Where I Live: Monte Vista, The Center of New History

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Home in Monte Vista. Photo by Jake Aschbacher.

Home in Monte Vista. Photo by Jake Aschbacher.

When my wife Sydney and I moved to San Antonio from Austin we had no idea what to expect. Both of us were raised in San Antonio so we were very familiar with the “Keep SA Lame” mantra that had permeated during our high school years. We’d heard about some new things occurring in the downtown area and that Pearl was actually a hotspot of sorts. Other than that we assumed things were the same.

For us, Austin had become so overly crowded that the things we’d loved about the city years before had begun to fade and dim. The restaurant scene was always a battle; never a wait under 15 minutes. Traffic was at the level where most people started comparing it to LA. At the end of 2013 we found ourselves at a crossroads and decided that moving back south to San Antonio was the right thing to do. We packed up our apartment into a U-Haul and jumped on I-35. 

If I had to say one way or the other, my expectations were pretty low for the Alamo City. And that’s the point. I hadn’t heard about anything that would have caused me to have high expectations. Now, yes, you can take this as a negative, but it’s not. The secretive quietness that covers the city is for good reason; it’s a diamond in the rough. A hidden secret watched over by the ghosts of Davy, Stephen. F, and Mr. Bowie. It was a total refreshment of spirit.

As the first two months faded past us, we quickly found that the city had changed immensely over the past 10 years. We moved into Monte Vista, one of the original suburban neighborhoods of San Antonio, founded in 1889 on the site of an old goat farm. At first we felt that we were simply moving into a unique, old neighborhood with some good character and huge houses (we live in an apartment built in 1921).

Quickly though, the reality of a new foundation was revealed. Barbaro quietly serves top-notch drinks on McCullough, quality coffee is just down the street at Press Coffee and the go-to Tex-Mex spots like Las Salsas and La Fonda on Main are thriving. It’s amazing. It was (and is) a heaven that we found without even knowing it.

Monte Vista over the past year has grown to be a place that we call home. Its proximity to so much is one of its greatest qualities. Easy access to downtown, Alamo Heights, and U.S. 281 and I-10 allow us to tell people that we live in, what we consider, the center of the city. The hub for things to come.

It’s here, in this hallowed place of history, that my family feels drawn to sit and stick and plant some roots. The 200-year-old oaks, homes with history dating back to 1900, and roads wide enough for a horse-drawn carriage to make a u-turn are the reasons that we love it. It’s a place where a lot of deep, meaningful life has been lived and we intend to write our chapter next. Monte Vista might not be the neighborhood that we call home forever, but for now it’s just that. Home.

*Featured/top image: Home in Monte Vista. Photo by Jake Aschbacher.

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25 thoughts on “Where I Live: Monte Vista, The Center of New History

  1. if i won lottery to move away from zilla street train crossing area for SA real estate: 1st Olmos Park (police and fire dept great response time), 2nd Monte Vista, 3rd King WIlliam area, or make a penthouse inside Tower Life Bldg

  2. While I am glad you learned your lesson about the crap town full of wanna be hipsters, dirty politicians, and their boot licking strap hangers that is Austin, you have some way to go to appreciate the awesome that is our city or you would already understand the subversive awesome that is the Keep San Antonio Lame campaign. (And the lesser known sister campaign for San Marcos – Keep Austin North.)

    KSAL is Puro Saytown and originated from Flight Gallery while you where soiling your diapers or perhaps not even a twinkle in your daddy’s eye, judging from your posted bio and photo.

    Young punks like you think you know, but you don’t.

    But no worries. You’re home now and we’re too lame to hold a grudge.

    • Hehe 🙂
      I love living here because of fun (and nice) people like you GiantPinkFlamingo.
      And Jake, try seeing where you live as a diamond that’s not in the rough.

  3. Welcome back, Jake! What a nice piece. I’m not sure why everything has to be political. Sometimes it’s okay to just love where we live, without reservation…

  4. I love Monte Vista! It actually has sidewalks! The beauty of the architecture. The proximity to everything I want to do and be a part of. The neighborhood joints. Love it!

    I can be downtown in 5 minutes. Easy access to I-10 and 281.

    I take long walks and bike rides in the neighborhood and just relax. Love it!

  5. Can’t tell you how often I meet people from Austin here at Pearl who are simply amazed at all of downtown San Antonio. I’ve had real estate clients who came here, thrilled at what the discovered and what San Antonio is all about. Folks in other parts of the country see us as a progressive city that has its act together. At least that’s what a broker from CA told me at a real estate convention last year and I see in every publication I read. We really don’t care who thinks we’re lame because we know who we are and that’s all that matters.

  6. I’ve discovered a great way to find out about the best places to eat, visit, etc. in Monte Vista and countless other neighborhoods. Hosts of AirBNB provide guests with welcome packets and will list the best locations they know of in neighborhoods they usually know inside and out. The best I’ve seen personally was while staying on 634 W Russell near downtown San Antonio.

  7. If you make it sound TOO good, you’re gonna attract all the people from Austin you were trying to get away from. How ’bout you just enjoy it here and keep quiet.

  8. Of note, Beat Street Coffee Co. & Bistro on Main Ave. in Monte Vista has amazing gourmet burgers, and Tribeca is also a great restaurant just a few blocks north of Monte Vista on McCullough Ave.

  9. We live in Monticello Park (an amazing neighborhood from the 1930’s), but my children go to school in Monte Vista. I love looking at the old majestic homes and manicured lawns. Sometimes my wife and I price out the homes for sale and think “well maybe, if we just cut back on cable”.
    If we do move, it would definitely be for a home in Olmos Park, KW or Monte Vista.

  10. For dog owners: The BEST dog park (dog bark) I’ve ever seen is a brand new one that just opened (or will be any day now) by the Alamo Heights baseball fields. It’s gorgeous, big, and dog and people friendly.

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