The Neighborhoods in Inner Loop Houston
Over 7 million people call Houston and Greater Houston home. Over 2 million people call "Houston" home. It is the fourth most populated city in the United States, trailing only New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. According to Forbes, Houston ranks first among U.S. cities where paychecks stretch the furthest. Houston is home to the second largest concentration of Fortune 1000 companies in the country, 49, behind New York, 72. Houston ranks first in total park acreage among U.S. cities with more than one million residents. I really could go on and on, but to sum it all up, Houston is the land of opportunity. Houston is the land of growth. But where to live?
The Neighborhoods in Inner Loop Houston
Today I will be sharing with you all the different neighborhoods outside of Downtown but inside Houston's Inner Loop, or Loop 610 that encircles the core of the city.
Encompassed by the cities of Houston and West University Place, Bellaire is known for its quiet, tree-lined streets and highly ranked schools. Evelyn’s Park and its all-day café, Betsy’s, is a neighborhood hot spot, while Bellaire-Zindler Park features a pool and tennis courts as well as Bellaire Recreation Center and the Bellaire Civic Center. Nearby Meyerland is the center of Houston’s Jewish community.
The Braeburn area features tree-lined streets dotted with mid-century modern homes. The community sits along Brays Bayou, offering easy access to more than 15 miles of hike-and-bike trails, The Galleria, the Texas Medical Center, NRG Stadium, U.S. 59, the 610 Loop, and Beltway 8. Westbury, Willow Meadows-Willowbend, and Southwest Houston lie in close proximity to Braeburn and the Brays Oaks district.
East Downtown — known as EaDo — is budding with a diverse and evolving mix of nightlife and art galleries. The area’s walkability is part of the appeal; a day may include a jaunt to the Houston Dynamo stadium and 8th Wonder Brewery, or Agricole Hospitality’s buzzy restaurants. A new METRORail line has improved connectivity.
Northeast of Downtown, explore the Fifth Ward’s rich musical, artistic and cultural history — including six churches that are more than 100 years old, such as the Mount Vernon United Methodist Church, founded by former slave Rev. Toby Gregg in 1865.
This area exudes urban sophistication and cosmopolitan energy. Centrally located in the city’s Uptown district, The Galleria is comprised of hundreds of upscale restaurants and retailers, as well as soaring office towers that see more than 200,000 working professionals and visitors daily. Uptown is also home to many of the city’s largest hotels and boasts an array of housing options.
Together known as “GOOF,” these neighborhoods are increasingly popular among young families, a trend reflected in the rapid addition of new shopping centers and restaurants in the area. With grand magnolias and large lots, the Garden Oaks community is an architecturally unique area with traditional-style plantation homes and quaint cottages. Oak Forest is also charming, and slightly more affordable.
The Heights is Houston’s oldest planned community, located northwest of downtown. The area is known for its diverse population and small-town quality of life while still being in the heart of the city. Tastefully updated turn-of-the-century homes stand next to newly constructed Victorian– and Charleston–style cottages with large, wrap-around porches. Numerous high-rise condos are currently being developed in response to the population growth that’s predicted for the area. House hunters are drawn to the 19th Street Historic Business District, which offers a unique variety of specialty boutiques, antique shops, and funky eateries. The First Saturday Arts Market features live music, crafts, art, and more.
Houston has long been known for its burgeoning energy and aerospace industries, but it’s also home to the world’s largest concentration of researchers, physicians, and medical professionals. In addition to world-class medical facilities, the Texas Medical Center—which treats more than 10 million patients annually and employs more than 106,000 professionals—is comprised of educational icons like the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital, Memorial Hermann Hospital, and the Baylor College of Medicine. Nearby NRG Stadium hosts a myriad of events throughout the year, including Houston Texans football games and the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo.
Memorial is a wealthy area located along Buffalo Bayou on the 610 Loop west of downtown. The area is home to Memorial Park, one of the largest urban parks in the United States. It’s popular for golf, running, and cycling, and reports nearly three million annual visitors. Popular attractions include the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center, Memorial City Mall, and Town & Country Village. A strip of popular restaurants, lounges, wine bars, and townhouses recently replaced a stretch of dilapidated properties. The Wave taxi-bus offers a fixed-route, fixed-rate shuttle within the Washington Avenue District, Midtown, and the Heights.
Sandwiched between downtown and the Museum District, the trendy Midtown neighborhood is a popular choice for young and middle-aged professionals. Midtown is one of the city’s most pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods—it’s packed with high-rise apartments, boutique shopping, art galleries, restaurants, and nightlife. Situated directly between downtown and the Texas Medical Center with three dedicated METRORail stations, location is a big attraction for prospective Midtown residents.
Established in 1911, Montrose is one of the most eclectic areas in all of Houston. It’s home to music venues, vintage shopping, and historic residential architecture. South Montrose is nestled near the Museum District, which encompasses more than 50 cultural institutions, museums, and art galleries. TripAdvisor named Montrose one of the hippest neighborhoods in America in 2018.
Culture runs deep in Houston’s Museum District, which welcomes nearly nine million visitors a year. The area is home to 18 museums within a 1.5-mile radius of the Mecom Fountain, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Rice University Art Gallery, the Houston Museum of Natural Science, the Houston Children’s Museum, and more.
River Oaks is well known as one of Houston’s oldest and most affluent neighborhoods. Located just three miles west of downtown in the Inner Loop, the area sports white-columned mansions dating from the 1920s, as well as Houston’s oldest country club. The community is protected by high architectural standards and comprehensive building restrictions. The median home value in River Oaks is over $1 million.
Central Southwest Houston is a predominantly African-American neighborhood that offers easy access to The Galleria and Texas Medical Center. Homes and apartments tend to be affordable. High-end shopping and fine dining has yet to move into the area, but it’s home to a large number of authentic ethnic restaurants.
The Third Ward, home to Texas Southern University and the University of Houston, is rich in culture and history, as evidenced in the beautifully revamped Emancipation Park. Residents enjoy easy access to Hobby Airport and Downtown.
Upper Kirby is a network of historic neighborhoods that are intermingling with redevelopment. The area is just minutes away from Greenway Plaza, downtown, The Galleria, and the Texas Medical Center, offering residents easy access to the places they live, work, and play. West Ave is home to an assortment of top-notch restaurants, art galleries, and trendy boutiques.
The third-most expensive neighborhood in Houston, the tree-lined West University area— West U, as locals call it—is a community of upper-middle class families. On every block you’ll find an abundance of upscale housing options, including unique bungalows and newly remodeled homes. Home to Rice University and Rice Village Shopping Center, the neighborhood appeals to families and young professionals alike. Morningside Boulevard offers a good mix of lunch, dinner, and happy hour spots.
Next in this series: The neighborhoods of North Houston.
Links for all posts in this series What are the districts in Downtown Houston?, The Neighborhoods in Inner Loop Houston, The Neighborhoods of East Houston, The Neighborhoods of North Houston, The Neighborhoods of South Houston, and The Neighborhoods of West Houston.
Relocating to the Houston Suburbs?
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There are some amazing communities all over the Houston suburbs. In this post, https://search.byjoandco.com/blog/best-neighborhoods-in-houston/, I deep dive into all the different suburbs/neighborhoods that you might want to consider, and why. There are many resources here, so please reach out if you are curious what to look at next! :)
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➟ Safest Neighborhoods in Houston :: http://byjoandco.com/safesthouston
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➟ Houston Texas Where to Live :: http://byjoandco.com/houstontexaswheretolive
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