While Houston may have some beautiful suburban areas to live in, the city is also known for its trendy neighborhoods that have something for everyone. Whether you decide to live in Midtown or East End, you’ll always have something to do and see. Residents who live in other neighborhoods often visit these communities on the weekends and at night. If you are looking for a cool neighborhood where you can balance work and play, check out these eight stellar options.

1. Museum District

If you are looking for architecture, things to do and a hip atmosphere then the Museum District is for you. Located in downtown Houston, the most common living options in the district are condominiums and apartments. Most of the residents are 25 to 44 years old, with many also working in downtown Houston. 

There are over 19 museums, centers and galleries to explore in the Museum District. From the Houston Museum of Natural Science to the Houston Zoo, this district has something for everyone. The area also has excellent shopping, dining and nightlife for people who are always up for a good time. 

Local Tip: Visit the Museum District for life outdoor shows at the Miller Outdoor Theater or bring the kids along to the Children’s Museum of Houston.

2. West University

West University, often referred to as “West U” for its location relative to Rice University, is a trendy neighborhood for families, couples and single professionals. In 2018, West University was named the best city to live in by 24/7 Wall Street. A striking 89% of the population own their homes, most of which are houses and townhouses. There are also great rentals available. 

What makes West University Place so awesome is the array of things to do. Because Rice University is so close by, there are many clubs, coffee shops, restaurants and venues to explore. From beautiful, tree-lined main streets to big shopping malls, residents can enjoy many opportunities for entertainment. 

Local Tip: Rice Village District is a go-to shopping area, featuring tons of chic boutiques, local designers and even the Rice Village Flea Market on Morningside Drive.

3. Montrose

Montrose is the perfect neighborhood if you are looking for excitement. The area is considered urban and has great nightlife, beautiful streets and tons of things to do. In Montrose, most residents are young professionals who rent their homes. You can find homes, apartments, condominiums and townhouses for rent and purchase in Montrose. 

The community is best known for its eclectic culture and has plenty of unique bars, restaurants, parks and more. The neighborhood has been the epicenter of Houston’s LGBT+ community since the 1980s and continues to host many pride events. Whether you are having a drink at a bar or taking in the thrift stores and antique malls on Westheimer, you’ll never be bored in Montrose. 

Local Tip: Montrose has plenty of must-sees, from regular art installations at Richmond Hall to the architectural innovation that is the Chapel of St. Basil. Montrose is also home to the Houston Center for Photography, Buffalo Bayou Park and the Menil Collection art institution.

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4. Midtown

Bordered by Montrose and the Museum District, Midtown is a great place for those looking for an inner city vibe. Most of the 8,600 residents rent their homes, which consist of apartments, condominiums and townhouses. Many of the residents are in their 20s and 30s with only 7% of the population being families with children.

Midtown has some great spots for entertainment, such as music venues, bars and clubs. This is also an excellent area for people who want a blend of nighttime partying alongside a low-key urban setting. There are plenty of coffee shops, bookstores and parks for more relaxed activities. 

Local Tip: Midtown has the Station Museum of Contemporary Art, regular shows at the Ensemble Theater, bicycle trolleys for rent (Pedal Party) and some great food and wine bars.

5. The Heights

The Heights refers to a few neighborhoods, including Houston Heights and Greater Heights. While the name of the area is somewhat ambiguous, The Heights is definitely a great place for anyone to live. Most of the residents own their homes, although a decent percentage also rent. The Heights is a great area for someone who wants a residential home base with easy access to urban amenities. 

The Heights is known for being eclectic and edgy. It has some of the best sightseeing and dining in the city. Lovers of art and architecture will love the murals and historic buildings that dot the area. Residents of all ages and cultures love living in this area.

Local Tip: The Heights plays host to some cool annual events, such as the White Linen Night and family-friendly train rides at Donovan Park. You can also book Bayou City Bike Tours, check out the Art Car Museum and hit up Fitzgerald’s for a dive bar with live music.

6. EaDo/East End

If you are looking for culture, then East End and EaDo—a nickname for East Downtown—is where you will probably find it. One of the most diverse areas in Houston, you can find great rental properties and affordable homes in this neighborhood. Both families and single professionals live in this neighborhood. 

The thing that residents love most about East Downtown and East End is the food and culture. Home to Houston’s original Chinatown and the famous Ninfa’s, you can find some of the best Asian and Hispanic food in Houston. EaDo and East Downtown also have many options for entertainment venues where you can listen to music, watch theater and dance or check out local or traveling art shows. 

Local Tip: Grab a craft beer at 8th Wonder Brewery or head to The Secret Group or Warehouse Live for a night out with live shows.

7. River Oaks

While River Oaks may be the most expensive neighborhood to live in on this list, it is definitely a cool place. With the majority of residents being families—and the median home price being $2.1 million—you can expect to live in luxury and style if you choose River Oaks. 

River Oaks has one of the most beautiful country clubs in Houston and tree-lined streets with towering mansions. Home to the first shopping center in Houston, you can find all kinds of great boutiques and fine dining in this area. Many residents spend their time at parks, art galleries and recreational facilities in the neighborhood.

Local Tip: Shop ‘til you drop at the River Oaks Shopping Center, grab a show at the Landmark River Oaks Theatre and round it out with a bite at Armandos, State of Grace or Eddie Vs.

8. Upper Kirby

Upper Kirby is another great urban spot to live. Upper Kirby has a population of almost 20,000 and the majority of residents rent their homes. Choose from bungalows, townhouses, apartments, condominiums and more in this neighborhood.  

Residents in Upper Kirby have many options for things to do. In Upper Kirby, residents can check out local bars, coffee shops, stores, restaurants and more. Locals are also just one neighborhood away from one of the biggest shopping centers in the area: The Galleria. Because it is so close to Downtown and the Museum District, residents love that they can head to these areas on a whim, while enjoying the more residential feel at home.

Local Tip: Get some great culture at the Catherine Couturier Gallery, have high tea at the River Oaks Garden Club and pick up artisan cupcakes at Sprinkles.

Cool Neighborhoods in Houston

Houston has incredible neighborhoods everywhere you look. Whether you are looking for someplace eccentric, artsy, high-end, exciting or mellow, you can find it. Each neighborhood has its own special character and culture. What’s great about Houston is that even if you live in Montrose you can easily make your way over to the Heights. Close proximity and easy access means that you can explore all that each neighborhood has to offer.

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