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.

I moved to San Antonio after I graduated from college to attend graduate school. The plan was to stay for two years to finish my master’s degree and then move to the west coast. Fifteen years later, I am still here.

San Antonio has good, genuine people who have always made me feel welcome, and the city’s food, music and culture emanate warmth and familiarity. It’s one of those cities that really embraces you.

I have lived all over the city, but the downtown area always intimidated me. The narrow streets, parallel parking and tourists everywhere had me staying far away — until a career pivot put me right in the heart of downtown. I got a job promoting San Antonio as a travel destination, and downtown became my backdrop.

My job allowed me to truly see downtown in all its glory. What was once intimidating to me was now inviting and intriguing. I learned how to navigate its narrow streets and embrace the crowds of tourists visiting our city to get a taste of its culture. I fell in love and promised myself that one day I would make it home.

Now I firmly believe downtown is one of the best places to live in San Antonio. The historical architecture, street art, River Walk, array of restaurants cooking up delicious food, patios with live music and bustling energy all around make it an exciting place to be. That’s why it was heartbreaking to see how it turned into a ghost town during the pandemic.

With a devastated tourism industry and a gutted downtown, I ended up leaving the industry to pursue my own business and work as a contractor in the marketing tech field. During this time, I rented out a room from a friend who lived on the Northwest Side to save money and avoid getting into another lease. But I felt so far away from the heartbeat of the city. I was in this in-between space, asking myself, do I stay here or do I go to another city? Though I was working remotely and able to move anywhere, I still had this overwhelming sense to stay and explore San Antonio even more.

When my friend sold her home, it was the push I needed to finally find a place to live downtown. By then, downtown had recovered immensely and I had started working at a marketing agency in the area. As someone who is an upwardly mobile professional, I wanted to have a surrounding that matched that. I connected with an apartment locator company and found a place where I can go straight up McCullough Avenue and I am at my work. I have a hybrid schedule, so I love the fact my apartment complex offers conference rooms and lounge areas to work from home. There’s even a micro market where I like to shop for snacks when I don’t feel like going out.

Kapej coffee shop features an art gallery curated from local artists.
An art gallery in the Kapej coffee shop featuring local artists. Credit: Bria Woods / San Antonio Report

With just a short walk from my apartment, I can stroll around San Pedro Creek Culture Park and find a spot to read a book, hit the farmer’s market at the Pearl, or vibe out at Tony’s Siesta, where they have the best agua fresca cocktails. Living downtown also gives me the chance to host my friends for some of the best brunch spots or a little pre-game and then step out for a night on the town.

But my favorite place is Kapej, a cute coffee shop and gallery whose name means “coffee” in Mayan. I love browsing the art from local artists while sipping my lavender latte.

One thing I admire about San Antonio is how integral the city is in preserving its history, culture and architecture. I love how buildings are repurposed into new concepts while still honoring their history and maintaining special architectural features.

Although it is exciting to see the revitalization of downtown, rising rents and shrinking availability of affordable housing is concerning. Developers buying up homes is driving up property taxes for longtime residents and pricing out most San Antonians. The parallels of driving down the street to see half-a-million-dollar homes on one side and shotgun houses on the other is jarring. This also affects local businesses, and I make it a point to support these businesses and frequent them as much as possible.

Though I am still relatively new to the neighborhood and finding new experiences every week, I already feel at home. I’m glad I kept my promise to myself.

Faith Green

Faith Green is a Texas native who is a digital storyteller currently living in downtown San Antonio. Her @scenebyfaithgreen Instagram page serves as a digital diary to document the best of the city and...