Houston is an up-and-coming city full of young professionals who have moved here for the growing job market. With the influx of new inhabitants, it’s a must to know which neighborhoods are affordable, trendy, and family friendly. The Northside of Houston comprises several historic neighborhoods, brimming with culture and eclectic charm, many of which offer single-family homes on sizable lots at affordable prices.
Overall, the Northside is a diverse part of Houston with many small businesses and local restaurants. Take a minute and check out what Northside Houston neighborhoods have to offer.
Houston Heights was founded in 1891 by Oscar Martin Carter and a group of investors. People flocked to the area because of the South Texas Land Company and the established parks, schools, and utilities. Citizens originally lived in Houston Heights because they wanted to avoid living in a dense city. After World War II, Houston Heights became more industrial.
However, starting in the 1990s, young professionals began to move to Houston Heights because of the proximity to the city's downtown area and buying historical housing to either renovate or demolish. Historical preservationists often don't approve of this process, but the neighborhood is an up-and-coming phenomenon, as evidenced by its outstanding culture, boutiques, and restaurants. All of this is colored by the new perspectives of young professionals, military personnel, and their families. This is one of the best neighborhoods in Houston: it ranked number 4 in CNN Money's Top 10 Big City Neighborhoods list and demonstrates ample promise of moving up even more in the future.
Near Northside Houston
Near Northside, or Northside Village, is another historical north Houston neighborhood. In terms of demographics, this neighborhood is a historically Hispanic neighborhood; however, in recent years, Near Northside also has become home to a growing number of young, professional African American residents. Neighborhood development began in the 1880s because of the nearby Hardy Rail Yards expansion. Suburbs were new and growing in Houston, so this neighborhood expanded quickly.
Like many other neighborhoods, this area declined after World War II, but later received attention when it was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 2011. The prospect of the listing began because the neighborhood was in danger of being partially torn down in 2005 when the Metropolitan Transit Authority planned a light rail system expansion through the neighborhood. Because of the listing in 2011, though, this community is now protected as a historical landmark, and will not be in danger of something like this happening again.
The Fifth Ward
Historically, Texas is an area where newly freed slaves settled after the Civil War. The sparsely settled land they chose in 1866 became what is now known as Houston's Fifth Ward. In the mid-1880s, the area was predominantly inhabited by African American settlers and was a working-class area where people worked at the shipyard and in industrial factories. A deeply religious area, several Methodist, and Pentecostal churches were founded in the 1860s here. Now, though it is a historically black neighborhood, this area also is home to several other minority groups, including active Hispanic and Filipino communities.
The Fifth Ward Community Redevelopment Corporation made strides in boosting the economy by assisting low-income residents with fair, low-interest loans. This encouraged architects to invest in this area and put effort into thinking of new, innovative, and functional designs and brought many commercial projects to the area.
This area also has a great sense of community. Run more like a village than a neighborhood, the residents grow gardens and share the crops, coming together every full moon for a neighborhood celebration. Gentrification would not be welcome here—the residents expect newcomers to abide by the patterns set forth and support each other as a community.
The buildings in this community tend to be rather small with smaller lots, so if you're considering moving to the area temporarily while you search for more permanent housing, you may consider a moving service or a storage service. The latter service is particularly helpful if you’re downsizing from a larger home, which is often the case for families moving into the area from outside Houston.
The Sixth Ward
The Sixth Ward community of the Northside of Houston came out of the northern part of the Fourth Ward in 1858. It does not extend into downtown Houston's historic district, but a small part of what used to be the ward is found within the boundaries of the current downtown area.
In 2007 several community leaders banded together and created a YouTube campaign calling for preservation in the Sixth Ward. The area has a great sense of community, sponsoring many events each month, and an Old Sixth Ward Neighborhood Association with many active members. The neighborhood is now a protected historic district and took pride in celebrating the 150th anniversary of its founding in 2008.
With a vibrant Hispanic community, Kashmere Gardens is home to a culturally diverse array of growing families and mid-thirties citizens. Kashmere Gardens features many unique mom-and-pop shops and restaurants, along with a community library and nearby public schools. According to the Institute for Regional Forecasting, the population of Kashmere Gardens increases on average about 10.5% each year, meaning it's a growing neighborhood, full of new ideas and perspectives. If you're moving to the Houston area for work, Kashmere Gardens is a transitioning neighborhood worth consideration. You might also consider storing some of your belongings while you search for the perfect home to meet your needs.
This neighborhood was established during World War I, when larger plots of land for small gardens, chickens, or other farm animals were popular. The name "Acres Homes" comes from the fact that plots of land sold here were originally divided by the acre, not by the plot. The larger plots of land attracted rural settlers and became a place where African Americans could freely own businesses and homes, as opposed to the segregation of denser city areas. At one point, Acres Homes was the largest African American community in the Southeastern United States.
If you're looking for a slightly rustic feel, while still being close to downtown Houston, then the wooded, semi-sprawling Acres Homes neighborhood might be right for you.
The Greenspoint District is a 12-square mile neighborhood in the Northside of Houston, originally a project of the Friendswood Development Company owned by Exxon. Greenspoint is a relatively new neighborhood—it was formed in 1991 by the Texas Legislature, and the area includes 18 million square feet of business space.
In 1998, Greenspoint underwent a renovation sponsored by Goldman Sachs, transforming the tired buildings into a multi-family neighborhood, appealing to young professionals and those who can afford to pay higher rent prices.
Greenspoint is one of the best places to live in Houston for young professionals and small families, and as of 2010, more than 70,000 employees work in the 12-mile area of Greenspoint. If you're moving to the Houston area for a job-based in Greenspoint, definitely look into the new architecture and community development this area has to offer.
Whether you're stationed on a nearby base, are moving to Houston for your first job out of college or are just looking for a change, the Northside neighborhoods have a lot to offer. Many are culturally diverse and run with a village mindset—which may be perfect for someone who's never left home. Other neighborhoods offer access to downtown, restaurants, parks, and more. Get out there and check out the Northside today!