City Guide

The Ultimate Guide to Houston Neighborhoods

Best Houston Neighborhood

Houston is quickly becoming one of the most popular places to lay down roots. Individuals, professionals and families are moving into Houston’s old and new neighborhoods, getting the benefit of a temperate Texas climate and access to big-city amenities. With around 669 miles and a population of 2.326 million people, Houston has become a sprawling, thriving metropolis. Houston has numerous distinct neighborhoods, each with its own charms for different kinds of residents.  Continue reading to find out all about the areas and neighborhoods in Houston.  

 

Why Should I Live in Houston?

Houston is an eclectic area, with a mix of entrenched, multi-generational families and an influx of relocators, all eager for what the city can offer. Whether you want fast or slow-paced living, Houston can offer it up. The city has excellent schools, universities and colleges that turn out esteemed professionals in a variety of fields. Not to mention the incredible restaurants, night life and art scene that attracts innovators and creative types from around the world.  

 

History of Houston

After the Texas Revolution—1835-1836—John Kirby Allen and Augustus Chapman Allen purchased 6,642 acres of Texas land. This area of land was named Houston after the first president of the Republic of Texas, Sam Houston, and was destined to become the state’s first capital. Two years after the Capitol building was erected, the capital was changed to Austin, Texas. Even so, Houston would steadily grow over the next centuries, transforming from its aspirational origins into a true fixture of Texas culture.  

 

Houston Real Estate

The median home price in Houston is around $317k. There are currently over 15,000 homes for sale. You can buy everything from a 350 square foot apartment to a 37,000 square foot mansion. Whatever your dreams are for daily life, Houston has a home to call your own.  

 

Is Houston Safe?

Houston is actually a pretty crime-ridden area, although of course each neighborhood has its distinct data on that. As of November 2020, murder rates had gone up 25% from 2019. There are over 120,000 reported violent and property related crimes in Houston each year. It is only considered safer than 4% of other cities in the United States. That said, residents of Houston don’t feel particularly unsafe. The Kinder Rice Survey, which has 36 years of data from Houston residents about safety, reports that only 18% of people who live in Houston feel “very worried” about violent crime. Generally speaking, police officers in Houston get solid support from the community to enforce the law and there are many neighborhoods in the area with little to no crime. Read on to learn about the individuality and offerings of each area of Houston.

The Neighborhood Score Marker

Downtown Houston

Downtown Houston is considered the heart of the city. At the center of all major roads and with the biggest attractions, around 65,700 people live in downtown Houston. There is plenty to do and see, enjoyed by residents and tourists alike.

Things To Do

There is so much to do in downtown Houston, it is almost impossible to list everything out. One of the main attractions of downtown Houston is Discovery Green. This sprawling park is host to many fun activities including skating and art galleries. There is something for everyone in downtown Houston: aquariums, theaters, nightlife, incredible restaurants, museums, tours, art and so much more. Homes, apartments, lofts and creative living spaces in downtown Houston enjoy immediate access to these amenities.

Downtown Houston

Neighborhoods

Downtown Houston is not divided by “neighborhoods” but by districts. Districts in downtown Houston include:

  • Ballpark District: so called for the baseball stadium, Minute Maid Park of the Houston Astros.
  • Civic Center District: where the Houston government does most of their business.
  • Convention District: home to the George R. Brown Convention Center.
  • Historic District: on the more quiet side of downtown Houston, this neighborhood is where you will find beautiful architecture and the University of Houston’s downtown campus.
  • Medical District: so called for the medical buildings in this area.
  • Shopping District: retail central, with big box brands and intimate boutiques.
  • Skyline District: this is where many Houstonians come to work and where most of the area’s Fortune 500 companies are located.
  • Theater District: home to downtown Houston’s dance, opera, music and theater venues.
  • Warehouse District: known for its cool art scene and hipster vibe.

Real Estate

Available housing in downtown Houston typically includes high rise apartments and luxury apartments. There are also some townhouses, condos, lofts and co-ops. Many residents rent their living space, but there are also spaces that are for sale. 

Median home prices in downtown Houston are $206k (down nearly 50% since 2019), although price per square foot has held steady.

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Inner Loop

When you see the words “Inner Loop”, you may be wondering what “loop” the name of this area is referring to. Take a look at a map of Houston and find state Interstate 610. This highway is what makes up the loop. Everything inside of this loop, with the exception of downtown Houston, is considered the Inner Loop. In this area you will find a hodgepodge of suburbs, nightlife, culture, outdoor activities and more. 

Things To Do

Inner Loop is well known for parks, museums and cultural contributions. In the Inner Loop, residents can visit art galleries and enjoy local bands and crafts. Not to mention the delicious food served up at some award-winning restaurants. People who live here are within a stone’s throw to numerous attractions, including the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center, NRG Stadium, Memorial City Mall, Museum of Fine Arts and more.

Neighborhoods

There a few different neighborhoods in the Inner Loop area:

  • Bellaire: this neighborhood is fairly quiet and is known for its great schools.
  • Braeburn/Willowbend: features older mid-century homes and tons of walking and biking trails.
  • East Downtown/East End: has an active nightlife, including restaurants, clubs and bars. 
  • Fifth Ward: this an older area of town with old churches and rich cultural history. 
  • Uptown/Galleria: upper-class area with higher-end homes and gated communities.
  • Garden Oaks/Oaks Forest: typically populated by young families, with nearby parks and quality education/recreation for children.
  • Heights/Timbergrove: this is a neighborhood filled with charming houses and a burgeoning arts and crafts community.
  • Medical Center/NRG Park: so-called for the huge amount of medical treatment and research facilities that dot the map in this area.
  • Memorial Park/Washington Corridor: this is a high-end area with golfing and upscale restaurants and lounges.
  • Midtown: close to the buzz of downtown, this is where the young professionals like to hang out.
  • Museum District: so-called for the 18 museums that are located in the immediate neighborhood.
  • River Oaks: classic southern mansions and Houston’s oldest country club are what make this neighborhood special.
  • South Main/Central Southwest: if you’re looking for authentic, global dining and culture, this is the neighborhood for you!
  • Third Ward/Hobby Airport: home to University of Houston and Texas Southern University.
  • Upper Kirby/Greenway Plaza: a beautiful mix of historic treasures and newly developed homes.
  • West University/Rice Village: known for suburban appeal, this is where many young professionals and growing families come to live.

Real Estate

In the Inner Loop, you can find all kinds of housing. Whether you are looking for suburbs, historic streets or luxury apartments, you can find it in the Inner Loop. With such a range of residents (families, students, professionals, etc.), this area has one of the most diverse offerings of real estate in Houston. 

Inner Loop median listing home price is currently $512k, with very few homes going for less than $350k. There are almost as many homes for rent (2,813) as there are for sale (3,177).

The Neighborhood Score Marker

North Houston

The North Houston area offers suburban living, small town charm and urban amenities. Whether you are hoping to hit the golf course or find an independent bookstore, you can do it all in North Houston. The area is still relatively close to downtown Houston, so residents have all kinds of exciting nightlife and family activities right at their fingertips. 

Things To Do

Even though it is mostly a residential area, there are many things to do in North Houston. If you are an outdoor or sport enthusiast, you can visit one of North Houston’s many golf courses, recreational facilities or parks. There are even jumping parks and arcades for the little ones. If you are searching for some incredible cuisine, then North Houston is the place to find it. Whether you are in the mood for a fine dining experience or a quick bite from a food truck, this area is a great place to satisfy your taste buds.

Neighborhoods

Neighborhoods in North Houston include:

  • Northside/Acres: a historic community with a cultural background.
  • Aldine: right on the edge of Houston, this community was built on the International-Great Northern Railroad.
  • Champions: beautiful homes, tree-lined streets, country clubs and golf courses are what you can expect in this neighborhood.
  • Conroe: known for its gorgeous lakeside living.
  • Crosby/Huffman: this neighborhood is the perfect spot for outdoor enthusiasts and has acres upon acres of forests and grasslands.
  • Cypress: home to excellent schools and beautiful suburbs.
  • Cypress Fairbanks: known for its amazing school district and proximity to downtown businesses.
  • North Houston District: houses and tons of retail, office and industrial spaces.
  • Humble: so-called for one of its founders, this neighborhood has one of the best school systems in Texas.
  • Jersey Village: tons of recreational facilities make this neighborhood perfect for active residents.
  • Kingwood: known for its incredible hiking and biking trails and 25 unique “villages.”
  • Lake Houston: expansive, waterfront properties are for sale in this small but high-end area.
  • Spring: this neighborhood has evolved considerably, starting as Native American territory and farming communities, it is now full of thriving businesses and intimate communities.
  • Tomball: known for its small town vibes with big city living and all kinds of attractions.
  • The Woodlands: a master planned community with businesses, recreational centers, homes and more.

Real Estate

North Houston has one of the most diverse options for housing in the city. Both renters and buyers can choose from historic, tree-lined streets or apartments that overlook major avenues. There are condos, townhouses, homes, duplexes, apartments and more. The real estate market is huge in North Houston where residents can get a taste of suburban, small town and city life.

Home prices in North Houston are between $150k-$500k, with many priced to meet the needs of middle class families.

The Neighborhood Score Marker

South Houston

For small town history and charm, head to South Houston. Most of the neighborhoods in this area are purely residential with historic flair. With the William Hobby Airport and downtown Houston so close by, many South Houston residents find their location extra convenient. 

Things To Do

There are tons of awesome activities to do in South Houston. One thing that the area is known for is its parks. Head to Strawberry Park for an exciting park with a water slide. Want somewhere quiet to just walk and think? Cullinan Park has pristine and peaceful grounds. Outdoor sports and public pools populate the landscape, which also has its share of strip malls and recreational venues.

Neighborhoods

South Houston is sprawling and not densely populated. Many of the communities have a colorful or classically Texan history. These include:

  • Alvin: known for its historical homes, downtown area and local historic structures.
  • Missouri City: close to all of Houston's attractions, with suburban sprawl and large home lots.
  • Pearland: known for its short commute to the downtown area and affordable living.
  • Richmond: a growing community close to downtown Houston.
  • Rosenberg: a historic town that was originally a railroad stop in the 1800s.
  • Sugar Land: known for its golf courses, country clubs, incredible public amenities and beautiful houses.

Real Estate

The homes in South Houston are perfect for families who want a traditional Texas lifestyle with a modern twist. With all kinds of price ranges for families to choose from and tons of recreational activities, residents love the real estate in this area. All kinds of living options are available, however homes and townhouses are the most popular.

Homes in South Houston range from the mid $100ks to the mid $300ks.

The Neighborhood Score Marker

East Houston

Ready to get out of the hustle and bustle of big city life? Craving some laid back time on the water? If you love waterfront living, then East Houston is where you need to be. Enjoy boating, recreational water sports and activities, delicious seafood and more in this area. 

Still close to downtown Houston, residents can work in the city and spend weekends on the water. Residents immediately fall in love with the East Houston area. 

Things To Do

Boating, fishing, water sports and swimming are some of the fun that can be enjoyed year-round in temperate East Houston. The area also contains stunning historic architecture and monuments. You can also visit places such as the San Jacinto Historic Battleground and the Johnson Space Center. In Deer Park, you can see what is known as the birthplace of Texas.

Neighborhoods

Waterfront living is what it's all about in East Houston. Here is a list of many of the neighborhoods in the area.

  • Baytown: upscale waterfront living, boat docks and recreational activities.
  • Clear Lake: another waterfront neighborhood, residents have easy access to both downtown Houston and Galveston.
  • Deer Park: known as Texas’ birthplace and home to historical and traditional homes.
  • Friendswood: a suburb within 20 minutes of most of Houston’s attractions.
  • Galena Park: this family-friendly neighborhood has many recreational facilities and is located on the water.
  • Galveston Island: an historic beach town and tourist destination with incredible architecture and fun attractions.
  • Kemah: another waterfront town known for its commercial and recreational fishing.
  • La Marque: beautiful residential neighborhood on the Gulf.
  • La Porte: this neighborhood is known for its fishing industry, recreational activities and small town vibes.
  • League City: frequently ranked as one of the best small cities in the United States.
  • Nassau Bay: a suburb located near the Johnson Space Center.
  • Webster: a commercial area and economic hub, home to numerous Houston businesses.

Real Estate

Waterfront living awaits. East Houston has houses, condos, apartments, townhouses, duplexes and more. Homes are generally affordable, with smaller lot sizes. There are more old homes than new homes, with a few upscale options right along the water.

The median home price in East Houston is around $145k, with far more for single family homes than rentals available.

The Neighborhood Score Marker

West Houston

Heading to the other side of the city, West Houston is a busy little area with some diversity. In this area, you have access to incredible cuisine from all over the world, Texas cultural heritage and history as well as suburban living. Many residents in West Houston love that there is so much to do and see without having to give up that small town charm. 

Things To Do

One of the biggest things to do in West Houston is to visit Chinatown. This neighborhood is the perfect place to go shopping, try delicious Asian food and take in all of the arts and culture that the area has to offer. Many West Houston residents also enjoy spending their weekends hitting the golf course and socializing at the country club. Others may prefer to visit some recreational facilities or take the short drive to downtown Houston to see all of the sights.

Neighborhoods

Residents will love the cultural excitement that they can find in West Houston neighborhoods Check it out:

  • Alief: a cultural mecca where over 60 languages are spoken, this neighborhood has excellent schools and many recreational facilities.
  • Chinatown: home to the largest Asian population in the Southern United States, this neighborhood is an exciting place to live with shopping, restaurants, arts and more.
  • Fulshear: offering mostly farms and ranches, this neighborhood is perfect for people who are craving country life while staying close to the city for work or play. 
  • Katy: a suburb that is close to many recreational activities and downtown Houston.
  • Westchase: known for its suburban lifestyle with country clubs, golf courses and many housing options.

Real Estate

This is an excellent area for real estate. Newcomers can choose from suburban neighborhoods, gated communities, metropolitan living and more. Residents love all of the public amenities and facilities such as libraries, parks and shopping. The housing options include apartments, houses, townhouses and condos. 

West Houston has some of the highest end real estate in the metropolitan area, with homes from the $5-10 million. There are more accessible residential areas that mirror the area’s median home prices, ranging from the mid $300ks to the upper $700ks.

Top Ten Houston Neighborhoods

Whether you’re checking into Houston for relocation or simply want to move into a new area, there really is something for everyone here. Segmented out as it is into distinct neighborhoods with unique dynamics and subcultures, you can live any version of life you want in this area of Texas. 

Here are two lists of the top ten Houston neighborhoods depending on what you may be looking for:

Top Ten Suburbs in Houston

These suburbs are in the top ten because they have great school systems, high walkability, great safety and are overall excellent places to raise a family. 

In no particular order, take a look at some of the most popular suburbs in Houston:

  1. The Woodlands (North Houston)
  2. Sugar Land (South Houston)
  3. Katy (West Houston)
  4. Pearland (South Houston)
  5. Friendswood (East Houston)
  6. Richmond (South Houston)
  7. Cypress (North Houston)
  8. Clear Lake (Center Houston)
  9. Missouri City (South Houston)
  10. Kingwood (North Houston)

Top Ten Happening Neighborhoods in Houston

If you are looking for things to do and places to see, then this is the list for you. All of these neighborhoods have great nightlife, activities and restaurants. Here are the top ten exciting neighborhoods in Houston, in no particular order:

  1. Heights (Inner Loop)
  2. Museum District (Inner Loop)
  3. West University (Inner Loop)
  4. Midtown (Inner Loop)
  5. Upper Kirby (Inner Loop)
  6. Galleria (Inner Loop)
  7. South Main (Inner Loop)
  8. Third Ward (Inner Loop)
  9. Memorial Park (Inner Loop)
  10. Galveston Island (East Houston)

Moving to Houston

Are you considering a move to Houston? As the fourth-largest U.S. city, the Space City has job opportunities, a robust health care system and plenty of real estate options. Houston regularly makes the list for metro-to-metro migrations. People are moving to Houston from San Antonio, New York, Chicago and plenty of other regions inside and outside the United States. 

Here are some things to keep in mind if you’re moving to Houston:

 

Pros and Cons of Moving to Houston

Like any city, there are some deal makers and some deal breakers. 

Here are some of the cons of living in Houston:

  • Traffic and transportation: every day, residents are commuting to get to their workplaces. In some cases, their workplace may be on the other side of the city. This often causes a lot of traffic which could increase your commute time. Others don’t appreciate that it is difficult to find reliable public transportation, especially if you live outside of the Inner Loop.
  • Climate: being hot, humid and close to the water is a con for some people. Sticky air and stagnant pools of water are the perfect place for mosquitoes to breed. Residents who aren’t used to this kind of weather, or mosquitos, may not enjoy this version of life in the south. 
  • Hurricanes and flooding: the city of Houston, and the state of Texas, experiences hurricanes every fall. Being so close to the Gulf, this area frequently gets heavy rainstorms, tropical storms and even full-blown hurricanes. Some areas of Houston are prone to flooding.

 

It’s not all doom and gloom. There are plenty of pros to living in Houston:

  • Award-winning cuisine: the food in this city is so great that some residents even go as far as to say it is the best in the world. Top chefs, including James Beard finalists and Michelen star contenders, whip up innovative and appetizing cuisine in numerous fine restaurants. Because the city has such a diverse range of ethnicities and cultures, residents can enjoy food from all over the world, in the comfort of their own neighborhood. Whether you are looking for a five-course meal or take-out from a local dive, you can get it in Houston.
  • Things to do and see: in Houston you can explore parks, go shopping, visit museums, watch theater performances, view art, go hiking, participate in recreational activities and more. Houston has a Tony, Grammy and Emmy Award-winning opera company. The Houston Symphony and local art houses all facilitate inspiring, world class offerings.
  • Rich culture and history: Houston typifies the Texas ideals and is home to classic southern architecture, historic American landmarks and storied monuments. There is also an incredible cultural landscape in Houston for those who like to explore different heritages. From Chinatown to Downtown Houston, you can find globally inspired food, art, architecture and more.
  • Affordable: many residents love how affordable Houston is. Because there are so many living options, you can live in just about any region of the city and still be close to downtown and other areas. Whether you decide to rent or buy, you will be able to find something in your budget.
  • Airport: jet setters and commuters have easy access to efficient travel to and from Houston. The highest-trafficked airport is the George Bush Intercontinental Airport but Houston also has numerous airports and many private airstrips. 

Top Industries in Houston

In addition to the aforementioned Fortune 500 companies, Houston has a host of thriving business in numerous industries, including:

  • Energy and natural resources
  • Medical treatment and research
  • Business and financial services
  • Education
  • Manufacturing and shipping
  • Construction and industrial services

 

Some of the largest employers in Houston are:

  • Walmart
  • Memorial Hermann Health System
  • H-E-B Groceries
  • The University of Texas
  • McDonald’s
  • Houston Methodist Medical
  • Kroger Groceries
  • United Airlines
  • Shell Oil Co.
  • Schlumberger
  • Texas Children’s hOspital
  • Landry’s
  • HCA
  • Exxon Mobil Corp
  • Chevron
  • Fluor Corp
  • Baylor College of Medicine

 

Education in the Houston Area

Students make up one of the largest populations in the city of Houston. From elementary school to college, Houston has a strong education system. 

If you are enrolling your kids in a Houston school, you’ll look into the school systems in each of the city’s regions:

  • Aldine 
  • Alief
  • Clear Creek
  • Crosby
  • Cypress Fairbanks
  • Fort Bend
  • Galena Park
  • Houston
  • Huffman
  • Humble
  • Katy
  • Klein
  • Lamar
  • New Carney
  • North Forest
  • Pasadena
  • Sheldon
  • Spring
  • Spring Branch
  • Tomball

 

There is a wide variety of trade schools, community colleges, universities and other institutes of higher education in and near Houston. The more noteworthy include:

  • University of Houston
  • Texas Southern University
  • Houston Community College
  • Lone Star College
  • San Jacinto College
  • Rice University
  • Strayer University
  • Houston Graduate School of Theology
  • North American University
  • American InterContinental University
  • The College of Biblical Studies
  • Houston Baptist University
  • University of St. Thomas
  • South Texas College of Law
  • Institute of Biosciences and Technology
  • Baylor College of Medicine

College students make up a steady, if transient, occupancy count for the city of Houston. They are nearly all renters, many of whom live on or near their college campuses.

Tourism in Houston

One of the bigger industries in Houston is tourism. In 2018, 22.3 million tourists visited Houston. This influx of visitors accounts for $513M of the city’s tax revenue and employs 140K hospitality workers.

There are plenty of attractions to keep people coming to Houston each year. These include:

  • Space Center and NASA
  • Houston Zoo
  • Museum of Fine Arts
  • Houston Museum of Natural Science
  • Downtown Houston Aquarium
  • Hermann Park
  • Children’s Museum of Houston
  • Discovery Green
  • Houston Arboretum and Nature Center
  • San Jacinto History Museum
  • Kemah Boardwalk
  • Memorial Park
  • Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens
  • Hurricane Harbor Splashtown
  • Buffalo Bayou Park
  • Minute Maid Park
  • Cockrell Butterfly Center
  • The Galleria
  • Rodeo Houston
  • Water Wall

 

Whether attracted by natural sights, historical monuments or theme parks, tourists are an important part of the economy in Houston. While residents enjoy the sights from time to time, they more consistently patronize the restaurants, clubs and bars that are part of Houston’s thriving nightlife. 

 

Houston Nightlife and Entertainment

Honky tonks, dance clubs, old-world saloons and hip lounges are all part of the unique nightlife in Houston. Here is a list of the some of the most popular entertainment venues in Houston:

  • Music Box Theater
  • Houston Symphony
  • Alley Theater
  • Pete’s Dueling Piano Bar
  • Hobby Center for the Performing Arts
  • McGonigel’s Mucky Duck
  • House of Blues

Whether you want something elegant or decidedly kitsch, Houston can deliver.

Life in Houston

No matter what you may be looking for in a place to live, you will find it in Houston. Incredible scenery, family-friendly neighborhoods, recreational activities, buzzing nightlife, amazing food and so much more await you. With home prices projected to hold steady and employment opportunities climbing, many people find that now is a good time to move to Houston.

Empowering you to live in a community you love.
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