The Five Hottest Neighborhoods in Houston
With a population of over 2.1 million living inside a sprawling 625 square miles (the much larger New York City is only 305 square miles), Houston has a large variety of neighborhoods. Here are some of the trendiest / hottest of those neighborhoods:
The Heights is located in the northwest corner of the inner loop ( 610 ) and very central to the city of Houston. More specifically, it lies west of IH 45, east of TC Jester, north of Washington Avenue, and south of the northern 610 freeway loop. It is one of the larger neighborhoods in central Houston and is composed of many subdivisions. The neighborhood dates back to the 1890’s and is one of the earliest planned communities in Texas. It consists of many original homes built in Victorian and Craftsmen style and has just recently (in 2011 been designated as a Historic neighborhood). Thus, many of the original homes have had extensive remodeling with Ground Zero Restoration on the interiors while keeping the exteriors intact. In the lower Heights, along Washington Avenue, there is no historic designation, so you will find many modern townhomes located with the appeal of being walking distance to the incredible restaurants and nightlife along Washington Avenue. In addition, The Heights is home to a diverse assortment of independent businesses and restaurants. You have to try some of the bistros and eateries along 19th Street , 11th street, and White Oak Drive. The Heights boasts some great nightlife in Houston, as well. While the greater Heights has many pubs and laid back bars, the lower Heights (Washington Avenue) has the latest and hottest in clubs, pubs, sport bars, chic lounges, and the most avant-garde dining concepts.
The Montrose area is another interesting Houston neighborhood. Located in central Houston, it lies just south of the lower Heights from Allen parkway, west of Taft Street, east of Shepherd, and north of Richmond Avenue. The area offers an assortment of bungalows and cottages and is probably most similar to the “vibe” of the Greater Heights. It is known for being more pedestrian friendly than other Houston neighborhoods. Montrose prides itself on its artistic culture. There are many smaller art galleries and other artistic venues hidden throughout the neighborhood. If second-hand shopping is your thing then you need to head to Montrose, as well. Along with the great art scene are many thriving restaurants, thrift shops, and an eclectic bar scene. The neighborhood is home to the University of St. Thomas and such museums as The Menil Collection and The Rothko Chapel.
Midtown is an urban community located south of IH 45, west of SH 288, north of US 59, and east of Bagby Street. It was Houston’s second residential neighborhood. Located between the Texas Medical Center and Downtown, Midtown provides an ideal home base for many one Houstonians working downtown or in the Medical Center. Midtown is one of the only major residential neighborhoods in Houston that offers convenient METRORail use. It would be possible to live in Midtown and use the METRORail to travel to work in downtown or the Medical Center. Of course, this is assuming you don’t mind a little sweat while walking to and waiting for the rail in the sweltering heat and humidity. Midtown has a lively bar and restaurant scene that is somewhat pedestrian-friendly.
West University (West University Place) is actually its own city, though it is completely surrounded by the city of Houston. It lies in central Houston, near Rice University just west of Kirby Drive and north of Holcombe Blvd. West University was founded in 1917, and it chose not to incorporate into the city of Houston because of a power line dispute. It is a community of great affluence, ranked the 8th wealthiest location in Texas. West University is comprised of single-family homes, so it is difficult to find one or two bedroom rental properties in the neighborhood. Thus, to be in this very pedestrian-friendly neighborhood, you will have many more living options if you consider purchasing a home. With that said, there are a few apartment and condo options on the borders of the neighborhood which will be located reasonably close to the bustling Rice Village shopping and dining area.
Upper Kirby is a commercial district that has rapidly become a very popular area to dine, shop, and live. It is located along Kirby Drive west of Montrose, East of Greenway Plaza, south of River Oaks (often lumped in with River Oaks), and north of the Rice Village area. It has had extensive construction in the last decade with contemporary high-rises and mid-rises with retail shopping and dining development throughout. The immense amount of develompment has attracted some of the finest restaurants and boutiques to the area and recognize the area with nicknames such as the “Kirby Corridor” and “The Avenue.” Upper Kirby has a very modern feel and it’s “vibe” would be almost a 180 degree turn from the Greater Heights or Montrose neighborhoods.
All of these communities enjoy easy access to the major entertainment, cultural, and business districts of Houston. Each community carries a particular flavor, with some feeling more suburban and some projecting a decidedly urban vibe. It would be in the homebuyer or renter’s best interest to explore each Houston neighborhood with their real estate consultant in order to find the perfect atmosphere for his / her personality.