Known for its rustic Spanish colonial missions, rich Mexican heritage, and the legendary Alamo, San Antonio is undoubtedly a great place to get to know yourself as a travel nurse.
But for a place that’s dripping with historical flavor and cultural riches, you might be surprised by one of San Antonio’s claims to fame: it’s consistently ranked as one of the most budget-friendly travel destinations—not just in Texas, but in the world.1
If you’ve secured a travel nurse job in the Lone Star state, you’ll be living and working in one of the most sought-after destinations in the South. But before you pack your bags and express order some cowboy boots, let’s dig into this travel nurse’s city primer and prepare for San Antonio to steal your heart like a bandit from an old Western. We’ll even share some general advice for moving to a new city as a travel nurse.
Neighborhoods to Live in San Antonio
Wondering how to make friends as a travel nurse in a new city? From the hyper-modern hustle of Downtown San Antonio to the sweeping emerald lawns of Alamo Heights, San Antonio living can be as bustling or breezy as it strikes your fancy. And the best part is that whether you live in an area that is more fast-paced or more mellow, you are sure to meet several friendly faces in the neighborhood.
Let’s take a look at three gorgeous neighborhoods in this city so you can get a feel for what it’s like to live here and even make new friends along the way.
River walk & Downtown
If you want to live in the thick of San Antonio, look no further than the Downtown and San Antonio River Walk areas.
The heart of this area is the famous River Walk, a promenade that winds down 15 miles of river and hums with the best places to eat, drink, and people-watch by sunset. It’s a neighborhood with high-rises, museums, theaters, restaurants, bars, clubs, and music venues in abundance, though housing costs here can be steeper with so many conveniences within walking distance. That said, if you’re intent on taking advantage of all the treasures here (the Alamo included!), you’re sure to get your money’s worth.
The Pearl District
The Pearl District may be your go-to neighborhood if you love to spend time outdoors and are looking for an area that balances an urban feel with an easygoing, rural pace of living.
Here, you’ll find endless opportunities to unwind after an extra-long shift—especially if you love to eat. The Pearl District is home to the Culinary Institute of America, San Antonio, flanked by tasty Mexican eateries, artisanal breweries, and world-class restaurants like Southerleigh tucked into the area’s historic buildings.
With after-hours entertainment options from jazz bars to the sprawling riverside amphitheater, the Pearl District is one of the hottest up-and-coming neighborhoods in San Antonio.
Alamo Heights is one of the more idyllic neighborhoods of San Antonio. It’s a close-knit residential area chock full of boutiques, brunch spots, and esteemed institutions like the McNay Art Museum.
North of the main city center, Alamo Heights is brimming with vast green spaces, botanical gardens, and community homesteads. If you’re a traveler who needs proximity to nature to dissolve your work-week stresses, there’s no better area to settle.
Cost of Living in San Antonio
If you’re hoping to live in a world-class city without paying world-class living costs, you’re in luck—this big city’s total cost of living falls 8% below the national average.2
These are the median prices you can expect to pay for living in San Antonio Texas:2<7sup>
- Rent – Even if you’ve already done your research on how to find housing as a travel nurse, it’s important to keep in mind that the rental and housing market varies by city. The expected monthly rent in San Antonio is just $999 per month—18% below the national average.
- Groceries – Filling up your fridge in San Antonio is 10% less costly than in the rest of the US. Here, you can pick up a dozen eggs, a loaf of bread, and a bunch of bananas all for just over $7.50.
- Utilities – Utilities in San Antonio are 11% less pricey than the national average. Your typical energy bill will run you around $151.68 each month.
- Childcare – In San Antonio, infant care costs $777 per month on average, while finding childcare for young kids costs an average of $589 per month.3 If you plan on paying for hourly care, most providers will consider $13-$16 a fair, comfortable rate.4
Best Places to Explore in San Antonio
Whether you have a hankering to hunt down one of the city’s local culinary gems or are craving a bike ride throughout one of the city’s lush outdoor spaces, there’s no shortage of opportunities to indulge in San Antonio’s cultural playground.
Some delightful ways to spend your time include:
- The Riverwalk – Stroll along its 15 miles of footpaths bordered by restaurants, boutiques, and bars, or hop on a riverboat and relax while soaking up the city’s colorful sights. It’s free to enter, and you can bring your pup as long as it’s on a leash. Most shops are pet-friendly, and most outdoor restaurants welcome dogs to lounge on their patios while you dine.
- Majestic Theater – This National Historic Landmark theater is one of the last atmospheric theaters in the United States. It was built in 1929 by John Eberson in a Spanish-Mediterranean style.5 It is now home to the Broadway in San Antonio series and a wide variety of concerts and performing arts events.
- La Villita Historic Arts Village – Don’t miss this treasured village on the southern bank of San Antonio’s famed Riverwalk! Here, history truly comes alive, whether walking along the cobble-stoned streets or relaxing in the idyllic courtyards and spacious plazas. Considered San Antonio’s first neighborhood, its heritage buildings are now home to various restaurants, artisan shops, and art galleries.
Best Places To Taste San Antonio
Every San Antonio resident doesn’t just eat to live—they live to eat. Once you’ve worked up an appetite of your own, get ready to chow down at one of these standout San Antonio restaurants:
- Ray’s Drive Inn – A taco lover’s heaven. This family-owned business first opened in 1956 when Ray began showing free movies to the neighborhood kids while serving hamburgers, fried chicken, and fresh lemonade.6 Since then, Ray’s younger brother, Arturo, has taken over, and now the restaurant is known as the home of the “puffy taco.”
- Mi Roti – Caribbean street food has never been better, and thanks to chefs Nicola and Butch, you can build your own specialty bowl or roti wrap. Choose from a variety of seasoned proteins, such as jerk shredded pork or coconut curry chickpeas, and a variety of tasty veggies, sauces, and sides, including their delicious masala fries.
- Smoke Shack – Another Guy Fieri favorite. A trip to San Antonio wouldn’t be complete without a stop at the Smoke Shack. Check out their Smoke Shack Mac, Brisket Grilled Cheese, or the famous Big Dog, piled high with a link of sausage, brisket, pulled pork, slaw with feta cheese, and up to two house-made sauces.
Absorb San Antonio’s History And Arts
Spend a leisurely afternoon on your day off visiting one of San Antonio’s myriad cultural institutions:
- The Alamo – This is one of San Antonio’s most significant landmarks, part of Mission National Historical Park and a UNESCO World Heritage site. The Alamo offers visitors the chance to rediscover a portion of Texas history through interactive tours and various exhibits. And for those history buffs looking to experience frontier life in early Texas, don’t miss the Living History encampment!
- The Witte – The Witte natural history and art museum is where nature, science, and culture converge. It’s an excellent place to spend a day with family if you have kids in tow, with an exhibit dedicated to Texas Deep Time that explores the state’s history through the lens of its elements: land, sky, and water.
- Hopscotch – This 20,000 sq. ft art gallery has a community-centered focus that showcases local, national, and international artists in sustainable, creative ways. Don’t miss its vibrant lounge space, which includes a full bar, large patio, food truck, and a gift shop.
Discover San Antonio’s Outdoor Adventures
San Antonio rests in the heart of Texas Hill Country—a pastoral landscape with endless opportunities to take in the great outdoors.
From plunging into one of these crystal clear rivers to taking a rugged hike through canyons and spring-fed creeks, here are three ways to take in the area’s natural wonders:
- Natural Bridge Caverns – If you have the day off, take a heart-racing trip to the Caverns. Here, you can plunge 180 feet below the earth’s surface or navigate its 60-foot high zip rails and ropes course.
- Japanese Tea Garden – If lush gardens, bright flowers, koi-filled ponds, and a waterfall sound like your kind of paradise, head to the Japanese Tea Gardens. What was once an abandoned limestone quarry has been redesigned as a tranquil oasis with quaint bridges, walkways, and free admission seven days a week, 365 days a year.
- Wildlife Ranch – Fancy a safari-style trip with a Texas twist? Check out Wildlife Ranch’s unforgettable safari tours along a vast swath of Texas ranchland. Discover more than 500 animals from over 45 species, including gazelles, ostriches, giraffes, and bison.
Tips and Tricks for Moving to San Antonio Texas
Whether you’re headed for San Antonio solo or are moving to a new city with a family in tow, putting down roots somewhere new can be a challenge. Here are a few inside tips for living in San Antonio to make your move even smoother:
- Consider housing complexes – Not sure which San Antonio neighborhood is calling you home? If you’re not ready to put down semi-permanent roots before you arrive, consider checking out one of the area’s housing complexes:
- The Madison
- Mission Ranch
- Villas at Medical Center
- Bring a car – San Antonio’s must-see sights are spread widely throughout the big city, and public transportation can be unreliable. While many neighborhoods in San Antonio are highly walkable, be sure to bring a vehicle so that you can take advantage of every ounce of the local scenery!
- Don’t skip the layers – Southern states have a reputation for running hot—and they do! But when winter hits San Antonio, the weather can hit below-freezing temperatures. If you’re moving to this city during the Fall or Winter, be sure your wardrobe includes plenty of clothes that can keep you warm and cozy.
Head To San Antonio With Host Healthcare
If the historic architecture, lush local scenery, and moonlit river walks are calling your name, find your next San Antonio-based healthcare job with Host Healthcare.
We match healthcare professionals with travel assignments that fit their career, lifestyle, and travel goals in all 50 states around the US—and it takes just five simple steps to start your next adventure. Meet our seasoned team of Housing Specialists and start planning your next career move by exploring Host Healthcare’s exciting San Antonio job opportunities today.
- Paper City. A Surprise Texas City Is Named the Second Best Travel Destination in the World. https://www.papercitymag.com/culture/best-travel-destination-world-san-antonio-who-boring-now/
- Payscale. Cost of Living in San Antonio, Texas. https://www.payscale.com/cost-of-living-calculator/Texas-San-Antonio
- Place Guide. HOW MUCH DOES DAYCARE COST IN SAN ANTONIO TX? https://place-guide.com/article/how-much-does-daycare-cost-in-san-antonio-tx
- Nanny Lane. How much does a child care provider cost in San Antonio, TX? https://www.nannylane.com/cost/child-care/tx/san-antonio
- Majestic & Empire Theatre. The Theatres. https://www.majesticempire.com/about-us/the-theatres
- Ray’s Drive In. About. https://www.raysdriveinn.net/about/