The Where I Live series aims to showcase our diverse city and region by spotlighting its many vibrant neighborhoods. Each week a local resident invites us over and lets us in on what makes their neighborhood special. Have we been to your neighborhood yet? Get in touch to share your story.

The same day my partner, Darian Padua, and I purchased our two-bed, two-bath Alta Vista bungalow we applied for it to be recognized as a historic landmark through the City of San Antonio’s Office of Historic Preservation. 

To me, 609 isn’t just a house. Built in 1919, it has been home to contributors to our community from all walks of life for over a century. We purchased the home after renting for two years from the landlord, whose experience tells a story similar to ours of a young couple’s first home, full of opportunity and excitement for what the future might bring. Now, those owners have a new appreciation for historic charm and continue to restore and lease homes in the downtown area. 

What was once a Sears Kit Home purchased from a catalog as an affordable option for those servicing the larger estates in the area now lives a vibrant new life, renovated and reimagined for the next generation. If walls could talk, they would tell a story of hard work, struggle, family, hope, and new beginnings.

This home represents all of those qualities for me. A new beginning as a spokesperson for the San Antonio Zoo, the start of my family of three alongside my medical entrepreneur partner and dog/child Jay(son Derulo), the work, grind, struggle, and successes of my late 20s, and ambitious hopes in carving out a legacy that will long outlive me.

Three short blocks make up our enclave in Alta Vista, nestled between Monte Vista mansions and Beacon Hill bungalows. Just minutes from the Pearl, St. Mary’s Street, the San Antonio Zoo and North Star Mall, Alta Vista is a sweet slice of suburbia near the city’s core. These quaint blocks host a mix of cultures, history, and socioeconomic diversity, ultimately making it a peaceful medley of multiplicity.

The neighborhood is quiet but lively, with unique eateries and activities you can’t find anywhere else in the city. Outlaw Kitchens is a neighborhood favorite with a warm, welcoming atmosphere, perfect for a date or meetup with friends. San Antonio College’s Scobee Planetarium hosts plenty of activities for all ages to immerse themselves in, including a planetarium dome with incredible projections, a 10-foot telescope inside dynamic architecture that opens to the sky, and even an activation where you and 19 friends can be astronauts for a day!

Cyle Perez explores the Scobee Planetarium housed at San Antonio College.
Cyle Perez explores the Scobee Planetarium at San Antonio College. Credit: Bria Woods / San Antonio Report

As a San Antonio native, I have grown far too familiar with the question: What high school did you go to? It’s a question that triggers a disappointed exhale from me to this day. For those not from here, San Antonio is one of the most economically segregated cities in the nation, allowing your high school to pinpoint your background. While portions of the area do fall victim to gentrification, Alta Vista still hosts affordable living spaces for longtime residents and hopeful newcomers.

Instead of people’s pasts, I like to focus on people’s passions. In a city that is over 300 years old, how will you make your stamp on it? 

Cyle Perez poses for a photo with his dog Jayson Derulo.
Cyle Perez poses for a photo with his dog, Jayson Derulo. Credit: Bria Woods / San Antonio Report

For me, Alta Vista is now a slice of Cyle, a place where my family and I celebrate diversity, history, and community. A place with locally owned neighborhood bars and restaurants that always offer a warm welcome. A place where you can find theater, dual-language schools, and community gardens always open to helping hands. Alta Vista is the place where I purchased my first home, where I grew my career, where I started my family, and where I will build a legacy. This is my community now. Alta Vista is where I live.

Cyle Perez

Cyle Perez is a San Antonio native with a passion for connecting his community through culture and collective experiences. He is the president of San Antonio Young Professionals and director of public...