A recent Huffington post article sparked a heated debate when it crowned San Antonio as the “New Austin”. Austinites were outraged at the thought that such a notion was even entertained while San Antonians seemed to be insulted and claimed their city was cool enough by its own merit not to warrant such comparisons. Well obviously, each city has its charm and many advantages, but some are beyond debate. Here are all the reasons San Antonio actually is a better place to live than its neighbor to the North.
- Rent and Cost of Living
Rents in Austin have been spiking, making it very difficult to find good housing at affordable prices. In San Antonio, a decent apartment at a reasonable price is pretty much the norm. On average, Austin is about 40% pricier than San Antonio when it comes to rent. And not only are rents much cheaper, the overall cost of living in San Antonio is generally more affordable than in Austin. In other words, how about living in a city you can actually afford?
Whatever the cost of living, a decent job is a necessity to us all. San Antonio’s job growth outpaces Austin as well as every other city in Texas, a result of the city’s strong leadership and pro-business development strategies. These are also the reasons San Antonio was named one of the country’s Enterprising Cities by the US Chamber of Commerce in 2013, along with only six other cities nationwide. The strongest industries in the city are healthcare and hospitality, but technology, aviation, and financial services also form clusters of industry attracting investors, capital, and talent from across the country.
Traffic in Austin is bad. It’s so bad it will give you have you haggling with the devil as you sit in gridlock on MoPac day in and day out. According to Forbes Magazine, Austin’s traffic is the fourth worst in the country, and will lead you to waste as much as 41 hours of your life every year. The city’s meteoric growth and failure to add lanes and roads to support it are the main reasons for the city’s nightmarish traffic problem, but why should you even care? You just want to get to your home at the end of the day. Which is why you should be calling San Antonio home. Not that it doesn’t have traffic- what modern city doesn’t? But at least it’s not Austin’s get-me-out-of-here-I-gotta-pee-what-the-hey-it’s-half-past-one-on-a-Thursday sort of traffic.
You probably won’t go hungry in either Austin or San Antonio, but there’s just no comparing the neighboring cities’ food scenes. Austin restaurants are great but considerably more expensive while San Antonio’s choice of divine Mexican food and other delicious foods is both superb and cheap. But the real hero in this story is a simple Mexican dish which has been elevated to an art-form in San Antonio- the Taco. You see, not everything mounted onto a tortilla doth a taco make. You’ll never know for sure if you have truly eaten a taco until you eat one in San Antonio.
So Austin has SXSW and ACL. Big deal. San Antonio has Fiesta! Fiesta is an annual festival held in April which brings everybody out to PARTY in over 100 events throughout the city. The event, which has its roots in the 1891 parade in honor of the heroes of the battles of the Alamo and San Jacinto, celebrates the city’s unique culture and heritage. Apparently, there is plenty to celebrate- the merriments stretch over 17 days and require the joint efforts of over 75,000 volunteers. The events include three major parades, a four-night block party, live music, food stands and sporting events including races, rugby, and lacrosse. The funds raised by the celebrations are used to provide services for San Antonio residents year round, because in San Antonio community still means community.
San Antonio has a population of 1.4 million, which is almost double that of Austin’s, yet somehow the city manages to ooze friendliness and boast a real sense of community. It’s more diverse than Austin and has a simple, blue-collar vibe to it, which means you’ll probably be meeting and connecting with a variety of people in a down to earth kind of way. Isn’t that what community is all about?