We never expected to make San Antonio our home. It’s been 10 years since we moved here, a fact that astounds me. It was supposed to be just another military move, one more stop on the train of places we’ve temporarily lived. Away from the military, I’d lived in Austin. I’d lived in the DFW area. I’d lived in Detroit, but that’s a long story. And I’d visited San Antonio. But when we landed here, it wasn’t the sleepy city that I remembered. And in the last decade, it doesn’t even resemble the city we first moved to.
Every year that we mark another notch on how long we’ve called San Antonio home, I pause and reflect on the city that was supposed to be only a temporary spot for us. Something about San Antonio lured us in, and before we knew it, we felt like natives. I don’t know if there’s a list of things you have to do before you can claim to be a San Antonian, but we’ve roamed, explored, and eaten our way across town.
We started our family here, and our little native San Antonian knows no other home, nor does he want to. No amount of bribery could get him to pack his bags. And in these 10 years, San Antonio has been anything but sleepy. It’s bigger—and, we think, better. Something new seems to be on the horizon daily, so much so that it’s hard to keep up. (If you want to be in the know, check out Inga’s roundup of new and fabulous things blooming in San Antonio this year and beyond.)
Watching a town hall meeting on city issues recently, I heard a statistic that made me do a double take: 66 people are born here or move to San Antonio EVERY day. Think about that: every week, we grow by 462 people. Every month, 1,980. Keep doing the math and we’re expected to grow by 1 million people in the next 25 years. But not all of those new folks are transplants. Roughly half of the residents San Antonio adds annually were born here. So that means more moms, more families, and more awesome.
Ten years ago, I might have wondered why. But after digging in and making this city home, it doesn’t surprise me. San Antonio is hot.
Don’t believe me? Check out the headlines: we’re the fastest growing city in the United States; we’re a “tech hot spot”; and we were the only city in Texas to make Conde Nast Traveler’s list of best cities in the United States. We’re a great place for a long weekend, but we’re so much more than that. San Antonio was named one of the 50 best places to travel this year as well as a “best of the world” destination.
Yes, the River Walk and the Alamo are routinely listed as the top tourist destinations in Texas. But we’re not just for tourists. The United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization took note of the fact that we’re way more than barbeque and Tex-Mex (and that the flavors we enjoy in both of those categories are incomparable), naming us a Creative City of Gastronomy. And of course, that was on the heels of UNESCO naming our beloved missions a World Heritage Site—the only one in Texas and one of only 23 in the country. But we’re more than just cool things to see or great things to eat: we’re also a thought leader, working forward on issues like climate change. With all of that in mind, it should come as no surprise that we’re routinely listed as a great city for families, as well as millennials and women. Read the list for yourself and let it sink in: you live in a cool place.
So why don’t we all believe it? Why are we so quick to look for the downside and complain about the city we call home? After all, for every person who loves this city, there is another who doesn’t and isn’t shy about spouting their opinion. Spend any time online and you’ll find people lamenting one thing or the other about life in San Antonio.
San Antonio is not a taco—it can’t make everyone happy. Is the city perfect? No. Are there things we can improve? Of course. It’s San Antonio, not heaven. But day in and day out, this city welcomes everyone. And hype or not, it’s home.