The Ultimate Guide to Living Downtown Houston
A Houstonian's Perspective
There are plenty of things to love about Houston: the food, the culture, and the fact that it’s home to some of the most friendly people you’ll ever meet. But for many people, their love of the city is slightly tainted by its lack of urban living. Sure, there are a few scattered pockets around town with a sense of downtown-esque vibe, but nothing like what you find in other cities. That is, until recently. Luckily for us all, there’s been an increase in new luxury apartments and condominiums popping up all over town as millennials are also moving back into the city after being priced out. This has led to a rise in “urban livers” who opt to ditch their suburban neighborhoods and trade them in for trendy downtown digs complete with on-site amenities like gyms and pools. If this sounds like something you might be interested in as well, read on below for everything you need to know about living downtown in Houston.
Where is Downtown Houston?
If you love the idea of living in an urban neighborhood but aren’t exactly sure what that means, let’s start with the basics. In the simplest terms, downtown is the city’s main business and entertainment district. There are a few different definitions for what exactly is considered downtown, but for our purposes, it’s generally accepted to consist of the area from the west side of I-10 to the east side of I-45. This includes the neighborhoods of Downtown, Montrose, Midtown, the Theater District, Rice/UH/Med Center, and parts of the south side (i.e. the medical district). It’s important to note that this is where you’ll find the majority of Houston’s tallest buildings including the Wells Fargo Tower, JPMorgan Chase Tower, and the recently completed Post Oak/Hines project (set to become the city’s new tallest building).
The Pros of Living Downtown
When you live in the heart of the city, you get to experience the best it has to offer every day. You’ll be able to walk or take public transportation most places you need to go, cutting down on the need to own a car. Plus, you’ll be able to explore the city like a true local and rub shoulders with other people who call downtown their home. Some of the most notable pros of living downtown include: - Diversified Community - Living in downtown Houston puts you in the center of the city. Most of the city's cultural attractions, major sporting events and parks are located within the downtown area. This makes it easy for you to be exposed to and engage with a diverse community. - Easy Access to Major Transit Systems - If you ever wanted to get outside of Houston, but didn't have a car, now is your chance. Downtown is home to the METRORail light rail that connects the city's east and west ends, making it easy to explore Houston without having to worry about finding a place to park or the cost of parking. - Walkability - Houston is famous for its sprawl. You can walk to everything, including the grocery store. If you’re looking to save on your monthly bills, walking is one of the best ways to do it. - Historic Neighborhood - While Houston has always been a forward-thinking town, downtown has a historic charm that is hard to find anywhere else in the city, let alone the rest of Texas.
The Cons of Living Downtown
While the list of pros is long and enticing, there are a few cons that need to be taken into consideration as well. Depending on the neighborhood, some of these may not apply, but for the most part, these are things to keep in mind if you’re thinking about making the move downtown. - Higher Rents/Higher Bills - It goes without saying that downtown is more expensive than the suburbs. You will pay more for rent, utilities, and transportation. If you are looking to save money, living in the heart of the city is not the best option. - Less Space - Depending on the type of building you decide to live in (see below), you may have less space than you would in the suburbs. - Fewer Amenities/Less Landscaping - You won’t have a huge backyard or be able to grow a garden like you would in the suburbs. This can be both a pro and a con since you’ll have less to worry about (no mowing the lawn, fertilizing, etc.). However, if you’re someone who loves gardening, you may miss having a space to do it.
How to Find the Right Place for You
If you’re thinking about moving downtown, you’ll want to start by deciding which neighborhood best suits your lifestyle and budget. While you can definitely find cheaper places outside of downtown, the closer you get to the core, the more expensive real estate becomes. If you’re looking to rent, your best bet is to get started looking now. As mentioned above, the closer to downtown you get, the more expensive everything becomes. If you’re looking to buy, you’ll want to start looking at least a year before you plan on making the move. Depending on the neighborhood, you may want to hire a realtor who specializes in downtown properties.
If you’re looking for a new place to call home, downtown Houston is a great option. You’ll be close to all of the best restaurants and bars in the city, you can walk to work (or take public transit if you need to), and you’ll be surrounded by cool people. Of course, this isn’t for everyone, but if you’re sick of living in the suburbs or want to try something new, downtown is a great place to start.