Skyline view of Houston, Texas

City Guide

The 5 Best Places to Live in Houston

By Bri Hand | Sep 2, 2021

Whether you were drawn in by the arts and culture or the kid-friendly atmosphere, it’s no wonder you’re thinking about moving to a vibrant city such as Houston, Texas. The city is a welcoming spot to call home and provides plenty of opportunities for leisurely activities.

If you’re considering living in Houston, use this guide to learn more about what to do, where to eat, and how to acclimate and thrive in some of the best places to live in Houston, TX, including: 

  • Downtown Houston
  • Midtown
  • Montrose
  • Second Ward
  • West University Place

Let’s get started! 

Downtown Houston

For the city dwellers who love to be in the heart of all the action, downtown Houston puts you right where you need to be. In fact, it’s the best place to live in Houston, TX—at least, according to Houston city-slickers. 

Because of its close proximity to work, play, and green spaces, this central hub is an attractive living option for residents of all ages. In this Texas neighborhood, you’ll find everything from young professionals to empty nesters, all of whom can find something to love within blocks of their homes. If you work downtown, it also makes for a super easy commute!

You can easily get around the city from downtown Houston by hopping on a nearby METRORail stop—no need to drive through city traffic or worry about parking! 

If you live in downtown Houston, don’t miss out on:

  • Boomtown Coffee: Whether you’re passing through on your way to work or planning an afternoon meetup with friends, you can find this local favorite right downtown or at their new location in Greater Heights. Committed to roasting small-batch specialty coffee, the baristas at Boomtown serve up classic espresso drinks like cappuccinos and cortados, as well as a few custom creations like the Mayan Mocha with dark chocolate, vanilla, and cayenne. 
  • Xochi: If you’re not immediately enamored with the sleek, modern space speckled with colorful hints of Oaxacan personality, then stay a bit longer to see what’s for dinner. Award-winning chef Hugo Ortega cooks creativity and passion for the unique flavors of Oaxaca into every tastefully plated dish. Start off with the wood-roasted oysters topped with cotija cheese and mole amarillo, but be sure to save room for the scallops, served with chayote and masa dumplings. 
  • Discovery Green: Whether you’re in need of a quiet spot to escape the downtown dash, a wide-open place for an afternoon workout, or an outdoor music venue, Discovery Green has it all. Don’t miss live jazz music in the park happening every Sunday in October, outdoor movie nights, and makers markets. 

Midtown

Just south of the downtown district, you’ll find Midtown, a Houston neighborhood with a charm of its own. If Midtown were an award-winner, it’d be given the trophy for the most walkable section of the city of Houston. You’ll still be able to make use of the METRORail, but you’ll likely find that everything you need for your commute is all within walking distance of your front door.

Many recent college graduates and young professional residents settle in this side of town due to its affordable cost of living and abundance of options for nightlife and entertainment. Plus, it sits on an easy-to-navigate grid system that’ll get you everywhere from the grocery store to the local bars. 

If you live in Midtown, don’t miss out on:

  • Leon’s Lounge: Craft cocktail and live music enthusiasts will love Leon’s Lounge in Midtown. It’s inviting, cozy, and packed with some of the best bartenders around. Seating is limited, so be sure to get there early to ensure your spot at the bar. 
  • The Gypsy Poet: When can you ever go wrong with wood-fired pizza? At the Gypsy Poet, you can opt for a classic like pepperoni and top it off with hot honey, or sink your teeth into something different like the Dream Catcher pizza with homemade tomato sauce, truffle oil, goat cheese, arugula, and the works. Plus, it’s a great spot to meet up with friends who share a mutual love for music and poetry. Attend an open mic night or listen in for intimate readings by local poets. 
  • The Ensemble Theatre: Catch a show on a Friday night at the historical Ensemble Theatre. Born in 1976 from George Hawkins’ dream to address the misrepresentation of black actors in theater, this show-stopping venue encourages diversity and strives to provide a diverse array of roles for black artists to perform. 

Montrose

Venture a bit west of Midtown and you’ll end up in the eclectic district of Montrose. Here, you’ll find an affordable place to call home as well as character-infused locales on every corner. Residents love this Houston neighborhood’s artsy vibe, nightlife, and trendy coffee shops. 

What’s more to love? It’s LGBTQ-friendly and will certainly be your neighborhood match if you prefer to live surrounded by art and color. The street art scene in Montrose is tough to beat. Check out the Montrose Mural Map to locate all of the local creations. 

If you live in Montrose, don’t miss out on:

  • Agora: In addition to tasty caffeinated drinks, you’ll find an assortment of international beers at Agora. Pour yourself a pint from Belgium or Germany, or bring it a bit closer to home with offerings from local breweries in Houston. Plus, you’ll likely find that it’s the only place in the city serving up an array of Greek wines like Averof and Antonopoulos. 
  • Menil Collection: Arts of Africa, the Pacific Islands, and more can be found at this neighborhood gallery. Residents from all over the city will make the trip over for a look at the outdoor sculptures, art talks, and an ever-rotating list of engaging exhibitions. 

Second Ward

Just east of downtown is the alluring Second Ward district, a hot spot for young professionals. It’s brimming with culture, diverse cuisine, and plenty of green space where residents can get out and stretch their legs. 

Buffalo Bayou Park is home to 160 acres of space for outdoor activities like running, biking, and making friends with local dogs. Plus, this Houston neighborhood is easily accessible by METRORail, so you’re free to bounce around to other districts for work or leisure whenever you like. 

If you live in Second Ward, don’t miss out on:

  • East End Farmers Market: Stock up on local fruits and vegetables at the East End Farmers Market in Second Ward. Pick up fresh ingredients for a new recipe you’re trying out for dinner or attend the Last Friday Night Market to sample snacks from local food trucks and enjoy musical entertainment. 
  • La Esquina Food Truck: Speaking of food trucks, La Esquina is frequently parked in Second Ward and it’s one that you do not want to miss. Come by in the morning for a breakfast taco or step out for an agua fresca and a campechana taco during your lunch break. 
  • Xela Roasters: It’s hard to miss the brightly painted walls of Xela Roasters in the Second Ward district. Step inside for artisan coffee and an assortment of bottled teas made fresh daily. Whether you opt for the Pink Dragon, Apocalypse Chai, or Butterfly, you can’t go wrong with this local favorite. 

West University Place 

If a family-friendly Texas neighborhood is a priority for you, take a look at your living options in West University Place (also known as West U). It’s located southwest of the city center and just over the border of another charming Houston neighborhood called Rice Village. 

Living a bit further outside of the lively center has its perks. You’ll find parks aplenty in this neighborhood, oak-lined streets, and many safe places to go out for an afternoon or weekend bike ride. 

If you live in West U, don’t miss out on:

  • Nature Discovery Center: The Nature Discovery Center in West U is a city oasis for outdoorsy folks of all ages. Living in a city doesn’t mean you have to skip out on everything that nature has to offer. Take a stroll through the pumpkin patch, attend a nature storytime with the family, or interact with the animals. Additionally, any adults or teens interested in participating in volunteer work can look to lend a hand here. 
  • Little Matt’s: Take a night out on the town but make it kid-friendly. The result? Little Matt’s is located right in the heart of West U. Classic American fare can be found here, but the real gems are the candy shop and game room—perfect for the little explorers in your family. Plus, this local joint makes it a point to donate a percentage of proceeds to the Texas Children’s Hospital. 
  • Under The Volcano: Head on over to Under The Volcano for a refreshing frozen cocktail or a Happy Hour special. This colorfully decorated, Mexican-inspired restaurant and lounge is known for its cozy patio and delectable array of empanadas and mouth-watering appetizers. 

Start your Houston adventure with Landing

Whether you prefer the family-oriented vibe of West U or the bustling center of downtown, Landing can help you find your home in Houston, Texas. The best part? It’s low-commitment, so you can get set up in a flexible, month-to-month lease in a luxury furnished apartment. 

Browse our available apartments in Houston, or contact us to learn more about what a Landing membership can do for you!

About the author

Bri Hand

Bri Hand is Landing's Content Marketing Manager. She currently lives in Salem, Massachusetts, with her partner and dog, Arlo, but relishes any opportunity she can to travel so she can try new foods, see gorgeous sights, and daydream about living somewhere new after visiting there for less than 24 hours.