Houston Neighborhood Profile: Downtown
Not much more than a decade ago an invitation to venture downtown Houston after dark would’ve no doubt been met with only one response: Why? Now, due to the immense renovation of the area, Veterans relocating to Houston can rest easy when considering downtown.
Behind a recent decade-long, $4 billion push from developers, which includes amenities like Discovery Green Park, Houston Pavilions, and sports stadiums Minute Maid Park and the Toyota Center, downtown is once again vying for elite status among Houston’s fickle five million and offers an attractive locale for single Veterans looking to utilize their VA home loan.
Downtown is enclosed by highway 59 on the east, 45 on the south and west, and I-10 on the north, smack in the center of the city.
Metro’s bus and light rail system allow for easy access to nearly every spot you could want to get to downtown, and their multi-modal trip planner at www.ridemetro.org is outstanding. Taxis are available as well.
The Commerce Towers Condominiums (914 Main) have a price tag that can reach over the $2 million mark and afford the expected luxuries. The award-winning Four Seasons Condos (1111 Caroline) offer accommodations below the million dollar limit -including easy access to Houston Pavillions and Discovery Green Park- but pack plenty of oomph with separate floor plans that may be combined into one super unit because, well, sometimes you just need two condos.
If you’d rather lease, both the Keystone (1120 Texas) and Capitol Lofts (711 Main) occasionally have spaces available pricing between $1500 and $3000 a month.
Veterans moving to downtown Houston will enjoy The BUS (1800 Texas), which has become one of the premier pre-Astros game meet-up spots while live-music venue Notsuoh (314 Main) continues to find quality bands nobody’s heard of.
Lone Star Saloon (1900 Travis) offers up its watered down mixed drinks and engaging atmosphere while the efficient Dean’s Credit Clothing (316 Main), a bar and clothing boutique, is around for those timesavers that like to get their drink and their shop on simultaneously.
The Jet Lounge (1515 Pease), Meridian (1503 Chartres), and Sammy’s at 2016 Main all offer up quality live music shows regularly. La Carafe (813 Congress) has one of the best jukeboxes in the city and is said to be one of, if not the, oldest buildings in town. (FYI, they only accept cold, hard cash).
705 Main finds a slightly less regale drinker’s favorite: The Flying Saucer. It’s clear to see why Houston Republicans have made this a favorite spot of theirs: The Saucer offers over 200 kinds of beer, 60 oz serving sizes, and munificent tax breaks for the wealthy. Leon’s Lounge (1006 McGowen) is another place with history (opened in 1947), but the somewhat derelict appearance helps add to the lore.
A Veteran purchasing a home in downtown Houston with a VA loan, has a variety of dining options to choose from starting with the 25-year-old Indian cuisine hangout Yatra Brasserie (706 Main), which is never without a crowd. Sambuca (909 Texas), where daily live music works as an audio supplement to the impressive assortment of Seafood and Mediterranean-style pastas, is popular among the professionals as well.
Birraporetti’s (500 Louisiana), billed as “A great Italian restaurant… a heck of an Irish Bar,” benefits from its proximity to the Alley Theater (615 Texas), Jones Hall (615 Louisiana), and the Wortham Theater and Hobby Center (501 Texas).
Veterans interested in shopping downtown have a myriad of choices at The Shops in Houston Center. The Shops are guinea pig-style tunnels that connect buildings to one another, and also the massive Houston Pavilions, which comprise 350,000 square feet of retail space for companies like House of Blues, Lucky Strike, Forever 21 and BCBG. All of which have almost single-handedly revived shopping downtown.
Downtown is replete with parks, including Sam Houston, Tranquility Park, Market Square, Allen’s Landing, Sesquicentennial, Root Memorial, Sisters of Charity and Discovery Green.
Downtown is the birthplace of Houston and is home to the Market Square Historic District with some of Houston’s oldest historic buildings. The construction of a ring of freeways in the 1960s and 1970s created the modern boundaries of downtown. This area includes state of art performing art facilities, major government, banking, energy interests, the George R. Brown Convention Center and University of Houston Downtown. Loft conversions in older, often vacant office/commercial buildings are adding a new and welcome residential element to downtown along with a thriving nightlife, restaurant and club scene. Downtown includes quality park space such as Discovery Green and Market Square Park that includes places for performances, dog runs and other activities. Two sports stadiums, Minute Maid Park and the Toyota Center give the downtown area additional interest.
The area includes the East Downtown Management District, whose vision for East Downtown or EaDo is “of a well-planned, high quality community, integrating regional and metropolitan commercial development with a stable, desirable residential neighborhood.”
- President: James Dinkins
- Super Neighborhood website: http://snc61.blogspot.com/
Neighborhood Statistical Info
- Houston City Council Districts H & I
- Houston Independent School District (1 public school; 1 private school)
- 1,733 acres (2.71 sq. miles)