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San Antonian 101: A how-to for new residents

From how to register your car to where to put your recycle bin, this overview will give you everything you need to know to get established as a San Antonio resident.

SATXtoday: San Antonio skyline

Learn what it takes to become a San Antonian.

Photo by @skylinedronetx

Table of Contents

Picture this: You just moved to San Antonio and you need some help with the practicalities of life (we can’t just sit back and drink margaritas all day, unfortunately). That’s where we come in. Keep reading for San Antonian 101, our guide to all things San Antonio citizenship.

SATXtoday: San Antonio River Walk

A bustling place with many restaurants and bars on the San Antonio River Walk.

Photo by f11photo/Getty Images/iStockphoto

The essentials

Voter registration

Make sure you’re eligible + registered to vote, find your polling location, and preview upcoming elections and sample ballots here.

Driver’s licenses and vehicle registration

New residents in need of a Texas driver’s license will need to provide proof of legal status, a Social Security document, and two documents confirming your residential address.

To register your car in the state of Texas, you’ll need to bring proof of State car insurance, proof of your identity (in the form of a driver’s license, passport, or ID card), and a Vehicle Identification Number and Odometer Verification form to any Bexar County tax office (such as the Tax Collector’s office at 233 N. Pecos La Trinidad).

Initial registrations may be subject to a $50.75 fee.

You can make an appointment online to obtain a State driver’s license. Registration for your vehicle is conducted on a walk-in basis.

Healthcare

Establishing yourself with a primary care provider is one of those things you’ll be glad you did when you need one. Reach out to the professionals at the Gonzaba Medical Group, University Health System, or Centro Med, to name a few. Pro tip: Websites like DocSpot filter physicians by location, patient reviews, insurance, language, and more.

SATXtoday: Gonzaba Medical Group

The Gonzaba Medical Group office in Hillcrest.

Photo by Gonzaba Medical Group

Educational needs

School registration

Prepare your student for the school year by registering them with one of Bexar County’s many schools districts, like San Antonio ISD. Here, you’ll find your school zone (based on your home address), a list of registration and immunization requirements, and the student entry form. With your required documents in hand, you’ll then make an appointment at your student’s zoned school to complete the registration process.

For information on San Antonio’s private schools, check out Fun 4 Alamo Kids’ lists.

Library card registration

If you think libraries are only for renting the occasional book, think again. Register for a library card at your nearest San Antonio branch, or apply for an eCard (valid for 90 days) online, to take advantage of:

  • Genealogy services
  • Events
  • eBooks, eAudio, and eMagazines
  • Movies and music
  • Online databases

To get your card, you’ll need proof of identity and proof of address. San Antonians of any age can apply for a free card to be used at any San Antonio branch.

central-library-1-WP Resize

The Big Enchilada, Central Library, the OSS Building — what do you call it?

Photo by @timothymcvainlives

Home necessities

Recycling

Thanks for thinking green. For everything you need to know about recycling in San Antonio, from where to place your bin to pickup times and accepted materials, check out our guide.

Utilities

Moving is exciting, but no one wants to unpack by candlelight. Establish your services with CPS Energy by creating an account or updating your address in your existing account. Pro tip: You can complete a free virtual energy audit to learn how you can save money and energy every month.

Internet providers

No connectivity issues here. Check out some of the internet providers in the 210:

  • Spectrum | Starting at $49.99 per month
  • AT&T Internet | Fiber internet starting at $35 per month
  • Google Fiber | Fiber internet starting at $70 per month
  • Viasat | Starting at $49.99 per month
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The Last Parade mural.

Photo by the City of San Antonio

The ultimate San Antonian initiation

Having a State driver’s license and a 210 area code may qualify you on paper, but you’re not officially a San Antonian until you’ve taken part in some local fun that is only found in Alamo City.

Fiesta

The biggest party of the year, with a cause. With it’s rich history dating back to the 19th century — like the Battle of Flowers Parade — San Antonians take to the streets yelling “show us your shoes” with homemade hats, colorful outfits, and Fiesta Medals. You don’t want to miss the parades, foodie festivals, and more. Pro tip: Try a chicken on a stick.

Coffee Shops

San Antonio is home to a plethora of coffee shops and trucks. They’re a great places to learn about the city’s culture, meet new friends, work remotely, and check out a pop-up market or two.

Historic Pearl

Smack dab in the middle of San Antonio, is the site of the former Pearl Brewery turned mixed use space. Here you can find weekend farmers markets, free seasonal movie screenings by Slab Cinema, and plenty of bars + restaurants including Southerleigh, Best Quality Daughter, High Street Wine, and Mi Roti.

Don’t forget to check out the small businesses that are full of San Antonio pride like Feliz Modern, Twig Bookshop, and Dos Carolinas.

SATXtoday: Battle of flowers parade royalty

Check out all of the Fiesta royalty during the Battle of Flowers parade.

Photo courtesy of Battle of Flowers® Association, Javier Fernandez, and Jon Alonzo.

Is there something you’re still left wondering about to get you properly established in the 210? Ask us your question and we’ll do our best to answer it for you, like a good neighbor.

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