A NORTHERNER IN TEXAS: HOW CORPUS CHRISTI STOLE MY HEART
Some people say, “Home isn’t a place.” They haven’t been to Corpus Christi.
Before I moved to Texas, I couldn’t show you where Corpus Christi was on a map. I was a northerner, born and bred, and the idea of Texas was so foreign to me it may as well have been another country.
So when I boxed up my life and pointed my car due south, I did so with no small amount of doubt and trepidation. A whopping 2,080 miles later, I drove across Corpus Christi’s iconic Harbor Bridge and came face-to-face with the sweeping, cinematic landscape of the sparkling city by the sea.
This was not the dry, tumbleweed-strewn Texas I’d envisioned. Instead, I saw before me a lush, active, and diverse mini-metropolis overlooking the blue-green Gulf of Mexico.
As a military significant other and a natural “people person,” I knew a thing or two about building community in new places, and I threw myself into exploring my new city. And the more I discovered, the faster I fell in love with everything Corpus Christi had to offer.
A City On “Island Time”
Living on the island, I discovered that my neighbors and I have access to the best of both worlds: peaceful waterfront living and an active downtown scene (just a quick drive away). Whether I was taking a post-work hike through the Padre Island National Seashore, casting for redfish off the jetty, or wandering through a bustling street festival on Shoreline Boulevard, I found both homespun charm and outdoor adventure nearly everywhere I turned.
Part growing urban hub and part laid-back island paradise, Corpus is a place where people work hard but know how to kick back. From a trendy Downtown (with new businesses popping up on every corner) to the impeccably landscaped suburban neighborhood of Southside to the beachy, casual Padre Island, the Coastal Bend offers something for everyone.
In comparison to the cutthroat corporate environment and competitive academics of New England, where it sometimes felt like everyone was competing for “Who can be the most overworked and stressed out?”, the healthy work-life balance of Corpus felt like an oasis. I’ve met countless transplants who came to Corpus looking for a vacation home and ended up finding their forever home.
Community Focus & Innovation
Larger cities like Austin and San Antonio may be known as progressive, industry-savvy metropolises, but Corpus Christi is coming in hot as a committed supporter of industry, innovation, education, the arts, and community spirit.
With Del Mar College and Texas A&M University Corpus Christi leading the charge on higher education, nonprofits like K Space Contemporary and the Art Center of Corpus Christi are creating space for the arts and arts education and providing a platform for local artists. Since moving to Corpus a little over a year ago, I’ve seen multiple stunning murals go up around the city, lending the streets plenty of bright color and unique personality.
Not only do we believe in “Shop Local,” we practice it. (And yes, Whataburger counts as local!) From weekly farmers markets both downtown and on the island to organizations like the Women’s Entrepreneur Society of Corpus Christi and the Young Business Professionals of the Coastal Bend, Corpus Christians support their local small businesses, entrepreneurs, and innovators with fierce loyalty.
After the palm trees and pina colada sunsets, the first thing you notice about Corpus are the home prices. With multi-bedroom homes starting in the mid-to-high $100,000s, this is a city where young people can actually afford to purchase their first home...and a pretty impressive one at that. For the square footage, style, and prime location, the value is incredible. Even luxury doesn’t come with a luxury price tag, and waterfront properties are available in abundance.
Big City, Small Town Traditions
Don’t let the big city skyline and multi-million dollar festivals like Fiesta de la Flor fool you; Corpus is a small town at heart. Big on traditions (both old and new) and the first to welcome a new face, Corpus Christians love having a reason to come together and celebrate.
If I had to choose, my favorite local traditions would be walking the display of ofrendas at the historic Ritz Theater during Dia de los Muertos and cracking open a cold one with friends while watching the La Posada lighted boat parade on the Padre Island canals.
And then there's the landscape: miles of sandy, shell-scattered beaches, palm trees lining every street, canal front homes with views of the water for miles...the beauty of this islander’s city evokes a sense of near-tropical paradise.
After all, Corpus is one of the most popular coastal destinations for outdoor activities, and it boasts some of the best hunting and fishing in the country. Whatever your fancy – surfing, kayaking, windsurfing, horseback riding, cycling (I could go on and on) – you'll find it here. Corpus will get even the most die-hard couch potato on their feet and out the door.
Particularly in recent years, Corpus has been channeling much of its energy into a downtown revitalization movement. The Downtown Management District has developed a city improvement plan that will foster new businesses, build more downtown luxury and affordable apartments, and restore many of the majestic historic buildings that sat forgotten for years.
And here I am, Shiner Bock in hand, enjoying my front row seat during the opening act of Corpus’ revitalization. Corpus has redefined the word “community” for me. And I’m not letting it go any time soon.
This blog post originally appeared on the Keller Williams Coastal Bend website, and included the following call-to-action: If you’re moving to the Coastal Bend and starting to think about where to live, Keller Williams is here to help! Check out our list of Coastal Bend communities that need to be on your radar, download our exclusive Buyer’s Guide, speak with a local lender, and contact an agent to help you make your dream home a reality.