10 Reasons Why San Antonio Doesn’t Suck

I am tired of hearing people complain about San Antonio and how it sucks – especially from people that actually live here. Maybe I am defensive because I did grow up in San Antonio but at the same token, nobody is making me stay here. I have chosen to stay and raise my family here. I love cities like San Francisco, Chicago, New York – but San Antonio is home. When you call a place home, it’s because you see economic opportunity and because you feel connected to a community.

As I thought about this, I drew up a list of things that make San Antonio great. Yes, we have the Alamo and the Spurs (one of the top 10 Finals team of all time) but I purposely did not include these on the list. We are a great place for tourists but I think an even better place for locals. Here’s why:

1. We’re Hiring!

Forbes recently released the results from a survey conducted by the ManpowerGroup revealing what the job opportunity landscape looks like in metropolitan areas across the US. “The survey reveals that the metropolitan area with the most optimistic forecast of all for hiring this fall is San Antonio, Texas.”

Richard Perez, president and chief executive of the Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, goes on to state that:

“San Antonio’s list of large employers is long and diverse. We do not rely heavily on one area and that is by design. San Antonio has many industries that together keep us a resilient economy. We are fortunate to have many strong industries, and many strong companies with large employee bases.”

Click here to read the full article.

With the US unemployment rate sitting at 9.1%, this is something to be very proud of (San Antonio is sitting at 7.9% right now).

2. We’re Smarter than you Think

As the home to six 4-year accredited colleges and universities and five community colleges, we have 30,000 students graduate from San Antonio colleges and universities every year. Here’s a list of our great schools:

Alamo Community College District: Northwest Vista College, Palo Alto College, St. Philip’s College, San Antonio College, Northeast Lakeview College

4-year Accredited Colleges and Universities: Our Lady of the Lake University, St. Mary’s University, Trinity University, The University of Texas at San Antonio, University of the Incarnate Word, Texas A&M – San Antonio

And we’re home to the University of Texas Health Science Center, ranked in the top 3 percent of all institutions worldwide receiving NIH funding and has endowments of $367 million market value.

3. Big Homes, Smaller Mortgages

Compared to the rest of the country, San Antonio’s cost of living is 16.60% lower than the U.S. average.

If nothing catches your attention off this list, hopefully this does. I have friends on the East Coast and West Coast and this is the #1 thing they are envious of – the amount of square footage we get for significantly lower costs than other places across the country. Everything is bigger in Texas is true when it comes to size of homes and amount of land one family gets.

4. Great Food

We recently ranked in the top 10 of Travel and Leisure’s America’s Best Cities for Foodies. They quote:

“People say they come here for the historic Alamo, but it could very well be the queso- and chile-sauce-slathered Tex-Mex: San Antonio ranked in the top 10 for both ethnic fare and barbecue.”

Many other great restaurants have been featured on various Food TV shows including Los Barrios on the Food Network’s Throwdown with Bobby Flay, La Gloria’s Owner Johnny Hernandez on Bravo’s Top Chef, Taco Taco Cafe on Food Network’s Bon Appetit and Tip Top on the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.

5. Home to the 1st Smithsonian outside of the Nation’s Capital

The Museo Alameda is the first formal affiliate of the Smithsonian outside of Washington D.C. and is what started the Smithsonian’s affiliations program. San Antonio was mentioned in the NY Times as having a

“…broad visual art scene that ranges from contemporary to folk, with a special concentration on Latino work. There’s a First Friday art walk (southtown.net); nonprofit centers like Artpace (artpace.org); and quality museums like the San Antonio Museum of Art, the Witte Museum and the Briscoe Western Art Museum, which is set to open in 2012.”

6. Great Place for Families

You don’t have to make a trip to Houston, Dallas or Orlando to experience theme parks for your kids; we have them right in our own backyard. We’re home to two major theme parks, Six Flags Fiesta Texas and Sea World (the largest), and to the San Antonio Zoo. It doesn’t end there. We also have the Botanical Gardens, Witte Museum, the San Antonio Children’s Museum, Kiddie Park (a local favorite), and Morgans Wonderland (the world’s first ultra-accessible family fun park).

7. FIESTA: “The Party with a Purpose”

New Orleans is known for it’s Mardi Gras and San Antonio is known for it’s Fiesta week. Fiesta San Antonio started in 1891 as a one-parade event and has evolved today into one of this nation’s premier festivals with more than 100 events and an economic impact of almost $284 million for the city. Each event is produced by a nonprofit organization and the funds raised provide services to San Antonio citizens throughout the year.

I think Fiesta is a reflection of the vibrant colors of San Antonio and most importantly, it’s a reflection of the strong philanthropy community we have in San Antonio.

8. Vineyards Down the Road

You don’t have to take a trip to Napa to enjoy good wineries. You can drive up to the Texas Hill Country to discover over 30 unique wineries. USA Today quotes:

“With more than 200 wineries, Texas has become a leading state for vintners. And the scenic area near Austin and San Antonio is the center of the action. Winemakers have learned that grapes from other warm-climate areas do well here, including Spanish Tempranillo, French Syrah and Italian Sangiovese, Siegel says. With all the attention, the town of Fredericksburg has become a mini-Napa with fine restaurants, shopping and bed-and-breakfasts.”

9. Great Place for Entrepreneurs

This is something I am most excited about because providing the foundation for businesses to get a healthy start is what will keep San Antonio thriving. We have successful and influential businessmen and women in this city and their willingness to help the next generation is admirable. Geekdom is helping tech startups:

“Geekdom is a nonprofit organization that will host technology workshops, lectures and events. It also provides office space to startups and desks to other technology workers through an application process. The center has an outreach effort to local high school and college students.”

I’m proud to have worked with many of the individuals behind this program and am excited to see what’s to come.

And if you’re looking to get into the restaurant business but don’t have the funds to get started, Bake, Broil and Brew provides an “incubator kitchen for entrepreneurs.”

10. Because Mark Twain Said So

Mark Twain, America’s most famous literary icons, once said,

“There are only four unique cities in America: Boston, New Orleans, San Francisco and San Antonio.”

No need to argue with that.

As with everything, there is always room for improvement and by no means do I think San Antonio has met the standards of a picture perfect city, if that even exists. We need better public transportation, more establishments for downtown residents and more green initiatives (although San Antonio has implemented an organic recycling pilot program for select neighborhoods). But I don’t think it gives us “sucky” status – I think it’s a sign for us to speak up and make changes.

A city is a reflection of the actions of its’ residents. You’re here for a reason so please help make it a better place.

I would love to hear your comments.

23 thoughts on “10 Reasons Why San Antonio Doesn’t Suck

  1. Valid points. However if you’re a young professional San Antonio is not the city for you. Also the city is not diverse enough for me which is one of the reasons why I moved.

  2. For the 10 reasons San Antonio doesn’t suck, it has 1000+ why it does. Between the crime, the epidemic of obesity, the lack of a decent public transportation system, and a million other things, San Antonio has a lot it needs to do to grow up. As of 2009 (the latest records available), 20% of the city lives in poverty. As for “Smarter than you think”, having schools doesn’t make a city smarter. San Antonio ranks below the Texas average in number of degrees and even high school diplomas. The one area we are “better” than the Texas average is folks with less than a high school education. In addition, we have (on average) a higher crime index than the US average. And that’s on a 10 year low. So I would debate the “Great Place for Families” because an amusement park doesn’t make a city great.

  3. @ThiritySomething- Every city has their issues, including San Antonio. This blog post wasn’t about addressing our issues but rather, highlighting our strengths. I agree, we have a lot of work to do but it’s about the city’s community coming together to help fix our issues.

  4. Aside from the glaring grammar errors and other mistakes, this seems to be a work of fiction, or the fantasy-based writing reserved for low end travel guides and Chamber of Commerce fliers. I’m sure the surveys yielded what you say they did, but I question the criteria.

    San Antonio is hiring? Not really. San Antonio is educated? That doesn’t seem accurate. Fiesta? Fat drunks wandering around with their sausage-fingered hands wrapped around turkey legs and plastic jugs of Miller Lite.

    The housing is deplorable here. They may be large, but they fall apart, they’re poorly designed, there is no civic planning or sense of community.
    People from the civilized areas of the country are not envious of San Antonio — Austin maybe, but certainly not San Antonio.

    Maybe if public transportation returns and more non corporate chain stores and restaurants appear (like in actual cities), maybe San Antonio has a chance. Maybe.

  5. @Brian Thanks for your comments. I saw the photos you took while wandering the streets of San Antonio at night – I like the shot of the Cathedral. I totally understand if you don’t like San Antonio and it’s probably why you don’t live here. Not sure what you mean about “maybe San Antonio has a chance,” – a chance for what? I just listed facts. I own 2 homes in San Antonio – one built in 1927 and one built in 1942 – and they both have great foundations – never had any issues. I’ve lived in Austin (and have family there too) and think it’s a great city and don’t think it should be compared to San Antonio. I didn’t write this post to compare San Antonio to any other city – I don’t think that’s fair. I just wanted to point out some of our strengths, again facts, not fiction. We are hiring by the way, you can’t argue with that.

  6. I am a resident of Florida but presently visiting San Antonio. This is my 3rd visit in the last 3 years. I would do ANYTHING to be able to uproot myself and live in SA – I am enthralled with this city and it never fails to excite me.

  7. @brian As far as San Antonio is hiring comment Forbes magazine just ranked San Antonio the number one city in the United States to live in if you’re looking for a job.

  8. So thankless for those complaining from the “pity pot” on the negatives of SA. Every city in U.S. suffers from the very same things written here. Why not leave the country & find paradise in la-la land?

  9. I have to say that I regret moving to San Antonio. Though it has a few good things going on like more employment and lower cost of living but the drawbacks don’t make it worthwile for me. My husband and I have experienced plenty of racism because we’re not mexican. White people are actually a minority here plus a lot of illegals are found in and near San Antonio, the food quality at restaurants are really bad, look up the ksat “behind kitchen doors” if you don’t believe me, and that doesn’t count the stuff lots of restaurants get away with. Most people and businesses here are very, very dirty. I’m actually scared to go eat out. Employment: they pay you the lowest possible they can get away with and have you the job of three people. The worst public bathrooms ever, daycares way over ratio than what licensing requires, one of them I heard the supervisor say to the worker to “change diapers without gloves until they are able to buy more since they are expensive”. Most people I’ve encountered are disrespectful towards the elders, no consideration whatsoever for anybody, let their kids do whatever they want, which is one of the reasons why the 4 redboxes I go to are usually not working, kids being loud in the movie theather in adult movies during evening hours,little kids throwing rocks near cars and parents won’t discipline them. It seems like people here strive to save and cut edges when it comes to quality and service. High crime and a lot of drunk driving, plus just a lot of morons that can’t drive so there are more car accidents. Etc, etc. Like I said, it has a few advantages but way way too many drawbacks, not worth it! By the way, I just want to say that I have lived in several different states so I’m not saying this because I want to mean or something. This is what I have experienced here unfortunetely. As soon as I get enough money, I’m getting the heck out of here!!!!

  10. I was born and raised in San Antonio and while I have lived in a few other States in my life I have returned to the city of my birth to again enjoy many of the Top Ten Reasons San Antonio does not suck. In my fifty one years of life I have had the good fortune to travel to most of the continents of this world and visit many foreign countries (no I was not in the military). In my travels I have met many interesting and not so interesting people. I have had the privilege of experiencing many different cultures, quite different from my own, and witnessing the diversity that exist within them. It is these life experiences that have help me to shape my thinking and learn to appreciate where I am in the world for I am not the center of the universe and not everyone thinks as I do (if you knew me you would realize what a gift that was). Your list is great, if I may, I would only add one thing as a tie for number 10, eating Barbacoa and enjoying a Big Red on a Sunday morning with family and friends. Keep blogging. Enjoy your life, stay young and keep moving forward.

  11. Gladys and the other negative people, every city has issues like you all mentioned. It is not just endemic of San Antonio. I actually moved here from D.C. and have also lived in Philadelphia, Northern NJ, and Columbus, OH. Out of all of those, I like it here the most. If you want a racist, dirty, crowded, crime-ridden city, then Philly or DC are for you (and FYI, I’m white). NJ is simply too crowded and traffic is terrible. Columbus was nice, but the locals have an inferiority complex and the traffic was bad.

    Therefore to hear people complain about San Antonio is somewhat amusing to me. This is actually the best city overall that I have lived in thus far.

  12. It’s only fair to compare SA to other cities…especially since depending on a persons preference, a city “ranked” horribly may be their favorite place. While it’s true every city has their issues, this time and space is specifically about SA – and I think it’s fair for an opinion to reflect either way on it.
    Personally I think the city is fun to visit because it’s different, but I’m not a fan of living here. City and Civic planning is horrible, and the road infrastructure is at least a decade behind. An hour and 15 minutes to go about 25 miles is the norm here during rush hour – when in larger more populous cities, I resided 50 miles from work – which was located almost smack in the middle of the city, and could make it in 40 minutes during rush hour. When you start topping Millions of people in a city (or MSA if you prefer)…sometimes you need a 10-16 lane interstate, but you can’t just drop one in (at least not easily) after the fact – which again ties back to the planning and the growth they didn’t plan for here. Quality of most roads is questionable also…and there’s no denying the driving population needs help (or some common courtesy training) – especially in wet conditions.
    Smarter…ehh…debatable. While the schools are pretty good, it’s common knowledge that the larger employers here turned to hiring outside of this city [and state] long ago…as the skilled talent pool – for all those schools, is still very shallow. So yes, there’s hiring going on here…but a lot of those positions are lower paying, and the ones that aren’t…well I recently talked to a few guys who had those jobs and prior lived in San Diego, Minneapolis, and Atlanta.
    Other things on this list could swing either way…the food is good, if you stay away from big box builders who ship your home frame by frame – and go with some of the smaller builders here there are some quality homes, spend a little more money and there are great daycares etc…..but when most families have at least one parent commuting to work a significant part of the week, then adding to that the headache of getting around when not commuting, the cost of family attractions, and some other nuisances mentioned above…the city doesn’t live up to the hype the natives tend to give it…in my opinion.

  13. I moved to San Antonio 9 Oct 2009 from New Jersey; needless to say I will be moving in a few months; I have had great times here with a laid back lifestyle’ unlike NJ, there is nothing of the sort.

    I recently gotten married to a Woman from London (UK) who resides in San Diego Ca; I would not even think of moving my wife from San Diego to San Antonio. I have encountered the high property crime here in San Antonio which I have never had any problems in NJ or elsewhere..

    I have had a wonderful 3 yrs living in the Alamo City, I will always miss this place but, I must go on to where my lovely and beautiful bride lives…

  14. San Antonio is a backwards place to live, it is ranked one of the lowest in the country in education, google it ! Diverse is an understatement when it comes to this state. So many angry and mean drivers you are always sitting in traffic. I did attempt to live in this city due to job needs just not worth it, I have live in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Missouri and now Florida so I do have a point of referance to speak of, San Antonio is the worst yet.

  15. Thanks for your comment. I would review your grammatical errors prior to posting about our city having lack of education though.

  16. I’m sorry! I’ve been here since 08/2012, and I’m still trying to understand this place. I’m Hispanic and I could care less about your skin color, or how deep your pockets are where you live and how big you house is. I have never meet people who are so close minded. And hold up Mrs. Texas, the only reasons why you guys have jobs openings here is because everyone is lazy. Plus service here is horrible. No one wants to work here because you guys encourage free assistance. To everyone! So I wouldn’t be bragging about your jobs here in the S.A like they are open just because you guys are growing and blah blah. No it’s because no one wants to work and so you guys need to re open jobs. Plus the bigger companies don’t like the reviews they are getting from consumers so they need new management. Everyone wants to pretend they have money living off the free money that San Antonio advertizes to lower income families! Free this free that. Hello!!! People here are not humble and in fact they seem very unhappy with themselves. Not very professional any place of business that I have been too. Sorry girl everyone knows unless your family came from money here or you’re in with the military government then you’re probably living it up here but other than that I don’t see what you’re talking about. Sorry people i just call it like i see it not tryin to b mean or nice just honest. but i do hope it gets better here bcse im stuck for now.

  17. I have tried to give San Antonio a chance. I have lived in Nebraska, Missouri, Colorado, Ohio, Montana, Virginia, Iowa, and Mississippi and by far this is my least favorite so far. I realize San Antonio wants to retain a small town feel, but the lack of good walking paths and a public metro type system, means driving or riding the bus to do anything. Housing is relatively cheap, but the property taxes end up bringing the cost of buying a home equal to that of any other place in the country. (Texas has one of the highest property taxes in the US, and San Antonio is leading the way in Texas.)
    I have yet to have a meal that would say was great and if this is the best you can come up with for your list, I am sorry, if I have an option of moving to any other location I would. I am hoping to have the opportunity to move once my current position runs its course.
    Everyone tries to say the cost of living is less here, but I have yet to see it. The price for a gallon of milk is just as much or more here than in the DC area from where I just moved. Oddly enough too this is the only city I have ever seen charge the same price for Whole Milk, 2%, 1%, and Skim. Normally 2% and less is cheaper…but not in San Antonio. The sales tax is about 1.5 to 2% more than in Virginia and Colorado. Yes, no income tax, but when you figure in the property tax if you buy a home, it more than equals out.
    My advice, unless your only place to move and find employment is San Antonio, take your other option.

  18. I’m originally from San Antonio. I am of Mexican and White descent, attended a public school in San Antonio, and was raised by my VERY hard working single Mexican mother. I have lived in LA and in NYC, and I will be returning to San Antonio, my home, to complete my Masters degree in Wildlife Biology. Returning because I can afford a good home in San Antonio on a students salary and find a job with relative ease. Growing up there, I can attest to the city’s positive attributes, a strong sense of culture, history and community, never did I feel unsafe in San Antonio, traffic is a breeze compared to almost any other big city in the US, and most if not all of my friends from high school have now graduated college and hold respectable jobs. San Antonians are among the nicest folk you will ever come across, and I personally speak for the generally humble and family oriented attitude most Mexican-Americans in San Antonio carry.

    It seems to me the negative points made by those on this thread are over generalized characteristics that you could find in ANY big city today, and mist likely to a greater degree. I would also like to point out that those nay-Sayers purposefully or inadvertently offended an entire populous/demographic/sub-culture and should be more careful of hastily judging and generalizing entire cities, that in fact is a mark of ignorance and thereby a telltale sign of poor education.

    SA has things to improve upon, like any major city does, but if all you can do is pass judgement, please move elsewhere. The sunny city doesn’t need your dark clouds.

  19. Well it cant be worse than miami fl omg is horrible here I am moving to san antonio in july. 🙂

  20. I really, really want to like San Antonio…my wife and I were thinking about relocating here for weather. I had been there before when I was in college and remember liking it – the visit was a first for my wife. 10 years out of college, I can’t seem to find an area of the city I want to live in. First, the job situation is not as good as advertised. If you have more than an undergraduate degree (I am a CPA with years of experience), professional opportunities are few and well below market rate in terms of salary. Second, if you are looking for vibrant luxury apartments (with amenities) reasonably close to downtown they are few and far between. Even the “nice” neighborhoods of Terrell Heights and Alamo Heights did not offer what we were looking for and featured brown, unkempt lawns and run-down looking buildings. Third, the signage on the highways and city streets is an eyesore. Seriously, the city needs to enact some beautification ordinances to capitalize on its potential. I have not given up on SA…we may move there yet, but I was very underwhelmed – which sucks, because I love the city’s history, architecture and flavor. The downtown area is probably my favorite in the US.

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