Houston's Hottest of the Hot Neighborhoods of 2016

Houston's Hottest of the Hot Neighborhoods of 2016

 

Written By: Houstonia Magazine

Montrose

Population: 24,000
Walk Score: 93/100

What it’s getting right: The eclectic neighborhood offers some of the city’s best cuisine, nightlife and coffee-shop options—all paired with strong walkability. With so much coolness within arm’s reach, Montrosians can leave their cars parked as they enjoy the good things in life.

New in the neighborhood: Cooking Girl, the second solidly spicy Sichuan restaurant to open in the past year (a Montrose outpost of Chinatown favorite Mala Sichuan came first) and another main attraction at the increasingly busy corner of Fairview and Taft, where slick newcomers like Cuchara and Max’s Wine Dive mingle with quirky old-timers like Gratifi and Bar Boheme.

If you only have an hour: Wander the Menil Collection, then relax in its adjoining park and enjoy the people watching.

East End

Population: 108,000
Walk Score: 65/100

New in the neighborhood: New and improved green spaces abound, most notably the expansion of the Brays Bayou trails and the restoration of Gus Wortham Golf Course starting this fall. And lately, Telephone Road has the free-spirited energy of Lower Westheimer before all the fancy restaurants moved in—check out Wired Up Records and Books, the eastside outpost of hip barbershop Cutthroat, Chocolate Wasted Ice Cream, Blue Line Bike Shop and East End Studio Gallery, all within a couple blocks of neighborhood stalwart Bohemeo’s.

What it’s getting right: As affordable housing gets harder to come by, young professionals are increasingly looking to East End neighborhoods like Eastwood, Idylwood and Magnolia Park, where well-maintained and rehabbed bungalows from the 1930s and ’40s on leafy streets can still be found for under $200,000—if you’re lucky. This is also one of the most pedestrian-friendly parts of town, with a large cyclist community and myriad transportation options via the new METRO Green line.

If you only have an hour: Grab some queso and fajitas at the Original Ninfa’s on Navigation.

 

Heights

Population: 15,000
Walk Score: 67/100

New in the neighborhood: The vintage vibe of 19th Street is getting a jolt of new energy with the renovation of the Heights Theater, which launches this fall. And the number of dining establishments working around the neighborhood’s dry-zone rules continues to grow, with Bernadine’s, Ka Sushi, Southern Goods, Hunky Dory and the forthcoming Il Cane Rosso all making citywide waves.

What it’s getting right: With seven historic districts in the Greater Heights area, there’s not another neighborhood in Houston that values its heritage as much as this one. Despite the ever-pricier homes, the neighborhood still retains an eclectic, artsy sensibility, and its dedicated hike-and-bike lanes and trails make this neighborhood one of the most inviting in the city.

If you only have an hour: Check out The Wilde Collection (it’s the only store on Yale with a hearse parked out front), a curiosity and oddities shop, then mosey over to Heights Vinyl on White Oak to browse its thousands of new and vintage albums.

 

The Woodlands

Population: 109,000
Walk Score: 17/100

What it’s getting right: The planned community prioritizes green space, with golf courses, miles of hike and bike trails, community pools, more than 110 parks, and a 200-acre lake available to residents. There are homes at multiple price points here, and many of the subdivisions have their own town centers. 

New in the neighborhood: The 66-acre mixed-use development Hughes Landing, set on Lake Woodlands, is a local favorite, offering seven restaurants with lakeside views, a boardwalk, and a Whole Foods Market plus high-end apartments and office buildings. 

If you only have an hour: Stroll through Town Center, the downtown of The Woodlands, and explore its 1,000 acres of shops and restaurants.

 

Memorial

Population: 35,000
Walk Score: 62/100

What it’s getting right: Not quite Inner Loop and not quite suburbia, Memorial offers the best of both worlds, with reasonable commutes, quality schools and tucked-away neighborhoods in which kids can still play in the streets, plus shopping and dining minutes away at CityCentre, Town & Country Village and Memorial City Mall. Residents also have access to the picturesque Terry Hershey Park hike-and-bike trails along Buffalo Bayou.

New in the neighborhood: Bowl & Barrel—the first Houston location of the Dallas hotspot that combines a luxe bowling experience (complete with leather couches) with a European beer hall and modern American tavern—opens soon at CityCentre.

If you only have an hour: Escape the concrete jungle at the Edith L. Moore Nature Sanctuary, a restored log cabin homestead and peaceful 17.5-acre wooded preserve along Rummel Creek that’s a habitat for native plants and animals and a haven for birders.

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