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.

Ten years ago, when my husband Billy and I first moved to San Antonio, there wasn’t much to see on this side of town — and that’s what we liked about it. We’re both from small towns, he from Yancey and I from Uvalde, so we preferred to be on the outskirts of the city, where things were still quiet and peaceful.

The Far West Side was the perfect place to escape the big city while still having access to it. Our subdivision has a big park with soccer and softball fields, tennis and basketball courts, and a pool. It’s always nice to see our neighbors out enjoying the space. 

Because houses are quite close together in this neighborhood, it’s hard not to get to know each other. We’ll strike up conversations when we’re outside doing yard work and even lend each other tools to make that work easier. Though the pools were closed and neighborhood events were canceled because of the pandemic, we’ve seen a lot more people out and about, whether it was going for a walk, riding bikes, or kids out playing. I also noticed a lot more backyard barbecues and even more dogs in the neighborhood.

My brother and his wife and daughter lived with us when we first moved in, while they figured things out and saved up for a place of their own. We were happy to help them out during that time and to have a built-in support system when we were just starting out in San Antonio. I’m also grateful for having been there for my niece’s early years and love reminiscing about those days when she visits. Some of my fondest memories in this house are with her.

Being near SeaWorld has also been convenient when it comes to entertaining our nieces and nephews. Lately the park has been adding concerts and more programming catered toward adults, which I appreciate. It’s fun taking the kids out for the day and not being bored by the same shows we’ve seen a dozen times.

Visitors check out the Penguin exhibit at SeaWorld San Antonio during Spring Break. Wednesday, March 17, 2021.
Visitors check out the Penguin exhibit at SeaWorld San Antonio. Credit: Bria Woods/ San Antonio Report

Since those first years in the neighborhood, so much has changed on the Far West Side. We used to have to drive 20 minutes to get to H-E-B, which meant making sure we had all our groceries for the week because there was no quick trip back for something we forgot. Now we’ve got an H-E-B about 5 minutes away and strip malls with everything from Old Navy to TJ Maxx. And they’re building a Costco on Potranco Road, which we’re excited about. 

One of the latest additions to the neighborhood that makes me happy as a foodie is the Area 51 food park on Potranco Road. In the past couple of years we’ve seen a lot of food truck parks pop up around San Antonio, and having one nearby gives us a great spot to hang out and try new food. 

Area 51 Food Park features a stage, food vendors and plenty of seating for customers.
Area 51 Food Park features a stage, food vendors, and plenty of seating for customers. Credit: Nick Wagner / San Antonio Report

The local foodie community has been instrumental in making me feel at home in San Antonio. I love exploring the city and trying new restaurants, and it’s been a wonderful way to meet new people with similar interests. It’s always nice to share a meal with people who won’t judge me for taking pictures of my food before digging in.

Though we were averse to city life when we first moved to San Antonio, my husband and I have come to love it and adapted to the lifestyle here. And when we miss the small-town life, my husband and I like to go out to Castroville. We often meet my husband’s family there and spend the day together. We’ve been going to a small restaurant there called Fernando’s for years. We’ve gotten to know the owner well over the years, and he treats us like family. The food is delicious and comes in big portions. We recommend the chicken fried steak plate.

Living on the Far West Side allows us access to the excitement of San Antonio and the charm of Castroville. It’s truly the best of both worlds.

Marlynn Garcia is a teacher and San Antonio food enthusiast.