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.

Aside from a short stint in Connecticut after which I realized the cold weather wasn’t for me, I’ve always called San Antonio home. I was born and raised here and grew up in North Central San Antonio, close to LEE High School. As an adult, I lived in the UTSA area before moving to Great Northwest, where my husband Greg had purchased a home. We’ve been here for about five years now and really enjoy the community.

The Great Northwest neighborhood is outlined in red. Credit: Courtesy / Google Maps

One of the best things about living here is all the amenities. There’s a clubhouse, swimming pool, basketball court, and sand volleyball court. Though the pandemic has shut these down for the most part, we have enjoyed them in previous years. During the summer we love going to the pool. There’s a big Olympic-size pool, waterslide, and a little section for kids to splash around in. The community has in past years hosted events at the spacious clubhouse, and we recently hosted our baby shower there. It’s also where my parents had their wedding reception, so it’s cool to come full circle.

On the street that we live on, a lot of our neighbors are older and have been in the neighborhood for a long time. More recently, younger families with kids have been moving in which is exciting to see, as we have two daughters of our own. When my husband was looking to purchase a home, he wanted a home in a safe neighborhood with space to start a family. One of the major selling points for him was seeing all the mature trees in the neighborhood. They provide lots of shade and give us some relief during the scorching summer months.

Great Northwest clubhouse. Credit: Bonnie Arbittier / San Antonio Report

Over the years we’ve grown into the home. I’m a big decorator, so I love decorating for the holidays. A lot of our neighbors like to go out all out for the holidays like we do, especially for Christmas. It’s such a treat to drive through the neighborhood this time of year and see all the pretty lights and decorations. My daughters especially love it.

It’s also comforting to know that there’s security patrolling the neighborhood regularly to keep an eye on things and keep us safe. The neighborhood has a Facebook page where residents can keep each other up to date on what’s happening and alert each other of any activity that’s out of the ordinary.

There’s a VIA route that goes through the neighborhood regularly, which helps make it accessible to a lot of people. It’s nice for residents to have that option for transportation, along with a bike lane that goes through the neighborhood.

Right down the street is Cathedral Rock Park, one of our favorite places in the neighborhood. We go there a lot so the kids can play outside and my husband and I can walk the Greenway trails. During the pandemic, the park was closed for a long time, so we missed our frequent outings.

Cathedral Rock Nature Park. Credit: Bonnie Arbittier / San Antonio Report

I’m a stay-at-home mom and my husband is an aircraft mechanic, so he’s often out of town for work. He’s had some time at home in recent months, and we’ve been updating the house. Most of the homes in the neighborhood were built in the early ‘80s, so there’s definitely room for upgrades. 

One space that has been a focus for us since we’re spending more time at home during the pandemic is our yard. We’re fortunate to have a big backyard for our girls to play in and to have friends and family over. As a Hispanic family, we love any occasion to celebrate. We host an annual Friendsgiving and enjoy getting together with loved ones to celebrate birthdays and holidays. 

San Antonio has always been a very family-driven city, which I love. The city has grown a lot in recent years, and there’s a shift, not necessarily away from this sense of being family-oriented, but expanding into a city that has something to offer for everyone. Whether you’re single, married, have kids, or are retired, there’s something for you to do and a community for you to be a part of.

I’ve enjoyed witnessing San Antonio’s glow-up, especially when it comes to food. I love Mexican food – and San Antonio does Mexican food better than any other city in Texas – but it’s also nice to expand your horizons. I like that we’ve been seeing more diversity in cuisine lately that reflects the diversity of our residents.

With all this growth, it’s important to find a balance between development and overdevelopment. It’s great to see new businesses popping up, new spaces to enjoy in town, and new people moving to our city. Seeing all of this contribute to our local economy is certainly a plus. But we also have to be mindful of our communities and their needs. We can’t allow this development to push people out of the places they’ve inhabited for years or even decades. I’ve always loved living in San Antonio and want to see our vibrant communities and the places that have brought people joy continue to thrive, while still welcoming growth and change that pushes us forward as a city.

San Antonio native Catalina DiBaggio lives in the Great Northwest neighborhood with her husband Greg, daughters Elena and Adrianna, and dog Lily.