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.

There’s a lot to love about The Deco District. People are friendly, traffic is calm and there are plenty of local businesses to support. But my absolute favorite part of living here is being near the Alazán Creek Trail.

I ride my bike everywhere. Since the Alazán Creek Trail opened a few months ago, I’ve been able to bike from my apartment down Elmendorf Street to Woodlawn Lake Dog Park, where I can then get on the trail and take it to so many great places in town. I especially love stopping by Shotgun House Coffee Roasters. The trail also takes you to Southtown, Confluence Park, and Mission Concepción. I love seeing people out enjoying the trail and hope more San Antonians will take advantage of trails as a way to explore the city car-free.

It’s wonderful to be able to do nearly my entire commute on the Alazán Creek Trail and not have to interact with traffic. I work for Ghisallo Cycling Initiative, a local cycling nonprofit that teaches kids about bike safety. Being able to bike to the schools where I’m delivering programming and showing them that it’s possible to use bikes for transportation and not just recreation is so important. Even though I’m at their school to teach them about bike safety, the kids are often amazed that I actually biked to get there.

Just as I can bike to all my favorite spots in the city by getting on the trails, I can walk to all my favorite neighborhood spots. Deco Pizzeria and Taqueria Datapoint both serve up delicious food loved by my Deco District neighbors, as well as people from other parts of San Antonio. It’s definitely tempting having them both so close by. El Paraiso Ice Cream, which many San Antonians know for its iconic blue and white exterior and refreshing paletas, is a neighborhood institution where you’ll often find me in the summer.

Julian Valdez loads up an ice cream cart with paletas from El Paraiso Ice Cream on Fredericksburg Road.
Julian Valdez loads up an ice cream cart with paletas from El Paraiso Ice Cream on Fredericksburg Road. Credit: Bria Woods / San Antonio Report

The swimming pool at my apartment complex is another place you’ll find me in the summer. Many of my friends live in the area, and I like to invite them over to hang out by the pool with me. In warm weather months, my neighbors will be out grilling and cooling off at the pool every weekend, making for a great, familial atmosphere. My dog, Louie, especially loves our next-door neighbor. His balcony is adjacent to ours and whenever Louie goes out, our neighbor gives him treats. And whenever Louie hears the neighbor’s sliding door open, he begs me to go out for his treat.

One concern I have about The Deco District is all the unleashed, unaccompanied dogs roaming around. It makes it difficult to take Louie out for walks without the fear of encountering aggressive dogs wandering around without owners to call them back if a conflict arises. It’s also unsafe for these dogs to be in traffic. I know this is an issue in many San Antonio neighborhoods and wish more would be done to address it. 

I’ve lived in The Deco District for just under a year, so there’s still a lot for me to learn and explore here. In the next few years, I’d like for the issue with dogs to be taken more seriously and to see a library built in the area. Libraries are such important community resources and we don’t have one nearby. And, of course, I want to see more people on the trails.