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9 Best Neighborhoods in Houston, TX

September 3, 2021

Houston is a deep Texas city with a down-home Southern charm that can't be beaten. It's a unique mix of modern metropolis and cowboy chic. Where else can you visit a cowboy rodeo and a space center in the same afternoon?

Moreover, the city features many career opportunities, entertainment, and fun for sports fans. In short, it's a city that has a lot to offer all its residents.

Houston is home to various neighborhoods. Each one has distinct characteristics that make up a small slice of Houston's culture.

So, which of these unique neighborhoods is right for you? That's a question that we've got all the answers to. Here's a breakdown of Houston's best neighborhoods and what you can expect from each one. Let's dive in!

1. University Place

  • Walk score: 70
  • Transit score: 59
  • Bike score: 74

Young professionals and families flock to University Place. It’s an interesting little city with fun quirks.

Streets in University Place correspond to actual universities. There are some famed authors thrown in the mix. Luckily, you won't have any trouble remembering street names when they're as distinct as Vanderbilt and Shakespeare.

Speaking of streets, you might face some traffic in University Place. It’s recently undergone and is currently undergoing significant redevelopment. The upside is that you'll certainly have your choice of luxury apartments and condos.

However, you'll face some competition. This neighborhood's proximity to the Texas Medical Center and Houston Memorial Park's golf courses make it a prime location in the city of Houston.

That said, facing competition is definitely worth it to live in this neighborhood. The West University Place recreation center features a swimming pool, fully stocked gym rooms with weight and cardio equipment, various fitness classes, and racquetball courts.

Combine these amenities with the excellent public school district of University Place, and it's not hard to see why developers are scrambling to stake their claim on the area.

2. East Downtown

East Downtown, or EaDo as locals affectionately refer to it, is a bustling city entertainment center. There’s something new at every corner.

It's also a highly accessible location. There are entrances via major freeways, METRO Transit, and METRO Light Rail service. Not to mention, Houston's vast underground tunnel system offers access to EaDo via the East End and Southeast corridors. In short, it's the perfect location for a Houston commuter.

Getting there is simple. However, choosing what to do once you step foot into this neighborhood is challenging, especially if you’re a fan of professional sports.

The newly built BBVA Compass Stadium is home to the MLS's Houston Dynamo. The 22,000-seat stadium has also hosted concerts and other outdoor events.

Just a little ways away is Toyota Center. There, the Rockets take on their NBA opponents. Minute Maid Park, where the Astros fill the bases, is also in the area.

If you're more of a foodie yourself or simply enjoy non-sports entertainment, EaDo can deliver. With a mix of ethnic markets and restaurants serving up great dishes, East Downtown Houston is a foodie’s paradise.

For all other entertainment purposes, the bars and nightclubs in the area will more than suffice. However, it's Neil's Bahr with weekly karaoke, video game tournaments, arcade games, and more that takes the prize for the most fun!

3. Museum District

The Museum District is another Houston area that has faced significant redevelopment in recent years. The result is a plethora of luxurious, modern residential options to new Houston residents in an area brimming with knowledge and entertainment.

It's obvious as to how the Museum District gained its name. This neighborhood features 19 (11 of which are always free) unique museums. Those include the Children's Museum Houston and the Houston Zoo.

In addition to these family attractions, there are museums with exhibits for historians, culture buffs, photography enthusiasts, artists, and science lovers. There really is something for everyone in this neighborhood.

Public transportation from this tourist hub is simple. The METRORail has four stops within the Museum District.

If you own a car when moving here, plan to add more time to your commute. Traffic can get congested, and parking can be a hassle.

Luckily, Houston is rated high for its walkability and bike-ability. On your own two feet or wheels, you'll be able to get to wherever you need to go without trouble.

4. Great Uptown

  • Walk score: 61
  • Transit score: 45
  • Bike score: 51

Great Uptown is another Houston that has earned its name. This neighborhood is truly great, which is why it's such a highly coveted location.

This family-friendly neighborhood has a fantastic school system. So, you can send your children to school with confidence.

Additionally, Great Uptown is a diverse area. There are residents from all walks of life.

The neighborhood of Great Uptown is dominated by many high-and mid-rise office spaces. They’re generally new developments.

These offices represent over 10% of Houston's total office space. That's great news! If you happen to work in the area, you'll have a short and sweet commute from your bed to the boardroom.

On your way, you'll likely see one of the many green spaces that Great Uptown houses. They're great places to sit and people-watch. You can also take a quick walk or jog at lunch.

On weekends, Great Uptown residents flock to the Houston Galleria Mall. It’s among the top 20 largest malls in the US. A quick trip inside is enough to draw you to the massive indoor ice rink that attracts thousands each day.

More importantly, if shopping, dining at fabulous restaurants, and visiting various entertainment spots is your idea of a good time, then you might never leave!

5. Midtown

  • Walk score: 83
  • Transit score: 80
  • Bike score: 69

Wide and well-kept sidewalks are one of the hallmarks of Midtown. This neighborhood is known for its walkability.

However, if you're in more of a rush, you can travel via the METRORail Red Line or one of the various bus routes. This robust public transportation network will come in handy if you're looking to enjoy Midtown's energetic nightlife scene. In Midtown, you can dance the night away, enjoy a few drinks, and get home safely.

In the morning, you might enjoy heading over to Midtown park. Here you'll find six acres of green and recreational space. Public art, an interactive water feature, a half-acre retail plaza, and a food kiosk make Midtown Park a quiet retreat within the city.

However, if you're looking for the famed Midtown Letters, you'll have to head over to Bagby Park. Bring your dog, and enjoy some live music and free classes in the small but lovely park. In short, Midtown is a dog-friendly, walkable, and green neighborhood in the city center.

6. Neartown - Montrose

  • Walk score: 85
  • Transit score: 55
  • Bike score: 73

Neartown - Montrose Houston is an older area of the city. It has historical homes and important local history. This neighborhood is the center of Houston's LGBTQ community and boasts a vibrant nightlife with tons of bars and clubs.

You'll also find the Menil Collection Art Museum in Neartown - Montrose. This collection is unlike any other. It contains over 17,000 works of art and artifacts from different eras all over the world.

The best part? It's absolutely free! You’ll need to find some cheap entertainment. Neartown Montrose rent prices have risen due over the best couple of years.

The River Oaks Theater, known for its classic Art Deco architecture, was built in 1939. It still plays movies today. However, if you're searching for other forms of entertainment, Neartown - Montrose is home to boutiques, cafes, and a thriving nightlife scene with LGBT roots. The Buffalo Bayou Park and Ervan Chew Park (dog park) offer excellent opportunities for outdoor recreation.

7. Eldridge - West Oaks

  • Walk score: 44
  • Transit score: 38
  • Bike score: 50

Eldridge - West Oaks is a small community, generally made up of families and young couples, to the west of Downtown Houston. While the area used to be home to ranches, recent development has transformed the neighborhood into a thriving commercial and residential neighborhood.

Eldridge - West Oaks was home to President George H. W. Bush and his wife Barbara before their deaths. The neighborhood has honored the former president's memory by naming George Bush Park after him. It's here that you'll find the outdoor recreation hub of Eldridge/West Oaks.

Residents head to the park to enjoy its shooting ranges, playgrounds, dog park, sports complexes, and jogging trails. It's a great place to bask in the Houston heat.

8. Greater Heights

  • Walk score: 73
  • Transit score: 45
  • Bike score: 64

Greater Heights is actually a collection of multiple smaller neighborhoods. It gives off a small-town vibe in the middle of the city. That draws many new residents into the sleepy little neighborhood.

It's an area with a lower crime rate, so families have flocked to the location. Beyond safety, Greater Heights is home to Love Park, which features basketball courts, sports fields, trails for hiking and biking, and a playground. It's the perfect place to spend time with the family or get in a good workout.

If you prefer quieter recreation, head over to the Heights Neighborhood Library for your next great read. Small restaurants and bars adorn Greater Heights' streets. So, you're never too far away from a great meal.

9. Upper Kirby

Upper Kirby is a great neighborhood with a very strange story. City planners and designers played heavily on Upper Kirby's initials, UK. Their intent was to facilitate a connection with the United Kingdom, even though one did not exist. For that reason, you'll find red phone booths placed randomly on Upper Kirby street corners. It's no United Kingdom, but it's close?

Peculiarities aside, Upper Kirby is a booming business center in Houston. It features office space and businesses throughout its commercial center.

However, the real draw of Upper Kirby is its parks, specifically Levy Park. This gorgeous city park welcomes young people and families alike with its many attractions. Take a class in the grass, visit the community garden or take your children to the playground. You can also play with your dog all within the park's boundaries.

Most impressive is the newly opened Woodshed Smokehouse located at the lower southeast portion of the park. You can grab a delicious meal there after enjoying a day in the sun!

Final Thoughts

There's no doubt that Houston is a great city. However, with over 2 million residents and covering almost 600 square miles, it can be a major challenge to find the perfect apartment with everything you need. Learn more about the average rent in Houston and start apartment searching by starting our quiz!

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Davina Ward is a contributing author at Apartment List and freelance writer specializing in real estate and digital marketing. She received her B. Read More
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