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.

Before moving to San Antonio, I had never lived in mainland United States. My dad had always been stationed overseas, and I spent most of my teenage and early adult life in Guam, a small island with a population of about 160,000. There were no major freeways, no big, busy cities, and the fastest posted speed limit was 40 mph.

When I first moved to Texas, it was a little nerve-wracking at first to find myself in a place so foreign to me. You can imagine how daunting it was to drive on freeways for the first time. But at least I was able to ease into things living in Schertz with my family. It was quiet, slow, and close to the base where my parents worked. 

I soon found that San Antonio felt more like home than I expected. With it being “Military City, USA” and so rich in culture, I didn’t experience much culture shock and quickly felt right at home. 

My fiancé (then boyfriend), Justin, moved out here in 2013 after serving in the Marines. After a few years, we decided to get an apartment in downtown San Antonio. There, we enjoyed the food, nightlife, and bustling city life. We lived there for about two years and decided we wanted a more quiet, suburban life. We wanted a home to call our own instead of paying the monthly rent on an apartment that can cost more than your monthly mortgage. 

And we didn’t want just any home. We wanted to build. The Far West Side of San Antonio, especially the Culebra Road corridor, has been a real estate hotspot for the past few years. While many gravitated toward the neighborhoods north of Loop 1604, we found that the Far West Side offered more bang for our buck with new neighborhoods under construction.

We are situated along the Culebra Road corridor just outside Alamo Ranch toward the Medina County line. Our neighborhood was one of the first to be developed and was still under heavy construction when we moved in. Now everything we need is within 3-6 miles from our home. Two H-E-Bs, plenty of restaurants, the Alamo Ranch shopping center, The Shops at La Cantera and Six Flags are just a couple of exits away. I frequent my favorite coffee shop, Summer Moon; my gym, F45, is just down the street; and a gas station is conveniently located right across from my neighborhood.

Justin and I love the outdoors and spend a lot of our free time exploring with our pups. Our neighborhood is perfectly situated between the busy Far West Side of San Antonio and the serene views of the Hill Country. Highway 211 has one of the best scenic highway views in the area. It’s all greenery with towering rocky cliffs surrounding the roads. Government Canyon State Natural Area is a 12,000-acre protected land with hiking trails, bike trails, camping and even 110-million-year-old dinosaur tracks. If you are craving water adventures, Medina Lake is just around the corner. Medina Dam, completed in 1912, is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.  

One of the main reasons I truly appreciate this city is how dog-friendly it is. I always tell myself, “no dog, no deal.” I take my dogs everywhere — and they are not small lap dogs. Kira and Lexi are huskies, and Vedder is a pit bull mix. My neighborhood has many parks and shaded walking trails that we enjoy. Most restaurants in the area allow dogs as long as they have an outdoor patio, and many stores at La Cantera allow dogs inside.

Old Town Helotes is not far and also a place we frequent when we take our dogs out. There is a small outdoor shopping area called the Shops at Old Town Helotes where you can find local stores and coffee shops surrounding a large central pavilion with chairs, tables and a small stage. 

Of course, it’s not all pros. There are cons to living in this area. It has been almost four years since we moved to the Far West Side, and we have seen development and population explode. The small roads are not equipped to handle the traffic brought by the recent surge, and Culebra Road seems to always be backed up. But once you’ve been stuck in traffic enough times, you’ll eventually find the shortcuts.

As more people are drawn to the Far West Side and they settle into the area, friendships are formed among neighbors, helping build what has become a tight-knit community. Groups on Facebook and Nextdoor keep us well-informed and help us feel safe and connected within this growing community.