Inner Loop of Houston, TX Area Guide

The Inner Loop consists of the parts of Houston that are located within Loop 610, as well as the cities of Bellaire and West University.  The area has a unique mix of historical landmarks, museums, sports arenas, fine dining, and entertainment venues to keep its residents occupied.  The real estate here is made up of older residences and new construction, and many of the older homes are purchased strictly for their lot size and convenient locales.  New homes in the area start around $300,000 and go up in price well above seven figures.  The most residential areas of the Inner Loop include Downtown, The Heights, Montrose, River Oaks, The Medical Center, West University, and Bellaire.

Downtown Houston is a favorite spot for young professionals and empty nesters because it is so close to businesses and the Houston Theatre District.  The Downtown area offers loft-style living in beautifully renovated historic buildings, such as the Bayou Lofts, Kirby Lofts, Franklin Lofts, and Commerce Towers.  Newly constructed lofts are available at The Ballpark, One Park Place, Sabine Street Lofts, and The Stanford.  There are also new office towers, entertainment venues, restaurants, and retail locations available downtown, and a light rail system connects Downtown to the Medical Center.

Midtown is a complex combination of older homes, small apartment buildings, low-rise commercial buildings, and newer luxury apartments and townhomes.  The area has a popular cluster of restaurants and night clubs, many of which are near Eastside neighborhoods that are currently experiencing a period of revival and renovations.

The Heights (Downtown Houston Heights and nearby Woodland Heights) are also experiencing a period of revitalization, and the area is known for having Houston’s largest concentration of historic homes.  The Heights were the first master-planned community to be built in the state of Texas, and the neighborhoods offer a small-town atmosphere complete with authentic Victorian homes and cottages.  The area is known for its quaint bed and breakfast inns, antique shops, and art galleries.

The Montrose area is home to both artists and academics, and is full of ethnic diversity.  There are many restaurants, eclectic boutiques and cozy galleries, and the area also encompasses the Museum District.  There are traditional two bedroom bungalows available, as well as newer two and three story townhomes. 

Located along the famous Kirby Drive is River Oaks, one of the most exclusive neighborhoods in Houston.  The area consists of stately mansions, gorgeous gardens, and meticulously manicured lawns, and it continues to thrive as the “crown jewel” of Houston’s real estate market.

West University Place was founded in 1917 and is named for its location near Rice University.  Major redevelopment occurred here in the 1980s, and many of the original homes were torn down to make room for more modern properties.  The neighborhoods here are full of parks and tree-lined streets, and the eclectic Village area is close by with a unique blend of boutiques, restaurants, and clubs to enjoy.

The City of Bellaire represents a mix of two and three bedroom, ranch-style homes from the 1950s and more recent Georgian brick and Mediterranean stucco mansions.  Like many of the other Inner Loop communities, many of the older brick bungalows are currently being replaced with larger, more modern homes.

The Texas Medical Center attracts many residents due to its proximity to a variety of popular attractions such as Rice University, The Museum District, the Astrodome, Downtown and the Galleria.  The medical center itself is one of the largest centers in the world with a high density of clinical facilities for patient care, science, and translational research.  The center includes 13 hospitals, two specialty institutions, two medical schools, four nursing schools, and schools of dentistry, public health, pharmacy, etc.  All of the 47 medicine-related institutions that make up the Texas Medical Center are not-for-profit.

There is more to do in the nearby areas of Pearland and Meyerland as well. A very useful link to use for any location in the Houston area is WalkScore, which shows the walking distances from any point to any point. It's a great way to get an idea of the accessibility of Houston for foot traffic.