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 was born and raised on the Southeast Side of San Antonio and am thankful to my parents for putting down roots in this neighborhood. It’s where I made lasting friendships, attended school with neighbors and graduated from Brackenridge High School. 

Growing up, our parents and other adults in the neighborhood always made sure the neighborhood children were safe while playing outside day and night. It felt as if my neighbors were all a big family, Everyone knew each other and looked out for one another. Living on the Southeast Side showed me the true definition of community.

One of my favorite family activities when I was younger was when my mother would take me to the Mission Library. We would read books together or do crafts. On the weekends, my family enjoyed the Mission Drive-in movies (now the Mission Marquee Plaza) and eating delicious fruit from the local Fruteria La Mission right across the street. We also liked taking walks at Mission San Juan, just five minutes away from our house, and enjoying the scenery. I love to say our area features a lot of historical places. 

Born and raised in the Southeast Side, Victoria Herrera feels like her neighborhood is a part of her.
Born and raised on the Southeast Side, Victoria Zapata feels like her neighborhood is a part of her. Credit: Brenda Bazán / San Antonio Report

Now I’m 20 years old and feel like my neighborhood is a piece of me. I still enjoy my home and neighborhood as much as I did when I was a kid and am proud of where I live. My home is my safe space, where I live with my parents, Alfonso and Sonia, as well as our two dogs. It can get to be a full house when my siblings and their children come over, but that’s what I love. We have always been a close family and enjoy our time together being outside and having a cookout while watching my nephews and nieces play. 

When the pandemic hit, my family and I took to biking at Stinson Bike and Hike Trail right in front of the Stinson Municipal Airport. The trail is beautiful and peaceful, and it was our getaway during those times. It is perfect for biking, taking a walk, and enjoying the outdoors. Espada Park was also one of our favorite local places to go when taking walks or fishing. 

Victoria Herrera enjoys the outdoors at Stinson Bike and Hike Trail.
Victoria Zapata enjoys the outdoors at Stinson Bike and Hike Trail. Credit: Brenda Bazán / San Antonio Report

I’ve seen the Brooks area grow little by little over the years, and seeing where it is now brings me confidence in my community. The Southeast Side has come a long way, and I am proud of that. The appreciation for Latino culture has helped our community by providing creative space for Latino business owners to be authentic and feel comfortable in their community. It also makes me feel comfortable to express who I am. One place you can really see that is at the Artesania Latina Market.

Last year I decided to become more active on social media as a content creator and connected with other local creators sharing what we loved about the South Side of San Antonio. It opened my eyes to a new community and helped me discover another way of seeing San Antonio, giving me more reasons to love my city.

As the Southeast Side keeps growing, we still have work to do in the community. With growth comes traffic, and we have to be prepared for that. I hope to see us come together beyond taking care of each other in our neighborhood to really speak up in front of elected leaders and decision-makers about our community’s needs. And as we get nice new community spaces like The Greenline, I hope we work together to maintain them for years to come. As residents of our community, it is our job to keep it safe and thriving.