Best Places to Live in Houston

Guide to Houston Neighborhoods

Contents

Choose from a wealth of living options in every style, location, and price range. When you decide to call Houston home, you’ll discover an extraordinarily large number of housing choices—from gated master-planned communities to near-town bungalows, family-friendly suburban neighborhoods to trendy downtown lofts, and rent or lease options large and small. No matter what your style or taste, you’ll find what you’re looking for. Houston’s oldest neighborhoods lie near the central business district downtown.

These include the Heights, where distinctively updated turn-of-the-century homes stand next to newly constructed Victorian- and Charleston-style cottages with all the modern conveniences.

Montrose, an eclectic mix of homes, townhomes, and restaurants, is nestled near the Museum District. In MacGregor–Riverside, just east of the Texas Medical Center near Brays Bayou, old homes are being refurbished and new construction is taking place.

The historic Fifth Ward north of downtown is revitalized.

The Greater Third Ward is home to such Houston landmarks as Texas Southern University and the University of Houston.

The Second Ward and Magnolia Park areas on the east end are two of the city’s oldest Hispanic neighborhoods. In Midtown, apartments, bungalows, and townhomes are within easy reach of some of the city’s finest antique dealers, art galleries, and interior design boutiques.

River Oaks, one of the oldest and most exclusive neighborhoods, sports white-columned mansions dating from the 1920s and Houston’s oldest country club. West University Place, a “small-town” cottage neighborhood in the shadow of Rice University and the Texas Medical Center, is one of several incorporated cities that lie within Houston’s borders.

South Side Place, situated along a portion of West University Place, is only one block wide and nine blocks long. Bellaire, its own city within the city and one of Houston’s first suburbs, is home to a varied mix of residences of all sizes.

Braeswood and Stella Link, perched along and adjacent to the banks of Brays Bayou, have easy access to the Texas Medical Center and the Reliant Park complex.

Westward outside 610 Loop, one of two major freeways that circle the city, neighborhoods take on personalities all their own.

To the north, vibrant communities include Acres Homes, Aldine, Garden Oaks–Oak Forest, Greater Greenspoint, and Inwood Forest. To the west, Galleria–Uptown Park reflects the excitement of Houston’s Galleria and Post Oak shopping hub and features soaring high-rises with magnificent city views.

Memorial–Spring Branch features large tree-covered lots and ranch-style homes mixed with modern new construction, both north and south of Interstate 10.

Tanglewood remains one of Houston’s most exclusive and desirable close-in neighborhoods, with the Houston Country Club nearby.

The Memorial Villages, a collection of some of Houston’s toniest addresses, include the incorporated municipalities of Piney Point Village, Bunker Hill Village, Hedwig Village, Hunters Creek Village, Spring Valley Village, and Hilshire Village—each with its share of some of Houston’s most notable residents.

Briargrove Park, just inside Beltway 8, is a picturesque family-friendly neighborhood on the west side. Further west, beyond Beltway 8 (the Sam Houston Tollway), more neighborhoods and communities stretch from the northwest to the southwest.

The West Memorial area follows Memorial Drive past Wilcrest Drive and offers secluded, near-bayou living on tree-covered lots not far from Lakeside Country Club. Walnut Bend (walnutbend.org) is a quiet, tucked-away community bordering Beltway 8 to the east and Westheimer Road to the south.

Royal Oaks is a gated community of luxury homes surrounding its own private country club (royaloakscc.com). And the Lakes of Bella Terra offer resort-style living just thirty minutes from downtown Houston.

As one continues west along Interstate 10, the city of Katy offers the charm of a small town and the quality of life of a burgeoning suburb.

Cinco Ranch provides exceptional master-planned community living on a grand scale. And the town of Fulshear is home to dynamic new developments for those who like the feel of country living with easy access to big-city amenities.

Other communities in far west Houston include Firethorne, Grayson Lakes (graysonlakes.com), the Lakes on Eldridge, Seven Meadows, and Weston Lakes.

Downtown Houston Districts

Nearly 400,000 people live within a five-mile radius of downtown Houston, the city’s urban core. It’s also the center of the city’s highway system, bordered by Interstate 45 to the south and west, U.S. 59 to the east, and Buffalo Bayou to the north. For more information, visit downtownhouston.org and downtowndistrict.org.

Ballpark District

Minute Maid Park, the home of the Houston Astros, anchors this section of downtown Houston. The state-of-the-art, retractable roof stadium is housed in a former train station and sits amid several modern lofts and office buildings, as well as a smorgasbord of great restaurants like Irma’s, one of Houston’s Tex-Mex staples.

Civic Center

The Civic Center District has been the hub of the Houston city government since 1939. It’s home to City Hall, Hermann Square Park, and the historic Central Library, which underwent an extensive renovation in 2008. Hermann Square is frequently used for concerts, festivals, and other events.
For a dose of Houston history, visit the Texas room at the Julia Ideson library.

Convention District

Houston’s 1.8 million-square-foot George R. Brown Convention Center—the GRB, as it’s known by locals—hosts hundreds of thousands of visitors annually. A hefty makeover is bringing several
new restaurants, a 1,000-room Marriott hotel, and a grand pedestrian promenade that will connect the GRB with Discovery Green Park. Rockets games at Toyota Center, shopping at Houston Pavilions, and easy access to the METRORail make the Convention District desirable to locals and visitors alike.

Harris District

It’s fitting for the most populous county in Texas—with more than four million residents—to have a namesake district that’s home to the core of its government. Here, you’ll find the Harris County courts complex and the core of the Harris County government.

Historic District

Centuries-old architecture and tree-lined streets with shops, cafes, pubs, and lofts provide a unique mix of old and new. Market Square Park, the site of Houston’s original city hall, and the University of Houston’s downtown campus keep this area bustling day and night.

Medical District

The southern quadrant of downtown Houston is home to St. Joseph Medical Center and the Sacred Heart Co-Cathedral campus, which serves as an ecclesiastical and civic center.

Shopping District

Houston has long been known as a shopping oasis, and GreenStreet and The Shops at Houston Center’s wide array of retail, dining, and entertainment options, including Houston’s House of Blues, don’t disappoint. The area is easily accessible via the Main Street Square stop on the METRORail.

Skyline District

The hub of downtown Houston’s workforce, 10 of Houston’s 26 Fortune 500 companies call the Skyline District home. An extensive network of climate-controlled underground tunnels connects the vast skyscrapers. The JP Morgan Chase Tower is the tallest building west of the Mississippi, standing 75 stories tall.

Theater District

Have a penchant for the performing arts? You’ll feel right at home in the Theater District. Houston is one of few U.S. cities with permanent resident companies in opera, ballet, music, and theater. The 17-block area includes nine world-class performing arts venues, as well as Bayou Place and the Houston Aquarium.

Warehouse District

The Warehouse District is famous for its funky alternative art scene. Artists, architects, and photographers call this area home, where you’ll find hip dining options, live music, art studios, lofts, and more.

Northeast Houston

Northeast Houston is made up of a mix of communities: Atascocita, Eagle Springs, Fall Creek, Humble, Kingwood, Summer-wood and Walden on Lake Houston. Located within about a 10-mile radius from where U.S. 59 and F.M. 1960 intersect, these seven communities share an abundance of natural beauty. Residents take advantage of the fishing and boating opportunities that Lake Houston and the San Jacinto River create. These amenities attract many buyers. Proximity to downtown and George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) contributes to the area’s attractiveness.

Atascocita

On the shores of Lake Houston, Atascocita encompasses more than 15 subdivisions and has become one of the fastest-growing residential communities in the nation. Formed by the damming of the San Jacinto River, Lake Houston offers excellent opportunities for swimming, fishing, boating and skiing. With access from numerous public boat ramps, fishing enthusiasts are drawn to more than a dozen varieties of fish found in the lake ( www.humbleareachamber.org ).

Eagle Springs

Eagle Springs residents have easy access to U.S. 59 and Beltway 8 and are just minutes from Lake Houston and IAH. Amenities in the community include a 15-acre community sports park, swim complex, central nature park, a series of lakes, hike-and-bike-trails and a village square.

Fall Creek

Located near major employment venues, including the east energy corridor, Greenspoint, the Inner Loop, the medical center and The Galleria, Fall Creek offers convenient, suburban living. Shopping, cultural, entertainment and dining adventures abound, with many downtown and suburban attractions less than 25 minutes away. Quiet streets and carefully planned villages complement an aquatic center, trails and greenbelts in a 1,261-acre community offering an abundance of recreational opportunities including Redstone Golf Club – home to the Shell Houston Open PGA Tour Event ( www.fallcreekhouston.com ).

Humble

The City of Humble offers a small-town feel just 20 miles from downtown Houston. Located in the northeast quadrant of the Houston metropolitan area, the Greater Humble area includes Atascocita, the City of Humble, Kingwood and Spring, all of which are currently experiencing population and economic growth. With the imminent completion of upgrading on U.S. 59, local growth has been facilitated by the reasonable commute to the huge job base in downtown Houston. Additionally, robust commercial growth in the area has created thousands of jobs locally. The highly acclaimed Humble Independent School District (ISD) serves the area ( www.humblearea.com ).

Kingwood

Conveniently located near Houston area businesses and recreational destinations, Kingwood consists of 26 villages, with more than 63,000 residents. More than 75 miles of private greenbelt and hike-and-bike trails, 23 swimming pools, a private boat launch, equestrian centers and more than 55 acres of private parks enhance this 14,000-acre community. METRO’s Park & Ride service provides transportation to downtown Houston, Greenway Plaza and Greenspoint. Kingwood residents have easy access to IAH, and with the widening and completion of U.S. 59 to Humble, Kingwood Drive, Northpark Drive and the newly completed Lake Houston Parkway, commuting has become even faster ( www.kingwoodonline.com ).

Summerwood

Located in Houston just off Beltway 8 near Humble, Summerwood encompasses 1,500 acres in a setting among lakes and tree-lined trails. Wired for the future, every home comes ready with a state-of-the-art, fiber-optic network. Other amenities include 17 acres of lakes, more than 150 acres of woodland and open spaces, nearby Lake Houston and proximity to Deerbrook Mall as well as major employment and business centers ( www.summerwoodonline.com ).

Walden on Lake Houston

Walden on Lake Houston is located on the shores of Lake Houston, just south of F.M. 1960. This growing 750-acre, master-planned community of 2,000 homes boasts 11 inland lakes, an 18-hole championship golf course, lighted tennis courts, an Olympic-size swimming pool, racquetball courts and a clubhouse.

East Houston

East Houston lies northeast of downtown Houston between 610 Loop and Beltway 8. The area is home to the East Houston Regional Medical Center.

Eastex/Houston

Eastex/Jensen is a primarily low-income area north of downtown Houston, directly across the 610 Loop.

Fifth Ward

North of downtown, the Fifth Ward has a rich musical, artistic, and cultural history, and boasts six churches that are over 100 years old. The community’s Mount Vernon United Methodist Church was founded by former slave Rev. Toby Gregg in 1865. For more information, visit fifthwardcrc.org.

Kashmere Gardens

This historically African-American community borders an industrial zone and railroad corridor.

Northside Village

The Northside Village area, also known as Near Northside, has historically been home to a primarily Hispanic population. The community has seen a recent revitalization due to the area’s close proximity to downtown, skyline views, easy access to the North Freeway, and the METRORail’s new red line.

Northshore/Cloverleaf

Northshore/Cloverleaf is located east of downtown Houston along Interstate 10, just outside 610 Loop. Galena Park ISD (galenaparkisd.com) serves Cloverleaf-area students.

Trinity/Houston Gardens

Trinity/Houston Gardens is a primarily African-American neighborhood located northeast of downtown Houston, just outside Beltway 8.

Northwest Houston

In northwest Houston, along the U.S. 290 and FM 1960 corridors, several compelling communities attract new families and young professionals alike who value the top-rated Cypress-Fairbanks (Cy-Fair) School District. The 11,400-acre Bridgeland community (bridgeland.com) embraces a lifestyle within a peaceful, natural setting. Coles Crossing is a master-planned community with 175 acres devoted to recreation. Jersey Village is an incorporated city in the area with a population of almost 200,000. The Champions– FM 1960 area has stylish neighborhoods, many tucked away and hidden among tall pine trees. Fairfield (visitfairfield.com) is a Friendswood Development Company neighborhood full of lakes, parks, pools, and greenbelts.

Other communities in the area include Gleannloch Farms, Northpointe, High Meadow Estates, Riata Ranch, the town of Magnolia, the Spring-Klein area, WindRose, and the city of Tomball. In northeast Houston, seven dynamic communities share an abundance of natural beauty near Lake Houston, as well as the highly acclaimed Humble Independent School District. Atascocita, Eagle Springs, Fall Creek, the city of Humble, Kingwood, Summerwood, and Walden On Lake Houston.

The Northwest section of Houston is a high-growth area. The completion of Beltway 8, the upgrading of Texas 6 and F.M. 1960, and improvements to U.S. 290 have enhanced accessibility to the region. Area neighborhoods are attractive to employees who work on the west side of Houston.

Bear Creek/Texas 6

Bear Creek and the Texas 6 area have experienced significant residential development as well as major office and industrial activity. The area between the Katy Freeway and U.S. 290 is referred to as Bear Creek and is one of the three distinct areas that make up Houston’s northwest sector. Master-planned communities in Bear Creek include Fairfield and Deerfield Village. Other subdivisions include Glencairn, Bear Creek Plantation and Pine Forest.

Coles Crossing

Located at U.S. 290 and Barker-Cypress, Coles Crossing is close to work, shopping and top-rated Cypress-Fairbanks (Cy-Fair) schools. The 1,200-acre master-planned community has 175 acres devoted to recreation (www.colescrossing.com).

Cypress

Cypress is located northwest of Houston, 21 miles from Houston’s Central Business District. Jersey Village is an incorporated city located within the area. More than 200,000 people in 68,000 households have been attracted to the Cypress area, which includes approximately 186 square miles within the highly ranked Cy-Fair ISD. In addition to being within a reasonable commute of the huge job base in Houston, much of the land is reasonably priced. Willowbrook Mall is nearby (www.cyfairchamber.com).

Champions/F.M. 1960

The Champions/F.M. 1960 area is close to The Woodlands, Willowbrook and Greenspoint malls, golf courses and country clubs such as Champions Golf Club, Sam Houston Race Park and the Aerodome Ice Skating Complex. IAH, Highway 249 and Beltway 8 have sparked growth in the area.

Fairfield

Friendswood Development Company recently added another 1,000 acres to the 3,200-acre community of Fairfield. When complete by 2011, Fairfield will be home to 6,500 families. The area’s 13,400-square-foot athletic club includes a full-size basketball court, fitness room, special events room, locker rooms and classroom areas. Outside the center are a competition-size swimming pool, tennis courts and a 20-acre sports park with baseball and soccer fields. Currently, Fairfield has six lakes, five neighborhood parks and five neighborhood pools plus numerous pocket parks and greenbelts winding through the community. Fairfield is located in the highly acclaimed Cy-Fair ISD ( www.visitfairfield.com ).

Gleannloch Farms

Founded in the 1950s as a source for Egyptian Arabian horses, Gleannloch Farms today is known for paths, parks, ponds, a lakeside eight-acre recreation center, a 27-hole golf course and an equestrian center providing myriad family activities. The immediate area also boasts a burgeoning technology corridor, the F.M. 1960 shopping district, the large regional Willowbrook Mall only minutes away and important venues for the arts ( www.gleannlochfarms.com ).

High Meadow Ranch

Located off Texas 249, High Meadow Ranch is a master-planned community offering a championship golf course, junior Olympic-size swimming pool, horseback riding, a fishing lake and nature trails. Homesites range from one to 10 acres ( www.highmeadowranch.com ).

Magnolia

Magnolia is situated 20 miles southwest of Conroe in southwestern Montgomery County, at the junction of F.M. 1774 and F.M. 1488. The Greater Magnolia area, which is experiencing a high growth rate, spans roughly 12 miles in all directions, encompassing a population of more than 65,000 ( http://ci.magnolia.tx.us ).

Northpointe

Located off Texas 249 outside F.M. 1960, Northpointe is a heavily wooded community with lakes, recreational facilities and fiber-optic capabilities. The Villages of Northpointe are close to Willowbrook Mall.

Riata Ranch

Riata Ranch, located south of U.S. 290 on Barker-Cypress Road, is a family oriented community nestled in the countryside of northwest Houston. Residents enjoy 18-plus acres of parks, a recreation center with a swimming pool and children’s pool, lighted tennis courts and a unique, figure-eight tricycle park and playground for toddlers.

Spring/F.M. 1960/Klein

The Spring/F.M. 1960/Klein area offers a suburban quality of life for those who want to live near the city but long for a hometown feel. Housing options vary from one-story, ranch-style homes to large two-story, colonials. The area has several townhome and apartment communities. Spring residents draw from several employment centers, including IAH, The Woodlands and downtown Houston. It is home to Old Town Spring, a quaint turn-of-the-century shopping town composed of more than 150 shops, restaurants, museums and art galleries. The highly ranked Klein ISD serves the area ( www.oldtownspringtx.com ).

Tomball

The Tomball area, just north of F.M. 1960, is known for its open rural territory as well as abundant forested land. The availability of ample scenic land at reasonable prices has been a strong factor in attracting homebuyers. Local growth also has been facilitated by the reasonable commute via Texas 249 to the job base in Houston ( www.tomballtexas.com ).

WindRose

WindRose, a heavily forested 1,121-acre community southwest of Spring off Interstate 45 North, will have about 2,000 homes upon completion. The master plan includes a championship 18-hole golf course, green space and parks. Offered in a variety of price ranges, homes feature amenities, including a junior Olympic-size pool, tennis courts, meeting house, volleyball court, soccer field and parks ( www.visitwindrose.com ).

Garden Oaks/Oak Forest

Known for pine trees, grand magnolias, and large lots, the Garden Oaks community is an architecturally unique area featuring quaint cottages, charming bungalows, and plantation, ranch, and traditional–style homes. Oak Forest is a more affordable option in the area, offering almost everything you can find in Garden Oaks but at a slightly lower price point. For more information, visit gardenoaks.org.

Greater Inwood

The Greater Inwood area is accessible via the North 610 Loop, Interstate 45, State Highway 290, and the North Freeway. Many of the area’s original homes were built for oil company executives, and many new homes now occupy land that once served as hunting grounds for Native Americans. Entry-level homes and new apartment complexes make the area attractive for first-time homebuyers and renters. Aldine ISD (aldine.k12.tx.us) serves students in this area. For more information, visit greaterinwood.com.

Heights/Timber Grove

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. For more information, visit houstonheights.org.

North Houston District

The North Houston District, a 12-square-mile activity center at Interstate 45 and North Sam Houston Parkway, is home to 20 million square feet of office, retail, and industrial space, 72,000 employees, and approximately 112,000 residents. Two school districts serve the area: Aldine ISD (aldineisd.org) and Spring ISD (springisd.org). For more information, visit northhouston.org.

Northline

This historically Hispanic community lies north of downtown Houston across the 610 Loop.

Northside/Acres Homes

Northside/Acres Homes is a predominantly African-American community that got its name when
World War I–era landowners sold home sites that were divided by the acre, not by the plot. Aldine ISD (aldineisd.org) serves the western part of Acres Homes.

Spring Branch East & West

Spring Branch East is primarily a blue-collar area with bungalows, and Spring Branch West is home to 1960s ranch-style homes. Several parks and a golf course allow access to a swimming pool, tennis courts, a community center, an outdoor basketball pavilion, playgrounds, and a hike-and-bike trail. Spring Branch ISD (cms.springbranchisd.com) serves students here.

Southeast Houston

Eado/ East End

East Downtown—or EaDo, as locals call it—is budding with a diverse mix of restaurants, bars, art galleries, and ethnic grocery marts. The area’s close proximity to the heart of downtown Houston, the Texas Medical Center, and the Houston Ship Channel continue to attract new residents. Discovery Green, Minute Maid Park, Toyota Center, and the Houston Dynamo’s BBVA Compass Stadium add to the area’s walkable entertainment options. A new METRORail line is in the works to
improve connectivity. For more information, visit eadohouston.com.

Galena Park

Galena Park is located on the north bank of the Houston Ship Channel just east of the Houston city limits. With a population of 10,592, the city is home to an Olympic-size swimming pool, two
recreational facilities, a public library, and numerous parks. Galena Park ISD (galenaparkisd.com) serves students here. For more information, visit cityofgalenapark-tx.gov.

Pasedena

The keys to Pasadena’s economy are closely linked to the city’s proximity to the Houston Ship Channel, NASA’s Johnson Space Center, and the Bayport Industrial District. Pasadena is home to
several museums, the Pasadena Philharmonic, a community theater, and a famous Strawberry Festival. The city and its old honky-tonk, Gilley’s, were made famous in Urban Cowboy. Pasadena ISD (pasadenaisd.org) serves students here. For more information, visit ci.pasadena.tx.us.

Sunnyside

The Sunnyside area is located south of downtown Houston, outside the 610 Loop and inside Beltway 8, off State Highway 288. The area is predominantly African-American with suburban-style housing.

Third Ward/Hobby Airport

The Third Ward, home to Texas Southern University and the University of Houston, is rich in culture and history. The Third Ward is adjacent to Hobby Airport, southeast of downtown, and east of the Texas Medical Center.

Southwest Houston

One of the most expansive areas in Houston is the southwest region – encompassing parts of Harris County and Fort Bend County.

Fondren Southwest

With more than 41,000 residents, Fondren Southwest is a microcosm of the Greater Houston community – a mixture of multi-family dwellings and residential subdivisions. Its easy access to the medical center, downtown, the Beltway, Southwest Freeway and Braeswood has helped to contribute to the area’s steady growth during the past few years ( www.gs-whcc.org ).

Gulfton

Many different nationalities live in the Gulfton area, north of Bellaire. Most of the 46,000 residents live in apartment homes, although the number of single-family homes is growing. Gulfton also is home to Benavidez Community Garden, the largest urban harvest garden in Houston. Westpark, bordering the Gulfton area, recently opened and is now a major east-west toll road that is attracting businesses ( www.gswhcc.org ).

Meyerland/South Post Oak

Located just south of Bellaire, the combined Meyerland/South Post Oak community boasts excellent accessibility, beautiful parks and serious deed restrictions. While some of the homes are original 1950s bungalows, others are new construction. The southwest Houston neighborhood is served by three synagogues and the Jewish Community Center ( www.gs-whcc.org/meyerland.asp ).

Sharpstown

Sharpstown is a predominantly middle-class community with good freeway access, more than 7,000 homes and wide diversity. The area noted for its winding streets, large yards and quiet neighborhoods ( www.gswhcc.org/sharpstown.asp ).

Westbury

Westbury is a vibrant and active middle-class community with more than 39,000 residents. Accessibility is a big key to the success of Westbury. The medical center, downtown Houston and Reliant Park are within easy reach. At least another 7 percent growth in population is projected over the next few years ( www.gswhcc.org/westbury.asp ).

Bellaire

Bellaire is one of the city’s original suburbs. Encompassed by Houston and West University Place, Bellaire is known for its quiet neighborhoods and highly ranked schools. Bellaire Zindler Park features a neighborhood pool, tennis courts, a children’s playground, the Bellaire Recreation Center, and the Bellaire Civic Center. Nearby Meyerland is the center of Houston’s Jewish community. For more information, visit bellairetx.gov and ci.bellaire.tx.us.

Braeburn

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.

Brays Oaks/Greater Fondren

Brays Oaks residents enjoy easy access to downtown Houston and concerts and events at nearby Levitt Pavilion. The area covers roughly 10 miles with an estimated population of 60,100, and much of the district includes the Greater Fondren Southwest community, which is home to many apartment complexes. For more information, visit braysoaksmd.org.

Chinatown

Houston is home to the largest Asian population in the southern United States. The city’s original Chinatown, located just east of downtown, relocated in the early 1990s to the southwest area of the city. Today, Chinese shopping centers like Hong Kong City Mall, restaurants, bakeries, and more sit alongside markets dedicated to Indian, Pakistani, and Middle Eastern wares. The area is complete with street signs featuring Chinese characters.

Galleria/Uptown

Situated along Westheimer Road and Post Oak Boulevard, the Uptown area exudes urban sophistication, style, and cosmopolitan energy. Centrally located in the city’s Uptown district, The
Galleria is comprised of hundreds of upscale restaurants, retailers, and hotels, as well as soaring high-rises that exceed more than 200,000 working professionals and visitors daily. The community features trendy shopping centers and upscale high-fashion boutiques. Turn to p. 80 to learn more
about shopping in Houston,. Uptown is also home to many of the city’s largest hotels and boasts an array of housing options. For more information, visit uptown-houston.com.

Gulton

Located approximately 10 miles southwest of downtown Houston, Gulfton is about two miles west of Bellaire between Beltway 8 and the 610 Loop, southeast of U.S. 59 and north of Bellaire Boulevard. Gulfton is a densely populated area with few sidewalks.

Hedwig Village

Hedwig Village is located west of downtown Houston adjacent to the Katy Freeway. The area primarily features ranch–style homes, and residents enjoy easy access to Hedwig Park and the
Spring Branch Memorial Library. Spring Branch ISD (cms.springbranchisd.com) serves students in Hedwig Village. For more information, visit thecityofhedwigvillage.com.

Medical Center/NRG Stadium

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 five
million patients annually and employs more than 70,000 people—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 Park-Washington Corridor

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.

Midtown

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, the location is a big attraction for prospective Midtown residents. For more information, visit houstonmidtown.com.

Montrose

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. The American Planning Association named Montrose one of the United States’ 10 great neighborhoods in 2009.

Museum District

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

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. For more information, visit riveroaksdistrict.com.

Sharpstown

Sharpstown is a master-planned community southwest of downtown Houston. The area features post-World War II bungalows, as well as modern and traditional homes on large lots. The
area’s civic association estimates that more than 60 dialects are spoken here. Residents enjoy access to the Sharpstown Green Park, a community center, and the Sharpstown Golf Course. For more information, visit sharpstowncivic.org.

South Main/Central Southwest

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.

Upper Kirby/Greenway Plaza

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 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. For more information, visit upperkirbydistrict.org.

West University/Rice Village

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. For more information, visit westutx.gov.

Woodlake/Briarwood

Woodlake/Briar Meadow is a vibrant and diverse community located approximately 12 miles southwest of downtown Houston, just west of The Galleria. Its location allows for lots of options when it comes to shopping, dining, and nightlife. Close proximity to Memorial Park allows easy access to hike-and-bike trails. For more information, visit briarmeadow.org.

Fort Bend County

Fort Bend County is home to more master-planned communities than any other county in the state. The total designed development population for these 32 planned communities is almost 370,000 residents. During the past few years, Fort Bend County has experienced a new home sales surge fueled by low mortgage rates and strong job growth. The population of Fort Bend County is expected to increase from 380,200 to 447,457 persons by 2007.

Alief

A culturally diverse area in southwest Houston, Alief offers a variety of homes, restaurants and shopping opportunities. Alief ISD is one of the state’s fast-growth districts, serving more than 45,000 students who cumulatively speak 59 languages ( www.alief.com ).

First Colony

A 9,700-acre community, First Colony boasts a golf course and indoor/outdoor tennis courts at Sweetwater Country Club plus ice skating at the Aerodome, the home training facility for the Houston Aeros professional hockey team. Other amenities include year-round swimming at the 50-meter, heated aquatics pool, more than 23 athletic fields, 14 neighborhood parks and 89 acres of lakes ( www.firstcolonytexas.com ).

Greatwood

Hundred-year-old trees flourish among more than 3,000 homes in a small-town atmosphere. Greatwood offers a championship golf course, more than 32 acres of lakes, a trail system, three recreation complexes and a four-acre nature park ( www.greatwoodonline.com ).

Lake Olympia

Located off Texas 6 near Missouri City, Lake Olympia has miles of greenbelt trails, 130 acres of natural lakes, nature and wildlife reserves, parks and a marina. The Fort Bend ISD serves the community.

Missouri City

Missouri City residents enjoy urban amenities in a small-town atmosphere. With a population of almost 59,000, Missouri City is home to several award-winning master-planned communities and the highly acclaimed Fort Bend ISD. Missouri City also boasts one of the largest and most extensive park systems in Fort Bend County ( www.ci.mocity.tx.us ).

New Territory

New Territory is a 2,300-acre master-planned community of 4,600 homes in one of the fastest-growing counties in the United States. Opportunities for both indoor and outdoor activities abound for New Territory residents and their guests. These include parks and playgrounds, swimming pools, baseball and softball fields, tennis courts and soccer fields, indoor and outdoor volleyball and basketball courts, and an indoor fitness center ( www.newterritory.org ).

Pecan Grove Plantation

This 1,400-acre country club community is built around a 27-hole golf course set in the natural beauty of huge oak and pecan trees. Pecan Grove offers its residents neighborhood parks, playing fields, jogging paths, swimming pools, tennis courts, a fitness center and a private country club ( www.fortbendcounty.org/plan.html ).

Richmond

Located on a bend in the Brazos River, Richmond is the oldest city in

Fort Bend County, with a population of approximately 12,000 residents. Surrounded by many of Fort Bend County’s newest master-planned communities, Richmond often is the central meeting place for government business as well as a favorite site for the film industry to produce movies and commercials. Close to the state’s most visited park — Brazos Bend State Park and The George Observatory — the community supports its local parks and green belts for family recreation, bird watching and camping ( www.roserichchamber.com ).

RiverPark

RiverPark, located near U.S. 59 and Grand Parkway, offers large homes on oversized lots. Consisting of 800 acres, this community has more than 160 acres of Brazos River frontage for parks.

Riverstone

This 3,700-acre planned community will contain 6,000 single-family homes and include 250 acres of lakes and more than 500 acres devoted to open space, parklands and recreational facilities, plus an 18-hole golf course. Currently, homes are available in seven neighborhoods ( www.rivestonecommunity.com ).

Rosenberg

The City of Rosenberg and its almost 26,500 residents are hosts to the Fort Bend County Fairgrounds and the Fort Bend Railroad Museum. Antique shops, museums and restaurants have become the center of downtown trade. Nearby community parks include Brazos, Travis and Seabourne Creek — adjacent to Rosenberg’s Convention and Civic Center. Rosenberg’s housing prices are lower than the Fort Bend County average ( www.ci.rosenberg.tx.us ).

Sienna Plantation

A master-planned community near Missouri City, Sienna Plantation features the largest private, resort-style water park in the South. The pool covers more than an acre and includes an eight-lane competition pool, multiple diving areas with a three-board diving well, a water tower with more than 200 feet of slides, a zero-entry pool and Sienna “waterworks.” Club Sienna also includes a half-acre children’s playground, a tennis center with eight lighted courts and an outdoor amphitheater overlooking Waters Lake. There’s also a 7,500-square-foot southern plantation-style community center featuring two multipurpose meeting rooms, a fitness center and cabana ( www.siennaplantation.com ).

Stafford

The City of Stafford made national headlines when it eliminated its property tax in 1995 for residents and businesses. More than 15,000 residents live in the city, and more than 50,000 people come to work in Stafford each day. Residents enjoy 35 acres of green space dedicated as parkland throughout the city and five city parks, with another on the way. The parks feature playground equipment, picnic benches, jogging trails and well-maintained fields for competitive sports ( www.cityofstafford.com ).

Sugar Land

Sugar Land is an economically strong and culturally diverse city of about 71,000 residents. According to the 2000 census, Sugar Land ranked first in growth both in the Houston metro area and among the state’s 45 largest cities. Recreational opportunities include numerous parks, athletic complexes, hike-and-bike trails, greenbelts, aquatic centers and three highly regarded golf courses ( www.ci.sugar-land.tx.us ).

South of Houston

Areas just south of Houston are among the fastest growing in the entire region, and newcomers can find a variety of lifestyle options.

Alvin

The City of Alvin has more than 22,000 residents and is within easy access of Houston, the Johnson Space Center, Gulf Coast petrochemical industries and Galveston. A city of trees, parks and Victorian homes, Alvin is known for its hometown atmosphere and economically diverse population. Alvin ISD has a “Recognized” rating from the state for academic achievement (for more information see chart on page XX). Attractions include Texas Thunder Speedway, Nolan Ryan Center Exhibit and Bayou Wildlife Park ( www.alvintexas.org ).

Galveston

Many newcomers are surprised to learn that Galveston, a barrier island on the Texas Gulf Coast, is less than an hour’s drive from Houston. Galveston is home to many commuters who work in Houston. In addition, many Houstonians maintain property along the Gulf of Mexico in Galveston for their weekend getaways.

A diversity of housing options ranging from stately Victorian mansions and beachfront villas to bungalows and high-rises adds to the city’s charm. With hundreds of structures on the National Register of Historic Places and thousands of historic houses, Galveston is one of the country’s most important concentrations of late 19th- and early 20th-century architecture. From stately mansions to quaint cottages to the conversions of downtown buildings to residential lofts, Galveston’s older neighborhoods offer a wide range of housing options to fit any budget ( www.galveston.com ).

Pearland

Located in northern Brazoria County and southern Harris County, Pearland shares a boundary with the City of Houston and is about 10 miles from Hobby Airport. Residents enjoy big-city amenities with a country atmosphere. Pearland ISD has more than 14,000 students and an “Exemplary” district rating — the highest rating given by the state. Many well-maintained, economical and conveniently located multi-family units serve the area as well as master-planned communities such as Shadow Creek Ranch, a 3,300-acre, lake-themed community ( www.ci.pearland.tx.us ).

Silverlake

Silverlake, located at Texas 288 and F.M. 518, has a 29-acre lake with a surrounding park and eight recreational facilities, including four tennis courts, walking trails, junior Olympic-size swimming pool and community center. Served by Pearland ISD, the 1,700-acre community will have 4,000 homes upon completion and a championship golf course with clubhouse.

Bay Area Houston

Halfway between Houston and Galveston, Bay Area Houston is the third-largest boating center in the United States and home to NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC). The nearly 200,000 residents of 11 separate municipalities and unincorporated areas enjoy a highly diversified, balanced economic structure with a strong base of aerospace, high-tech, petrochemical, commercial fishing and marine/boating industries. Attractions such as Space Center Houston have promoted a tremendous growth in tourism in recent years.

Originally dependent on fishing and agriculture, the area’s primary industry today is aerospace, with a focus on JSC. Aerospace-related companies employ about 27 percent of the area’s residents. Boating, recreation and tourism industries employ an additional 25 percent. Neighborhoods and communities in Bay Area Houston include Clear Lake, Clear Lake Shores, El Lago, League City, Kemah, Naussau Bay, Seabrook, South Shore Harbor, Taylor Lake Village, Victory Lakes and Webster ( www.clearlakearea.com ). Bay Area Houston entities include:

  • Clear Lake, a unique master-planned community of about 57,100, has been annexed by the City of Houston. It is home to JSC and many JSC employees, including astronauts.
  • Clear Lake Shores, a small island community, has about 1,200 residents.
  • El Lago, located on Clear Lake, is home to about 3,100 residents.
  • Kemah, a bayside community of about 2,400 residents, boasts the Kemah Boardwalk, which features amusement rides, waterfront dining and quaint shops.
  • League City, the largest city in the bay area, with a population of about 52,000, is continuing to experience robust growth.
  • Nassau Bay, located directly across from JSC, is home to about 4,100 residents. Many residents live along the Clear Lake waterfront.
  • Seabrook, one of the larger residential communities with an estimated 10,500 residents, features parks, marinas, fresh seafood markets and restaurants along Clear Lake and Galveston Bay.
  • South Shore Harbor, located on the south side of Clear Lake, features 800 single-family homes surrounding a 27-hole golf course, country club and marina.
  • Taylor Lake Village, with a population of about 3,600, is a quiet community that accesses Clear Lake.
  • Victory Lakes, a master-planned community, features seven lakes, walking trails, a golf course and a recreational center.
  • Webster, the gateway to NASA and Bay Area Houston, has more than 9,100 residents.

Deer Park

Deer Park, a quiet community of about 28,000 residents, is located about 20 miles southeast of Houston. The area has a solid job base with 14 major firms and several smaller light industrial companies. Quality schools, affordable houses and low taxes characterize the area, which also features golf courses, recreation centers, parks, sports fields and swimming pools ( www.ci.deer-park.tx.us ).

Edgebrook

Edgebrook offers several single-family home subdivisions on both sides of Edgebrook Boulevard. Many of its subdivisions were developed in the 1950s. Large apartment complexes are found along Interstate 45 South and Edgebrook Boulevard.

Friendswood

The City of Friendswood, halfway between Houston and Galveston, offers single-family residential housing in shaded, park-like settings tucked away from the busy stream of vehicular traffic. Choices abound with master-planned communities for new homes, resale homes in a variety of architectural styles and several communities offering seniors the finest in independent and assisted living in Texas ( www.ci.friendswood.tx.us ).

La Marque

This Galveston County city of nearly 14,000 offers many quality-of-life and vacation activities. La Marque’s Highland Bayou Park, with more than 230 acres of lush recreational area, and Mahan Park offer picnic areas, ball fields, tennis courts, camping and playgrounds. La Marque is home to a bird sanctuary, Gulf Greyhound Park and Factory Stores of America, a discount outlet center ( www.ci.la-marque.tx.us ).

La Porte/Bayshore

Gateway to Galveston Bay, the La Porte/Bayshore area includes the cities of La Porte, Morgan’s Point and Shoreacres. History abounds in the area, as La Porte is home to the San Jacinto Monument and Battleship TEXAS. Shoreacres is home to the Houston Yacht Club, the state’s oldest yacht club. Other amenities include Sylvan Beach Park, a wave pool, a golf course and the La Porte-Bayshore Historical Trail ( www.laportechamber.org ).

Pasadena

To house a population of more than 141,000, Pasadena offers new construction and a range of homes that are more than 40 years old. Pasadena is the center of the local petrochemical, manufacturing and shipping industries in an area southeast of Houston encompassing the Port of Houston. Recreational facilities abound, including fields for Little League and adult league baseball at Strawberry Park, Southmore Park and Ben Briar Park. Fishing is available at Crenshaw Park, where the pond is amply stocked with catfish, bass and, in the wintertime, rainbow trout. There also are numerous playgrounds and botanical parks and gardens located throughout the area ( www.pasadenachamber.org ).

Texas City

Texas City, located on the upper Texas Gulf Coast in Galveston County, has a huge petrochemical complex and is a major hub for world energy supplies. The Port of Texas City – currently exceeding 78 million net tons of cargo – is the eighth-largest port in the United States and the third-largest in Texas. The area’s approximately 42,000 residents enjoy many amenities, including a shopping mall with several major department stores, a wide variety of specialty shops and restaurants. Texas City also has many types of recreational opportunities, including 38 parks, four swimming pools, an 18-hole golf course and a shooting range ( www.texascitytx.org ).

East of Houston

Home to the Port of Houston and several petrochemical complexes, the area east of Houston is an important trade and industrial region.

Baytown

The third-largest city in Harris County, with a population exceeding 75,000, Baytown offers many opportunities for employment, housing and recreation. To house the many employees who work at several industrial complexes in the area, more than 20 subdivisions offering affordable housing have been planned in the past five years. Amenities in the area include public boat ramps at a marina, two major parks, the Goose Creek Greenbelt Project with walking trails and picnic and playground facilities, stops on the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail, Houston Raceway Park and several golfing and dining facilities ( www.baytown.org ).

Crosby/Huffman

Crosby and Huffman sit on the east side of Lake Houston on 150 square miles of piney forest and open grassland. This area, just 35 minutes outside downtown Houston, offers a relaxed, hometown atmosphere and many of the cultural, recreational, and sports activities and facilities of a larger city. A variety of housing choices is available in the Crosby/Huffman area east of Lake Houston, including new custom homes, rural homes, farms, ranches, apartments and residential subdivision resales ( www.crosbyhuffmancc.org ).

North Channel Area

The North Channel area, with a population of more than 190,000, includes all the unincorporated areas of Sheldon, Channelview and North Shore plus the cities of Galena Park and Jacinto City, part of the City of Humble and a small portion of the City of Houston. The North Channel area is unique in that it offers a suburban setting where major industry, commercial concerns, retail establishments and bedroom communities flourish.

The newest community in the North Channel area is commonly known as North Shore. Composed of several smaller neighborhoods, North Shore has seen steady population growth during the past 30 years. Most new home construction in the North Channel area is focused here ( www.northchannelarea.com ).

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