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Texans still looking for the best place to enjoy a Thanksgiving feast without breaking their banks might want to head to the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. Three DFW cities rank highly on a new list of the best places to go for Thanksgiving, while San Antonio comes in in the top third.

The study, published by WalletHub, compares the top 100 largest U.S. cities across 20 key metrics, including the cost of Thanksgiving dinner, number of delayed flights, and even forecast precipitation.

Atlanta, Georgia ranks No. 1 on the list, with Orlando, Florida; Las Vega, Nevada; Raleigh, North Carolina; and Gilbert, Arizona rounding out the top five.

The top-scoring Texas destinations are Plano (No. 7), Irving (No. 9), and Dallas (No. 13). The other cities around Texas to make the list are:

  • Garland (No. 24)
  • Corpus Christi (No. 25)
  • Laredo (No. 31)
  • San Antonio (No. 32)
  • Austin (No. 33)
  • Arlington (No. 44)
  • Houston (No. 53)
  • El Paso (No. 64)
  • Fort Worth (No. 84)
  • Lubbock (No. 85)

The average American spends about $301 during the five-day Thanksgiving period, according to a list of Thanksgiving fun facts compiled by WalletHub. Annually, Americans as a whole spend an estimated $835 million on Thanksgiving turkeys, with 46 million turkeys killed for the holiday.

In addition to the cities’ overall ranking, WalletHub revealed the cities’ rankings for the individual categories they were evaluated by. Five of those categories include Thanksgiving Celebrations and Traditions, Affordability, Safety and Accessibility, Giving Thanks, and Thanksgiving Weather Forecast.

Surely the big Cowboys game with Jonas Brothers' halftime show factors into the DFW "celebrations and traditions" score, right?

Dallas and Irving are tied at No. 4 on the list for having the best Thanksgiving Weather Forecast (which calls for a high of 61 this year, according to WFAA).

Other Dallas rankings include:

  • No. 13 for Thanksgiving Celebrations and Traditions
  • No. 18 for Affordability
  • No. 93 for Safety and Accessibility
  • No. 37 for Giving Thanks

No. 32-ranking San Antonio has these rankings on the list:

  • No. 46 for Thanksgiving Celebrations and Traditions
  • No. 2 for Affordability
  • No. 66 for Safety and Accessibility
  • No. 85 for Giving Thanks
  • No. 26 for Thanksgiving Weather Forecast

The state’s No. 33-ranking capital, Austin, had an average ranking for each category:

  • No. 41 for Thanksgiving Celebrations and Traditions
  • No. 19 for Affordability
  • No. 42 for Safety and Accessibility
  • No. 82 for Giving Thanks
  • No. 36 for Thanksgiving Weather Forecast.

Houston ranked in the top 10 for Affordability but didn’t score highly in any other category:

  • No. 48 for Thanksgiving Celebrations and Traditions
  • No. 7 for Affordability
  • No. 88 for Safety and Accessibility
  • No. 58 for Giving Thanks
  • No. 43 for Thanksgiving Weather Forecast.

Fort Worth was in the top 5 for weather but hit the bottom 10 for safety:

  • No. 87 for Thanksgiving Celebrations and Traditions
  • No. 31 for Affordability
  • No. 95 for Safety and Accessibility
  • No. 52 for Giving Thanks
  • No. 4 for Thanksgiving Weather Forecast.

You can view the full list and find more information about the 100 best U.S. places for Thanksgiving here.

Photo courtesy of Zillow

San Antonio boasts some of the biggest houses in the country, new ranking shows

Size matters

If everything’s bigger in Texas, that should include our homes, right? Well, a new study shows homes in the Lone Star State are among the biggest in the country — but not the biggest.

Texas appears at No. 11 on American Home Shield’s list of the states with the biggest houses. In Texas, the average home is 2,170 square feet, well behind top-ranked Utah (2,800 square feet).

But don’t despair, fellow Texans. Six Texas cities, including San Antonio, land on American Home Shield’s list of the top 20 major cities for home size. This list looks at average home sizes in the country’s 50 largest cities.

After reviewing more than 500,000 U.S. home listings from Zillow, American Home Shield concluded that San Antonio's average home boasts 2,002 square feet, ranking No. 17 in the nation and No. 5 among large cities in Texas.

The Texas cities on the list are:

  • No. 5 Fort Worth, 2,255 square feet
  • No. 7 Austin, 2,081 square feet
  • No. 11 Houston, 2,041 square feet
  • No. 16 El Paso, 2,004 square feet
  • No. 17 San Antonio, 2,002 square feet
  • No. 20 Dallas, 1,930 square feet

In case you were wondering, the big city with the biggest houses is Colorado Springs, Colorado (2,760 square feet), while the tiniest houses are in Honolulu, Hawaii (825 square feet).

“Several factors can dictate how large the average home is in a certain state or city,” says American Home Shield, which sells home warranties. “One of the primary factors is the age of the housing stock. American homes have gotten larger over time; states with a higher percentage of new homes tend to have larger homes on average.”

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San Antonio high school sits at head of the class among Texas' best in 2022

A+ rating

San Antonio is earning extra credit in a new ranking of the best high schools in Texas.

In the latest rankings from education review website Niche, one local district ranks among the state’s best school districts, while one private institution makes the grade among the state’s best private high schools.

Within the top 10 in each respective category are:

  • BASIS Texas Charter Schools in San Antonio, No. 4 among school districts
  • Keystone School in San Antonio, No. 9 among private high schools

“Some of the biggest decisions that parents face have to do with their children’s education,” Luke Skurman, founder and CEO of Niche, says in a news release. “We strive to put as much power in their hands as possible so they can make informed decisions with confidence.”

Niche says that while traditional rankings rely heavily on metrics like test scores and academic performance, its rankings combine ratings from current students, alumni, and parents with data from the U.S. Department of Education to evaluate teachers, resources, facilities, extracurricular activities and more.

Here’s how other Texas schools and school districts fared in this year’s Niche rankings.

Austin area

  • Austin ISD’s Liberal Arts & Science Academy, No. 2 among public high schools
  • Eanes ISD’s Westlake High School, No. 6 among public high schools
  • Round Rock ISD’s Westwood High IB World School, No. 8 among public high schools
  • St. Stephen’s Episcopal School in Austin, No. 4 among private high schools
  • Eanes ISD, No. 1 among best school districts

Dallas area

  • Dallas ISD’s School for the Talented, No. 1 among public high schools
  • Dallas ISD’s School of Science & Engineering, No. 3 among public high schools
  • Carroll ISD’s Carroll High School, No. 7 among public high schools
  • St. Mark’s School of Texas in Dallas, No. 1 among private high schools
  • Greenhill School in Addison, No. 3 among private high schools
  • The Hockaday School in Dallas, No. 5 among private high schools
  • Cistercian Preparatory School in Irving, No. 8 among private high schools
  • Carrollton ISD in Carrollton, No. 3 among best school districts
  • Lovejoy ISD in Addison, No. 5 among best school districts
  • Coppell ISD, No. 6 among best school districts
  • Frisco ISD, No. 7 among best school districts
  • Grapevine-Colleyville ISD, No 8 among best school districts
  • Highland Park ISD, No. 9 among best school districts
  • Prosper ISD, No. 10 among best school districts

Houston area

  • Houston ISD’s Carnegie Vanguard High School, No. 4 among public high schools
  • Houston ISD’s Debakey High School for Health Professions, No. 5 among public high schools
  • Houston ISD’s Kinder High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, No. 9 among public high schools
  • Katy ISD’s Seven Lakes High School, No. 10 among public high schools
  • The John Cooper School in The Woodlands, No. 6 among private high schools
  • The Village School in Houston, No. 7 among private high schools
  • The Kincaid School in Houston, No. 10 among private high schools

Rio Grande Valley

  • South Texas ISD in Mercedes, No. 2 among school districts
Photo courtesy of San Antonio Convention and Visitors Bureau

San Antonio rolls out the welcome mat as one of America's nicest cities

That's nice

San Antonio has always been a city well-known for its hospitality. Now, we have proof that we're one of the nicest cities in the country.

Language-learning app Preply surveyed more 1,500 residents of the country’s largest metropolitan areas to determine which cities are home to the politest people and the rudest people. Fortunately, San Antonio made a list of the polite cities (or, put another way, the least rude ones).

Alamo City came in at No. 14 on the list, right behind El Paso, which appears at No. 13. Dallas followed San Antonio at No. 15, tied with Charlotte, North Carolina. There's even more Texas hospitality topping the list, with nearby Austin coming in at No. 1 and Fort Worth ranking No. 3.

“From our results, it seems that Austinites enjoy a laid-back, friendly city atmosphere, even as the city continues to grow rapidly,” Preply observes. “In general, the state of Texas has a reputation for politeness and friendliness, along with the rest of the South, underscoring the stereotype of Southern hospitality. It makes sense that five of the most polite U.S. cities are concentrated in the Lone Star State.”

At the top of Preply’s ranking of the rudest cities is Philadelphia. Houston lands at No. 10.

Preply’s list of the most polite cities differs from one published earlier this year by Condé Nast Traveler magazine. The publication’s annual Readers’ Choice Awards survey crowned Greenville, South Carolina, as the friendliest city in the U.S., with San Antonio at No. 4 and Austin at No. 10.

Meanwhile, a list released last year by Airbnb placed Austin at No. 7, Dallas at No. 9, and San Antonio at No. 10 among the country’s most hospitable cities.

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San Antonio's USAA marches to No. 1 among financial services brands in new study

Five-star salute

Of all the major players in the financial services industry, San Antonio-based USAA enjoys the strongest emotional connection with customers, a new study says.

The study, published by global branding agency MBLM, puts USAA atop the list of financial services providers with the strongest “brand intimacy.” It’s followed by Standard Chartered, PayPal, Mastercard, Robinhood, Visa, Citi, HSBC, Goldman Sachs, and Chase.

This is the second year in a row for USAA to lead the study’s financial services category.

In terms of brand intimacy, the major driver at USAA is “identity,” according to MBLM. This is “when the brand reflects an aspirational image or admired values and beliefs that resonate deeply,” the agency says. The identity factor aligns with USAA’s mission of serving active-duty and retired members of the military and their families.

USAA’s strong showing in the identity gives it “the edge it needs to lead the financial services industry,” MBLM says.

While USAA is No. 1 in financial services, it ranks No. 98 among all of the companies included in the MBLM study.

As a whole, the financial services industry didn’t fare well in the study. It lands at No. 14 among all industries, with media and entertainment leading the pack.

“Financial services ranks six industries below newcomer crypto in this year’s study, revealing that the industry overall lacks in building emotional connections with customers the way crypto does,” says Mario Natarelli, managing partner of MBLM. “We believe that the two industries will become more intertwined; however, financial services needs to evolve, focusing more on building trust and valued relationships, or risk falling further in our study.”

Among the companies in all of the industries covered by the study, entertainment powerhouse Disney ranks first. Two Austin companies appear in the top 25: automaker Tesla at No. 2 and grocery chain Whole Foods at No. 21. They’re the only other Texas companies in that group.

Photo courtesy of H-E-B

3 San Antonio companies among best large employers in Texas, says Forbes

Workplace recognition

Several local workplaces are working overtime toward success, and it's paying off. A new list from Forbes and Statista ranks three San Antonio companies among the state’s best major employers, both those based in Texas and those with a significant presence here.

They are:

  • No. 5 University of Texas at San Antonio
  • No. 9 H-E-B (based in San Antonio; more than 300 stores in Texas)
  • No. 12 University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio

To come up with their ranking, Forbes and Statista surveyed about 70,000 Americans working at employers in the U.S. with at least 500 employees each. The final list features 1,382 highly recommended employers in the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

H-E-B is no stranger to the spotlight: The homegrown store recently earned the title of best online grocer in the U.S., beating retail giants Amazon, Amazon Fresh, Walmart, and Walmart-owned Sam’s Club to claim the top spot.

NASA can be over the moon about its new ranking as Texas' No. 1 large employer. The space agency's $1.5 billion Johnson Space Center complex occupies more than 1,600 acres in Clear Lake. The site, home to the space agency’s mission control and astronaut training operations, employs roughly 3,000 NASA workers, along with thousands of NASA contractors. NASA’s headquarters is in Washington, D.C.

It’s estimated that Johnson Space Center contributed more than $4.7 billion to the Texas economy in 2018. On its career website, NASA cites several reasons to work at the federal agency. For instance, NASA says it offers “a range of challenging projects that will make a difference to society. You need only find the intersection between talent, passion, and opportunity.”

Here's the rest of the list of Texas' 30 best large employers, as determined by Forbes and Statista.

Austin area

  • No. 14 Google (based in Mountain View, California; major corporate hub in Austin)
  • No. 29 Dell Technologies, based in Round Rock
  • No. 30 NXP Semiconductors (based in the Netherlands; major corporate hub in Austin)

Houston area

  • No. 1 NASA (based in Washington, D.C.; Johnson Space Center in Clear Lake)
  • No. 2 University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
  • No. 3 Oceaneering International, based in Houston
  • No. 4 MD Anderson Cancer Center, based in Houston
  • No. 11 Bechtel (based in Reston, Virginia; major corporate hub in Houston)
  • No. 13 Clear Creek ISD, based in League City
  • No. 20 Air Liquide, based in Houston
  • No. 23 Kelsey-Seybold Clinic, based in Pearland
  • No. 25 Houston Methodist, based in Houston

Dallas-Fort Worth area

  • No. 7 University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas
  • No. 8 Capital One (based in Richmond, Virginia; major corporate hub in Plano)
  • No. 16 University of Texas at Dallas
  • No. 17 Southwest Airlines, based in Dallas
  • No. 18 Lewisville ISD, based in Lewisville
  • No. 19 GM Financial, based in Fort Worth
  • No. 21 City of Plano
  • No. 22 Fidelity Investments (based in Boston; major corporate hub in Westlake)
  • No. 28 Jordan Health Services, based in Addison

Throughout Texas

  • No. 6 IKEA (based in Sweden; five stores in Texas)
  • No. 10 Costco (based in Issaquah, Washington; 35 stores in Texas)
  • No. 15 Hyatt (based in Chicago; hotels throughout Texas)
  • No. 24 Microsoft (based in Redmond, Washington; offices in Austin, Dallas, Friendswood, Frisco, Houston, San Antonio, and The Woodlands)
  • No. 26 Sherwin-Williams (based in Cleveland; more than 300 stores in Texas)
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Legendary Red Hot Chili Peppers heat up San Antonio with 2023 tour stop

one hot minute

One of alternative rock's most legendary acts is headed to San Antonio on their highly anticipated North American tour next year. Red Hot Chili Peppers will play the Alamodome on Wednesday, May 17, 2023.

Kicking off in Vancouver, British Columbia on March 29, RHCP will also stop in Houston's Minute Maid Park on Thursday, May 25 to close out the North American leg of the tour before heading to Europe. Effortlessly hip modern rock band The Strokes will support the Chili Peppers on both Texas stops, along with talented bassist-vocalist Thundercat.

Tickets go on sale at 10 am Friday, December 9 online. Other supporting acts along the way include Iggy Pop, The Roots, The Mars Volta, St. Vincent, City and Colour, and King Princess.

Touring in support of their two No. 1 studio albums released in 2022, Unlimited Love and Return of the Dream Canteen, the Chili Peppers have played sold-out shows in London, Paris, Los Angeles, and more with notable artists such as A$AP Rocky, Anderson.Paak, Beck, and HAIM.

The first rock band in 17 years to score two No. 1 albums in one year, the band has been red-hot on the Billboard charts and at the MTV Video Music Awards, where they received the Global Icon Award and brought the house down with a performance of the No. 1 single “Black Summer,'' which also won the award for Best Rock Video.

Fronted by the impossibly chiseled and ageless (he's 60!) Anthony Kiedis, the Chili Peppers formed in 1983. Unabashedly proud of their LA roots, the band burst onto the scene with early singles such as "Higher Ground" and "Give It Away," both showcases of bassist Flea's slappin', funk-fueled basslines.

Throughout the peak of alternative music in the '90s, the band saw tragedy, personnel changes at guitar, and reinventions — Kiedes' rap-singing, Flea's bass grooves, and singalong choruses all constants over the decades.

While many '90s alt-rock acts fizzled, the Chili Peppers stayed relevant; the band boasts two anthemic singles with more than 1 billion streams — "Californication" and "Under the Bridge" — and more than 25 million followers on Spotify.

Expect this show to be packed with Gen Xers and new fans for what promises to be one hot minute.

Red Hot Chili Peppers 2023 tour dates:

  • Wednesday, March 29 – Vancouver – BC Place
  • Saturday, April 1 – Las Vegas – Allegiant Stadium
  • Thursday, April 6 – Fargo, North Dakota – FargoDome
  • Saturday, April 8 – Minneapolis – US Bank Stadium
  • Friday, April 14 – Syracuse, New York – JMA Wireless Dome
  • Friday, May 12 – San Diego – Snap Dragon Stadium
  • Sunday, May 14 – Phoenix – State Farm Stadium
  • Wednesday, May 17 – San Antonio – Alamodome
  • Friday, May 19 – Gulf Shores, Alabama – Hangout Music Festival
  • Thursday, May 25 – Houston – Minute Maid Park

Texas-based 3D printing company tapped by NASA to build on the moon

To infinity and beyond

An Austin-based builder of 3D-printed homes, ICON, is making one small step for man and one giant leap for mankind by signing a $57 million contract with NASA to build on the moon.

According to a release from ICON, the Texas company will soon venture into a new frontier of space dimensions. The contract, announced on November 29, was awarded to the company under NASA's Phase III Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. This program allows ICON to use the $57 million award to build their Olympus system, which adds to previous construction done by both NASA and the Department of Defense for exploration of the moon and beyond.

"ICON’s Olympus system is intended to be a multi-purpose construction system primarily using local lunar and Martian resources as building materials to further the efforts of NASA as well as commercial organizations to establish a sustained lunar presence," the release stated.

The project will work in conjunction with NASA's Artemis program, which launched its first rocket in 50 years on November 15. ICON will work with the program to:

  • Use lunar regolith samples brought back from Apollo missions, in addition to other regolith simulants, to see their mechanical behavior in lunar gravity.
  • Bring advanced hardware and software into space through a lunar gravity simulation flight.
  • Create results to inform future lunar construction approaches for the space community.
  • Establish critical infrastructure necessary for a sustainable lunar economy and habitation.

“The final deliverable of this contract will be humanity’s first construction on another world, and that is going to be a pretty special achievement," said Jason Ballard, ICON co-founder and CEO.

"It's a construction system we call Olympus system that will allow us to use the local materials of the moon to build all the elements of infrastructure necessary for a lunar outpost and ultimately a moon base ... launch and landing pads, roadways, habitats, you name it, all the things on the moon," said Ballard.

He added that they hope to start building on the moon by 2026, starting with a launch and landing pad.

In addition to the grant, ICON was awarded a subcontract in 2021 to support NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate to create the world's first and only simulated 3D-printed Mars surface habitat. Called Mars Dune Alpha, it is located at NASA's Johnson Space Center and is assisting in long-duration science missions.

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Read the full story and watch the video at KVUE.com.

6 things to know in San Antonio food right now: New beer garden quietly opens

New You Can Eat

Editor's note: We get it. It can be difficult to keep up with the fast pace of San Antonio's restaurant and bar scene. We have you covered with our regular roundup of essential food news.

Openings

The owners of Gold Feather have unofficially untapped a new venture, LadyBird Beer Garden. Although official channels are keeping details mum, a Facebook page run by landlords VLA Real Estate spilled the beans on the November 25 opening. In addition to serving craft beer, the concept at 447 W. Hildebrand Ave has a full kitchen, bar, and a small patio for enjoying the mild December weather.

Months after coyly announcing a second location, Elotitos Corn Bar sprouted a new Government Hill location on December 3. The snack shop is well known for its aguas frescas and elotes flights, offering the street food staple in various flavors. The new outpost is open Monday through Saturday, 3-9 pm.

Following the recent San Antonio expansion of Oregon-based Dutch Bros Coffee, another out-of-towner is gaining some local buzz. According to Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation records, Arkansas franchise 7 Brew Coffee is brewing its first Alamo City location at 4825 Walzem Rd. Barring delays, the project will be completed in May 2023.

Pop-up concept Rose Hip Coffee has found a permanent home at 116 W. Olmos Dr. in Olmos Park. The broadened Rose Hip Market combines caffeine with boutique retail, offering everything from kid's clothes to ready-to-eat sandwiches and salads. The playful equestrian wallpaper might make it a can't-miss selfie spot.

Other news and notes

A new cocktail conference will lift San Antonio's spirits in January. The Culinaria-hosted Third Coast Cocktail Summit will feature seminars, tastings, dinners, and tipsy soirées during its five-day run from January 10-14. All-access passes are now available for $250 for industry and $500 for general admission at the nonprofit's website.

In other booze news, Kinsman's Brandy Alexander Tour is back in full swing for the holiday season. Dorćol Distilling's annual celebration of the famous desert cocktail has drafted 14 spots to offer the renowned desert cocktail this year, including several newcomers like Allora, Bar Loretta, Double Standard, Ladino, and Sojourn Trading Co. A full list of participants can be found here.