San Antonio: Affordable, Fun, Convenient
Living in San Antonio for Several Years Gave us an Appreciation for This Often Overlooked City
Retiring in San Antonio could be perfect for a lot of people but other Texas cities often get the spotlight. San Antonio is kind of like the middle child of Texas. Austin usually gets all of the attention because of the growing tech scene and hip crowd. San Antonio, at times, seems like Texas’ best kept secret. It’s the 7th largest city in the U.S. and is still very affordable.
San Antonio doesn't have the tornadoes of Dallas, the traffic of Austin or the humidity of Houston. It’s got a flavor all its own and is just a plain, easy city in which to live.
We lived in San Antonio for seven years. We left because we felt like it was better to live in Austin for the job opportunities. But we would have liked to stay. It’s a city that is definitely on our shortlist if we decide to stay in the U.S. It’s definitely worth checking out.
Top 7 Reasons to Retire in San Antonio
- Large city with all of the big city amenities but a smaller city feel.
- Affordable real estate.
- Amazing amount of healthcare facilities including excellent VA facilities because San Antonio has a few military bases.
- Easily accessible international airport.
- Less traffic than in other cities in Texas like Austin or Houston.
- Tons of entertainment options. Downtown has the Riverwalk with restaurants and bars, broadway shows at the Majestic, Spurs games, comedy clubs, and more.
- SeaWorld and Six Flags if you’ll have grandkids visiting (or if you’re a kid at heart!).
Top 7 Things We Love about San Antonio
- The Scenery
There are areas to live around San Antonio where you can have gorgeous views of the hills. San Antonio is at the bottom of the Texas Hill Country so that was a huge plus to Mr. Rover and I. We had spent some time in Florida and we were tired of flat neighborhoods.
- The Food
San Antonio has the best TexMex in Texas. The city has a huge Latin influence and if you enjoy the cuisine, you’ll love San Antonio. Whether you are in the mood for TexMex or true authentic Mexican cuisine, you won’t have an issue finding a place.
- The Airport
This is kind of strange but if you’re planning on traveling a lot, the San Antonio airport is so easy to get in and out of. If you live in a city with a large airport that isn’t easy to access, you’ll so appreciate this one!
- The Location
Retiring in San Anotnio could be very convenient. You can get to all the major cities in Texas by car and the beach is only a short 4 hour drive away. Too far for a beach day but great for a long weekend! If you’re into cruising, you can also drive to the cruise port in Galveston which makes it so convenient.
- The Riverwalk
Mr. Rover and I agree that we didn’t spend enough time at the Riverwalk. When the weather is nice, it’s a great place to go and stroll around, sit on a bench and enjoy the sun. There’s nothing better than sitting next to the water and enjoying a margarita and some chips on a beautiful day. And if you're retiring in San Antonio, you'll have so much more time to relax and enjoy the Riverwalk.
- Spurs Games
Mr. Rover and I weren’t big fans of basketball before we moved to San Antonio. We went to our first Spurs game because we were given tickets as a gift. And wow...Spurs fans are amazing. There is such a feeling of comradery once you enter the stadium. The people of San Antonio truly love the Spurs and you can feel it at a game.
If you try one game, go to one where they’re up against the Dallas Mavericks. The Mavs are a rival and there is no love lost between the teams. There is just an extra energy in the stands during these games.
- Fun Annual Activities
Fiesta, Rodeo, Cowboy Breakfast, Battle of the Flowers Parade.
Top 3 Things We Don't Like about San Antonio
- The Heat
This is obviously a theme for me. I can’t help it, I grew up in the Bay Area so anything East of Berkley and I’m done. At least San Antonio doesn’t have a lot of really humid days. It is a drier heat which is better. But on the other hand, the winter is mild and just cold enough to provide that coziness around the holidays and the feeling of a season change. So if you're retiring in San Anotnio to get away from the snow, this is a perfect location!
- You Need a Car
Definitely if you live out in the suburbs but surprisingly, even if you live downtown, you will need at least one car. Downtown San Antonio is not like Chicago or New York. You can’t just walk down to the local market or even places like a Target, doctors offices, dentists, dry cleaners, etc. Those places are not situated within downtown so a car is necessary.
- Scorpions and Centipedes
So, not every home has scorpions and centipedes and definitely not in the numbers of a place like Phoenix. But...they are out there. We had two baby scorpions in our home in seven years and I saw one, dead centipede on the playground.
The centipedes have a body about an inch wide and they are 4-5 inches long. Ick. The rule is, the further out into the Hill Country you go, the more chance you have of having these things in your house.
San Antonio had the first air conditioned highrise, hotel, bank and church in the Nation.
Is San Antonio Dog Friendly?
In general, Texas is a dog friendly State. If you’re looking to rent, there should be plenty of options. Plus, there are several dog parks for the little ones.
5 Fun Activites Locals Like to Do
- Farmers Market at the Pearl District
The Pearl District is one of the newer, hip areas of San Antonio. Every Saturday, they have a farmers market with almost 20 or so vendors. Great way to spend a Saturday morning.
- Canyon Lake
Head up to Canyon Lake on a hot summer day for some fun on the water. Because the lake takes in water from the Guadalupe River and then flows out, the water is very nice. You can rent boats and jet skis if you don’t already have one. If you’re interested in boating, Canyon Lake is fairly close to San Antonio and many folks take their boats up there for a fun day.
- First Fridays
On the first Friday of every month, there’s an artwalk where you can peruse local artists wares and listen to live music while you eat and drink the night away. It’s a great way to spend the first Friday of every month.
- El Mercado
An open-air market covering over three blocks, El Mercado is a place to go to shop and eat and it's the largest Mexican market outside of Mexico!
From mountain biking to cycling, there are many clubs you can join to take in the hill country sceneray and get some good exercise.
More than 13 inches of snow fell in San Antonio in Jan 1985!
San Antonio, Texas Cost of Living Chart
Data from Numbeo and Zillow
1 Bdr Apartment Outside City
San Antonio is an often overlooked city for upcoming retirees. But it's a great city that has a lot of what retirees are looking for plus its affordable. A long weekend in San Antonio can be a great time to see what the city has to offer.
If San Anotnio sounds interesting but you'd like to retire outside of the U.S. or maybe even in a location great for those on a tight budget, Check out Mérida. It's a beautiful colonial city in Mexico. Or, if you're looking to stay in the U.S., Nashville is a great option.
Quick facts about Retiring in San Antonio, Texas
Long, hot summers and cool winters broken up by patches of warm, sunny days. Average temps are from 43°F and 96°F
TX is rated as tax friendly. No State taxes, Social Security income in not taxed, public and private pension income is not taxed. Wages are taxed at normal rate.
Evelyn (AKA, Mrs. Rover) has a few passions in life: real estate, traveling and dreaming about retiring with Mr. Rover. She's excited to share her ideas, thoughts and experiences and hopes to help anyone else looking for their dream location.