Left Behind: Why People Leave San Antonio

Print Share on LinkedIn Comments More
San Antonio needs better public transportation

San Antonio needs better public transportation, photo Texasbiketrails.org

Callie Enlow is a young journalist and Denton, Texas, native who experienced life on both coasts before landing in San Antonio several years ago. A graduate of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, Enlow has written nationally for The Onion, Kirkus Review, and various websites, and locally for San Antonio magazine, the San Antonio Current, and Plaza de Armas.  

By Callie Enlow

Recently, I reflected on how many people I know who have left San Antonio since I moved here. I estimated perhaps 15, which seemed high to me, so I decided to count. I counted on my fingers, and then my toes, and then my dog’s paws. The answer: Forty-one. I’ve lived in San Antonio for just over three years and I already  know 41 people who have moved. That’s shocking to me.

Shocking and concerning, because the people I know moving out are by and large the people San Antonio claims it wants to attract . The majority are college educated young professionals between the ages of 25-40, many of whom were deeply involved in their communities while living here. Several, but not all of them, work and socialize in the arts community. Others are journalists, accountants, web designers, educators or caterers. Two are law school students. A few work in the service industry.  Ten grew up here.

Read More:
Why I’m Stubborn About San Antonio
Why San Antonio’s Future is Bright
The Key to Continued Brain Gain: Specialized Higher Education
Where I Live: Lone Star / South Flores Arts District
Looking For a Job? Try San Antonio and Texas

San Antonio has done a great job lately in starting a dialogue about what the city needs to do to appeal what some call “the next generation” and others dub “the creative class”–educated, motivated young people at the start or midpoint of their careers. The Downtown Alliance invited outside consultants like Rebecca Ryan and Brad Segal to speak, the City spearheaded the SA2020 campaign to ask current residents what positive change is necessary. Yet missing in all this are the voices of the people who left. In February on the Rivard Report, Jeremy Fields shed light on his personal decision to move from San Antonio to Hamburg, Germany . I informally polled my recently-moved friends to see if there were any commonalities between their decisions. There were, and I believe they provide a good prism for viewing San Antonio’s future development.

First, jobs beat out even that most common relocation reason, being closer to loved ones. From architects to college professors to non-profit managers, many felt it necessary to move on to move up in their career. Richard Florida calls these types of professions “creative class jobs,” or those that are knowledge-based, rather than physical or service based.

Jesse Garcia, an accountant, recently transferred from San Antonio to Austin to work on a new project for his company. However, he already planned to move to Austin to look for a better paying job. I asked what, if anything, could lure him back here. “The city needs to attract more tech companies,” he answered, citing Austin’s recent success in courting Apple. He noted approvingly that companies like Rackspace, Geekdom and Techstars Cloud showed the city seemed to be moving in the right direction.  Mary Campbell, a longtime elementary school teacher in San Antonio, chose to move to Brooklyn last summer when she decided to transition out of the classroom. “I thought New York City would have more opportunities to start something fresh and new,” said Campbell who now directs a branch of the Sylvan Learning Centers. Kapil Khana, an architect formerly with local firm Kell-Munoz who moved back to his hometown of Chicago a year and a half ago, noted


The advent of Techstars, Geekdom and Rackspace suggest San Antonio is moving in the right direction, but has a long way to go

that there were no international architecture firms in San Antonio, even though they have branches in other major Texas cities. He now works for the Chicago-based global architecture firm VOA. Khana’s partner, Kendra Curry, a former Artpace employee, graduated in 2010 from the University of Texas with a master’s degree in arts education and chose to move with Khana in hopes of landing a more lucrative job in her field. “The point was to set myself up for a better position,” said Curry of obtaining her master’s degree, “If a better position isn’t available, you’re going to leave.”

On the one hand, San Antonio leadership seems keenly aware of job creation; touting hundreds to thousands of jobs in healthcare and clean energy. On the other hand, as a recent column by Heywood Sanders pithily notes, San Antonio started behind the knowledge job curve, thanks in large part to an apathetic local education system and a commitment to stable, yet low-wage industry, and does not yet appear to be catching up. What’s worse, according to an analysis made in March  by the Martin Prosperity Institute, the next 10 years aren’t projected to get much better. The statistics, found on Richard Florida’s Atlantic Cities blog forecast a hearty 16-17 percent growth rate in creative class jobs in San Antonio. Sounds great, except that when stacked up next to other cities, we still look like a laggard. “The biggest gainers are, by definition the biggest regions,” said Florida, ticking off metro areas expected to gain more than 150,000 creative class jobs like Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington D.C. San Antonio, seventh largest city in the country and nowhere on the biggest gainer list, expected to add 25,000 – 50,000 such jobs by 2020. That an increase between 25,000 – 50,000 could push our net creative class jobs up 17 percent highlights our meager starting point. Even compared to large metro areas, not just the top 10 largest cities, SA falls short, with cities like Tampa and Jacksonville, Fla., Cleveland, Oh., Birmingham, Al. and St. Louis, Mo. anticipated to create a higher percentage of creative class jobs than San Antonio.

Of course jobs aren’t everything. There’s a joke in Austin about bus drivers and pizza deliverers with Ph.D.s. While it doesn’t speak much to job creation, it certainly drives home the point that indeed some people stay for the atmosphere… and the people. While everyone I spoke to about leaving San Antonio stress how friendly, fun, and down-to-earth San Antonians are, they also acknowledged it could be downright impossible to find enough likeminded individuals for friendship, professional partnerships, or romance. “It’s really hard to meet new people,” said Campbell of San Antonio’s social scene, particularly for singles. “At my age, the middle-30s, I want someone who has something going for them,” she continued, meaning professional ambitions. Campbell didn’t find the right one in San Antonio, and the search became mundane and depressing, a sentiment I heard echoed again and again.

Curry and Khana, neither San Antonio natives, felt that the high percentage of hometowners in the city made it hard to get comfortable as anything other than an outsider. Curry notes other cities, like Austin or Los Angeles with its large university crowd or D.C. with its young political strivers, attract outsiders readily, if only for a few years, and that can create a more comfortable community for newbies. Garcia, a music lover who moved to San Antonio to open a record store, needed a stronger connection to music and fellow fans. “Personally, I just feel the need to be around live music. Plain and simple. And as we all know, Austin is definitely the place to be for that.” While San Antonio doesn’t need to go after the Live Music Capital of the World title, the city should consider what it can do to encourage locals-oriented entertainment options, like coffee shops, galleries, music venues and (gasp) bars, that help people to meet up and interact with one another. We certainly have the empty, available real estate, especially downtown. Curry, who last month visited San Antonio for the first time since moving away, stayed at a downtown hotel and marveled at all the unused space. She pointed out that while Chicago also had vacant pockets, the Chicago Loop Alliance recently launched an innovative program to turn those empty storefronts into pop-up art galleries and installations. Ben Judson just wrote about a broader, but similar, initiative in Newcastle, Australia, which turned such properties into low-cost, short-term rentals for creative businesses. Who knows, maybe one of those temporary endeavors could end up becoming San Antonio’s largest creative class job provider.

San Antonio needs better public transportation

San Antonio needs better public transportation, photo by texastrails.biketexas.org

Just one more thing, because it can’t be stressed enough on the Rivard Report or anywhere else: WE NEED BETTER PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION. Nearly everyone I spoke to mentioned that the overreliance on cars here was a dealbreaker. Either make the city more walkable or ramp up public transportation options; heck, let’s become the first city in Texas to do so successfully. It might be one of the best ways to keep people from walking out on San Antonio.

153 thoughts on “Left Behind: Why People Leave San Antonio

  1. Great insight! I will +1 that San Antonio is the Sahara Desert if you are a young and single. I have many friends that have moved to Rackspace San Antonio from London and South Africa. Hearing their dating stories makes me cringe every time.

    • Look at it this way, I’m sure none of your friends ended up living in their car due to a relationship, and I was born and raised in San Antonio…

    • San Antonio is lowbrow all the way it is nowhere near a world-class City like they think they are so much proves that, so much.

      Being reminded of it because now they broke it into programming which is another thing about San Antonio they act like they’re doing a such a big favor anytime it rains here they’re interrupting programming it’s really ridiculous these people like to hear themselves talk on the news they think everything is just incredibly massively important to our lives it’s not get over yourselves San Antonians.

      • Im. a Chicagoan living here, couldnt agree more. They need a train! Public trans sucks! At 60 thinking bout moving back to Chicago. A disabled Vet.

  2. Well written. Agree on all points. I might add that while wonderful in so many ways, San Antonio is often slurred by our young people as “lame.” I’m so aware of the positive points and the progressive initiatives that when I contemplate that possibility, I have trouble focusing on the reasons or symptoms. But the perception is real. Perhaps it’s related to our “traditional” nature, which tends to oppress expression and youthful celebration of life in favor of comfort and “decency”. San Antonio is a great place, but if it isn’t a great place to be young then its future is dubious. That said, I must add that I am absolutely shocked that Callie did not mention bicycling! Thanks to the editor for adding the bike-on-bus photo. 🙂

  3. I’ve actually moved to San Antonio 12 times. Yep – I have moved away for a number of reasons – being in the Navy, being married to the Army and some corporate relocations.
    But I keep moving back because the quality of life is just great here. So I don’t fear our smart young residents moving away for a while. I hope they experience new things and different cultures and then move back – and share what they learned.
    And having said that – I am very active in improving our status as a “tech town” or a good place to “do a startup”. But there is something magical about this city that has drawn me back time and time again.

  4.  There definitely is a conservative hold on SA that I’ve just never been able to place. That hold reflects on the empty Houston Street storefronts, empty condominium space on the Riverwalk extension, the lack of public trans, the lack of a cohesive nightlife experience (there are pockets, yes, but no real one spot for everyone to come together like a 6th Street or Gaslamp or Stockyards), and that hometowner experience that Callie definitely hit on the head. As a non-native, I grew to appreciate SA but I had to stop comparing to the other places I’ve seen to do that. SA is a gem on its own, but the one thing that I could never figure out (which I blame some of the hometown and chamber of commerce people about) is why someone would have to dig so deep sometimes to find the cool stuff. Like some of the cool stuff should be big upped more than it is. I saw the moves Jesse made and that Steph is trying to do now with Puro Pinche but the one thing that always killed me with the cultural (art and music) events was how little the majority of the hometowners/natives either knew about or supported (or even cared about) some of those kinds of events. It just seemed like a good chunk of San Antonians were content to stick to their strip malls off 410, listen to 99.5, and never look further than their little world off Bandera or Huebner. As an outsider looking in, that was my impression of the place. Since moving away though, it seems like things have changed but having visited during my time away it’s pretty apparent that a lot has not. I can’t wait to move back though, because after all this time, SA is definitely my second hometown now.

  5. You can’t underestimate the importance of improving the workforce’s education rates. According to a recent study by the Federal Reserve of Dallas, “One of the main challenges suppressing the city’s income growth is the education of its workforce. With only 24 percent of the population over age 25 holding a bachelor’s degree or higher, San Antonio has the lowest educational attainment rate of all [selected] peer metros. It also trails the state (24.7 percent) and the nation (27 percent). The Austin MSA, only about an hour away from San Antonio, has the second-highest rate on the list (38.8 percent), just under San Jose (43.4 percent).” http://www.dallasfed.org/assets/documents/research/vista/vista0901.pdf 

  6. A couple of other factors here to consider. At the mico-level, yeah, no great paying jobs in SA, time to move on. But this at the macro level, this is a time of economic transition where the value of fields like journalism or the arts aren’t as appreciated as they once were. Anywhere. This makes doing things like freelancing very difficult for the class the writer is speaking of, especially here where people have always wanted stuff for free.
    Also at the macro level, people -especially the young, educated class that the writer is speaking of, are putting marriage and children off later and later. For them, getting an affordable house to raise a family is less of an issue if finding a mate in a big city that has lots of young people who are also looking for mates. I came back to my hometown from LA because I didn’t want to be a renter for the rest of my life and wanted to be closer to my family. I’d be curious to see if some of SA’s strengths make moving back more appealing at a different point in their lives.
    For SA, once of its biggest obstacles has always been the amount of retirees we have here- the people spent time in the service here and want their weather warm and their taxes low. This tends to hobble our education system, making developing a well educated workforce that’s built for the future difficult, but that’s for another essay.

  7. Some really good points were made in the article, but I’d be curious to know how many of those 41 people were native San Antonians vs. people who had moved here from somewhere else.
    I definitely agree about the public transportation. A lightrail option from here to Austin would be a great idea.
    I do wish we had more live music options, but we do have some great places, such as Sam’s Burger Joint, the Cove, Luna, Barriba Cantina and Tycoon Flats.

    •  @TheGroovyGringa
      With you 100% on the lightrail or some sort of public transit to Austin. I don’t want to live in ATX, but love visiting for a day or weekend. A quick way to get there without having to deal with 35 would make SA such an attractive place to live to people who appreciate Austin but don’t want to be there during the week.

    • Kudos! If there was a light rail from here to Austin, I would spend my hard earned retirement money in Austin, LoL! San Antonio is overrated n Boring! A Retired Disabled Vet

  8. Awesome feedback! I deliberately focused on people who moved here from elsewhere and then chose to leave, but I’d love to do a follow-up piece about the natives who have lived in other places and voluntarily moved back, family ties or no. Any takers?

    •  @Callieenlow I could throw some names your way!  Although they grew up here and then moved away and stayed away.  

    • @Callieenlow You could start with Mary Campbell and her roommate, Aissa Solis, who will be moving back from Brooklyn to Austin and San Antonio, respectively. 😉

    • I am one of those. College educated. Couldn’t wait to leave South Texas…lived in Chicago for years….Loved it! And lo and behold as I grew to my late 20s I found myself missing San Antonio and moved back.

    • Ms. Callie, I am looking strongly at moving to SA for work and retirement aspects, after a 30-year military career. Having lived and visited around the U.S. and World courtesy of the U.S. Navy, I can tell you what my spouse and I value and are looking for, if you are interested.

  9. Native San Antonio here.  I hear you, but the old people don’t thing that there is anything wrong with the place  Keep San Antonio Lame.  

  10. I’ve always referred to SA as a slow death.  It is very comfortable.  You can live a good life relatively inexpensively and continue indefinitely.  However, if you have any ambition whatsoever, you’re doomed to disappointment because SA is in a community coma.  Almost everything has settled into a rut from which it cannot be shaken without Herculean effort and, even then, it is likely to fall back in the established grooves at the first opportunity.

    • Couldn’t have said it better. In SA, I lived in a huge house that cost peanuts, did the same thing day in, day out, due to lack of options, etc., and felt the slow death creeping upon me. So, what to do? I moved to Austin (but still maintain an absentee business in San Antonio), live in a house the size of a cabin (which cost three times what my old house in SA cost), BUT the payoff: there’s SO much going on here, it’s ming-boggling to a native San Antonian, a festival every week, hell, every day, a constant stream of great live music, food, film events, festivities galore, amazingly interesting people. I feel as though I’m returning to life again. I will always think of San Antonio as home, but it’s definciences FAR outnumber any positives, and this will NEVER change (I lived there for 35 years, have seen the “scenes” come and go, the “redevelopments” falter time and again; I lived in the Deco District, what a wonderful area, but so unappreciated by San Antonio, and watched as resident after once-hopeful resident left the area for greener pastures when every single attempt to get the area up-to-par failed repeatedly). It’s great that things like the Pearl Breweary complex are gaining momentum, but I have to wonder how long before that project becomes another Finesilver or an abandoned Deco District project? San Antonio is a beautiful city, but the populous just doesn’t care, and it WILL keep returning to it’s established groove again and again. It’s sad.

    • You show both courage and honest insight with your comment. I never think of the Alamo City as showing any kind of innovation. There are very few truly creative people here. Most artists and designers are stuck on the regional self-referencing button. If your métier is working with papier mâché or crepe paper then you will be popular.
      People in this city act like they live at the center of the universe, and I suppose that is partially true (because this universe is woefully constricted). Most people can’t think past Fiesta — its gaudy colors, cheap looking parade floats that would be considered tacky in bigger and better parades like the one in Pasadena), the Spurs, getting drunk on the Riverwalk, having a special coffee at Local at the Pearl Brewery (so sad, because in cities like Seattle, San Francisco, Santa Monica, Chicago and Minneapolis there are lots and lots of cool coffee shops, not just one or two).
      I think if you want to be a popular success in San Antonio you just need to connect with a dumb audience. Meanwhile you are missing out on what is going on in the outside world and you risk being left far far behind.
      One talented graphic designer in SA accurately said that the city was stuck in a naive primitivism. How true.

    • Yes, couldn’t have said it better. No, please let’s not keep San Antonio lame. This city has an undercurrent of disorganization and incompetence that seems to permeate things at all levels. There may be two proverbial “elephants in the room”, in my opinion. One “elephant in the room” is that collectively, the people of this city are, um … intellectually dull. Higher education does not appear to be valued much in San Antonio, in general. But it’s good that at least the people in this city are friendly and polite. The other “elephant in the room” is that this city is approximately at least 75% Hispanic. Racism, even under a veneer of friendliness and politeness, undermines everything else.

      • Yes, there are very blatant ethno-cultural reasons that have turned some people off of San Antonio since the Texas Revolution and I have very little sympathy for those who can’t be happy here, because at its core this will always be a Spanish (Tejano-Bexareno) city first and an Anglo-American city second. Of course, the last time I tried to make this point to someone they got back on their haunches even though we were talking about, hell bashing really a third person…but suddenly this person came to the third-party’s defense saying “He’s half Puerto-Rican” as if somehow being loosely ethnically related, loosely, to the San Antonio population precluded him from discarding the urban east coast pro-anglo values he was indoctrinated into. It’s hard to bring this subject up, because FAR too many of us think the secret to clearing up racism is pretending it’s not in the room as you say. Very well put, I love the diversity here. I’m black and white yet some how look like I’m from Hawaii (genetics right) and skinwise I feel pretty comfortable in San Antonio. If you live in enough different places, you feel the often uncomfortable cultural differences from place-to-place. For many of us the most uncomfortable thing is feeling and acknowledging that difference, because we’ve decided to not talk about race, so we’ve remained ignorant by and large on race/ethnic issues because we live in a bubble of pretend.

    • Three years ago I would’ve told you something nasty, and defended San Antonio. She doesn’t need defending though…So no worries about any needless Alamo defiance from me. Hell, I couldn’t agree with you and the article writer more NOW, but three years ago I came to use the city as a hiding spot from the rest of the world. Now that I’m looking to get myself back in the professional Theatre/Film game I can’t get away from San Antonio fast enough. I’m from San Marcos originally and let me tell you, SA is mos def a metro version of my humble home town…which is good for some, bad for others. But I wouldn’t mind going out and making my bones in Austin-LA-Chicago, et al. then returning here and getting some badass local drama troupe off the ground in a decade or so.

      But today?

      Hell, the one well known and award winning Improv Troupe this town has no longer even has a theater as of 2015 and they only do for-hire events, as in corporate events and such….if they still exist at all. I had a twenty minute call with the head of the OxyMorons in 2015 and things sounded grim regarding their future. One thing people in the acting profession can’t do is live in a city where acting is at best a hobby. Like I said, I came here to sit on the sidelines anyway….I didn’t expect to fall in love with the city, so it’s with a heavy heart that I roll out, but I gotta do what I gotta do now that I want back in the game.

      Of course, as a former Austinite with more years there than here, I can tell you they have plenty of over-comfort issues if you’re in the arts as well. A drummer friend of mine said of Austin in 2004 that it is a “Velvet Coffin” for artists. But any decent career in the arts involves some shiftlessness in location setting even if you were New York or LA or London or Bollywood born….Gotta roll, see the world and all that. Perhaps we could start small and work our way towards being a mega-creative city. Maybe we can’t attract “creatives” for the long haul, but maybe we can give them an inspiring reason to spend a 6-18month stint here.

      Or Perhaps this is all much ado about nothing….

      This city, 100 years ago, well less really, was more den of inequity than it was city. The city economy has depended upon tourism since the 1800’s, but before the great depression a great deal of that economy was adults-only tourism ala Boardwalk Empire. It took decades to battle the corruption and apathy back to the more tolerable levels they are at today. So, when you think of current lameness, think of the epilogue to CASINO where Deniro explains the change in Las Vegas. With a lot less pomp and not one Hollywood film made about it, San Antonio went through the same transition, but over the course of decades rather than a few years. Still, every now and then someone here makes a strong push to legalize gambling and bring the Casino element back….well (ahem), bring it back above ground that is. Yeah, there is more than one reason SA is quiet and laid back….it ain’t just retirees. The HUGE crime problem here only got better in the 20th/21st century as the city cleaned up its civil rights act. Plus, the crime bosses and corrupt politicos got wise to how they needed to play it in the US, meaning they had to get the MURDER rate and VISIBLE street gang activity down. Cooperation between organized crime and local government is no jaw dropping thing in San Antonio. I mean compared to the rest of South and West Texas, San Antonio might as well be Ancient Athens though. So, bear in mind what might happen here if you go disturbing this sleeping giant of a city. I needed it to be sleepy here, now that I don’t why should I expect San Antonio to change when it’s easy enough for me to just bounce?

  11. As a 46 year old lifelong and native resident I can tell you that this “brain drain” has been going on for a very, very long time. When the subject comes up I always say, “if all the people who left SA over the past 3 decades since I have been keeping score came back this city would be unbelievable.” Like a previous commenter mentioned, though, there is a strong Keep San Antonio Lame attitude. One which I wholeheartedly  agree with. I’m a person who appreciates all the “right” arty stuff; been supporting indie and foreign film showings, went to as many gallery openings as I could. supported as many live shows as I could etc..etc.. So I am not a conservative, joe six pack. That being said I’m fine with the brain drain and I’m fine with the lameness. My feelings now are, sure Austin (for one example) has a cooler music and theater scene, but to appreciate it you have to live there. And to live there you have to walk amongst the uber-cool hipster residents of the city. I’d rather live and work amongst not cool and not pretentious folks. Are there things (like what you mentioned)  about SA that bother me deeply? Sure as hell yes. (I have, for the record, visited other major cities so I have seen the alternatives and options other cities provide) Would I consider moving to an environment that suits me better but also forces me to live with hipper than thou folks? Never.

  12. I came to SA in ’85 for a vacation and stayed.  Now nearly 30 years later, I made two moves to other cities and came back as soon as I could.  The climate, the people, the general high quality of life vs low cost of living equation can’t be beat.  There is nearly always FREE live music in San Antonio.  There is an amazing arts community here that is almost under every nose.  My favorite neighborhood has always beent he King William/Lavaca area, but there are other great neighborhoods with small local eateries for getting together with friends, walking around spaces.  I love it here.  On the other hand, my daughter is equally as passionate about Austin. 

  13. Entertaining article, a steady flow of words & research that will land on deaf ears. For myself ,I have the good fortune to be anywhere else but here for a majority of my business, friends and future. People ask why I live here still and the answer is Chupacabras, Big Red & not being pulled over and ask if I’m a U.S. Citizen!
    Yet on the other side of the country & planet I am free to roam & make friends and enjoy the wildlife, unlike SA with concrete after concrete with  corner of Fat farms on each main street…Bill Millers, Mc Donalds, Burger King & home town favorite Whataburger. Why do you think medicine is so big here, take care of our build in research, over weight San Antonio’s. Thanks for the pocket education on why people leave while on decent from their airplane seats or their hybrid car seats.
    Change? It still means nickels, dimes & pennies in a person pocket in San Antonio.

  14. A great article Callie. As a fairly recent transplant I waiver between running screaming or forging ahead and trying to shake things up and help support positive change. It a very strange place indeed. 

    • Thats exactly how my wife and I feel PROJECTSSOCIAL. Go or stay, it changes on a weekly basis. I agree with a lot of comments. After moving here from Chicago, I can see the benefits, but the lack of likeminded, innovative, people, it is so hard to feel at home… I get people scoff at me when I mention wanting to walk to places instead of drive.

  15. Very interesting and timely blog post. I thought I’d enter the conversation because my wife and I moved here a year ago and–despite the fact I have a terrific job at USAA–we’ve decided to leave San Antonio. I thought I was coming to a city where I’d work for a decade or so until retirement, but after 13 months, my wife and I find we have a very strong need to return to a city with exciting, dynamic and diverse urban living options.

    Before sharing the things that drove us to this decision, let me first point out all the things San Antonio has going for it. If you are raising a family, it’s hard to beat this city. It’s affordable, family oriented and has great suburban-style neighborhoods. The job base here is decent, and the river walk, Alamo and conference center keep a flow of outside dollars coming into San Antonio.

    But as great as San Antonio is for families, it really offers very little for those without children. My wife and I are older than the 25- to 40-year-old demographic noted in the blog post, but we are urban dwellers who thrive on diversity of experiences, arts, dining, urban recreation and urban conveniences. We lived through Milwaukee’s explosive resurgence in urban living, and then we moved to San Francisco and settled in SOMA. We arrived to San Antonio with high expectations.

    We came to San Antonio on the promise of it being the 7th largest sity in the nation, a fact you get hit with moments after landing at the airport thanks to the mayor’s welcome video in the baggage claim area. I wish San Antonions would learn to look at the ranking of cities based on metro population and not the ranking based on the population within arbitrary municipal boundaries–SA is the 24th largest metro area by population, more comparable to Portland and Sacramento rather than cities like San Diego and Phoenix. If I belabor this point, it’s because I feel “seventh largest city” has become a crutch that prevents the city from embracing the fact it is a mid-size city with the same challenges and problems as other mid-size cities. The concept that San Antonio is a “big city” is so baked into folks who live here that one resident, upon hearing we wanted to leave SA and return to San Francisco, exclaimed, “But San Francisco is a smaller city!” Excuse me?!

    When we moved here, my wife and I were excited to buy a condo in the Vidorra downtown (which is now for sale, if anyone’s interested), and we enjoyed (for a while) the experiences of downtown, Southtown and the Pearl. But within weeks we realized we needed to adjust our expectations as a “Is that all?” awareness settled in.

    With no grocery stores, no resident-oriented shopping and few resident amenities (dry cleaners, gas stations, etc.), San Antonio’s downtown just doesn’t measure up, even to a place like Milwaukee (which, while much smaller, has a thriving and exciting downtown scene). In terms of arts, the Majestic is a gem, but you have to look hard to find arts other than the fine symphony orchestra–San Antonio is a city where the opera company has to file for bankruptcy because it cannot sell enough seats to fill the 2,300-seat Majestic but the Stock Show and Rodeo draws almost 1.5 million visitors. As pointed out in this blog post, public transportation is also a sore spot in San Antonio, as my wife learned when she tried to figure out how she’d use it to get from downtown to malls or jobs located around 410 and 1604.

    People believe the downtown area is going to pop and become a real center of growth. I hope they’re right, but I suspect the city’s tradition of large cheap homes on large cheap lots with large garages to fit large vehicles may prevent the downtown from taking off as it has in other communities. (That said, lots of the folks living in the Vidorra were happy to give up their sprawling homes for the downtown lifestyle, and they still drive their full-size pickup trucks.)

    I could go on, but the point is that this city doesn’t offer the sorts of living options, activities and experiences that, I believe, the “creative class” expects. San Antonio is full of many wonderful and friendly people (who need to learn how to use car signals and figure out what the left lane on the freeway is used for), and I’m sad to be leaving USAA and my friends, but my wife and I are anxious to get back to a “real city” with real diversity and energy.

    I’m rooting for San Antonio to see a resurgence in its downtown, but I just do not have the patience to wait for it.

    •  @augieray As a native San Antonian who has lived in numerous places, I chose to leave and move back to a metropolitan U.S. city that I felt had much more to offer concerning all the progressive things you listed/desired as well as for personal and job opportunities. However, I must add that while you mention what your idea of what the “creative class” is, and how it does not fit with what you expected in San Antonio, it does exist. As an artist, I can tell you that moving into a renovated office building or loft in a recently gentrified part of town only makes you appear to be a tourist of sorts. San Antonio is a mysterious place, and will always reward those who are intrepid. Please know I’m rooting for you to find the place that fits you better, and also understand your lack of impatience. Que te la vaya bien!

    •  @augieray I’m with you all the way on the downtown situation. Why they built the sports arena where they did still flummoxes me. But the root cause of the problem is probably the decision decades ago (the result of political — read: financial — favors) to build the UTSA campus on the very outskirts of the city. It’s been a struggle ever since to figure out how to build a down town. However I have noticed often that walking around at night DT appears to be a ghost town, but a flight of stairs below there are hundreds of people on the river walk. Very disconcerting.

  16. Sorry about the lack of paragraphs in my comment! I posted this from an iPad, and it seems to have reformatted the comment.

  17. Reading this series has brought on a deep depression about choices I made in life that caused me to move back here after making it as far back east as Houston, guilt about not having noticed how lame and hopeless it all is, and a strong desire to move somewhere cooler I never knew I had.  Bummer.  San Antonio is Puro Flyover.

  18. While it saddens me to see that not everyone loves San Antonio as much as I do, I’m also thankful — the city is growing too much for my tastes and I wouldn’t mind if we weren’t the “7th largest city” anymore.
    I grew up in St Louis and have lived around the world. I was fortunate to come here with the Air Force the first time around, and then came back for good because no other place could compare. The people here are what makes the difference for me. This is the first place I ever lived where I became friends with people who had no affiliation with the Air Force or military in general. I felt welcome and at home in the first few days I arrived.
    I haven’t been afraid to get out to all parts of the city and learn about it, to volunteer at historic sites and serve on boards, or to go to planning meetings on the future of our downtown or Hemisfair Park. If you don’t like it here and you don’t have the ability to move elsewhere, be a part of the change!

  19. My actual experience with San Antonio echoes a lot of what is mentioned, but I think it is a mistake to compare San Antonio to other iconic cities.  When I moved here from the D.C. area, I too complained.  The river?  That’s not a river, that’s a canal.  The Potomac is a river!  The water at the coast is too brown and the sand is not sandy enough.  We had the Atlantic Ocean.  (Not to undermine my own point, I still cringe at the sobriquet “River City” and do my best to ignore the trucks with “stars and bars” bumper stickers on the beach at the coast, but what are you gonna do?)  Love from San Antonio comes from embracing what is unique about it and finding what you can’t get anywhere else.  It has historical and cultural value beyond the temporal appeal of shops, restaurants, and music venues.  Interpersonal relationships solidify that connection.  There are Interesting People doing Important Things.  You either have to find them or become one of them.

    • Beggin’ your pardon, Gov’nor, but the Missouri and Mississippi, and even the Ohio, are RIVERS! The Potomac … not so much. It is more of a bay, until you get to D.C., above where it becomes a sort of creek. 🙂

  20. Pingback: The Art of Listening: Why Young People’s Ambivalence about San Antonio Should Matter to You | The Rivard Report

  21. after being an oil brat for the first 13 years of my life (including a 3 year “deployment” in houston), and then settling into the greater chicago area for 17 years, i longed to come back to the lone star state. two days before my 30th birthday, i returned. within the past two years, i have been able to help organize a young professional group who are interested in the fine arts within SA. i’ve been fortunate as an amateur violist to perform with the san antonio symphony, as well as play with a local community orchestra. i’m also lucky in having a job with a texan company i love, and hope to stay there for the duration of my career. SA is not new york , chicago , or LA, but it has a rich culture and identity that really transcends any “defining” metropolitan attributes such as land mass. we don’t have the nightlife as our hipster sister austin. but we do have are lots of small businesses and a true sense of community that try to help each other out within the arts. sure, i had opportunities in chicago, but that’s a huge town and while the proverbial net is larger, it doesn’t mean that apathy doesn’t exist. i love the non-pretension attitude here, and the low cost of living is a major plus. i have alot of single friends that lament the lack of a dating scene, and truth be told, it’s not the greatest. however, i was out with several friends (all young, very interesting, well-educated with multiple master’s degrees and such) professionals  last night that are now all “coupled up”, proving that SA singles are capable of meeting!  there are alot of young professionals that have lived all over and are choosing to live in SA whether for family or career. as a relative newcomer, i’m happy to call SA home now, and encourage any young professional living here who is feeling like they can’t seem to find anything to do other than pint night at the saucer, to give me a shoutout, and i am more than willing to take you to the gems this city has to offer!

  22. Thanks for writing this Callie – so much of your information resonates with my experience in SA as a transplant from more powerful, progressive Texas communities (Dallas/Austin).  I realized within months of moving here that I was a fish out of water.  I’ve tried and tried to think positively and change my mindset and somehow fall in love with San Antonio.  NOPE.  Now that I’ve left the job behind that brought me here in the first place, I feel like I’m biding my time professionally until I can sell my house and move!  My only reason for me to stay in SA is the house that I own (cheap SA real-estate!) and my SA native boyfriend (until I can convince him to move).  It has been a challenge to connect with likeminded people!  I’m ready to leave, back to Austin or maybe even out of state.  
    I would appreciate a follow-up piece on the SA Native Emigre, that elusive beast!  I know a couple of them and I’m sure that they would be willing to share.

  23. Great piece, Callie.
    I lived in S.A. for 10 years and will always consider it a second home and I miss it dearly and look forward so much to visiting all the time.
    I played around with the idea of moving back, but decided that my time there was done. It’s a weird and wonderful spot on so many levels, but generally not one where those who are not native San Antonians can really ever totally feel comfortable with unless they’ve made a significant commitment to it.
    It’s also a bit isolated geographically which played with my mind a bit while I was there.
    Still love S.A. though!

  24. In my opinion they didn’t move for better opportunities, they moved because it was easier to “fit into” an already existent community where they felt comfortable… To me they missed a great opportunity to make things happen in San Antonio, create a niche, and be on the cusp of some great changes… Your statistics are also a bit misleading since they target specific types of careers without considering the upstart of programs that will inevitably bring about more interest in those industries… To say because those jobs don’t currently exist they won’t in the near future (based on numbers that are actually outdated) is a bit presumptuous and convenient to your point of view… Also, sure the numbers (job stats and income levels) are going to seem really low, but so is the cost of living and cost of the entertainment/arts scene… As far as singles in this city… Well, that’s a personal issue, not a city issue, to try and make it seem like there aren’t “dateable” people here is a bit daft and one sided… Now, if you are speaking of personal preferences towards looks, race, and body type, then we can go into that and see what that opinion is really based off… Of course simply, my opinion… One point your article didn’t bring up is that it seems the young professionals that the city wants to attract are not only young people who may want to live here a year or two and explore other options (I noticed oversea’ers in your article being referenced), San Antonio has always been family oriented and it isn’t bad to target people you want to put down roots and make San Antonio their permanent home, because in reality those are the young professionals/artists/educators who are going to ensure growing scenes are not just a fad, but a lasting impact on their and surrounding communities… Just my opinion of course…

  25. To know San Antonio, is to love San Antonio. No matter how much economic growth, education efforts, cultural programs it’s never going to be New York, LA or D.C. But you know what? That’s OK.That’s what makes SA a gem of a city. As a native of SA and young professional I had to leave SA to gain substantial career experience. I’ve lived in three major cities and while I’ve loved each of them for the diversity, culinary pursuits and challenging working environments, they don’t compare to the friendly, charm and low cost living (which I miss the most) that San Antonio provides. I think “keep San Antonio lame” is funny, but it’s only lame don’t find your niche. Just like every city I’ve lived in, it is what you make of it. While, I’m not ready yet – I’ll definitely be open to moving back and settling there.

  26. As one who has lived all over the country – in large cities and small towns, I have to agree with everything in this article. If I had grown-up here, had friends from school, and been a long-time member of a local church, I suspect my feelings would be different. But, I have to agree on point after point. As one who loves learning and professional growth, I have been generally frustrated with the lack of professional growth opportunities in any of my fields of experience: psychology, education, health, business. I came here for a job, but (in less than 3 years) have hit a glass ceiling with no other alternatives in the area.
    In terms of the artist community, I am a visual artist and avid social dancer. My artistic style represent my experiences with different styles of art across the country. Specifically, I grew up in Chicago and was a frequent visitor of the Art Institute and various galleries. I enjoyed the art scene while living in Seattle and even Wichita. I have studied international styles in art. Here, however, I have found a very narrow appreciation for art. Art is largely natural, spiritual, or cheery. It is not generally designed to challenge perceptions or demonstrate contemporary principles. This holds in fashion, as well. San Antonio holds very strong values and those values, at times, hinder the expressive nature of artists.
    Beyond the limited view of art, it is even difficult to be welcomed into the social dance scene. I have been dancing socially or competitively for over 15 years, yet it took 2 years of asking people to dance and a few rounds around the floor with an old partner (showing what I could do) to finally be given a chance. Instead, I was asked ‘Which studio are you with?’ When I said, “None”, they said, “Ask me after you learn to dance” or “I can teach you to dance. It will cost…” Even when I said, “I’ve been dancing a long time”, they’d respond “What? Are you one of those drunken bar dancers?” Nothing about my poise, my dress, or my dancing says ‘drunken bar dancer’ (I don’t even drink). But because I was new they made assumptions (‘new’ has always meant ‘opportunity’ and ‘excitement’ to me, this was the first time I ever encountered the ‘new’ means ‘ignorant’ idea). I had more friends on the dance floor in one visit to Houston than I have had in 3 years here in San Antonio. I have never attended any dance and had people ask for my dance resume, much less spent 2 years trying to break the ice to get even a pity-dance. I was really disappointed. I’ve trained/danced with world champions and here I couldn’t even get a simple dance at the club because ‘I wouldn’t be good enough’.
    I think what is missing most for me is an openness to diversity. I am used to being surrounded by different ideas, perspectives, cultures, religions, talents, sexual orientations, disabilites, etc – diversity in all of its forms. San Antonio has an extremely strong identity that is on the one hand it is very family-friendly and enticing but then quickly (for anyone who isn’t a perfect fit, esp those who didn’t grow up here) becomes claustrophobic. We strangers may visit, but we will never be part of San Antonio. Within 1 month of moving to Wichita, I had friends I could call on a rainy day. Within 6 weeks of moving to Seattle, I also had friends I could call. It has been 3 years and though I am friendly with people, there is no one here in San Antonio that I can call to just catch a movie. Most have such complete lives that there is no need to make more friends.
    Beyond that, San Antonio is the first place that I have been regularly insulted for being Catholic (considering I only share my religious affiliation when asked, it’s amazing how many people even know), the first place I have been mocked for not smoking/drinking, and the first place that I have been treated like a contemptuous leper because I am a middle-aged woman who is not married and does not (can not) have kids. Add the offense of not graduating from a TX university and I am virtually despicable. There is also a sense of entitlement that I have never encountered before. There are many good people in San Antonio and perhaps there are pockets that would meet my broader views but they must be such tiny pockets that they are nearly impossible to find (or pockets that nobody discusses in general public); but in general I have received the message clearly that I am not a San Antonian. It’s not for lack of trying, but after 3 years, one has to wonder how long it takes to be accepted.
    If I had family, I would probably feel differently; but I don’t. Like those mentioned in the article, I am also looking for options to leave. I have been patient for 3 years. Even when I volunteer, I’m treated like an outsider (like my help isn’t needed, but if I reallly want to volunteer, I can).The words say, “We want you”; but the actions say, “Don’t bother me.” I have no inclination to stay where I’m not wanted. I really thought San Antonio was where I was going to settle. Everything looked great on paper (cost of living, climate, “Best City” ratings, etc), but it has been such a lonely experience that I really am looking for a more visitor-friendly community.

    • wow, I’m glad I read your post before I posted that I thought maybe part of the issue with San Antonio was all the Catholics. or you might have thought I was talking about you.. LOL.. Not making fun, but San Antonio is an old Catholic city,,, Germans and Mexicans and French. My mom’s family is an old Catholic SA family from the 1800s after the CIvil War, and they all seem just waiting on fate. Not in a bad way, but there’s a different vibe than say with a city filled with striving Episcopalians or something, or laid back Unitarians.. That’s what I also chalked up to SA’s pace of just letting life happen life the slow death mentioned above. Plus there are alot of retired military.. gives a certain ordered slow death with good posture.

  27. Having written about arts and culture in this city for 4 years, I’ve watched an upward slope towards a more urban civic awareness, and it’s exciting. I’ve interviewed several hundred truly dedicated, innovative and passionate people — be they artists, or heads of nonprofits, chefs, teachers, activists, architects, designers, filmmakers, comedians — who are working hard for true change. 
    There’s an awful lot going on out there, art-wise. And so much of it is good! Check out the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center, Artpace, the Second Saturday openings at the 1906 South Flores compound, new galleries like Gravelmouth and the Flight Satellite space, goings-on at the Pearl. There are interesting movements afoot, too — the Más Rudas Collective, the guerrilla curation in the Vacancy series of moving exhibitions, the Video Jam. During Contemporary Art Month (March), I loved the “7 Minutes in Heaven” group show at the Fox Motel, which was a daring takeover of marginalized space to present audacious art. 
    My problem has to do with getting paid for my work.
    I’m usually working on at least 6 assignments at a time, yet last year I made under ten thousand dollars. It’s hard not to feel fed up. In August, I’m relocating to LA to enter a graduate program, and my passionate intention is to come back here next year, armed with better tools to cover San Antonio. I’ve got extraordinary friends. I’m inspired constantly by this city. I truly believe we’ve got important ideas to contribute to the national dialogue. But my professional life doesn’t equip me with the resources to survive in a meaningfully adult way. Some of this is undeniably my fault; I could be writing newsletters or PR, take a part-time job in the service industry, find something more high-paying and write on the side. And I may wind up doing just that. And maybe the media landscape will change in the year I’m away, or I’ll find a way to make full-time arts writing work here. But I’m worried.

    • Thank you for sharing these ideas. I haven’t heard of any of them. Correction, I have heard of ArtPace, but haven’t had a chance to visit. I have been to the museums of art, but look forward to exploring these options, as well.

  28. I’ve been tracking the comments here, and it’s been interesting to see the debate. As a former Milwaukean, I can see a lot of mid-sized city pride here. The same conversations happen in Milwaukee–people say, “I moved away and came back because of the people” or “There’s great stuff happening here if you look hard enough.” They’re right, and the people who say the same things about San Antonio are correct, too.
    But the issue really isn’t if this can be a city for a certain kind of person or whether someone can work hard enough (or settle enough) to make San Antonio home.  If San Antonio wishes to be a big city (and live up the #7 ranking everyone brags about) then it has to be a place where everyone can find the lifestyle, amenities, services, experiences and living options they desire. San Antonio likes to consider itself a city that belongs on the top ten list, but it just doesn’t offer the same experiences as a Chicago, Philadelphia, San Diego or even Dallas.
    The argument isn’t if this is a nice place, has nice people, is affordable and is a great place to raise kids. San Antonio wins on all counts. The question is if San Antonio can really live up to expectations when it comes to people who seek a robust and challenging arts community, a lively nightlife scene for more than just 20somethings, a diversity of music, an easy and expansive public transportation system, and an urban downtown offering livable options.
    If San Antonio wishes to win on those counts like other top cities in the US, it simply has to work harder and invest more. Or, it can accept itself for the wonderful things it has to offer AND the things it lacks–but then it has to be honest. As a newbie who’s turning around and leaving, I felt oversold on the amenities, diversity and urban offerings of San Antonio.
    I can tell you from experience that employers in San Antonio have a hard time recruiting and keeping younger people and folks who seek more dynamic, diverse experiences. I’ve tried to recruit qualified and experienced people here and been turned down in the first couple of sentences when “San Antonio” is mentioned. I’ve literally had more people ask about remote working options than have been willing to consider a relocation here. And I’ve heard of college grads reneging on their acceptance of jobs after getting offers in other cities.  I’m pleased to see so much civic pride displayed in the comments of this blog post, but more is needed if San Antonio wants to change attitudes.
    One last thing I want to share (since it’s been mentioned in the comments) is that I ABHOR the “Keep San Antonio lame” bumper stickers and T-shirts. No one wants to have a lame job, marry a lame spouse, drive a lame care or live in a lame city. It isn’t funny, cute or ironic.  In fact, what it is is very telling. It says San Antonio doesn’t want to say something about itself but instead defines itself against another city.  Austin’s weird?  Oh yeah, well we’ll just be lame then!  
    Being a top 10 city takes more than just a lot of people scattered over 461 square miles. San Antonio can’t really be comparable to other great cities in the US if it settles for “lame” or says “we don’t want to change.” No one wants San Antonio to be “weird,” but how about we burn those “lame” T-shirts and rip off those “lame” bumper stickers and stake out something positive, unique and inspiring. “Lame” helps ensure San Antonio will in ten years be exactly what it is today–a great place to raise families with undeveloped glimmers of hope for more arts, entertainment, and urban renewal. Don’t be lame, San Antonio!

    • I find your comments much more articulate and unemotional than my original post. I think you hit the nail on the head, here. I was expecting something different. Although I am accustomed to urban living, I had no trouble adjusting to small city Wichita, but Wichita did not aspire to be Kansas City nor did it claim to be anything more than an over-sized cowtown (though it was). I really expected San Antonio to be similar to my experience in Wichita. At this point, I really want to move back to Chicago; but it looks like fate is going to give me another year to try to fit into San Antonio. To be fair, not coming with family and not coming to join a military base or college campus probably didn’t help my case in San Antonio (where an unaffiliated person seems to be perceived as unwantable). Each of your comments hits the nail on the head, from my perspective. San Antonio isn’t bad, it’s just more challenging (for a person like me) than I expected. A random thought: I suspect that someone who has only seen San Antonio and its surrounding areas might face challenges in understanding/appreciating places like Chicago, Seattle, LA, and the various burroughs of NYC, as well. It’s not a value judgement, it’s just a different lifestyle. Thank you for eloquently sharing your observations.

    • Dude, your comment is exactly the problem with “creative class” people like yourself.

      You criticize the Keep San Antonio lame stickers for “defin[ing] itself against another city.” Yet your supposed ideal is as vague and all-things-to-everyone as it gets: “a place where everyone can find the lifestyle, amenities, services, experiences and living options they desire.” Yeah, kumbayah. More importantly, everything you’ve been saying is about how you want to make San Antonio like (i.e. have the same material and materialistic characteristics as) other cities.

      Ultimately, no one gets everything they want. No politician, planning process, government, or social media outlet can fix that. It’s bad enough that many of those same entities steal from us in various ways every day. Keep San Antonio lame is about finding truth and beauty and art on your own, on your way up, on the journey through an imperfect city and an imperfect world. Nothing Richard Florida says will ever give that to you, and it will never be posted on Facebook or twitter either. Only people who have to be told what is good– or rely on what others tell them is good– have to rush around frantically trying to find it and glom on to it.

  29. As a native of SA who now lives away I sadly agree with everything written in this article. I spent my late teens/early twenties in South Town during the mid-nineties and even then we were “always on the cusp of something great” or change was always “just around the corner” if we work hard and hold on. I finally had to take off because it wasn’t happening fast enough. Now when I come home to visit, some things have definitely changed but so much is still just the same. Fifteen years later, while so many other national-class cities have truly grown up and are verging on world-class poor San Antonio is still only state-class at best. It makes me really really sad because I would love to move back… But I’m certain I never will. The opportunities just about anywhere else are far too appealing. Maybe when I retire…

  30. I read Enlow’s articles…”Left Behind” and “South of Southtown” with interest and found myself experiencing a kind of deja-vu as the articles reminded me of the thought processes my wife and I went through arriving in San Antonio and now having stayed here for 30 years.
    We came here in 1982 from Portland, Or.  My wife is from Oregon I had lived there for 6 years having left southern California. We arrived to find a city with too few book stores, too few movie choices, few vegetarian options, couldn’t find a bagel, were frustrated by the lack of public land to hike on or simply experience, and found a decidedly tougher environment in which to continue our commuter bicycle lifestyle.
    Setting aside our immediate attraction to the unique culture of the city and the mild winters, I’m very sure these lack of amenities would have been absolute dealbreakers except for the fact that we were actually quite actively seeking to escape “hip”. We were seeking the unusual, and were very interested in low overhead in order to give ourselves the opportunity to work as artists.  The latter being such a priority that SA looked good to us. Still, though, this may not have lead to our staying here, but for the fact that both Rhoda and myself were very involved in Mail Art and truly felt that we lugged our community of artists and writers around with us wherever we happened to have a mailbox.  We didn’t feel isolated, but felt very connected to a larger international community.
    It really is getting much better in San Antonio.
    We continued our bicycle commuting with some adjustments, but bike lanes are a really good thing. People shouldn’t have to be warriors to utilize this most efficient transportation method. I am enjoying witnessing the recent spate of infilling, development of the river, the Pearl, etc. Improvements are being made in San Antonio, but the concerns raised in Enlow’s “Left Behind” are real and valid and speak to quality of life concerns that we should seek for San Antonio. Had both my wife and I not had somewhat unusual priorities we may not have been able to stay here.
    We made a choice to buy a house here (in large part because the prices were so low) and our experience was similar to Enlow’s “South of Southtown” musings.  We were renting on the near northside and decided to seek less expensive, and a less (at the time) sought after location and so we headed south.  The house we bought in 1984 is now firmly ensconsed in the So-Flo/King William gentrification area, but at the time was pretty down at the heels.  It was unclear which way the neighborhood was going. Plenty of vacant lots and broken glass, etc. We were advised against it. It has worked out very well for us.
    Having been here 30 years I feel embedded into a vibrant community of friends and a part of a unique city I’ve grown to love and I feel that dialogues like this are very important and timely as San Antonio slow walks towards some kind of cusp in its’ evolution.

  31. I just have to add something. This is what I have done in SA the past few days. Thursday night I went to Sunset Station to see the Slab Cinema showing of the movie “The Train.” This was free. Friday Night I went to see the Slab showing of “Singing in the Rain” at the beautiful Botanical Gardens. This was free. (I also could have gone to King William for First Friday. For free) Saturday night I went downtown for Luminaria. This was free. This afternoon I am planning on going to the Mcnay Museum for the Andy Warhol event. This is less than $10.00. Tomorrow I plan on watching the 4 time NBA champion San Antonio Spurs hopefully complete a sweep of Utah and advance to the semi-final round of the NBA playoffs. For free. Now as I said before I know the city has serious needs and serious flaws but the same can be said for a lot of other cities.
    All these pretentious hipper than thou folks are welcome to split SA as soon as possible since it makes more space for us residents who actually take advantage of what this city offers.

    •  @sa46 No need to get personal. It’s not about hipness (SA– the inner city at least–  actually has a quite strong hip factor). It’s about good universities that lead to good jobs that lead to good, self-directed careers and SA simply doesn’t have them. 

      •  @ImissSA  I don’t want a hip city . Sorry if I take it personally when my hometown  is called, even if it’s true,  state class at best. I have faith that (while the disinclined to actively participate abandon the city)  the more people actively work to make it better stay the city will eventually get to where it needs to get.

      •  @ImissSA I don’t want a hip city . Sorry if I take it personally when my hometown  is called, even if it’s true,  state class at best.  While the disinclined to actively participate have abandoned the city, I believe that the people who stay and actively work to make it better will help the city to eventually get where it needs to get.

        •  @ImissSA And as I read Callie’s piece it did not seem to be a road map on how to flee SA, but rather raised issues that need addressing in this lame town. Which somehow led people to believe they could bash the city. “Yeah I used to live in SA, but it sucked so I left.”

    • @sa46
      sa46, I fear you miss the point. It isn’t whether San Antonio has some nice things to do; the point is that San Antonio cannot be the world-class city it aspires to be if it cannot retain talent lost to other cities that offer more.  You approach this as if we’re debating whether or not San Antonio is a nice city.  We’re not. It’s a nice city. Period.  It just happens to be a nice city where recruiters have difficulty drawing talent, where young people leave to attend school elsewhere or depart after graduating and where people who come from larger cities too often leave a year or two later. 
      I moved here from San Francisco a year ago and now I’m selling my condo and moving back to a larger city. I’m far from alone in this–just look at the other comments. You can say “good riddance” all you want, but that won’t solve the problem. 
      Instead of getting defensive, have a debate about why San Antonio’s public transportation system is so lacking. Or why demand is so sparse for downtown living equivalent to what other mid-sized cities have. Why the fine arts struggle so much in this city, causing the opera company to close and symphony orchestra to operate at a loss this past year.  Why demand for office space is so low and available space so high that it’s estimated there is enough supply currently on the market for the next 13 years. (http://www.mysanantonio.com/business/article/Commercial-real-estate-starts-S-A-rebound-2249176.php#ixzz1u92RLDfB)  Why the city allowed the AT&T Center to be built in the middle of nowhere while it operates the Alamodome at a $3M annual operating deficit.  A world-class city doesn’t meet the needs and expectations of just some people; it offers experiences expected by all people. San Antonio isn’t there yet.
      I’m glad you had a good weekend.  So did I–the Luminaria is a great  one-day event and I absolutely adore the McNay. But please realize that San Antonio doesn’t benefit when people “split SA as soon as possible” so you can enjoy “more space for us residents.” San Antonio is hurt by the problem it has retaining talent. Berating people into trying to like the city doesn’t help–if you want to help, see the city through their eyes and consider what it would take to make San Antonio as desirable to them as it is to you.

        •  @sa46 Your reply is significantly different than “All these pretentious hipper than thou folks are welcome to split SA as soon as possible since it makes more space for us residents who actually take advantage of what this city offers.”  That sounded remarkably anti-change, to me. I hope you do affect change here! The city really does need it–and it can do it without losing what already makes it special. 

        •  @augieray You have to read between the lines of my response to people who choose to flee and bash my hometown.

        •  @augieray You have to read between the lines of my response to people who choose to flee and bash my hometown. I stand by my assessment of folks who complain about everything but do nothing to help change. I still want a town without pretentious hipper than thou folks.

        • @sa46 Thanks for helping me make my point. I’ve never argued San Antonio isn’t a nice city–I’ve suggested it isn’t the world-class city it claims to be or wants to be. With your link you’ve made that point nicely. San Antonio has a struggling symphony–so does Syracuse, Louisville and Detroit. These are EXACTLY the sorts of cities to which I’d compare San Antonio–not big, diverse urban centers like San Francisco, Chicago, Atlanta or even Dallas, but mid-sized cities like Syracuse and Louisville. (Don’t worry, I won’t compare San Antonio to Detroit.)

          My point is and always has been this is a nice city–it just needs a serious reality check about what it really is. Either San Antonio says, “We’re a second-rate city than furnishes an excellent place to raise families but we are going to continue to have trouble attracting and will continue to lose a certain creative class, and we can live with that” or it comes to the realization, “We’re a second-rate city that wants to be a first-rate city, and that means changing in profound ways so that people who might otherwise want to leave the city instead find this is a place that welcomes them and provides amenities equal to those currently offered to families.”

          In short, it needs fewer people who rag at “pretentious hipper than thou folks” and invite them to leave, merely because they suggest San Antonio could be a more diverse city with greater appeal to a wider set of people.

        •  @augieray  @sa46 Denver symphony: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/07/colorado-symphony-orchest_n_999892.html
          Also Seattle Symphony
          Also Phoenix Symphony
          Also Florida Opera
          Also Indianapolis Symphony
          Also Dallas Symphony and Opera company http://frontrow.dmagazine.com/2012/04/update-on-the-ongoing-dallas-symphony-troubles-opera-merger-insolvency/
          Experiencing troubles within the past year:
          NYC Opera, Philadelphia Orchestra, Houston Symphony
          I didn’t want to clog this with links, if you care you can easily google to find citing info.

        •  @augieray SF Opera experiencing financial difficulty.
          “We are trying to find a formula to stop the [deficit] bleeding. [Compared with 2010-2011] we are in a somewhat better position, we may have closed the gap by $3-4 million, but we still have a $2.4m deficit projected [on the Fiscal 2013 budget of $70m], assuming we make our fund-raising goal.”

  32. As a 30 year non-native resident who has grown to truly love SA I would be happy for the city to simply concentrate on being a progressive quality regional city with increasing employment. educational, and recreational opportunities for young single people as well as families, retirees, etc. This is a small to mid-sized metro area and the “world class” ambitions seem a bit premature and unattainable. Perhaps Dallas and Houston (both places I’ve chosen not to live and #4 and #5 in terms of US metro population) might arguably be places able to realistically set their sites on “world class” status, but SA is not there yet. Dallas (again a place I don’t care to live) has been in the midst of a large downtown housing and arts district building boom. It is changing the quality of life in that city. i would be happy to see SA (#24 of the US metro population) concentrate on quality improvements, central city housing, mass and alternative transportation, education, employment, recreation.
    I’m not sure failing symphonies and opera companies tell us nearly as much as an inability to retain ambitious residents.

  33. Callie, thanks for this great piece and for stimulating a great dialog. I would like to explore this topic through TEDxSanAntonio. Who is a good candidate to tell this story? We’re seeking speakers for our 3rd year event. Deadline is July 1. Feel free to contact me about it.

  34. SA culture is special in part because its “creative class” isn’t big enough to create its own independent, enclosed ecosystem. If the creative class was larger, members would have less reason to stray from their comfort zone to share time and space with people from other classes. And then SA would be less “lame”…and more normal.

  35. Pingback: On Treading Water, and Knowing When to Start Swimming. « The Train Is Lost

  36. I will say that the problem is real. Real enough that I ended up on this page by googling “things for young adults to do in San Antonio”. As a 29 year old transplant of one year, having lived in a variety of large cities, from Kansas City to D.C. to London, I can say that without a doubt this is the most difficult cities to make friends. You really have to make an effort here. It was mind boggeling at first, because the people are so nice and would give you the shirt off their backs.
    I moved here for work about a year ago and was excited as I have family in the area; a brother that actually works for Rackspace hosting. With a year behind me, I believe there are a few primary reasons many others in my situation found their way to this article as well, but there is only one that I can add to what’s already been discussed. Tourism.
    Tourists own this city and all the entertainment in it. Everything is geared towards the “one week visitor” from the Riverwalk, to downtown to Sea World, to production shows to First Fridays…even “my”sa.com is more like “your”sa.com most times. Sometimes I feel as though if a friend from out of town were to visit and ask me where the hot spots are I would just have to give them the address to the visitors center on Alamo Plaza. If you travel to some of the cities Callie notes in the article you’ll find they all do a good job of providing entertainment for both tourists and locals alike – and yes there is a HUGE difference. Let’s face it, SA caters to the visitor, not the resident. Until that changes, you cannot expect any change.

  37. I’m a semi-native living here twice with my family in the Air Force. I’ve moved around a lot since graduating from Jay : LA, Manhattan, the Hamptons and Paris. The young are in such a hurry to grow up and leave this “stale” town for some “Real” city life. I came back for the culture, quietness and closeness to the beaches (and that dammed affordability here!). VIA transit is actually petty good if you’re inside 410 or near the Medical Center. Nightlife is there for the tourists but lacking for residents. Downtown is slowly picking up. Slowly. That’s SATX in a nutshell: slow. The arts are picking up as well as the current Mayor’s efforts to attract more Tech jobs here and that is starting to pay off quite well if not Slowly. Strolling Houston street can depress some yet invigorate and encourage others. There’s just So Much Potential for this city to really be a gem for Texas (and America) but I agree that many here, especially the retired, just simply do not want Any change for SA. None, Zero, Nada… Point Made? Each time a project is brought up to Better the city, the retirees show up on masse to vote it down. Don’t you dare raise my taxes to lure Google here, no sir-ree. BUT this city Is being dragged into this century by the Mayor and Many kudos to him for actually doing things to brighten this beautiful, most unique, North American treasure. If you’ve ever strolled the Seine the Riverwalk can bring a couple of memories back home … even if only for a moment. There’s a buried treasure here that’s bursting to come out. Let’s not forget the tens of thousands of families that are moving here from California and New York. They are bringing the need (and money) for Arts and Entertainment that they’ve become accustomed to. This bodes well, very well, for SA! Phoenix and even San Diego both have gone through this phase and we will too.

    • I appreciate your balanced evaluation, but as someone who lives in Paris, comparing strolling along the Seine to a promenade at the Riverwalk is just >.<

  38. Just graduated from UT Austin and move to San Antonio to work for this so called “high-paying” and “prestigious” employer, and I can tell you it’s all bullshit. The people in SA are socially backward hicks that is opposite of people I meet in Austin. Within the first week of moving in my vehicle was broken into and the neighbor called cops on me for playing my guitar at 8-9PM, multiple times. Another problem is that everyone here is so OLD. Honestly I didn’t realize how much I hate old people until now. Even people at the university and corporations, they’re equally socially backward and awkward to talk to and work with. Demographic of San Antonio is awful. If you just graduated from college and they offer you a decent job in SA, do yourself a favor and reject the job. I’m planning to get my yearly bonus and get the hell away from this godawful so called city. Now I miss the ghettofabulous Houston I grew up in.

  39. Amazing article!!! I am glad to hear that I’m not the only one with the opinions expressed in your article. Upon reading your article I found myself nodding my head in agreement with the points that were being made. I see so much for San Antonio, but with the closed mindedness that seems to be part of this city’s inner core, there will never be enough done to catapult us into the running with other cities in this state or around the country. I have worked in the hospitality industry in the downtown area for 7 years, and the question that always seems to come up is, what is there to do here? The sad part of this is you end up making something-up like going to a local club the end all be all thing to do, when you know that it is just the best of the lame that the area has to offer. As far as putting the art in the empty store fronts, this is just a way to cover up the lack of business being drawn into the downtown area. I think that the over protection that the historical society seems to deem necessary is a joke. I believe that there are some building that are worthy of historical preservation, but not every building downtown. If the city of San Antonio wants to model themselves after cities like New York, some of these old buildings need to go, to make room for new building, and new business. The riverwalk area is a very popular place to visit, and the city wants to attract more and more conventions to the area. However, if you don’t provide more interesting and exciting things to do other than walk around the riverwalk, and eat at some nice restraunts, these conventions will move to other cities. I think that this directly relates to the citizens of San Antonio, looking to leave as well. If there is nothing going on, why stay? The pay rate in San Antonio, is well below par with other cities of the same size and some smaller cities as well. I may pay a little more to live in Austin for example, but the pay rate is higher as well. Anyway I could probably write a book on things this city needs from my view point, so I will let you go, but it is good to see that I’m not the only one who feels this way.

    • Hi Chris

      Why don’t you write your story for the Rivard Report, just as Callie Enlow once wrote hers? You could tell readers how you came here, what you do, and what you like and dislike about this city versus Austin or other venues. Interested? –RR

  40. I’ll give a totally different perspective. My husband and I relocated here due to my husband’s job three years ago, from Virginia. After graduating from college, our daughter (23 years old) relocated to Austin and loves it there. I have worked the last 20 years as a paralegal but had much difficulty getting a job here. Much to my surprise, being bilingual turned out to be important. It seemed any job I was qualified to do, receptionist or anything that dealt with the general public, being able to speak Spanish was always brought up during the interview process. I’m sure this is not an issue with other professionals, but for me and my limited capabilities, it became an issue. Once I did get a job, the women I worked with were friendly, but not friends. I can honestly say I have not made a friend since moving here. I have become a reluctant housewife.

    For a town with so much to do, it seems there is little to do. Almost like a different version of the same thing all over the city.

    We were surprised at how many natives we met who have never been out of Texas, some don’t even venture outside of their area of town 🙂 We feel very far from everything.

    On the positive side: the weather is great. Not nearly as humid as everyone said it would be and we have a much larger house than we had in Virginia.

    We are in the process of moving back to Virginia.

    • I was discouraged when I read Terry’s message about living in Virgina but being there in San Antonio; and how she is ultimately moving back to VA. I am very nervous about my move at the end of this month from Virginia to SA. Needless to say I haven’t found a home there in San Antonio as of yet. I will be renting for the time being, as I see no point in buying, and unsure if I want to stay in San Antonio. I am sad that Terry hasn’t made any friends, she must not get out much. I spent some time there in SA at the end of May and for the most part people are friendly and easy to talk to. Its expansive and the area has a lot to offer. I don’t like the sales tax being a whopping 8.125%, that’s a little ridiculous compared to Virginia’s sales tax being a low 5%. Another thing I didn’t like was the fact that little to nothing is within a walking distance. I understand Texas is huge geographically which means you can spread out; however, due to this fact the traffic is overwhelming. The reason for my move is primarily for my husband as its no news to hear that he is with an oil company. I am unsure of the school systems in that area as well. Seems like there is a lower standard as far as K-12 is concerned. A large majority of these schools have a 3 out of 10 rating on great schools. Its rather sad to be quite honest. As far as higher education, I am finding it astonishing that the going GPA for acceptance is as low as a 2.0. Anyone can manage a 2.0. That’s a C average, which is disgusting to me. I’m also concerned for a lack of programs in regard to the health care industry. From what I have been reading there is a true need for health care professionals. All of these things make me more leery than cheery about moving to SA. The only sort of culture I have seen in that area is in and around Riverwalk, someone correct me if I am wrong. Hopefully I will like it there in Texas because there is a lot to do and I know the weather can be beautiful (it was awful when I was there at the end of May). Hopefully someone else virtually trudges and happens upon this article and responds, in order to perhaps give me some ease and peace of mind in regard to relocating.

      • Sorry, Whitney but Terry and everyone else is right. San Antonio royally sucks. I’ve lived here since 2009. If I could move tonight, I would. Looks like I have to wait until my lease is up though. First is the weather. 90s and up from March to December or later (!). Doesn’t cool down at night, either. Literally.Your bill for ac will be HIGH.$200+ for a 900 sq ft apt. Enjoy. 🙂 Next is the lack of water. We are *always* under drought conditions and you will be fined heavily if you use too much water. Apartments here are terrible.Rodents, roaches, snakes and scorpions too if you live by Seaworld. Don’t forget black widows and brown recluse. And they all come looking for cool and water. And this place is sprawling, have to drive 20+ minutes to get anywhere, lots of accidents everyday, horrible traffic jams. Almost as bad as carmageddon in LA. Not a good place to raise kids. Public schools are terrible, all the playgrounds are metal and outside so kids burn themselves most of the year if they want to slide or swing. You would think the city would do an indoor playground eventually. Most of the jobs here pay very little, so things are cheap, and cheaply made. If you aren’t a bible thumpin’ ultra conservative christian you will get frustrated quite quickly with god this, god that and we don’t need no stinkin science! And don’t forget W came from Texas and they are proud of him. And Perry is still governor. Run. If your smart.

  41. San Antonio is a great place to raise a family. The parks are awesome, the trails are abundant, playgrounds are plenty. Children do not burn themselves. Families spend mornings in the parks and afternoons in the pools. Kids love that. There are some great schools in town, NEISD is an excellent school district. There are watering restrictions but many people landscape with plants native to the area that do not require much water. You never have to check the forecast. It is the same April through October and November through February. March is a transition month. It is always sunny. The skies are always bright blue unlike anywhere else. It never rains for weeks like it does some places. As far as jobs are concerned there are no rat races here and no stress. If you have a job you love, why look to change it? It is great to be home every night to spend time with family. There is always stuff to do with kids on weekends. If raising a family is important to you, then SA is a great place to live. If questionable artsy diversity is needed, then you should move to an overpriced little studio apartment in a city you can’t afford to live in and be proud of being cultured. Life in SA is affordable in every respect.

  42. I moved here two years ago at the age of 30. I had passed through once during my stint in the military. The downtown architecture and sense of history combined with a down-home vibe made an impression on me. This was all perfectly encapsulated in the stuffed armadillo lying on its back with a corona bottle, on display a stone’s throw from the Alamo. This was what flashed through my mind when I got a job offer here. I accepted immediately! Within Weeks of my arrival I was in love. It was the climate and food maybe. I’d been stationed somewhere very cold in the military, and my grandfather was Mexican so the food is pure nostalgia for me. Blue blue skies, dry breezes, two hours from the beach. Great coworkers too. I bought a house in the deco district recently. It’s a walkable neighborhood a very short primo bus ride from downtown. Love the botanical gardens, playhouses, barbecue joints, low key places like the Cove. Texas has its issues. I respect conservatism but conservative-dom has been hijacked by the crazies lately, everywhere. It will pass. In the meantime just ignore the folks who seem to think “walkable city” is code for UN takeover plot! Engaging them will only spike your blood pressure. Otherwise, I enjoy San Antonio for what it is. Old school, slow, communitarian, deep rooted, laid back. Keep in mind it’s the first city north of the border and has been settled for longer than any but the oldest east coast cities. Aspects of its culture are set. However, it can do better on measures of education, employment and the arts. These shortfalls are opportunities. I like the mayor’s initiatives so far. But I think the real opportunity lies in doing something different that will work in a place like south Texas. A big push for the skilled trades and other decent paying jobs which require more than high school but not necessarily a four year degree. We could emulate Germany’s apprenticeship system on a miniature scale through public private partnerships. Alamo colleges have already started this process on a small scale. All this simultaneously to getting the bachelor’s completion rate a few percentage points higher. We’d then have a very competitive labor force which would do worlds to attract more of what the city needs in arts and culture. This will require better schools and better transit. But I think we can do it. I intend to such around for the duration!


  44. Interesting article and some great points. I think what wasn’t addressed is the population of San Antonio and surrounding areas. There are a large number of illegals in the area which keeps wages low and the children of low income illegals are less likely to further their education. I’ve worked in the medical field for years and it amazes me how single moms are thrilled at making $15 an hour an never strive to better their station in life. They are in a cycle of multigenerational public assistance and see no reason to change. If they have no desire or motivation to grow personally, they are not going to grow to appreciate the arts.

  45. Great article and comments (except for MillerKiller…what a dumbass). I moved here in 08/2009 from Austin, where I attended UT and lived for 7 years. Before that, I grew up in the hell that is the Dallas suburbs (if you ever see the opening scene from Zombieland, you’ll see what I’m talking about). I travel to Houston perhaps once or twice a week, which is often enough to know the Houston shortcuts in downtown, the Ghandi District, or the Fifth Ward without relying on Google Maps.

    After moving here and graduating from law school (the only one in town), I started my own immigration law firm. In light my experiences, I think it is safe to say that I am part of the so-called “creative class” that this city intends to attract.

    I remember moving here from Austin with great anticipation, since I have a love of hispanic culture, food, dancing, diversity, spoken Spanish and Portuguese, etc. When I moved here, I did so eagerly because the rent for a 1 bedroom apartment in the medical center was only something like $650 pere month, whereas the 2 bedroom apartment I shared with a roomate in Austin cost me something like $550 for just my share. When I moved to SA, I was giddy with the possibility that a new city might allow me to explore a new side of myself, like I had experienced with moving to Austin from Dallas, or with studying abroad in southern Spain. Eventually, however, I came to the realization that SA was not what it claimed to be.

    Now, don’t misunderstand me here. I think SA is at least part of what it says that it is. But then there are SA’s other qualities that are not apparent from the outset.

    So, I shall start with what I perceive to be San Antonio’s positive qualities. Firstly, it is only about an hour’s drive from the best state park in Texas, Garner State Park. Secondly, the people here are REALLY friendly, and I can safely say that as a native Texan, SA is by and large much, much friendlier than snobby “cultural” Dallas. Next, there are a few scattered activities around the city that are starting to converge into a kind of night scene. Southtown, SoFlo, First Fridays at these locations, or Stone Oak all provide fun stuff for a guy in his late 20s, like myself (then again, with limited public transportation, it is hard to enjoy more than one of these wonderful amenities on a single night without driving drunk or paying exorbitant cab fare). The Santikos Palladium is pretty cool, too. Oh yeah, I heard we have an art museum called the McNay. I wish it publicized more, so I knew when its big goings-on were going on. And San Antonio’s NPR station is better than the one in Dallas (yet still not quite as good as the one in Austin, though). Also, despite what some have said in the comments section here, SA does NOT have a bad traffic issue–try making it to downtown Dallas from Plano at 5:00pm on any weekday and you’ll understand why people develope roadrage. I could go on, but you get the picture.

    Now for the downside. Let’s start with the water. Have you taken a bath lately? I have not (Houston’s soft water is why I now enjoy travelling there so frequently), because the damned hard water in SA is so horrible that I itch terribly, causing me to literally scratch until I bleed. I am actually scratching myself almost uncontrollably as a I write this. Notably, this was not apparent until after I had entered my third year of law school. How about a little truth in advertising, San Antonio. I would NEVER have moved here if I had know this. And don’t even get me started on the drought, what with it’s months and months without rainfall (but in all fairness I cannot really blame San Antonio’s people for its inability to appease the rain gods).

    Next, has anybody else noticed that when San Antonio refers to itself as hispanic, what it really means to say it Mexican/chicano? There are a few thousand Puerto Ricans, I grant you, but the city’s demographics numbers are misleading. There are two Colombian restaurants that I know of, one Salvadoran restaurant that closed down, and besides that, a whole lot of Mexican (read “Tex-Mex” covered melted queso). And do you know what I found when I typed “Bolivian restaurants in San Antonio” into Google? My search results said “None! just eat Mexican…” Indeed, that seems to be the attitude I find in this city.

    You know what I have missed while living in San Antonio? Black folks, Middle Easterners, east Asians, and most of all, Indians. Oh, sure, there are a few South Asians if you go to the medical center, but aside from that San Antonio is one big “melting pot” of people from different parts of Mexico. And I am not complaining about this per se. After all, this means I get to try some 31 different varieties of mole. It’s just that every now and again I fancy 31 different varieties of curry, not mole. And why, in a city that so loves its buffets, can we not have a mediterranean buffet? Dimassi’s, where are you??!

    Also, it is exceedingly hard to find socially similar others when you are in your 20s and you’re not originally from SA. Heck, I will venture to guess that even native San Antonians are not immune from this conundrum. And while I scratch my head (both from the hard water and from confusion) as to how SA might fix this, I cannot help but think of Miami. Yes, San Antonio has lots of old folks, but so does Miami (and by the way, I really like old folks). Indeed, many of the old folks in both Miami and San Antonio are transplants from colder climates. Yet Miami has found a way to provide outlets for its young folks and is a huge “meet market” despite this, whereas SA has……???
    Sure, Miami has beachfront property, but SA has the Riverwalk (still not an ocean, but then again, Dallas and Austin don’t have an ocean either).

    You know what else San Antonio lacks? Easygoind, laidback folks. Austin has that, and the carefree, hippy attitude, at least in part, is what has attracted so many to Austin. If Austin is a hippy, then San Antonio is a curmudgeony, gun-toting, retired goverment bureaucrat. Kinda funny when you consider Austin, as the capital, should have all the retired government curmudgeons.

    Due to all of this, I have been debating whether I should trouble myself to sell my business and leave this adopted home of mine for greener, more diverse pastures, or instead continue to gamble my own personal fate and fortune on the city’s promises to bring good stuff here. Ultimately, I have faith that this once-might city will renovate, if not innovate, and relieve itself from the prolapsed condition it currently finds itself in.

    And yes, I did end the last sentence in a preposition. And no, very few in SA would be able to tell me that it is grammatically incorrect.

    I hate to complain so much without providing suggestions and possible solutions, so here goes. How about San Antonio get a major league soccer time and find a way to promote it like Seattle has down with their team, the Seattle Sounders? Fans could get lit in bars downtown and march thence underneath I-37 to the Alamodome. This really ought to work in a city that is clearly already so full of soccer fans.

    Okay, here’s another possible solution. How’s about San Antonio do something on a city-wide scale to fix it’s water problems? People don’t want to move to a city that does not have the aquatic resources to sustain itself in the future. Plus, how about SA do something about the damned HARD WATER here. Good LORD I need a bath with soft water.

    • I hear you. Have you tried Pasha for Indian food (on Wurzbach between Fred. and I10 and also in the Stone Oak area). For nightlife a lot of my straight friends visit the bars on Fred. South of Wurzbach. You’ve got the Bluestar schedule down & that’s a Great start but I also hear of many mid 20’s – 30’s going to the Stone Oak area off 1604 near Blanco is Hot right now. The “Long Bar” off San Pedro & 1604 seems Always packed on “special”b nights. Seems the downtown has turned to visitors and the locals have run to the far ‘burbs! There are So Many in your age range at the medical center. Stop by and talk with a few of them. They Are friendly, of course … lol !

      • Did you seriously think that Pasha is Indian? If by “Indian” you meant cheap bland attempt at Mediterranean/Persian, then yeah, sure. Have you ever eaten any sort of Indian food, and can you locate India on a map? No offense, but yours is a pretty perfect example of the SA ignorance described in the article and most of the comments.

    • Austin is not laid back or carefree. Austin is snotty, pompous, shallow, selfish and self-serving. It is also the unfriendliest city in Texas, bar none.

      It is like Los Angeles, its residents always striving to be cool, and competitive about it in a very nasty way. If you’re not up on the absolute latest in cool, if you’re fine hanging onto something because it works for you, regardless of how it went out of style ten minutes ago–unless it’s their precious hippie 60s; if you’re not always doing the latest cool thing and going to the latest cool places, you literally get sneered at there. The constant competition to be different and doing all the proper cool things at the proper cool time winds up making everyone a sickening monotony of look, tone and attitude, the disgusting too hip for you syndrome.

      Austin is further like LA in having a one note “art” scene, which is stale hippie do-overs manifested on 6th street, and that’s hardly the pinnacle of culture. LA’s art scene is the movie industry. Now, there are some world-class art museums in Los Angeles (really), and a seriously fantastic symphony orchestra, but Austin has neither of those things. Their museums and orchestra aren’t even as good as the ones here in San Antonio.

      But like Austin, LA also struggles with forming a cultural identity outside of its one-trick pony, and loses, most of the time. At least LA has nice weather, beaches and geographic variety nearby to make up for its cultural limitations. Austin doesn’t even have that much.

      So go to Austin if you want to be yet another drain on society striving to be the ultimate hipster. It’s the perfect place for someone with such shallow values.

      I’m not saying that San Antonio is all that great. It has plenty of flaws that I could spend hours pointing out.

      What I am saying is to stop acting like Austin is all that. Because it’s not. It’s just a hick town like any other in Texas, trying to be too big for its britches.

      PS: Want to know what’s going on at the McNay, or the SA Museum of Art? It’s as easy as reading the newspaper. The excuse-for-news isn’t much of a newspaper, but they usually post what’s happening or coming up at our museums. Here’s another idea: Go to their website, and signing up for newsletters. Become a financial supporter of the museum, and they will snail mail you stuff about what will be coming up.


      For someone screeching so much about wanting some culture, you certainly haven’t done even the bare minimum to try to get any, even though it’s right there in the open for anyone to see.

      Also, drop the attitude about people not knowing grammar. San Antonio is hardly the worst city about grammar, given how stupid the average American is, period.

      PPS: San Antonio’s water is probably not the cause of your itching skin. More likely, it’s allergies or moving to a much drier climate that’s at fault. I’ve seen it happen a lot when people move to different parts of the country. Get to an allergist or a dermatologist, rather than complaining about something that is likely not at fault.

      If you think this water is bad, you need to get out more. It’s wretched in places like California, the mountain states, the Northeast, the Great Plains and the Upper Midwest. That leaves the Deep South, which is the only place I know of with the kind of soft water you’re describing. I’ve lived in these places, so I know that soft water is the exception, NOT the norm.

      Funny, I’ve known people who complain about the water in the South being too soft and feeling like they can never get all the soap off because the water doesn’t do anything. It’s all how you look at it.

      • Two main reasons why S.A. will never become transform itself into a better educated more cultured city of modest size. Examples of cities that reinvented and transformed are cities such as Charlotte, N.C., Baltimore, Oklahoma City.

        The two main drags on San Antonio’s progress are:

        1. Too many military bases keeping the barometer constantly “fixated” on Conservative.
        2. Too many Tex Mex demographics that are statistically (census data/NIH data) obese and undereducated.
        3. Redneck Texans trying to keep San Antonio western, grassroots, and honest and not pretentious.

        The biggest slap in the face for us as a city was when AT&T chose to leave San Antonio due to the demographics and uneducated/undereducated workforce, as well as the lack of recruiting potential from top universities, so they moved to Dallas.

        Another one…..when Uber and Lyft decided not to operate in the city…..

        Factors providing momentum for the city as I see it currently that are helping in a glacial manner are:

        1. 100’s of thousands of out of staters are moving to Texas in the past 6 years or so from places like New York, California, and too many from Florida.
        2. Power Player companies in San Antonio, are lobbying the city and instiutions to rebrand the city and market it as such in order to be able to hire Ivy League Educated Millenials competing with cities like Houston or Dallas.
        Evidence of this is SouthTown, Bike/Trail Greenways, The Rim expansions, condo development and slow urban movement.

        However I do predict that the more people move here from out of state the more the balance will be shifted. So besides these folks superficially raising housing prices in a ridiculously irrational manner, they are at least helping bring some culture to good ole’ San Antone!

  46. Great article and I must tell you that we are planning to move out of San Antonio as well. Sorry to all the locals, but the city is just rundown and the weather is just nasty. It feels that we are leaving in a rundown town in Mexico for sure. Can’t wait to be out of here.

  47. I lived there for two years. They are two years that I cheered for HEB
    It is hard to pinpoint exactly what is missing; I think it has something to
    Do with the strange culture of honking and squaking tires at anybody who
    Is not in a car. People in San Antonio also tend to work hard and shop hard
    and as a result of the the working and shopping, it is difficult to meet people.

    • It’s hard to meet people here because this is a Mexican-American culture. Because Mexican-American families have traditionally been large, most of the socializing in San Antonio is about rotating visits through networks of extended families. When you have dozens of siblings, cousins, uncles and aunts, nieces and nephews and so on, it tends to pack your schedule.

      The key to becoming social in San Antonio is to accept an invitation to a family barbecue or a quinceanara, whenever one is offered to you. Make the time, no matter what. It’s a pretty big deal to be invited, and opens doors that you didn’t realize were there. If there’s something you need, someone in these families knows someone who can help you out, whether it be a great mechanic, the perfect insurance agent, the right lawyer, or even someone to date.

      If you’re single and accept the invitation, dress conservatively and neatly, mention your great job in a low-key way, be respectful to old people and kind to children, don’t flirt with the opposite sex but get on well with the members of your own gender, and the abuelas will start feverishly going through their mental databases of singles to introduce you to–and they always have that database up and running. You’ll get another invitation, and you can bet that some candidates for you to date will be there during that next event.

  48. Pingback: Okc boom? - Page 2

  49. Pingback: Pilot | brodnickifornia

  50. Hello,
    I am doing a project on the zip code 78224 for my master’s in social work course. We are evaluating social problems in this area! One of our focuses is “why do people feel they have to leave san antonio, or specifically south san antonio, to succeed?” Our project requires interviews, so I am looking for an individual to interview on this topic that is from 78224. If anyone is interested in helping and giving feedback on this community, PLEASE feel free to contact me at DJK658@MY.UTSA.EDU

  51. More people are moving to San Antonio than are leaving. It is growing just as fast as Austin percentage wise and more so in raw population numbers. It is a 300 year old city and many see it as more conservative than anything but it does have a progressive side to it with a promising future. I like how the downtown area is seeing a residential boom along with the future electric cars, UIW Medical school, Tobin Center Arts district, River North, The Pearl, San Pedro Creek project, and Hemisfair redevelopment will help attract more downtown residents. Downtown San Antonio has one of the best urban footprints of any sunbelt city with a lot more potential. So much history, culture, and a large stock of beautiful historical buildings that no any other Texas city or sunbelt city can match, not even New Orleans.

    Austin may have higher percentage of people with degrees but that doesn’t always guarantee a better quality of life, for one the disposable income is lower than San Antonio’s and its income levels aren’t that much higher as far as per capita income. It will be very interesting and exciting to see how San Antonio evolves over the next 10-15 years.

  52. hello my fellow ausinites/san antonians//im just a high school grad..now 54..but i still rock like im 21…i grew up and graduated in san antonio moved to austin when i was 30..have loved my life in austin tx..as it affords me to be whom i want to be..but austin is starting to feel generic like some other large american cities mentioned here..absolutley san antonio could use more higher education..arts..nightlife etc//my work is now to bring my cool hip austin vibe home to san antonio..and help further the cause of why we all love and at sometimes hate this city…and remember i can always listen to any station..be it news or music on the net…im calling on all of you today to join me in making this city the kind of place everyone will want to move to..feel welcome ..and never move from///

  53. San Antonio here I come (in about a year). All of the things I’ve read here have only increased my desire to move to SA. I’m dumping the equity in my condo (in Denver) and paying cash for a place to live. I’ll create my own entertainment.

    I really like the idea of writing video games (for my own company) than struggling on 100k to meet the costs up here.
    Keith in Denver

  54. Pingback: Why Does San Antonio Still Come Up Short? | We Buy Ugly Houses San Antonio

  55. Mr. Florida’s ideas have failed actually. I am someone who’s sat on those stinking development committees that you’ll find in other cities. The consultants will make all these suggestions, and then after things get a little out of hand they move on to their own piece of heaven.

    Second I am also someone old enough now to have seen that an artists piece of heaven is today as much an illusion, thus living very tenuously, no matter when they ever lived. Look here, even great classical musicians died with no money and even fewer friends too. But many thrive on the pain and rejection because it gives them a creative edge….they might believe this though will only point out those whose lives were “so hard.” I’m pretty sure we’ll be seeing fiction about San Antonio’s oppressed creative “minority” sooner than later.

    Authors and writers, well they stay home quite a bit at least the few who are successful are never seen and they’d be pissed if some development committee targeted the neighborhood on the basis of so and so’s proximity. But they are not young generally, and the musicians are not young either in San Antonio. Your culture wars are not a problem in San Antonio because “true creatives” might sneer at the less ambitious nature of their -what “lessers?” What this means is that you must not realize that being creative is not the end, nor is it to be the smartest kid in the room, because just because you think you are being social in fact you’re just obnoxious. I am also someone who’s spent a lot of time in front of audiences frankly. You must agree that the arts are very highly competitive no matter where, or what entity and that breeds a lot of bitterness or envy across the spectrum. Sure, let’s just invite in people who are prone to such behavior, and then we’ll watch the stable bit of San Antonio move away instead.

    But, simply being creative is not enough because in the end somebody has to make it work. That frankly has ALWAYS fallen to the rest of society. Society, across the board, has little time any longer for those who presume they are the betters. We only hear about the “horror stories” about dating out of the mouth of the author’s friends and you can bet some San Antonio’s finest have related stories as well. I don’t know what you’ve expected by writing this article, however people like Florida are quoted, but very few mentions of the PERPETUAL STATE of which artist’s have always had to endure. You will make a place your own, and then the consultants who consult Florida and company will step in and take it away. They have done this very same thing everywhere.

    So -as an old artist now- I’d advise you to walk quietly and out of sight of the development committee. Know very well that some of San Antonio are there ONLY because of the down to earth people there, and that they are very well informed about the attitude such “creatives” might bring to a stable community. Read history, or autobiography, and not popular psychology….that’s a no brainer. Government by virtue of this financial disaster, is right to support the most stable part of San Antonio, and because frankly those people are the ones who must carry out the hair brained schemes “creatives” like Florida come up with in spite of reality; and they are the same people, as you’ve nimbly pointed out over the issue of “dating,” who must also endure the “creatives” personalities and false expectations of artists.

  56. Pingback: San Antonio Living: Who Loves It and Who Hates It | My Ticky Tacky Life

    • Point well taken. Most “Educated” do run as fast as they can from SA. The reason they do so is due to the low informed population which is the majority and the low wages that are fit for a High School Grad. So, if your one who has to work for someone on a W2 income, SA sux for 99%. However, if you work for yourself, tapping into a market that does not include the locals, SA is very attractive. The cost of living down town is a joke compared to other cities. IMHO, Downtown is the only place to live, the rest of the city is a Giant Sub-burb.

      Google is bringing their fiber optics..this should incourage free thinking capitalist in Tech Start ups to grab a Wear house, or Loft space Down Town and start up that company. The cost are cheap, the new data speed will trump most cites.

      SA is a perfect place for someone like me. Able to travel whenever, escape the idiots and uneducated population when it gets overwhelming. Run your own private business, live like a king Down Town in your own Loft space, River Walk as your back yard and South Town as a trip when you fill hip. The artist scene is great if you know where to go. Underground scene in Arts is flourishing.

      SA does suck for the 99%. But you can find the 1% that make it worth while! Who cares what other 99% experience. Let them be and live your life with Base Camp in SA.

  57. As a native of San Antonio, I love this city. It is vastly growing and there are tons of things to do here. But all of the problems that some of the people on this thread have addressedall go back to one thing: poverty. I sure you, the lack of many things in the areas of art, science, the night scene, the music scene, and many other things are due to the lack of money that people have. Think about it: the east side, the west side, and the south side all very impoverished areas of tn.

  58. Pingback: How San Antonio’s Brain Drain Is Hurting Your Home Value | We Buy Ugly Houses San Antonio

  59. Now, hold on people. Idk if I would invest much in the article, although I support the idea of everyone with even a modicum of wisdom, culture, and romanticism jump ship and get the hell outta this city, I would rather these words come from people who grew up in San Antonio. It’s easy for someone who is not born and raised in San Antonio to be attracted to it. On the same token, ideal candidates for this discussion would have also had to have lived elsewhere and returned to San Antonio to give a fair compare and contrast argument. Regardless, there are many problems with San Antonio and they all stem from deeper more serious issues, but the general problem is the lack of motivation by people that live here. I’d be more than happy to go on but I’m going to get off my soap box now… peace!

  60. I have to say that I do agree with all points. Born and raised in SA,TX. I did leave in search for likeminded individuals in cities in my 20s such as: LA, Denver, Atlanta, and Houston, however most recently I have been in Memphis, TN and let me tell you this experience has put everthing in perspective all is relative. Sure San Antonio, is conservative, traditional, nice and un pretentious, however let me tell you what Memphis is so you can appreciate SA more: Corrupt, Lazy, Dirty, Dumb, amazingly backwards and uncultured, racist, only black and white no other ethnicities, overweight, extremely boring and having a culture of passive judgement where everybody will say “God Bless” and then talk behind your back. You wanna talk about homogeniety- here folks all look, think and dress the same (kakhi pants and polo shirt) they are all drone replicas of each other. In Fact this is probably the worst metro area (1M+) in the US to live in. So after living in Memphis San Antonio, being clean, organized, hard working and cheap, it is by far a Gem in my opinion. I LOVE TEXAS and all its children cities! “Dont Mess with Texas!”

  61. I am San Antonio.
    I was born and raised here and this is my hometown.
    San Antonio has many reasons why I do not leave or want to.
    *Newcomers to San Antonio always ask me why my I think San Antonio is the place for me. San Antonians are old fashion friendly. Just like me, always willing to help in any way I can, give directions or ideas for a good restaurant, etc.
    *Downtown is laid back. Traffic seems calm even at major event happenings.
    *The most famous mission, The Alamo. Millions of tourists since 1836.
    *Fiesta San Antonio: full of Multicultural events happening, now 2 weeks long.
    Much history with the Coronation of the elaborate Queens in trails of bejeweled gowns dating back to the 1900’s when this event started. A must see/experience if in SA during April of every year! Parades: Cavaliers Parade, The Battle of Flowers Parade & The Flambeau Parade! And many more events, a must see and do.
    *Military City
    *GO SPURS GO: NBA Champions
    *World’s Fair: Hemisfair Plaza 1968
    *The Fairmont Hotel: one of the first hotels to be moved from one area of downtown to another
    *The Tower of the Americas
    San Antonio is a Great city to live in. If you visit, take a walk downtown. It’s always lively and everyone is courteous. The best police force around. Always there.
    I always tell newcomers, San Antonians usually let you get in front of you(while driving) or they allow you to go first in traffic lines. I’ve always experienced that here.
    ******every city has it’s advantages & disadvantages*******
    This is my city and I am Proud to say I love San Antonio!

  62. I have to agree with this article. As a native of the city, I was unable to find employment after graduating from UTSA. I spent 18 months, from junior to senior year interviewing. After interviewing long distance, I had three job offers within two months in Dallas, so I moved. I’ve also lived in northern California and I’d have to say I like Sacramento the best. I still return to SA to visit family, but it doesn’t seem like home, just another city. Yes taxes are low, but the heat in the summer is high, which makes outdoor activities like walking and enjoying a sidewalk cafe unbearable.

  63. I realize I am responding to something that is 3 years old, but the article still resonates in 2015. I was raised in San Antonio and moved to Austin for college after graduating high school. After college I moved to NYC to work career working in photo and video. After a few years in NYC I moved to Mexico City to work on a variety of photography and video projects, and now find myself back in Texas for a few months deciding if I want to return to New York or move to Austin.

    My family always suggests giving San Antonio a chance, but after thinking about it and looking for opportunities, I find that San Antonio is a terrible city to live in if you’re in your twenties and work in the arts or media production. Within a few weeks I have found a few positions in Austin that would greatly add to my resume and pay well, while San Antonio’s options were minimum wage and lacked the professionalism that helps move a career forward. This didn’t come as a shock to me, I already knew that San Antonio lacks a robust arts/media scene, but I was disappointed that nothing has really changed in San Antonio since I was a teenager. While I was away I heard so many times that San Antonio has been changing for the better and looking to compete with Austin in regards to media and in the arts, but after spending some time here again, I find this assertion incredibly overstated.

    I now remember why everyone my age that works in similar fields has left and will never come back to San Antonio. Public transportation is terrible, the bar scene is limited, dating prospects incredibly slim, and an overall lack of professional, creative industries that tends to attract the sorts of people that San Antonio seems to be begging for. I will always love San Antonio for what it is, and have so many wonderful memories here, but I feel that sticking around will only hurt me in the long run. I really wish I could find a good reason to stay, but I find San Antonio to be lacking.

  64. Nah man I love S.A. But this town is just too small of a world. It’s as if everyone knows everyone which kind of reeks because it rids you of a personal and private life sometimes. This is not a big city. It’s more of a large town. I mean the downtown area is only a few miles wide if that! Honestly those forty people are just a few whom you just so happened to know that ran off. There are so many people I mean so many people that love S.A. they will not leave. I understand that there are better jobs and more opportunities OUT there S.A.is just not that place for it. Although, this sounds troubling for newbies I will guarantee they’ll love it and not want to leave…for at least a few years. S.A.offers loyalty to their heritage, large communities, and simplistic design. Everything is so simple here because it’s not a huge city like Seattle or L.A. I’m leaving S.A.because I like a big city and I need something new rather than the ordinary. I believe people leave because of personal thoughts, ambitions and/or an entirely new scene. S.A. weather is amazing by the way hot, but amazing!

  65. I laughed at the paragraph about a 30-something woman looking for a 30-something man that has “something going for them”. Not a completely unreasonable desire, but honestly, the 25-35 crowd of people I’ve known (all over, not just in SA) over the years are invariably worthless. At best, they are just starting to realize a career. More often, they are still working dead-end jobs and/or sponging off their parents. Not saying you should settle, but I don’t think this particular situation is really centric to San Antonio or even Texas for that matter. I think it’s more of a general failing of society and parenting.

  66. No one cares about public transportation… the buses are horrible, old. They need a metro or a subway here. And it needs to be free.

  67. If you’re not a white conservative or a Chicano conservative redneck you will not find your place in San Antonio. I think it has to be the most closed minded city I have ever lived in. Can’t wait to get the hell out.

  68. So I am not native to SA I moved to a D.R. Hoton home in Schertz Texas a new community there, and I love it. I just want to say that I love it here, the location is excellent and I have been so happy with the people here, so so kind. It just feels like home so fast.

  69. I am Hispanic and moved to SA for 3 years (3 long years) and I can tell you the reason I moved away was because there is a lot of back biting even amongst fellow Hispanics/Latinos. (A lot of jealousy/envy). I gave SA a chance, and another , and another, each time it was a let down.

    When you excel at your career you have fellow Hispanics who are trying to bring you down and its a culture of complacency an mediocrity. If you know what you are doing you will be mocked for “thinking you are too smart”.

    What ends up happening is that a lot of people there in SA get hired because “they know someone” so you get whole workplaces consisting of friends, so work just becomes a place to hang out and nothing gets done. Then when you have someone from another city/state come and actually try to get things done they are pushed out or not allowed in “the group” and eventually quit, leave (like I did) or get fired because someone “doesn’t like them”. Its like SA has fallen into a complacency and doesn’t want to be disturbed from their low -achieving idiot slumber.

    Also, All people in SA seem to care about is eating. In the morning you will get to work at 8AM and they are eating “breakfast tacos” then by the time they finish its 9AM, they slack around until 9:30 or 10AM then around 10AM they start talking about what they are going to eat for lunch. Then at 11:30 they go to lunch and don’t come back until 12:30 or 1pm they slack around until 2 then that leaves them 2 1/2 hours or 3 before “its time to go home”. (So an 8 hour workday essentially turns into 3 hours of actual work being done ) Unproductive work culture that drives out doers and welcomes lazy know-nothings with open arms. These are not isolated to a particular place of business or workplace, it appears to be the city’s culture.

    Then after work they go and drink at bars (as if they had a hard days work) and then do it all again the next day. Then once the weekend come they think its mandatory to “go and party”. So its a culture of being unproductive and complacent and rewarding laziness with weekly food/alcohol binging. This pushes out people that actually have drive/motivation and cultivates laziness. (All this is also likely why SA is one of the fattest cities in US and has an obesity problem, the breakfast tacos, drinking and constant eating) Don’t even get me started on how many times I have gone into a business and seen someone at the checkout/behind desk snacking on chips, candy etc. while working.

    There is study that shows SA has the heaviest drinkers in US citing 8.2% have at least 2 drinks per day. Plus its ranked as one of the fattest cities in US. (these are facts , not opinion and coincide with my experience in SA)

    I ended up moving to another major city out of state and WOW! What a difference the culture change makes. Its like breathing fresh air after being cooped up in a humid space for years. People are motivated here, they actually reward effort and achievement and strive to be better at their work (Which in turn pushes you to be better…so the productivity is high and that creates a non envious/jealous workplace where everyone wins). Also people have other interests than eating and partying.

    So overall I don’t think SA is going to change because it doesn’t want to change. It appears they are perfectly happy being complacent, and unproductive while eating breakfast tacos and drinking. Which is fine….but people there need to stop wondering why motivated people with degrees and drive are leaving for greener pastures and why tech companies don’t want to relocate there. Enjoy your beers, back biting, breakfast tacos (potato, egg and bacon).

  70. The events and places to go that people who like SA list are certainly good if one has never lived in a real and vibrant metropolitan area, but are really very limited, tacky, and provincial.

  71. Oh also, not to mention if you enjoy international travel (that is not Mexico), good luck finding an affordable ticket with a good itinerary from SA airport. Definitely does not live up to its self-purported status as big world-class city.

  72. Pingback: How San Antonio’s Brain Drain Is Hurting Your Home Value | San Antonio

  73. Pingback: Why Does San Antonio Still Come Up Short? | San Antonio

  74. I’ve seen many wonderful and informative as well as many less wonderful and just venting type comments here. I’ve seen many overblown comments and many very true comments and I’ve gathered insight from most of them whether stated with a certain amount of subjective relativism or a certain objective harshness. I’m glad I’ve read through most about the way some see san antonio as the 7th largest city in the country – and fabulous – while others seem to see it as some little city within a large area of extended families more or less closed to change and satisfied with status quo. I’ve read about those who see it as run down and not a good place for kids – and I add to that drugs and gangs and petty crime are huge problems. I’ve read about the lack of enough good job opportunities, limited diversity and closed off to good hipster change – not the austin hipster kind but the real arts and media lifeblood kind. I’ve read about the limitations but good things about the riverwalk, the complacency of a same old same old culture of redneck tex-mex living, and the hard working but rarely-have-time people. I’ve read about the hard-to-meet friends place – unless you have a large family, the terrible though affordable apartments, the cheap home buying of the suburbs (don’t forget a lot of those homes are indeed cheap and age the same way), the poor public transportation, the lack of urban sustaining services, and the traffic (not nearly told for as bad as it is – per capita its close to houston per sq mile but about one fifth of the road space -estimating). I’ve read about the hit or miss activities and lack of world class museums and music and so forth, the san antonio spurs of course, the alamo, the old town, the catholic go-to-bed-early majority of folks and the too-many-military-bases place – at least in the next nuclear war we’ll either win or be blown up before we can even regret it). I wanted to see more about the culture clash that I see often despite this town noted as tex-mex and still – from what I see – having a lot of separation between hispanic and white culture and our mutual understanding. That by no means is just in san antonio but the lack of true intermingling does exist somewhat but alleviated to a degree by religious and other association. I wanted to see more about the issues facing the city that are problems or issues in many other cities like homelessness, a destination for refugees and illegal entry that has led often to segregation rather than diversity, and urban blight space of which san antonio has its share. Those are all things too that make a place desirable or not along with the other things mentioned. I found this article overall very informative and many of the comments specifically very well stated in suggestions for improvements. It is in discussing things truthfully but fairly that progress is made and with that I leave my comment.

  75. Those that choose to move away are crazy pants! I left the heart of the city and moved out a bit to Schertz when I found the D.R. Horton home of my dreams, I mean who wouldn’t? But that is about the furthest I will ever be from my SA! All those who don’t love it here… Well, we won’t miss ya!

  76. This is thee cringiest place sofar in this life . I live in the suburbs nw of this place and it really feels that most peeps Don’t have the ballls to be themselves

  77. I live in San Antonio and I love it here, It isn’t for everyone but there isn’t a place on earth that everyone would love, different strokes for different folks. SA is just right for me.

  78. This is a joke of a town. They are nowhere near world class or as Cosmopolitan as they think they are and that’s part of the problem mentality people here act like they’ve been there done that they’ve been nowhere and done anything but have you seen the rental prices in this town I can get cheaper in Hawaii part of that same perspective.

  79. Dont worry looks like Californians are moving to Texas and raising the housing market . every month that I’m looking at houses, they go up by 20 thousand dallors, sucks but your not losing people Texas us actually gaining alot of ground from the working class of California

  80. Even though this article is a bit old, it is still relevant to this day. San Antonio, although great for raising families, will never be a “big city” like they claim to be. Here are some reasons why:
    1. They (San Antonio) still thinks to this day that we can afford another pro team. NFL, MLS, MLS. Not in my lifetime they will. This is and will always will be a blue collar town. There is no money here. “Oh, we love football here!! We would defiantly have a fan base!!”….nope. They lost the WNBA, a couple of semi-pro teams as well. Once the glory days end for the Spurs, you might as well call them the Seattle Spurs.
    2. Has anyone really taken a look at the downtown skyline?? Its pretty much all the same color contrast. Light brown, orange color. With the exception of a few newer buildings that have been built, what in the world would attract Fortune 500 companies here??? We are stuck 30 years in the past. (Go ahead and resort back to reason #1 to add another reason why we don’t have the NFL here)
    3. The City Council. These clowns are the reason for #1, #2. They want all these great extra stuff for our city, but yet they don’t want to remove “historical” buildings (that really look like they are going to crumble at any minute) because they want to “preserve the historical history in our area” Give me a break. Old, rundown buildings do not attract high cliental to start building jobs here.
    Well, I probably went on a tangent, not really keeping on the subject at hand, but it’s all in the same circle why young people wont stay here.

  81. great post, if you want to sell your house fast, you can go to investor sites like brandon buys dallas they buy houses in dallas and fort worth. thanks for sharing this post!!

  82. This article is still very relevant today. A lot of the comments from both SA natives and transplants that have left (or looking to leave) are also still VERY relevant today.

    I suggest anyone reading this take a good long look at the commentary in these comments.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *