to see drivers change lanes abruptly, cut people off, and disregard stop signs. While these occur in other cities, it seems to be very prevalent in San Antonio.

The city is also very spread out and lacks the public support to fund a robust public transportation system. There are buses, run by the VIA Metropolitan Transport, that service routes throughout the major areas, but it seems that their service is lacking for areas further out. 

Pro: Lots of Culture To Explore

San Antonio is very proud of its cultural influences, and you’ll have plenty of opportunities to join in at festivals and events that celebrate Hispanic, Tejano, Irish, and German cultures. Food fairs like SoulFood Taste and James Beard Foundation Taste America are also popular ways to try new cuisines and get out into the community.

One of the largest festivals in San Antonio is the yearly Fiesta San Antonio, which originally started as a way to honor those who fought at The Alamo. It has since transformed into a wonderful celebration of the diverse heritage of San Antonio residents. 

Don’t worry, Cowboy Culture is still a big deal in San Antonio, and you can expect to find lots of residents attending the yearly San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo, as well. 

Con: Housing Competition

San Antonio is known to have affordable housing, compared to other large cities. However, lots of current residents feel like they are being priced out of the areas they would like to live in. The average cost of a home in San Antonio is around $253,400, which is still lower than the national average. It’s also lower than the cost of a home in Dallas and Houston, but it’s slowly catching up. The average rent in San Antonio is also around $1,300 for a one-bedroom apartment. 

A clear sky with white clouds. To the right is a sign that reads “TEXAS” in white text in a red box. Underneath is a Blue box that reads “HOUSTON,” “AUSTIN,” DALLAS,” SAN ANTONIO,” and “EL PASO” in slanted text.

Pro: Close Proximity to Other Texas Cities 

If you’re someone who likes to get out and explore, then San Antonio would make a great home base. Want to check out the Live Music Capital of the World? Austin, TX, is only about 80 miles away. And you can easily visit nearby Houston, as well, which is around three hours away. You’re also relatively close to the Gulf of Mexico and the beach at Corpus Christi. Choose to stay for a long weekend, or even just do a day trip to any of these lively cities. A short drive out of the city will also put you in Texas Hill Country, which offers all kinds of outdoor activities like hiking, horseback riding, and biking. 

Con: Tough Allergy Seasons

If you suffer from a sensitivity to allergies, San Antonio may be a little rough at certain times of the year. In fact, it’s ranked as one of the toughest cities to live in for fall and spring allergies. And while allergies are common in the spring and fall, you may also find winter time hard, too. From December to February, the pollen released by the cedar trees in the area can cause runny noses, coughs, sneezing, and itchy eyes. The pollen is carried for miles, and it’s so dense, it can resemble smoke.

Pro: Mild Winters

Although allergy sufferers might have a hard time, they’ll be pleased to know that the winters in San Antonio are mild. Its location in south Texas means it experiences lots of warm weather throughout the year. The average high temperatures in the winters are in the 60s, while the lows are in the 40s. The city does see around 33 inches of precipitation throughout the year, but that mostly comes in May and June.

Con: Higher Crime in Some Areas

Like all large cities, San Antonio experiences higher levels of crime in certain areas. According to NeighborhoodScout, it has a total crime index of 1 (meaning it’s only safer than 1 percent of other places in the nation), and your chances of being the victim of either a violent or property crime are higher than the national and state median. In fact, you have a 1 in 17 chance of being the victim of some type of crime. That doesn’t mean that you can’t live in a safe area of the city, though. You’ll just need to stay vigilant and check out crime maps before making the move to San Antonio, so you can see which neighborhoods see the most crime and then narrow down where you’d like to live from there.

Pro: Laid-Back, Friendly Vibe

Lots of current residents consider themselves to have a very high quality of life, which is due to the wide array of entertainment options, restaurants, shopping opportunities, diversity, and nightlife. Community members are always willing to help out their neighbors or pitch in to help a worthy charity. Residents like that for being such a large city, it still has a small-town feel, which contributes to the laid-back vibe of the locals. And it seems like no matter where you live in San Antonio, there’s a fun festival to attend, a chance to enjoy nature, great bars/restaurants, and a decent music scene. 

Younger professionals especially like activities such as the New Music Festival, while families always enjoy the variety of parks and playgrounds the city offers. And retirees particularly enjoy shopping at the Shops at Rivercenter and golfing at the San Pedro Driving Range & Par 3 — just to name a few things.

 Image of the Alamo in San Antonio at sunset. The sky is yellow and orange. The Alamo is white stone with a flagpole with the Texas flag off to the side of the building.

Con: Active Tourists

The Alamo is one of the top tourist destinations in the country — even winning USA Today’s “Best Free Attraction” competition in 2023 — and sees around 1.6 million tourists each year. So inevitably, the tourists clog the city sidewalks and roadways with traffic. The city itself is also one of the most popular tourist destinations in the U.S., thanks to other attractions, like the San Antonio Missions, the River Walk, and SixFlags. The sunny weather is another draw, as is the proximity to other fun Texas destinations. 

It can be frustrating at times, especially when you’re trying to get around the city on the weekends, you want to go to your favorite restaurant but there’s a wait, or you’re looking for a parking spot. 

Pro: Lower Cost of Living

As we mentioned, the San Antonio cost of living, which includes housing costs, is lower than other Texas cities like Dallas (100.2), Austin (129.1), and Houston (96.9). San Antonio has a cost of living score of 91.3, which means it’s also lower than the national average. 

As a single person without children, you only need around $42,500 before taxes to live comfortably in San Antonio. Comparatively, you would need around $43,300 in Houston, $45,900 in Dallas, and $49,900 in Austin.

Con: Oppressive Heat

San Antonio may have mild winters, but it has very hot summers. From May through October, you can expect temperatures to reach into the 90s, along with lots of sunshine. In fact, it’s wise to always wear sunscreen and a hat when you’re venturing out, because it’s easy to get dehydrated or get a bad sunburn. 

And it’s not just the heat you have to worry about; it’s the humidity, too. San Antonio’s humidity can get oppressive and even downright miserable June through September.

An image of a market in San Antonio, TX. There is a red-and-brown brick building adorned with multi-colored flags and flowers. In the foreground are multi-colored flags hanging in two rows.

Pro: Lots of Job Opportunities

Whether you’re looking for temporary work in the service industry as a bartender or server, or you want a place to start your career in another industry, you can easily do it in San Antonio. Because of the high number of tourists that are present throughout the year, for example, there are plenty of opportunities in the hospitality sector — including at hotels, restaurants, night clubs, museums, and theme parks. If you’re looking for something in healthcare, there are are several highly rated hospitals in the area, including: 

  • Methodist Hospital
  • Baptist Medical Center
  • University Hospital

And don’t forget that San Antonio is a military city and Lackland Air Force Base (Joint Base San Antonio) is located nearby. There are all kinds of government jobs available, for both military and civilian personnel. 

Con: Dirty Environment

San Antonio was ranked as one of the country’s dirtiest cities because of its litter problem, pollution, living conditions, unhoused residents, and unclean water. Although Houston tops the list, San Antonio could definitely use a good cleaning up. However, there are lots of areas that are beautifully maintained, such as the many parks, the River Walk, and the historic districts. 

Let PODS Help With Your Move to San Antonio

After assessing the pros and cons of living in San Antonio and deciding to make the move, let PODS help you get there. You can choose the moving and storage container size (or sizes) you need and then pack up on your schedule. PODS will then pick up the portable container when you’re ready and take it to your new home. Need help unloading the heavy stuff? Not to worry. PODS can help you find local packing and loading assistance, as well. 

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