Rice Military Houston
The Rice Military neighborhood in Houston is many things. Talk to ten people that live in Houston’s Inner loop and you will get a different perspective, a different opinion. While the neighborhood has seen a great deal of change over the last 100 years, the variance in perspective on the area has remained constant. Once thing is for sure, Rice Military has captured the attention of many Houstonians and city-dwellers relocating to Houston.
RICE MILITARY SUBDIVISION
Rice Military Houston (actually formed as a subdivision at the turn of the 20th century) is the area bounded by Washington Avenue to the north, Shepherd Drive to the east, Memorial Drive to the south, and Westcott Street to west. Like current opinions about whether the neighborhood’s architecture is stylish or cookie-cutter, the meaning of the neighborhood has not been agreed upon. The most commonly accepted lore, is that “Rice” came from the William Rice (founder of Rice University) family and the “Military” was a reference to the western portion of neighborhood that was a military training camp known as Camp Logan. Often, the neighborhood is confused with the Rice University area because of the name. As explained, they are related but not by proximity in the city of Houston.
At the end of the day, it is difficult to argue with the popularity of Rice Military for home buyers. Prices of homes have more than doubled from roughly $64/sqft in 1994 to upwards of $150/sqft in 2011. And that leads to the next question,why? I think it comes down to three major factors: convenience, recreation, and atmosphere.
RICE MILITARY CONVENIENCE
If you talk about why Rice Military is such a popular neighborhood in Houston, you have to talk about it’s convenient location. For one, it is bordered in all four directions by larger traffic arteries. That means there is no driving in the opposite direction in order to get to a street going in the direction you want to go. Further, Memorial Drive (to the south) is Houston’s most direct and least congested east-west route to downtown or the Galleria ( once you are at either, good luck with the traffic). Access to I-10 and the 610 loop is a matter of minutes and a couple of traffic lights.
|Commute Times and Mileage from Rice Military|
|Houston Area||Miles||Travel Time|
|Galleria (Uptown Park)||4.2m||10 min|
|Downtown (Hobby Center for Performing Arts)||3.6m||8 min|
|Greenway Plaza (Highlands Village Shopping Center)||4m||10 min|
|Medical Center||8.6m||15 min|
Note: Travel time will vary most to Medical Center as this route can be greatly affected by traffic on I-45.
It’s obvious commutes to the office will be convenient, but what about the grocery store after work? You are in luck living in Rice Military. You are in close proximity to Whole Foods, Central Market, two Krogers, a Super Walmart (and newly proposed Walmart off of Heights Blvd), a Target, and a Super HEB.
|Travel Times and Mileage to Super Markets from Rice Military|
|Houston Supermarket||Miles||Travel Time|
|Whole Foods Montrose||1.9 m||6 min|
|Central Market||4 m||12 min|
|Kroger (River Oaks)||1.5 m||6 min|
|Kroger (11th Street)||2m||7 min|
|Super Walmart||4m||11 min|
|Super HEB (Bunker Hill)||7.7m||12 min|
RICE MILITARY RECREATION
You can’t talk about Rice Military without talking about its proximity to Memorial Park. Memorial Park is hands down the nicest park in Houston’s inner loop (unless you are an avid zoo-goer in which case you will love Hermann Park, home to the Houston Zoo). It has the nicest public golf course and driving range Inside the Loop, a public gym and swimming pool, tennis courts, baseball fields and an excellent three mile running trail with pull up bars and various workout stations scattered around. On the south side of Memorial Drive is a nice paved loop that road bikers often make laps around. Next to that is soccer and volleyball areas and then an arboretum.
If Memorial Park isn’t enough for you then you can use the green area stretching from Memorial Park to downtown Houston between Memorial Drive and Allen Parkway. Here you can kayak the bayou, jog along the running trail, mountain bike the dirt bike trails, or relax among the green areas. You can also walk to the Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens at the corner of Westcott and Memorial Drive along the bayou.
With all of the outdoor activities (a lot for Inner Loop Houston) you might be looking for a great meal or a cocktail to cool down. Washington Avenue delivers on this. You can walk to a myriad of bars, lounges, clubs, taquerias, and restaurants. They aren’t your national chains, either, they are local concoctions. A few local favorites are Canyon Creek (bar and grill), Benjy’s (lounge and restaurant), Coppa (Italian), El Tiempo (Tex Mex), Kung Fu Saloon, Soma (sushi), Brix, Block 7 (wine bar and tapas), BRC (bar and souther fusion), and Branch Water Tavern. This is just a few. Part of the fun of the neighborhood is exploring all of the great local businesses unique to Houston.
RICE MILITARY ATMOSPHERE
The Rice Military atmosphere is probably the most debated aspect of the neighborhood. Some say that it is over-crowded, others say that it is quaint and insulated. Some say the townhomes lack style while others say the new townhomes are a model of modern chic. I guess it is all in the eye of the beholder. For me, Rice Military exemplifies a cozy neighborhood where ipod-strapped joggers, families pushing strollers, speed walking social groups, hardcore cyclists, and dogs pulling their owners intermingle. The narrow streets serve to slow people down and bring the neighborhood together. Rice Military defines “urban oasis” where residents experience all the great amenities of the 4th largest city in the country while jogging on quiet streets to and from an enormous pine tree forest or lush and tropical bayou.
It’s the combination of Rice Military’s convenience, recreation opportunites, and atmosphere that make it such a great value to home buyers. Anyone who will be working within Houston’s 610 Inner Loop or Beltway 8 has to give Rice Military reasonable consideration. While it isn’t for everyone, it seems to be a great fit for many transplants and native Texans, alike.