It’s without a doubt the buzziest neighborhood in Houston, with real estate plots flying off the market at a dizzying pace and restaurants opening seemingly every other week. Now, a national outlet has unveiled even more bragging rights for The Heights.
National Geographic Traveler recently unveiled its list of the 28 friendliest neighborhoods in the U.S., and The Heights was the only neighborhood in Houston to make the cut. Neighborhoods in Austin and El Paso also appear on the list.
According to Houston Realtor Paige Martin, The Heights contains more than 450 Yelp-rated establishments, ranks among the city’s most walkable neighborhoods, stands out as a great place for family-friendly activities, and offers one of Houston’s best collections of well-preserved Victorian architecture.
Locals know it for its array of boutiques, thrift stores, antique shops, and restaurants, as well as its monthly First Saturday Arts Market, complete with crafts, plants, artwork, and live music. AG Antiques, Jubilee, Manready Mercantile, Mary & Moss, and Retropolis are just some of the prime shopping stops in the neighborhood. And among the well-regarded eateries in the neighborhood are Boomtown Cafe, Cane Rosso, Field & Tides, Morningstar, and Revival Market.
National Geographic Traveler teamed up with Resonance Research Consultancy to develop the list. In a survey created for the magazine, the consultancy combined its proprietary "Best Cities" analytics with statistics and user-generated data that included walkability, housing affordability, public spaces, and places like cafes and restaurants. In addition, the survey examined social media and perception data from TripAdvisor and Yelp.
The research produced a list of ZIP codes that National Geographic Traveler editors then paired with existing neighborhoods to generate the country’s friendliest neighborhoods.
“Friendliness and goodwill go a long way. We want the traveling world to discover destinations that embrace diversity and hospitality when they extend a warm welcome,” George Stone, National Geographic Traveler’s editor in chief, says in a release. “That’s why we’re excited to share this list of the 28 most welcoming neighborhoods in the U.S.”
“These vibrant, unique enclaves are friendly, surprising, and rewarding for locals and visitors alike,” Stone adds. “These destinations offer starting points to experience local city culture through food, people, art, history, and outdoor spaces.”
Joining The Heights on the list of friendliest neighborhoods in the U.S. is the 2nd Street District in Austin.
Not that long ago, the land where the district now sprawls was hardly a downtown destination — let alone a bustling neighborhood. It wasn't until the early part of this century that the six-block area evolved into a bustling urban hub with shops, bars, restaurants, apartments, condos, hotels, and entertainment venues.
Today, the 2nd Street District continues to thrive as an urban neighborhood. Among the high-profile tenants of the district are Austin City Limits Live at the Moody Theater, Violet Crown Cinema, Urban Outfitters, Jo’s Coffee, La Condesa, Milk + Honey Spa, Lamberts, Austin Java, RIDE Indoor Cycling, W Austin, and AMLI on 2nd.
The only other Texas neighborhood to show up on the National Geographic Traveler list was the Chihuahuita and El Segundo Barrio in El Paso.