5 Great Neighborhoods in San Antonio

Learn about the neighborhoods that give this Texas city its small-town feel.

San Antonio prides itself on being a large city with a small-town feel. From luxury estates to downtown bungalows, there's a home and neighborhood for any lifestyle. The average cost of a home in San Antonio, according to reports, is about $140,000, which buys about 3,000 square feet, four bedrooms and 2.5 baths.

ALAMO HEIGHTS

A lot of the city’s old money resides in this neighborhood. Despite being 10 minutes from downtown, the area is quiet with its hidden roads that wind behind Broadway, the main artery to downtown. Established families live in the area; many of them have been around for generations. The streets are lined with scrapbooking stores, high-end gift shops and vintage boutiques, where soccer moms usually bump into each other.

Alamo Heights homes cost about half a million dollars on average, with residents paying for the name, the school district and a small-feel community in the middle of a large city. 

STONE OAK

Welcome to the suburbs. It’s the fastest growing quadrant of the city and the poor road construction and snail-paced traffic flow prove it. Dual-income families eager to send their children to attractive public schools in the Northeast School District have bought up the rows and rows of cookie-cutter style homes. Huge strip malls anchored by popular box stores are surrounded by beauty salons and trendy bars. Young members of the San Antonio Spurs are often spotted at the stores by day and the pubs by night.

In Stone Oak, the average home costs about $350,000. Residents forgo large lawns for more square footage.

KING WILLIAM

It is the city’s definition of regentrification. Sometimes referred to as Southtown, the neighborhood is located south of downtown. For decades, young professionals -- looking for something other than the ranch-style homes most commonly found across the city -- purchased run-down homes and bungalows, some built in the late 1800s, and restored them to their original glory. The intricate and detailed trim tell a story on every home. One of the most famous houses belongs to author Sandra Cisneros, who caused a brouhaha when she painted her modest house “periwinkle purple.” Residents from the King William Historic District balked at the color, citing it didn’t fit in with the color scheme of the neighborhood. Cisneros ultimately won, and the color still stands.

Young families who can afford the homes can be seen strolling along the tree-lined sidewalks and stopping into mom-and-pop restaurants for bubble tea or a gourmet taco. The nearby public schools have improved dramatically with its one-of-a-kind programs, including dual-language curriculums, but most parents send their children to nearby private schools.

King William was once a place where homes were purchased at bargain-basement prices, but those days are long gone. Home values have soared and the median cost of a home is about $650,000.

MAHNCKE PARK

Although the city is one of the best kept housing secrets, compared to the high prices in nearby Austin, Mahncke Park is on its way to losing its affordable status. Young professionals who could no longer afford King William have traveled to the other side of downtown and started refurbishing the well-worn homes with wraparound porches. It’s a stone's throw from downtown and unlike King William, there’s a nearby grocery store. Nearby is the famed Kiddie Park, a staple for the city’s children who all have memories of celebrating at least one birthday there.

Mahncke Park still has homes, more like bungalows, for under $200,000, but those prices won’t be around for long.

HELOTES

It is not unusual for a home to sit on a few acres of land where children can be seen on their trotting horses. Most families moved out to Helotes, which means corn in Spanish, to get away from the street noise and light pollution of the city. There’s a main street with a feed store, a post office and a general store. In 1946, the John T. Floore Country Store opened and continues to be an anchor for the community. It’s now a restaurant and live music venue where Willie Nelson, Lucinda Williams and Lyle Lovett have been known to play. There is nothing cookie-cutter about this area of the city, but try as they might, the strip malls with well-known chains, such as Target and Barnes & Noble, continue to creep closer. Bandera Road, its main artery to the city, has been under construction for years in the effort to build a highway connecting the preserved rugged charm of Helotes to the bustling streets of downtown.

In Helotes, homes are about double the city's average home price, but each home is different than the house next door.

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