Moving to Montrose
Covering an area of four square miles, Montrose, bordered on the north by the I-45 and on the south by the US-59, lies within walking distance of Downtown Houston and St. Thomas University, and is home to approximately 30,000 residents. When it was established in 1911, it was a “streetcar suburb,” with workers commuting into the center every day. Later, Montrose became known as the artistic and bohemian community it is today.
Here you’ll find renovated condos, bungalows, cottages and apartments, and if you’re in the market for buying your own home, real estate in this neighborhood is considered to be a good investment and in high demand. In fact, if you’re moving to Montrose, you’ll be pleased to note that it was named one of the country’s 10 great neighborhoods in 2009!
More recently, it’s attracted young professional and young couples, thanks to its diverse mélange of trendy coffee shops, bookstores and retro furniture shops, as well as some of the best gay clubs in the city. Montrose also hosts one of the largest gay pride celebrations in the country each year!
Moving to Eastwood
In the east end area of Houston, approximately three miles from Downtown, lies Eastwood, one of the city’s original master-planned districts. Everything here is pre-planned, from the sidewalks and paved streets to the property lots and even the trees! You’ll find the many twentieth-century homes (in the Craftsman, Arts & Crafts, Foursquare and Mission styles) lend the neighborhood a pleasantly diverse atmosphere.
In Eastwood Park, you’ll find a skate park, bike trail, swimming pool, and basketball and tennis courts. This year, METRO will open a new line connecting Eastwood directly to Downtown Houston. If you don’t have the budget to live in Montrose, consider moving to Eastwood, where prices are 50% lower and you can still enjoy proximity to Downtown in a pleasant setting.
Moving to Houston Heights
One of the most rapidly expanding neighborhoods is Houston Heights, which lies slightly northwest of bohemian Montrose. Close to Downtown and the medical district, Houston Heights’ population of around 41,500 can enjoy the many green areas here, as well as affordable single-family homes, while only having a short commute to Downtown.
Houston Heights was originally a “streetcar suburb” that was annexed by Houston in 1919, yet it maintains a “quirky sense of individuality,” according to one National Geographic Traveler article. The neighborhood is popular among creative professionals and actually has the highest concentration of artists in the entire state of Texas. In addition, it’s home to one of Houston Community College’s campuses. Of course, it’s also a good place to raise a family, thanks to the five well-maintained parks that feature community centers, lighted sports fields and swimming pools.
Moving to Downtown Houston
In the heart of Houston lies Downtown, home to over 4,000 residents and the site of the original incorporation of the city of Houston in 1837. However, this neighborhood wasn’t always so popular as it is today. In the second half of the twentieth century, it suffered significantly from urban decay, until the city undertook a massive revitalization project. When moving to Downtown, you’ll see that this revitalization has been an enormous success, and Downtown is now a vibrant nightlife and entertainment area. More than 150 bars, clubs and restaurants have opened here over the past few years, as well as some famous sports venues like Astro’s Minute Maid Park and Rocket’s Toyota Center.
Downtown is also where Houston’s Central Business District is situated. Over 3,500 companies are located here, and over 150,000 employees commute to offices here every day. Some of the world’s largest companies have offices here, including Chevron, Shell Oil Co., J.P. Morgan Chase and Continental Airlines. Most of these offices are situated in the skyscrapers of the Skyline District. Other districts in Downtown include the Historic District, with Houston’s original town center; Main Street Square, with Main Street Square Station at its center; and the Theatre District, which covers almost 20 blocks!
In Downtown you’ll find all sorts of performing arts venues, as well as Bayou Place, a large entertainment complex. Downtown is also where you’ll find the University of Houston, South Texas College of Law and William Marsh Rice University, so don’t be surprised to see numerous students here. Real estate in this neighborhood is a mix of urban condos and spacious lofts in repurposed historic buildings or modern high-rises. If you need to get away from the crowd after moving to Downtown, you can visit Market Square Park, Sam Houston Park or Hermann Park, which is home to the Houston Museum of Natural Science and the Houston Zoo.
Moving to Midtown Houston
Southwest of Downtown, bordered by US Highway 59 and Neartown, lies Midtown. The neighborhood, which has a population of approximately 5,400 residents, sprawls across 300 blocks that consist of lofts, apartments, townhouses and restored historical homes. Midtown has always been a popular residential area, but in the 1960s the arrival of commercial businesses caused many families to move. A decade later, the influx of a large number of Vietnamese Americans prompted the development of an area soon nicknamed “Little Saigon.”
Today, Midtown attracts both students and young professional and is becoming more and more upscale, with its many bars, restaurants and clubs. Its location is also convenient for a short commute on the METRO line to the nearby educational institutions such as the University of Houston, Texas Southern University and Rice University, as well as Houston Community College System’s Central Campus.
The Buffalo Soldiers Museum, the Asia House and the Museum of African American Culture are all located here, as well as Midtown Park and Elizabeth Baldwin Park, where you can take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city when necessary.
Moving to Woodland Heights
Woodland Heights is flanked by Downtown on the south and Houston Heights on the west. It was originally planned in 1907, when Downtown was just a 20-minute streetcar ride away. Nearby Houston Heights was built two decades earlier, and the shift away from the once-popular Victorian style to the simpler Arts & Crafts homes and bungalows is very noticeable.
Woodland Park & Community Center is a popular social hub here, with its tennis courts, lighted sports fields and even an indoor gym. After moving to Woodland Heights, be sure to visit the White Oak Bayou along the southern border of the neighborhood, where its walking paths offer fantastic views of the city’s skyline. And in December, you can admire the “Lights in the Heights,” when the neighborhood decorates 15 city blocks with holiday lights!
Moving to Denver Harbor/Port Houston
Denver Harbor/Port Houston is situated in the east of the city, close to the Houston Ship Channel. It was first settled in the late 1800s by employees of the railroad, industrial and shipping companies based along the Houston Ship Channel. Today, this is a predominantly Hispanic, blue-collar neighborhood with residents who are proud of their historic cottage and bungalow homes, as well as the Selena Quintanilla Perez Park, with its swimming pool, community center and lighted sports fields.
Moving to Sharpstown
Sharpstown is situated in the southwest of Houston and is one of the original planned communities the city constructed with the automobile in mind. It sprawls over thousands of acres, forming a mix of condos, apartment complexes and single-family homes interspersed with malls, restaurants and hotels. The buildings here are mainly post-WWII and constructed with high-quality materials, which is why so many older buildings have aged well.
In 2010, the Houston Press named Sharpstown “Best Hidden Neighborhood,” due to its quality buildings, accessibility, presence of commerce, and of course the popular Sharpstown Park and Sharpstown Golf Course.
Moving to Willowbend
Willowbend lies outside the loop and inside Beltway 8, just southeast of Meyerland and south of Willow Meadows. It’s a large, well-maintained and organized middle-class neighborhood. It offers easy access to the Houston Medical Center, as well as Downtown, and is a great place for families due to the many playgrounds, sports fields and picnic areas.
Moving to Sugar Land
Sugar Land, southwest of Houston, is an important city in the Houston metropolitan area. With almost 160% population growth over the past decade and a 50% increase in jobs, it’s one of the most rapidly expanding cities in Texas. It was named after a plantation and still is home to Imperial Sugar, as well as a manufacturing plant of Nalco Chemical Co., Western Airways and Methodist Sugar Land Hospital.
Most of the residents here are white-collar, college-educated employees in the energy industry in Houston. It’s also interesting to note that Sugar Land has been declared “Fittest City in Texas,” and CNN’s Money Magazine even ranked it third on its list of 100 Best Places to Live in the US.