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.
After my husband Tony and I got married, we lived with my mother in the Kenwood Park area in order to save money to buy our own home. When we got to the point where we felt ready to set off on our own, we agreed that we wanted an older home in a neighborhood near downtown. And when we found this house in Woodlawn Lake, we knew it was perfect for us.
The house we finally fell in love with was everything we had dreamed about. It had a vintage feel and gave us nostalgia for days long gone. The house is very much our dream home and one that we will continue to make updates and upgrades to. We recently added a back patio and it’s been a game changer.
You can’t beat the location, just one block away from the beautiful Woodlawn Lake. When it’s nice out, we like to walk around the lake and take our Bella to the dog park. We love El Coco Rayado around the corner for snacks like nachos and mangonadas, and the fruit cups really hit the spot in the hot summer months.
Events in Woodlawn Lake Park were canceled this year due to the pandemic, but in other years we’ve enjoyed the Fourth of July when the City shuts down the streets near the park. Our neighbors set up picnic tables and have family over for hot dogs and beer with an excellent view of the fireworks. There’s also the Día de los Muertos festival with fireworks. We like to go to that, as well as other Día de los Muertos events around town. When you live in San Antonio and have access to all this culture, you sometimes take for granted that other cities aren’t as lucky.
I was born and raised in San Antonio and can’t imagine living anywhere else. Tony grew up in Houston and came to San Antonio for college in 2003. Having grown up in a predominantly white neighborhood in Houston, San Antonio offered him a richer cultural experience and deeper connection to Mexico.
When Tony’s parents visit us from Houston we like to take them to Jacala. We had our rehearsal dinner there, and his parents loved it, so we go back whenever they’re in town. Another favorite of theirs is Mi Celayence. It reminds Tony’s father of his mother’s cooking. Tony’s mom enjoys strolling on the River Walk, and both parents like to go hunting for treasures at Traders Village.
Since we’re in an older neighborhood, we have a lot of retired neighbors. They were cautious at first, seeing a younger couple move into the neighborhood, but they quickly warmed up to us. We’re friendly and Tony is fluent in Spanish, so that helped put folks more at ease. Tony is also the precinct chair for the Democratic Party and that allows him to get to know more people in the community. Though many of our neighbors have lived here for a long time, we’re now seeing a lot of houses in the area are being renovated and younger people are coming in, bringing more diversity to the neighborhood.
We love to entertain but unfortunately because of the pandemic we haven’t been able to do so much. My big thing is Christmas. I have a Christmas tree in every room of the house. The holidays are so special to me, especially now that we finally have our own home and are able to put up all the decorations. When we had our housewarming party we made it a Christmas party, and it felt so good to have all our loved ones in our home.
A citywide celebration we always partake in is Fiesta. We love it not just for the partying (even though that’s always fun), but for what it stands for. Giving back to the community is important to us and seeing the city come together to support local nonprofits is inspiring. We always either volunteer at an event or participate in one.
My favorite Fiesta event is Cornyation. Our tradition is to get dressed up in our fancy Fiesta attire, have dinner at Texas de Brazil, and then walk to the theater for the show. Tony is a big fan of the King’s Party because past Rey Feos come out, there’s a lot of good food, all the drinks you can get, and everyone’s dressed up in Fiesta chic. Bella’s partial to El Rey Fido. We take her every year and, after some friends suggested we enter her in the contest, we finally went for it this year. Of course, things were much different this year. We weren’t able to attend events and didn’t have quite the same fundraising opportunities, but we were able to raise about $7,000 for the Humane Society and Bella got second place.
If there’s anything we could improve about San Antonio it would be transportation. Transportation is something we have to continue to work on and strive to make better. Because San Antonio is growing and a lot of new people are coming in, we need to find a way to make it easier for us to get around. We live close to downtown and it would be so much easier for us to be able to use public transportation to get there and not have to worry about parking. As San Antonio grows, we have to think about how we move around the city and how that doesn’t always have to be in a car. There’s so much to explore and discover, everyone should have the chance to see it all.