In Houston, people speak of “The Loop” when referring to the Interstate 610 Loop making a large circle around the city of Houston. However, people perceive the inner loop to actually be from near Highway 59 on the south, near Interstate 10 on the north, with east and west boundaries being the Galleria area just west of 610 and Downtown Houston.
People love living here because of easy access to world-class restaurants and fabulous shopping, the Medical Center, Museum District and Theater Districts. Houston is the fourth largest city in the United States, and it lives up to its big city name with big city vibrancy.
Two things set Houston apart culturally. First, we have been identified as one of the most racially and ethnically diverse large metropolitan areas in the U.S. About 400,000 foreign-born residents moved to the city in the first decade of the millennia.
Secondly, few cities can boast the cultural landmarks found in Houston. You will find 19 cultural powerhouses within a 1.5 mile radius inside the Loop. The city reports 9.2 million visits per year to cultural events and exhibitions.Although many people think of the oil industry when they think of Houston, the residents are committed to natural green space and parks, with more than 50,000 acres in 650 urban parks with more than 128 miles of hike and bike trails connecting most of them. The city has spent a great deal of money developing those spaces like the Buffalo Bayou.
Never forget Houston residents love their six professional major league sports teams: the Houston Texans (NFL), Houston Rockets (NBA), Houston Dynamo (MLS), Houston Dash (NWSL), Scrap Yard Dawgs (NPF) and Houston Astros (MLB) all play within the area called the Inner Loop of Houston.
The downtown area is a hub of business and home to several multinational corporations. With 26 of the Fortune 500 companies inside the city, it is a great place to relocate for those looking to build a career and take on the adventure of big city life.
Some of the most prestigious addresses in Texas are in River Oaks. It is said to be among the Top Ten most expensive communities in the United States. The exclusive neighborhood was established in the 1920’s by the Hogg brothers and spans 1,000 acres. Prices range up to more than $20 million, with the median price more than $1.5 million.
Galleria – Uptown
Houston boasts a second skyline located in The Galleria or Uptown area. Convenience to multiple thoroughfares makes it the perfect location for many shopping venues. The Galleria Mall with more than 350 stores, two hotels, an ice rink and limitless food venues is a primary destination, with other locations like Uptown Park and Highland Village offering more boutique options. Residences range from mid-level townhomes to luxury penthouses and single-family homes.
A pedestrian friendly area of Houston can be found in the Museum District. More than 8.7 million visitors come to this area each year. Many choose to stay nearby in the Montrose area. The perfect choice for eclectic tastes, with 1930’s bungalows, small community parks, easy access to downtown events and quaint shops that offer special and unique finds found nowhere else.
This exclusive community may be called West University Place (the official city name,) West University, or West U. Whatever name is ascribed to this small town in the middle of urban life, it is a magnet for wealthy families who enjoy the urban lifestyle, yet cherish the values of a small town.
The city was originally developed in 1917 and named after the Rice Institute now known as Rice University. Home to 5,260 households, this community has come a long way from its early muddy streets outside of Houston. One of the reasons the city was incorporated in 1924 was to resist incorporation into Houston, yet provide the power lines, street paving and other amenities residents needed.
Prior to the 1990s, the aging middle-class neighborhood was filled with mid-century bungalows. Now you will find constant new construction happening where the original structure was torn down. More than 55% of the residents are age 18-44.
The median price range is over $1M and new construction starts at about $2M. It is a tidy, orderly community with a recently built $8.8 million recreation center. The city employs their own police and fire departments and boasts one of the best crime rates in all of Houston. Residents can sign up for text messages to be alerted in real time about any community issues.
Upper Kirby and Rice Village
Adjacent to West University is the Rice Village District established in 1938. From the beginning Rice Village was a vibrant hub of activity. Even though there was some decline in the suburban boom of the 1970s, when the young people decided to be closer to the action and moved inside the loop, the area experienced a revival
This shopping district offers mixed commercial use including retailers, restaurants and pubs about a half-mile from Rice University. The commercial area spills over into what is called Upper Kirby. While there is a little more residential opportunities in the Kirby area, it is largely limited to condos and townhouses. Those who do find a home in the Rice or Kirby communities enjoy much of the luxury experience of River Oaks and West University at a fraction of the cost.
Unique architecture, quirky wildlife like peacocks and rabbits and spacious estate homes define this community. It was originally created in 1946 as Rivercrest Addition with a minimum lot size of 3 acres – yet it’s located only minutes away from central Houston. The city of Houston provides a sewer system and most residents have private water wells.
Homes range from 3,000 square foot to more than 20,000 square feet. Many of the original homes are being replaced by new structures.
More than thirty subdivisions are considered part of the Memorial area. Beyond the subdivisions of the Memorial area you’ll discover the “Villages”. They are actually the small cities of Bunker Hill Village, Hedwig Village, Hillshire Village, Hunters Creek Village, Piney Point Village and Spring Valley. The boundary is Interstate 10 (north), Buffalo Bayou (south), Loop 610 (east) and Beltway 8 (west).
This is a popular family community of about 17,000 residents, located in the southwestern portion of Houston. Bellaire is an independent city founded in 1908 on a former 9,500 acre ranch and incorporated as a city on June 24, 1918. Focused on keeping a family atmosphere, residents of this city believe they have the ideal blend of big city amenities and the charm of a small town.
In addition to the ideal location close to everything a family would want, they also provide excellent city services including fire and police departments, parks and recreation programs and a city library. Additional outdoor activities are provided at the aquatic center and nature discovery center.
The great majority of residents own their home (93%) and are college educated (83%). While you might expect all the residential options to be older homes, more than 28% of the homes have been built since 2000 and the largest population growth took place from 1970-1999. Prices range widely, but the majority of homes fall into the $600,000 to $1 million range. Almost 20% of the homes exceed $1.2 million.
Originally a World War I-era Army training facility called Camp Logan, the Rice family donated part of the area which became Memorial Park. The residential community was originally filled with blue-collar bungalows in a rural area. Now the Rice Military area is an urban living center filled with young professionals who have replaced the bungalow homes with stunning, modern architecture townhomes and condominiums.
The community has a strong Civic Club. While membership is voluntary ($20 annual fee,) they are active with public safety, social activities and making sure the City of Houston never forgets the needs of its citizens. For those who want to be close to the action of the city, they will find everything they want from art galleries, some of Houston’s finest restaurants, retail shopping and more.
Just south of Downtown Houston is a small, neighborhood which is home to commercial and residential areas. It is also home to Houston Community College Central campus. The area is easy to explore with bike lanes, walkways and traffic circles turning it into a walkable community attracting millennials.
The area continues to prosper for a number of reasons. Funding from the Midtown Redevelopment Authority has revitalized the 771 acre area with basic infrastructure improvements. Among their projects are renewing old parks, adding environmentally sustainable walkways and more.