When you think about walkable cities, Houston usually isn’t top of mind. But that’s changing. Pockets of walkable neighborhoods are cropping up across the greater Houston area. Demand for a walkable, urban lifestyle is on the rise in H-town due to the steady influx of new residents from the east and west coasts. What’s bringing them to Houston? Jobs. And the search for affordable housing. Fortunately they are finding both in Houston, helping to fuel the city’s continued growth and put Houston on track to replace Chicago as the third largest city in the U.S. over the next 10 years.
Here’s a look at Houston’s 10 most walkable neighborhoods based on Walk Score.
1. Midtown: Walk Score of 82
“Because of its proximity to downtown, Midtown has become a hotspot for locals who enjoy being close to work but also want to enjoy local amenities such as the latest bars, restaurants, gyms and clubs,” said Redfin agent Lee Rusk. “Residents of Midtown also have easy access to METRORail and find themselves living in townhomes or condos because of the dense urban neighborhood.”
2. Neartown-Montrose: Walk Score of 80
Just west of Midtown and Downtown, Neartown-Montrose boasts similar access to restaurants and bars as Midtown, but buyers will find higher home prices, larger yards and older homes. “Each home in Neartown-Montrose has a lot of character. There are no cookie-cutter homes,” said Rusk. “You can find a handful of townhomes in the area, making access to the neighborhood’s amenities a little more accessible for first-time homebuyers.”
3. Downtown: Walk Score of 75
“Downtown is really the heart of the city,” Rusk explains. “You’ll find lots of offices and a growing residential population of condo and loft dwellers. There are also a lot of historic buildings that have been converted into gourmet restaurants and go-to eateries for locals.”
Be sure to check out the downtown underground, aka. “the Tunnel,” a system of tunnels 20 feet below street level. According to Downtown Houston, it started as a tunnel to connect two downtown movie theaters. Today it includes six miles of restaurants and shops and connects 95 city blocks.
4. Fourth Ward: Walk Score of 74
The Fourth Ward is rich with local history. According to the Texas State Historical Association, “During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, it was the center of black cultural and professional life in the city.” By the early twentieth century it housed prominent educational institutions while after dark its bars and night spots attracted those who came to hear great blues and jazz musicians.
Today the Fourth Ward is a vibrant community where homebuyers can enjoy an increasing number of local neighborhood amenities, while maintaining a close proximity to downtown’s bustling business sector and attractions, according to Redfin agent Tara Anderson.
5. Upper Kirby/Greenway Plaza: Walk Score of 73
Though farther away from downtown, Upper Kirby/Greenway Plaza is Houston’s fifth most walkable neighborhood with 18,892 residents. Most errands can be completed on foot and locals can walk to an average of seven restaurants, bars and coffee shops in five minutes. The median home price is $709,900.
“Upper Kirby/Greenway Plaza is in the midst of a continuing revitalization. The city has repaved roads, replaced pipes and other structural elements, changed street signs and updated streetlights. We’re also seeing lots of new retail fronts, new businesses moving into the area and high-end and luxury condo rentals,” said Anderson.
6. Rice/Museum District: Walk Score of 72
Home to Rice University and the pedestrian-friendly Rice Village Shopping Center, as well as 19-plus museums that make up the Houston Museum District, the neighborhood is rich with cultural attractions. “Rice/Museum District is a very desirable area for buyers because of all the amenities, green space and highly-ranked schools,” said Anderson.
7. University Place: Walk Score of 70
Right next door to Rice/Museum District, University Place shares some of the same amenities and attractions. This is a highly desirable area because it also borders Texas Medical Center. Most errands can be accomplished on foot and residents can walk to an average of four restaurants, bars and coffee shops in five minutes.
8. Greater Heights: Walk Score of 66
People in Greater Heights can walk to an average of two restaurants, bars and coffee shops in five minutes. “The Heights is full of classic bungalow style homes that maintain their architectural relevance through the years,” said Rusk. “Prices have appreciated quickly in the area because buyers have purchased these historical homes and renovated them to include high-end and modern features.”
9. Washington Avenue/Memorial Park: Walk Score of 65
According to Visit Houston, the area has an eclectic mix of luxurious lounges, honky tonks, wine bars and well-loved restaurants. “The strip, which stretches east from Memorial Park to Downtown, recently experienced a resurgence as dilapidated properties were torn down and replaced with townhouses, mixed-use developments and high-energy hot spots.”
Anderson explains, “Washington Avenue/Memorial Park nightlife is becoming a destination for young professionals in Houston. The demand for the area’s bars and restaurants is helping to grow interest amongst homebuyers in the area, who want to be centrally located, have easy access to amenities and live in an urban setting with plenty of activity.”
10. Magnolia Park and Greater Third Ward: Walk Score of 64
“This area is seeing more foot traffic recently because the recent light rail expansion has made it easier for people to travel farther east from the heart of the city,” explains Redfin’s Angela Pachicano. “Oddly enough, one of the first signs of growth was that businesses were repaving their parking lots. It’s a simple and cost-effective way to spruce things up and dramatically improve the allure. Now, there is a lot of new construction in the area and local businesses are also jazzing up their curb appeal too. Buildings are being refaced but the historical interiors are being preserved so each shop is still full of character.”
Wondering how your neighborhood stacks up? Click here for a full ranking of Houston’s neighborhoods, or enter your address to get the Walk Score for your home.
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