“A boy don’t get to be a man with clean britches on” - Elmer Kelton Read Guide >
Getting Around. There are five bus routes. That's it. Just five. If your home, work, shopping, and places of play don't coincide with these five routes, then you are out of luck, Chuck. Make life easy and get yourself a car.
Renting Season. Summer is renting season in San Angelo. Military families are transferred when the kids are let out of school. Students graduate and relocate during each semester break, especially summer. And, in the process, many rare rental opportunities become available. Suburban homes abandoned by military personnel are rented all around the city, including exclusive neighborhoods near Lake Nasworthy and the country club where apartments are non-existent. Of course, make sure that you are dealing with the actual owners or a licensed real estate agent before forking over the deposit. Craigslist scammers just love taking advantage of these situations. The mass migration of students also opens up vacancies in the most popular complexes, where demand usually outweighs supply. Put in an application before May, and your name will be at the top of the list as soon as apartments become available.
West Texas Oasis. In the vast desert landscape of West Texas, San Angelo is an oasis of lakes, rivers, and creeks that make for great fishing and long summer days on the water. However, this little city is still in the desert, and its citizens face a biblical-style drought every few years, which dries up nearly everything except Lake Nasworthy. Water rationing is common during summer months. Those renting homes with yards need to stay up to date with water rationing laws before they irrigate their lawns, or face financial penalties. And, water rationing or not, a gardening enthusiast with the greenest of thumbs will always pray for more rain. In the dead heat of summer, all you can do is water early in the morning and hope the sun doesn't burn up your harvest before the day ends.
Slumlord Solutions. San Angelo has its fair share of dilapidated apartments, mostly ruled over by your run-of the-mill slumlord that tends to think they can squeeze a profit from a horse fart. Incompetence, negligence, and downright greed create apartments that are far from electrical and plumbing code standards. This could mean a leaky pipe that creates squishy, moldy walls, or a bad septic system that overflows your drains and makes your kitchen smell like sewage. Or, how about an electrocution while trying to plug in your coffeemaker? Get an apartment that is up-to-code, if you can afford it. For those who have no choice but to deal these slumlords, make sure you protect your rights and your pockets with the necessary precautions. Take pictures, keep records of maintenance requests, stay on top of them to solve any issues, and stand your ground. Otherwise, they will stick it to you.
Base Culture. A number of years ago, two guys from Washington D.C. accompanied Ann Richards on a visit to this quiet cow town. They intended to hold a panel on closing the Goodfellow base. Ten miles of road, all the way from the airport to downtown, were lined with protesters, many of which had been given the day off to go and support the base. Too scared to get out of the car, Ann Richards had to drag them into the mob, where they faced the painful ordeal of shaking hands with friendly, smiling Texans, who presented them with 10 shopping carts full of letters and postcards of support for the base. There's nothing quite like a polite mob, and the unreal experience must have made for an interesting report, because the base was not closed, but in fact expanded. Yes, this is a military town, and it will treat you right. There are military discounts, military rental rates, military parades, military bars, and lots of military love and support from the general public.
Belaire/Glenmore. Affordable military neighborhood on the northern border of Goodfellow Air Force Base. $$$
Brentwood. Neighborhood includes rural living near Lake Nasworthy, city living among the cluster of restaurants and shops off of Knickerbocker Rd., as well as country club living, complete with golf course, tennis courts, and swimming pool $ - $$$$
College Hills. Students fueled by health food, Starbucks, sushi, and fresh bakery goods, all hopping between boutiques, bars, and classes. $$ - $$$$
Downtown. Take your kids for a day of play at downtown's own Kid's Kingdom, located on the beautiful river walk. At night, get your dose of live Texas music, dance halls, and last calls on streets steeped in history, both proud and of ill repute. Visit Miss Hattie's Saloon for an overpriced cocktail among ghosts of the old bordello, marvel at the city's historic murals, then get some cheap brews and good blues at Sealy Flats. And, if you're a young and restless college kid, there are a couple of bars to indulge in the guilty pleasures of computer generated music and booty dancing. $ - $$$$$
East Angelo. Another military neighborhood in high demand. $
Fort Concho. Just across the river from downtown, a family-oriented neighborhood with riverfront parks, delightful duplexes, farm fresh produce at the Concho Valley Farmer's Market, and the added enjoyment of Fort Concho events, such as Buffalo Soldier Heritage Day, Christmas at old Fort Concho, and the Cowboy Campfire Concerts. $$$
Jefferson Heights. A rowdy and rambunctious neighborhood located near San Angelo State Park, O.C. Fisher Lake., O.C. Fisher Dam, Picnic Bend Park, and North Concho Park, all of which are connected by various greenbelt hikes and river trails. You can also play some "mean bridge" with the nicest mean old ladies in Texas at the Sue Barber Bridge Center near Picnic Bend Park.$ - $$$
Nasworthy. Located far south, in a lake-river-golf course sandwich, rentals in this neighborhood are hard to come by, and even harder to pay for. $$$$$
Paul Ann. Four miles from Goodfellow, and right next to Lake Nasworthy, many military families own homes in this neighborhood, so keep an eye out for house rentals once school lets out. $$$$$
Santa Rita. Houses as cute as the neighborhood name, and small plots speckled with meandering creeks and huge old oaks, this neighborhood just across the river from downtown offers few rentals. Your best bet is finding a roommate or two and renting one of these adorable old houses. $$$$ - $$$$$
Southland. Lots of shops, country eats, and a short trip down Knickerbocker Road to Lake Nasworthy. $$$ - $$$$ The Bluffs. New neighborhood built on high terrain along the loop and Texas State Park. No apartments here, but rental homes with great views show up in the classifieds periodically. $$$$$
Now is the time to see it for yourself. Come on down to this Texas town, where they say ya’ll and howdy in that southern drawl, where they give their souls to the great outdoors, and where stiff-ribbed self reliance and neighborly charity make the roughest times as pleasant as pie.
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