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 park my car in spot 177 and immediately feel a calm wash over my body. My shoulders fall. I’m home. Downtown is a quick 10 minutes away, U.S. Highway 281 is even closer. Yet here in this spot, I only hear birds chirping and my neighbor Alicia chatting with the new couple that just moved in.

I walk over and ask about their day. They ask about my dog Potato and tell me they hope my husband is cooking for a change. We all laugh because they know he’s the only one who ever cooks. This complex has been here for decades, and I love the character of the building and the characters who live here. I open my front porch gate and settle in for the evening. This is my neighborhood.

My husband Joel and I live in a two-bedroom apartment along with our puppy Potato right outside of Olmos Park. Joel likes to call it “Almost Park.” I roll my eyes and smirk every time he says it. He’s lived here for over three years and has learned all the quiet back roads and local spots tucked away. I moved in last year after our wedding, and we’ve done some redecorating to make our space feel like it belongs to both of us. We’ve also added touches for our four stepchildren to feel at home when they’re here.

Neighbors like Alicia made me feel welcome right away. As a longtime resident, she knows everybody and keeps us all in the loop. You’ll often see her walking around the neighborhood getting her daily exercise in and stopping to chat with other residents. We’ve met other tenants of our complex out in the courtyard, and the maintenance team is always friendly. While this is an older building, our entire apartment was renovated before we moved in and other updates are being made throughout the complex, slowly but surely.

There’s so much to offer in these few blocks. From my door to the grocery section at the Olmos Park H-E-B is a five-minute walk. It’s probably my favorite perk of our home. We can send our teenagers for an item or two for dinner, and they’re back in no time. Everyone should live within walking distance of an H-E-B. 

Potato is fortunate to have plenty of dog-friendly spots nearby and Olmos Basin Park to run around in, though we would love a smaller dog park within walking distance. A lot of our neighbors also have dogs, so I know it would be a welcome addition.

  • Allysse Shank-Rivas catches up with her neighbor, Alicia, while taking her twelve-week-old puppy, Potato, for a walk.
  • Allysse Shank-Rivas (left) greets her co-worker, Robin Fletcher (right) at Feliz Modern, where Shank works three days a week.
  • In the five months that Allysse Shank-Rivas has been living in Olmos Park, she enjoys frequenting the shops by the roundabout on E Olmos and McCullough Avenue.
  • Allysse Shank-Rivas has lived in Olmos Park for five months with her husband and their 12 week-old Golden Doodle puppy, Potato.

A short drive from our apartment you’ll find numerous local restaurants, shops, and yoga studios. I’ve come to love these places as a part of my home. My stepdaughters often raid Buffalo Exchange, a thrift store that’s right down the road. They seem to always have exactly what they’re looking for.

Feliz Modern is one of my favorite stores, and I’m fortunate enough to work there a few days a week. Conveniently located just steps from my apartment, I can leave at 9:56 a.m. and clock in by 10. As the name suggests, it’s a happy place. The bright colors and warm staff make for such a positive atmosphere, and the Olmos Park location feels like a neighborhood shop.

Then there’s the food. Our favorite Thai restaurant, Yaya’s Thai, is tucked away behind their beautifully lit patio. They have the best miso soup. Not far is the Trinity University student favorite, Mama’s Kitchen. Sabor seems to be packed every Sunday afternoon for brunch and is a neighborhood staple. Volare Pizza is within delivering distance, and it’s always my first choice.

My husband and I work to promote the wellness of those in the food and beverage industry through his nonprofit the Saint City Culinary Foundation, which requires us to be out often. Being a quick drive to most of the restaurants and bars we visit regularly means less time on the road and more time living. I grew up in the suburbs, and my parents valued the stability they provided. However, I’ve learned that being close to the city is where I truly thrive. Olmos Park is the perfect mix of city and calm. It’s home. 

Headshot for byline

Allysse Shank-Rivas

Allysse Shank-Rivas is a San Antonio fangirl and the founder of Social with Allysse