South San Antonio is where my parents bought their first home, where I grew up, and where our neighbors became family. I remember bike races with my brothers and the rest of the neighborhood kids, houses decked out for Halloween, and cars up and down the street around the holidays.

When I got married, I moved to the North Side, but it never felt quite right. So, when I got divorced, I knew I had to come back to the place that always felt like home. And what better way to return than to buy the house I grew up in?

My godmother, who was one of the first neighbors to befriend my parents when they first moved in as a young couple, is still next door. The whole neighborhood is full of familiar faces. If it’s not the same neighbors I had growing up, it’s their children. My neighbors across the street check in on me and let me know if they see anything out of the ordinary. And if they can’t get a hold of me, they call my parents to make sure everything is fine. As a single woman living alone, it’s reassuring to know that my neighbors look out for me.

There are a lot of big families in the area, more than other parts of the city, so we’re big on family values and sticking together. We care about each other and take care of one another. South Side pride comes from that sense of family.

April Monterrosa walks down her block in South San Antonio. Credit: Bonnie Arbittier / San Antonio Report

After I moved back, my brother would visit me, and we’d sit outside, drinking beer and reminiscing about when we were kids. There’s a lot of love in my house because my parents raised us here. The home is older, but it’s full of warmth and there are a lot of good childhood memories here.

And it’s not just the house, it’s the whole neighborhood that radiates warmth. I wanted to share that with the rest of San Antonio and the world, which is why I started Live from the Southside, a media outlet that shares all things South Side. A lot of media coverage of the South Side focuses on the negative, but there is so much positivity here that people will miss out on if that’s their only idea of us.

The more I got involved in my community, the more I attended community meetings, the more it felt like this is something that I have to do, like more people have to know how amazing the South Side is. It’s a lot of work to do on my own, but it’s been very rewarding. I like to highlight small businesses and community events, like all the great fruterias we have in the area and the holiday toy drive held every year. There are so many hardworking folks here who have started businesses that serve their communities and exciting events that bring people together.

In a city as spread out as San Antonio, it can be easy to live in your own little bubble. Staying close to home is comfortable and convenient. But you also miss out on what else the city has to offer. That’s why I like to invite people to come out and explore. I spend a lot of time traveling to small towns in Texas to find hidden gems, but there are so many gems right here in my backyard.

April Monterrosa sits with her dogs on her sofa in her South San Antonio home. Credit: Bonnie Arbittier / San Antonio Report

I like to go for walks in the parks nearby, like Golden Community Park and Arnold Park. One of my favorite spots to get food in the neighborhood is Taqueria Mexico. You walk in and everyone treats you like family. The portions are huge, prices are great, and they’ve got the cumbias playing in the back. My favorite dish to order is the chilaquiles plate, but everything is delicious.

We have so much culture in the South Side. This is where San Antonio originated. We have the missions, Confluence Park, the Audubon Center, the Greenline now at Brooks – it’s beautiful. There’s so much nature to enjoy. You can hike, bird-watch, and picnic with your family. There’s so much nature, beauty, culture, and history in the South Side. I want everyone to see what I see.

April Monterrosa is a San Antonio native, born and raised on the South Side. She is a the founder of Live from the Southside, a Certified Tourism Ambassador for the City of San Antonio, and a member and...