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San Antonio, a modern city with a distinct Hispanic influence, is the third largest city in Texas and has grown to become the seventh largest in the United States. Most of the downtown area is attractive, with modern skyscrapers intermingled with historic sites (including the Alamo and the Spanish Governors Palace). The Paseo del Rio, or River Walk, contains shops and sidewalk cafes along the San Antonio River, and downtown entertainment is lively.
The winning of the Mexican War in the 19th century opened up large areas north and east of town for agriculture and settlement, which at the time gave rise to such towns as New Braunfels and San Marcos. This added many European immigrants and especially Germans to the mix. The best suburbs spread in this direction from the center city, with excellent housing values, schools and neighborhoods. These include Hollywood Park, the older and more upscale Hill Country Village, and numerous developments northeast of the State Route 1604 beltway. The sheer distance to some of these outer suburbs has brought some of the traffic and commute problems one might expect. Unfortunately, other inner neighborhoods and some suburbs extending in other directions have not fared as well economically and have a reputation for high crime.
Although the city has a laid-back character, there is a substantial business community that includes the headquarters of SBC Communications (AT&T), Valero Energy, Tesoro Petroleum (oil and gas), Clear Channel Communications and a strong banking and financial presence. Future job growth projections are strong. The South Texas Medical Center is one of the largest in the state, with a substantial medical and biotech research component.
Four nearby air force facilities bring a strong military presence. The city has a full complement of museums and cultural assets, sports teams (notably the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs), transportation facilities, and entertainment venues. These advantages are accompanied by a strong economy, low cost of living, and a favorable winter climate. Better planning than most Texas cities has allowed San Antonio to avoid some growth-related issues.
Located on the San Antonio River in a flat to gently rolling area, the city sits at the border of the coastal plain to the southeast and the hill country to the northwest. The climate is a mix of humid subtropical elements in summer and continental elements in winter. Temperatures are in the 50’s in January, and above 90 over 80% of the time in mid-summer. San Antonio is situated between a semiarid area to the west and a coastal area of heavy precipitation to the east. Precipitation is fairly well distributed throughout the year with the heaviest amounts occurring from May to September. Summer rain usually occurs as thunderstorms and most winter precipitation occurs as light rain or drizzle. Measurable snow occurs only once every 3 or 4 years. Tropical storms occasionally affect the city.