Published on January 16th, 2014 | by Scott Weaver
Ten Most Walkable Neighborhoods in Houston (Part 2) – The Rest of the List …
Miss Part 1? Take a look For the second half, keep reading…)
#6: Museum District between Cambridge and Wentworth on Main Street
Within a 1.5 mile radius, the Museum District includes 19 museums and offers educational, artistic, and scientific resources which appeal to a wide variety of interests. A dozen of the member museums have free admission each day making this an affordable walkable neighborhood in Houston. Looking for something to do on Thursday? Head to The Museum of Fine Arts , Houston, where everyone is granted free admission. The Museum of Natural Science is right on the northwest corner of Hermann Park. Stop in the museum for some incredible displays of the Earth’s history after you’ve had a cocktail in the lounge at the amazing Hotel ZaZa across the street. Then stroll down the western edge of Hermann Park and wonder at the amazing tree canopy from the University of Rice side of Main Street.
Why we love the Museum District: Lions, and tigers, and bears. Oh my! Beginning with the Houston Zoo for kids of all ages, Houstonians grow fond of the district at a young age. There’s art galleries, educational museums, and cultural exhibits, each with its own unique collection and personality. The Rice University Art Gallery is the only in the nation dedicated to installation art that is site-specific.
If you have kids, let them roll down the hill in Hermann Park (or if you are feeling like a kid, go ahead yourself).
” As a lover of arts, I always know that I can head over to the Museum District for a great weekend outing. There are plenty of options for everyone, and I personally enjoy the Houston Museum of Natural Science [hmns.org]. The exhibits are great, and the IMAX is one of my favorite places to check out a movie.”
Bonus Tips: Make a note of future exhibits to plan out several weekends worth of excursions in the Museum District. Become a member for discounted rates and join the email notifications to stay in the loop on your favorite museums. Keep in mind that new exhibits will be added as others leave which can offer endless entertainment!
#7: Greenway Plaza between 59 and Richmond on Weslayan
The Weslayan exit of 59 near the 610 Loop is a major connection of multiple roadway tributaries. Road stats show that that part of Weslayan is consistently one of the most trafficked inside the loop. Yet, the portion of Afton Oaks and the Greenway Plaza near the highway is still extremely walkable. Edwards Theater Greenway , one of the most popular and luxurious Houston movie theaters, is situated close enough to area mid-rises for residents to walk. Nearby restaurants such as Frank’s American Revival and Pizzeria Solario offer the chance for anyone to stop in for a bite. If you want somewhere good to watch the game, there’s a Buffalo Wild Wings right nearby. On the other hand, if lighter food is more your speed, try Pepper Tree for a lunch buffet or Oporto Cafe for great happy hour tapas. For those in need of bulk purchases, there’s a CostCo up the road. For those seeking a place to work out, there’s an LA Fitness. Martin Gentlemen Salon is a great place to get your hair cut. There isn’t room to mention all of the great businesses making this spot one of the most walkable neighborhoods in Houston. Basically, there’s something for everyone, and if you like just keep walking up Weslayan to Highlands Village.
Why we love this part of River Oaks: River Oaks is huge, and parts of it have some of Houston’s oldest and wealthiest houses. This neighborhood is pretty laid back altogether. But the real secret of the area is in the residential area. A short stroll through the back streets of Essex will demonstrate a neighborhood perfect for walking, talking and even people-watching. The trees are also fairly abundant, especially for Houston, a city that is consistently striving to become greener.
“I would never leave this neighborhood. It’s central to all of the Houston areas I care about, and I can walk to nearby locations rather easily. I try to catch a Friday night showing at Edwards at least once a month. We always meet at my condo and walk over because parking there is a pain. Walking is much better.”
Bonus tips: Just off of Weslayan on Richmond is a row of well-rated restaurants and a Berripop. Skewer’s Mediterranean Grill (skewerscafe.com) is a good bet for well-cooked kabobs and other similar food.
#8: Rice Village. All of it.
After the Galleria and arguably River Oaks, Rice Village represents the top of the list for Houston shopping. As mentioned in Most Walkable Houston Neighborhoods Part 1 , the Rice jogging trail is an excellent place to relax and unwind with a nice long stroll or pump it up and burn some calories with a full-on sprint. Regardless, Rice Village is neither for wandering souls nor Olympic runners, but rather foodies, readers, lovers, bar-hoppers and anyone who generally enjoys glancing (or staring) into storefronts through the large glass window. Houstonians who enter the Village tend to fall in love, and pretty quickly at that.
Why we love Rice Village: You can spend a week in the village without running out of things to do. Most of the shops there have really worked hard to own their own space. Rent is high, but the rewards are great, as nearby residents and commercial investors all flock to the village to either setup shop or just plain shop ‘til they drop. We’re not partial to any individual part, as all of them are pretty wonderful, but a few spots to look out for include Kelvin Arms (a bar with a bank vault in it!), Café Rabelais where you can enjoy fine French cuisine, and the Gingerman, home to Rice students and professors seeking philosophical discussion as well as one of the best beer selections in the city.
“Thai food and a chocolate shop? Count me in!”
Bonus tips: Chocolate everywhere! If you are looking for a traditional chocolate shop, try Chocolat du Monde. If you prefer to sit in a café with your own personal pile of chocolaty goodness, try to Chocolate Bar. Bring your appetite! Also take a moment to stop in to Platform Houston, Houston’s leading healthcare workspace. And if you want some of the finest wines available in the city, there is always Plate and Bottle.
#9: Meyerland between Hillcroft and Chimney Rock on Braeswood
Meyerland is known for its outstanding schools and extremely reasonable property values. What most people don’t realize, however, is that the area provides more than just a drivable road that connects most of West Houston to the center of the city. Meyerland is much greener and more pedestrian-friendly than one would expect at first glance. Braes Bayou is one of Houston’s leading walking, jogging and biking locations. The JCC is a short jog for those looking for a health center in the area. There is a Belden’s and Walmart within a short distance, so there are is no shortage of places to shop. And there are plenty of places to stop in and grab a bite. Our favorite is the New York Bagel Shop , Houston’s leading spot to pick up bagels.
Why we love the Meyerland area: Outdoors, bagels… what’s not to love? But the real beauty of the area is in the unexpected nooks and crannies. Fioza Coffee shop is a great spot to catch a cup of java or tea and sit either inside their small interior or on their porch. On the other south side of Braeswood directly across from NY Bagels is the Russian General Store, a unique place in Houston to buy Russian foods, hats, drinks, toys, books, and matryoshka dolls.
“I grew up in Meyerland. I am a child of the JCC and the Braes Bayou run. It’s a great neighborhood which explains some of the demand we have seen over there in the last decade. The most surprising element though is how walkable it is. I spent plenty of Saturdays on foot in that area.”
Bonus tips: While Meyerland is outside the loop, it’s still close to the freeway, making it easy for you to travel by car if you need to. In addition, Meyerland is zoned to good schools and has a solid private school or two in the area as well. For these reasons, some who like to preserve elements of an urban dwelling in a walkable Houston neighborhood but still want to be outside the loop attempt to straddle the line and achieve the best of both worlds.
#10: Dunlavy between Westheimer and Richmond
Right in the heart of Montrose, this stretch of street is perfect for the person looking to commute on foot to places that matter. Houston’s nicest HEB is at the corner of Dunlavy and West Alabama. The people-watching is fantastic, as is the case in most areas of Montrose. And while West Alabama is a fairly busy street, there is plenty to see and do in the area.
Why we love this part of Montrose: This part of Houston is accessible to some of the most beautiful parts of the city, including the Menil Museum and Park and the Rothko Chapel. Just a few blocks away is a community garden for all Montrose residents. And if you are looking for coffee or beer, Westheimer and Richmond each have both. The Harp (theharphouston.com), an Irish bar, is home to plenty of drinkers looking to catch the game or just play ping pong. The corner of Westheimer and Dunlavy features four coffee shops Empire Café (make sure you try their Monday Half-Off Cake Day), Brasil’s (some of the most underrated baked goods in town), Agora ( one of the funkiest vibes around), and Bacchus (Houston’s authentic European espresso bar).
“I once spent an entire day walking around the area around Menil Park. St. Thomas has done a great job of putting a beautiful campus in the middle of an already beautiful area. I could walk there for hours.”
Bonus tips: There’s another Chocolate Bar in this area too. You are also a short hop away from Trader Joe’s and one of Houston’s only dog-friendly bars: the outdoor West Alabama Icehouse. Take a look for good dogs and good times.
Check out part one of our list (http://urbanleasing.com/blog/ten-most-walkable-neighborhoods-in-houston/).