When we last asked Alexa, she told us it was the fourth largest city in the US by population and third largest city by land area. Maybe we’d be better off making this the Olio 80…
Just kidding...mostly. Houston may be big, but like anywhere else, you’re going to find your spot, your ‘hood, your new home, and you’re not going to venture too far away. Here are our favorite neighborhoods in H-Town (don’t call it that).
In the last twenty years, Midtown has gone through quite a few changes. It started as the home to most of Houston’s sizeable Vietnamese population, leading to its nickname of “Little Saigon”. As the mid-2000s rolled around, the area’s prime location led to rising property values and new developments—it’s still home to many of the city’s best Vietnamese restaurants, but most of the residents are recent college grads who wanna rock n’ roll all night and party every day. It’s probably not the best choice if you’re 30 and over, but what do we know?
We can’t figure out how the Museum District, home to 19 museums, got its name. This is one of our favorite areas of town—it’s extremely walkable, it’s got more culture in it than you’ll know what to do with, and housing options are ample. Many of the area’s homes have been removed to make room for high rises and smaller, more homey townhouses and condos, and that doesn’t seem to be slowing down. You have great access to the highway, you’re minutes from Midtown and Montrose’s great food options, and your neighbors include bears and rhinos. Win/win/win.
Directly west of the Museum District is University Place, home to Rice University and, obviously, a slightly younger crowd—we’re not talking Midtown levels of partying—though the two neighborhoods are very similar. Don’t expect cheaper housing options, either, especially as you move further north/northwest. People want to live in an urban area but not the city center itself. Go figure.
We don’t like to pick favorites, but Montrose is our favorite. How could it not be? It borders all of our other favorites, and it’s chock full of restaurants! Westheimer Road cuts almost directly through the middle of the neighborhood, and if you can’t find a restaurant you love here, there’s no hope for you. If you move to the northern side of Montrose, you can stroll along the lush riverside parks.
EaDo—East Downtown—was nothing a decade ago, which is crazy considering its proximity to Downtown proper. It shouldn’t come as shock then that enterprising developers have started moving in, filling the area with bars, restaurants, and new construction projects. You would think the area would be filled with old warehouses and lofts, but it’s actually relatively spare—which just makes it even more ideal for a boom in growth. If you’re looking to be there at the start of a new neighborhood that’s artsy and interesting, this is where you need to be.
If you live and work in Downtown Houston, you can basically think of it as an island that you never have to leave. It’s walkable, it’s bikeable, plus there’s some public transit (shocking, right?). It’s also long been Houston’s busiest area, as you’d expect, which means tons of bars, restaurants, and nightlife. There’s not a ton in the way of green spaces (which isn’t too surprising, given Houston’s long affair with the fossil fuels industry), so it’s really best for someone who likes to keep busy in an urban environment. It’s also home to Minute Maid Park and the Toyota Center, which is a plus for sports fans and a negative for people who hate drunk baseball fans.
Think of Upper Kirby as a little artsy up-and-coming neighborhood tailored to the young and hip. There’s lots of affordable housing, plus some new fancy-pants high rises if you want to treat yo’ self. Like any hipster area, it’s full of art galleries, cafes, antique shops, and the famous Urban Harvest farmers’ market. There’s also a Costco, and everyone knows Costco hot dogs are the bomb.
The Heights—which sounds like an early 2000s MTV reality show—is one of Houston’s oldest neighborhoods, and one of the most popular. People have flocked to it for decades because of its close proximity to the city while still maintaining a suburban feel. There are new condos and apartments being built, but a lot of the area’s charm comes from the standalone homes in the area. Rent prices can be steep, but its location and the bevy of great restaurants, bars, shops, and art galleries make it worthwhile.