Houston Neighborhood of the Year: The Official 2010 Ballot

Please vote for one of these official nominees in this, the second-to-last category of the 2010 Swamplot Awards for Houston Real Estate. It’s for the Neighborhood of the Year.

You can vote for your favorite nominee any or all of 4 ways: in a comment beneath this post, in an email to Swamplot, from Twitter, or in a post on the wall of Swamplot’s Facebook page. Here are the official voting rules. If you want to start a campaign on Facebook or some online forum in support of your choice, go right ahead. Just make sure all the votes get in by 5 pm on Monday, December 27th.

Which Houston-area neighborhood deserves to be called Neighborhood of the Year? Here are the official nominees:


1. Montrose. “No other neighborhood comes close to the housing, culture, and amenities available in Montrose. Just wish it was more affordable.

2. Westbury: “Spacious lots. Tree-lined streets. It’s close to everything — but still affordable. Lots of original owners still live there. The Westbury Community Garden, and the Willow Waterhole greenspace, where the Audubon Society conducts monthly bird surveys. An active garden club. The Westbury Pool is operated by city and had the highest number of adult water fitness participants in Houston this summer.”

3. Woodland Heights. “A small town within a town (the greater Heights), within a city (Houston). Woodland Heights’s greatest feature is the eclectic group of people who call it home, including: chicken ranchers, farmers, writers, beekeepers, gardeners, musicians, artists, political bloggers, community activists, chefs and biodiesel manufacturers. And these are just their hobbies! Woodland Heights is a front-porch community, living outside as well as in. We know our neighbors, socialize with each other, our kids attend the local elementary school and play at the local parks together, we sweep the leaves out of each others’ gutters, bring in each others’ trash cans and mail, keep an eye on our neighbors’ kids, watch movies together at the park, and together play host of the best Fourth of July and Christmas parties in the city.”

4. Houston Heights. “Really, what neighborhood this year has generated more resentment? When some Heights residents expressed opposition to the Heights West End Washington Heights Walmart, it sparked accusations of class snobbery and NIMBYism, plus a snide comment or two from the city’s chief development officer. Supporters of new restrictions on historic-district developments complained about Heights builders and real-estate agents who tried to thwart the changes; but to the ordinance’s opponents, the new laws’ supporters in the Heights were threatening homeowners’ rights to control their own property. Still, the Heights’ White Linen Nights draws huge crowds on steamy summer nights — plus there’s the fun run, bike rally, home tours and monthly arts market. And everybody loves the Heights’ new hike-and-bike trails. Admit it, Houston: You love us. You really do.

“Things have changed in the Heights. When people don’t have a lot of money, they tend to rely on other people for things like child care, help moving, fixing their cars, borrowing things, and organizing citizens’ watch programs. These things build relationships. When people do have a lot of money, they buy what they want and hire constables. West of Studemont used to be more neighborly, but since the invasion of the McMansions with their 6-ft. fences and alley-access garages, it’s changed. Many of the McMansion folks have little reason to set foot in their own front yards, and some of them have other homes where they spend weekends. The Heights has lost its community spirit, but gained fine dining.

5. Brookesmith. “Brookesmith has the amenities of the Heights without Heights prices; surprisingly little crime; and its own Day of the Dead celebration. Plus: the farmers markets on Airline — and Teotihuacan.”

6. Lindale Park. Moderately priced homes; a great neighborhood feel; wide, tree-lined streets; the fabulous Fourth of July parade, all those trick-or-treaters at Halloween; the bicycle ice-cream man; and our own Teotihuacan. A great picture of Houston’s diversity.

7. Idylwood. “People who actually know their neighbors and look out for one another. A sense of community that welcomes a variety of cultures and backgrounds. Residents who have a passion for preserving their neighborhood and ensuring quality of life. A central park that provides a gathering place for both official and informal gatherings, for children to play, and for dogs to run. Affordable housing. Varied and eclectic offerings at nearby dining establishments. Beautiful historic homes with mature trees, varied wildlife and actual hills. Convenient access to all areas of Inner Loop Houston (no 20-minute treks through Heights traffic to reach home after exiting the freeway). As yuppie-vanilla culture invades the Heights and Montrose, Idylwood will only grow in popularity.”

8. Glenbrook Valley. “From the unhip east side comes a desire to live modern, without pretension — or outrageous prices. Well done!”

9. Cinco Ranch. “Deserves this award for its efforts in stretching the outer reaches of ‘Katy’ further and further west — and doing it in style. Plus, there’s now a Lupe Tortilla nearby! Perfect after a day of beach-clubbing and lake sailing — unless, of course, you prefer the sorta-new La Madeleine.

“Perfectly imperfect: Roads curved just enough to make it seem like you’re not driving in any direction in particular, but are rather wandering through a maze of pleasure. Or you’re on one of the 2 main drags, driving twice the speed limit with everyone else. Shopping convenience — if you need pizza, furniture, or tires. If you need a car wash or cellphone reception, just drive on out to the strip on Mason Rd., Cinco Ranch’s own version of Westheimer, complete with billboards, energetic signage, and American-made cars. All just 25 miles from Downtown Houston on the newly revamped I-10 or — for maybe $4.65 — the Westpark Tollway.”

10. Sherwood Oaks. “Close to CityCentre at Beltway 8 and I-10. Because it’s a little tucked-in, north of the freeway, and unknown, housing costs have stayed low. Everyone knows each other, and it’s very safe and quiet. Huge trees, well-maintained yards. Second-generation homeowners have been moving back ‘home.’”

11. Rice University. “Not the surrounding neighborhoods, but the campus itself. They’ve got historic (without having to petition the city for anything), they’ve got LEED-certified buildings (how many neighborhoods can say the same?), the pubs and neighbors get along, and the city isn’t tearing up any of the streets! What could be better than that?”

Time to make your choice! Which of these nominees should be crowned Neighborhood of the Year?

Photos: HAR (1410 Marshall St., 11407 Gaymoor Dr., 3212 Morrison St., 1224 Harvard St., 712 Northwood St., 203 Sue St., 6629 Sylvan Rd., 7919 Montglen Dr., 4707 Mesquite Meadow Ln., and 11307 Ash Creek Dr., all for sale); Wayfaring Travel Guide (Brochstein Pavilion)

98 Comment


  • Montrose, cuz’ it’s where I hang my hat.

  • The Woodland Heights, all the way!

  • Houston is rich indeed. So many fine neighborhoods, home to so many good neighbors! Like deciding which of one’s children is most loved, it is impossible to vote for only one of these fine candidates. I split my vote among Brooke Smith, Lindale Park and Idylwood, with Glenbrook Valley as runner-up.

  • Woodland Heights, but I don’t know about the sweeping out each others gutters, most houses here have large overhangs without gutters…

  • woodland heights. many original homes still exist, tight neighborhood association, great schools, walkable, lots of parks and festivals.

  • Montrose, no neighborhood comes close.

  • Woodland Heights! Lived 20 years in Montrose. Loved Montrose but then, 6-packs went up everywhere, destroying the small-town eclectic neighborhood that was once so appealing. Woodland Heights is now where I call home and I know ALL of my neighbors, store and restaurant owners. And, it’s really true – just last Saturday, my neighbor and I swept the leave out of the ‘curbs’ together.

  • Montrose! (Of course, I’m biased since I live there, even though property taxes suck. :-) )

  • Montrose all the way.

  • 7. Idylwood

  • Montrose. I’m biased, too, but I really can’t imagine living anywhere else. I think this vote is a bit flawed since the area with the most people will no doubt win (where do YOU live?), but I must say whenever I read someone describe anything with the word “Heights” in it I cringe a little bit

  • Westbury has my vote!

  • Woodland Heights! I’ve lived there for 13 years, renting and then owning a house, and loved it all. It’s like a small town in the big city!

  • #7, Idylwood.

    Got to give it up for a Houston neighborhod with hills.

  • Montrose please.

  • Woodland Heights!

  • Montrose. People still flock there no matter where they live to eat, drink, and be merry.

  • montrose, now and forever, montrose

  • Without River Oaks or Tanglewood this contest is fatally flawed. If forced to choose amongst these lesser entities then Woodland Heights prevails.

  • Cinco Ranch – not because I think it’s particularly nice, but because it successfully attracted my arch-Republican brother-in-law and other right-wingers like him right out of my inner city neighborhood – like a fly trap. Good riddance! Have fun out there!

  • Houston Heights. According to a flier I got this morning, our property values have plummeted due to the Historic Preservation Ordinance. Thus, the Heights is now the best bargain inside the loop!!!!

  • Montrose, Montrose, Montrose! In my humble opinion the density and subsequent urban amenities (bars, restaurants, shops, ease with which we interact with other humans) outweigh the slightly higher cost of the ‘Trose compared to other neighborhoods.

  • Brooke smith, without a doubt!!

  • Lindale Park!

  • From my screen name, I bet you cannot guess my vote! Idylwood, Idylwood, Idylwood. Unfortunately the “representative” photo is not so picturesque. It is, however, one of only 3 single-family homes listed on HAR (where I assume the photo came from). Once people move to Idylwood, they tend to find their forever home and stay. Besides, the 729 trick-or-treaters that came to our home cannot be wrong about their choice of the best neighborhood!

  • My vote is for Idylwood as Neighborhood of the Year. As a Realtor, I am familiar with all these neighborhoods. Idylwood provides The Most for the Most Reasonable Price. Hills, historic houses, 5 minutes to downtown, lots and lots of green space, neighbors who work at the Med Center or the universities or NASA, and price appreciation. Houston’s hidden jewel.

  • Idylwood gets my vote. Great neighborhood, great neighbors, and it’s not flat!

  • Idylwood. For sure.

  • Idylwood. charming, well preserved homes, reasonable prices, DEED RESTRICTIONS THAT HAVE BEEN ENFORCED since the 1920’s and topography. Lived there from 93 to 97 and loved the feel of the neighborhood. More importantly, my old neighbor was and is the greatest. She’s still blowing and going and caring for her elderly neighbors at 92 years old!!

  • Idylwood, we looked in Idylwood 6 years ago when house hunting. It is a sweet little neighborhood, to be sure. I couldn’t get passed the surrounding area, though. I assume it has improved giving the glowing endorsements. I’ll have to drive through!

  • Idylwood

    Houstons best kept secret! You’d have to drive through it to understand. I’ve lived in Houston all my life and there’s not a neighborhood like it. Recently nominated to the National Register for Historic places.

  • Idylwood. I’ve lived in Idylwood for 8 months now and love it. I don’t even have to battle highway traffic to drive into downtown every day. My husband, who works right north of downtown, bikes to work. For the location, price, & charm, you can’t beat it.

  • The Woodland Heights, of course.

  • Superdave-

    That was hilarious, and I know EXACTLY what you mean!


  • Well, if Willowbend is not in the running, I nominate another of my former hoods-

    MONTROSE – this city would absolutely SUCK w/o Montrose, and I honestly believe you can’t say that about ANY other ‘hood mentioned on this thread.

    Without the ‘trose we would be Dallas. That’s right: I said it; DALLAS. To repeat: Dallas. Who’d ever risk that?
    Say your blessings and vote for a truly interesting, well-located and extraordinary place: The Mont!

  • Idylwood of course. Great place to live. Rolling hills, great location, great neighbors, and the best Garden Club!

  • Idylwood with Glenbrook Valley a close second.

  • Definitely Montrose, every other neighborhood is inferior in sheer awesomeness.

  • Idylwood is the very best! You can still walk your dog, neighbors look out for neighbors, block parties. Many original residents from 1940’s.

  • My vote is Idlywood. It is a wonderful place to live!

  • my vote: woodland heights. I have lived in WH for eleven years and I love it more every year. The BEST thing is great neighbors. I KNOW my neighbors which arguably defines the meaning of “neighborhood”. Other great things: sensitivity to historic preservation, proximity to downtown, proximity to all sorts of ammenties. In the eleven years I have lived here WH has gotten better.

  • Idylwood. I’d like to eventually move there, or neighboring Houston Country Club Place.

  • Glenbrook Valley!

  • Glenbrook Valley. Great homes, great community, and, of course, the Christmas lights.

  • Glenbrook Valley gets my vote!

  • #11 Rice University…its a jewel of architecture. And, oh man, that canopy of oaks throughout. Not to mention the subterranean watering hole of Valhalla.

  • Glenbrook Valley, of course! Nothing beats great neighbors.

  • #3 Woodland Heights.

  • Voting for Woodland Heights! Have live in this neighborhood for 15 years. Can’t think of anywhere else I would rather live. Proximity to downtown and central location to other Houston venues is a plus,but the best thing about the neighborhood is the NEIGHBORS. Can’t be beat.


  • Well, I am biased for Glenbrook Valley of course. What other neighborhood has provided such good fodder for entries on Swamplot (Battle of Flags, Battle of Tombstones, Mod tours, et al).

  • Glenbrook Valley gets my vote!!!

  • Idylwood. The vote is for best neighborhood, not most convenient adjacent places to spend money, right? From the other comments on here, Idylwood has a clear sense of community, garnering my vote.

  • Glenbrook Valley… Great location, great homes and great neighbors!

  • #9 – Cinco Ranch, of course. I’m shocked and appalled by the lack of votes for this neighborhood. Clearly the closed-minded electorate have never ventured outside Beltway 8, or else everyone would have voted for this community built by the gods.

  • Glenbrook valley. Big funky houses and lots like those on dwell and atomic ranch at great prices!

  • Glenbrook Valley.

  • Glenbrook Valley gets my vote!

  • Woodland Heights!

  • Glenbrook Valley

  • Glenbrook Valley is the best!!!!!!!!

  • Woodland Heights, absolutely. Most of the other nominees have their assets, to be sure, and I’ve even lived in a couple of them, but WH is a place where you can completely forget you live in a big city. Until you go to your job of a sort they just don’t make in actual small towns, or get some great foods from any one or more of a bunch of genres, right around the corner. And yes, the neighbors DO all know one another, and watch out for each other. I know, I’ve got the block’s communal 24′ extension ladder in my garage.

  • My vote is for Glenbrook Valley! Lots of memories…

  • Idylwood for sure! Once people start to hear about us more and more…the surrounding areas will change and we will be the most popular area in the inner loop.

  • I vote for Woodland Heights. Still a great place to live, but hard to know how long that will remain true.

  • Idylwood. It is a real neighborhood with real people. Bayou setting with topography. Historic homes. Close to downtown yet hidden. When the metro rail arrives nearby, it will be an even more convenient location for inner-loop access. Plus, the golf course, Villa de Matel, and cemetery make ideal neighbors for tranquility. Right now, the chimes are softly echoing from the villa and cemetery and the scent of freshly-roasted coffee (Maxwell house plant) is wafting through…….

  • Lindale Park. Like this oasis in the middle of a desert.

  • Sherwood Oaks – an awesome, hidden little neighborhood!!

  • montrose, easily.

    the vast majority of houston will never step foot in any of these neighborhoods with the exception of the montrose. it’s a part of houston in a way that none of these other neighborhoods could ever be. the rest of them are all based on specific socioeconomic and commuting needs.

  • Montrose. Montrose. Montrose. It’s got the best food, best bars and best trees in town.

  • Sherwood Oaks – a well kept secret!

  • I want to vote for Sherwood Oaks for neighborhood of the year. thanks

  • Sherwood oaks is the greatest and safest place to live. So convenient to everything!

  • Sherwood Oaks – a well kept Secret!

  • Sherwood Oaks – a well kept Secret!

  • Sherwood Oaks – a well kept Secret!

  • Sherwood Oaks – What a well kept Secret!

  • Sherwood Oaks – My friends neighborhood, a well kept Secret!

  • I have been living in this subdivision for over 35 years and find it to be quite, great place to raise children, excellent school system and most gracious and cohesive neighbors.

  • Sherwood Oaks is a hidden gem! Terrific neighborhood with great neighbors!

  • Sherwood Oaks if you want to live on the West side of town.

  • Sherwood forest. When we moved in the neighbors brought banana bread! There is still a womens garden club and swim club. Something for everyone. One road in and one road out. Homes have not Lost value and there is real feeling of community. Good place to live!! I feel safe.

  • Sherwood Oaks – What a well kept Secret!

  • Sherwood Oaks is a great neighborhood. We have lived here since 1966. We have great neighbors and a safe neighborhood.

  • be careful guys, i wouldn’t advertise anything as a well kept secret unless you plan on selling soon. you’ll have to wait until after 2014 at least if you plan on cashing out on the energy belt.

  • Sherwood Oaks, a wonderful neighborhood and a great place to raise kids. The houses are really nice and well built. I have lived here for 42 years and hope to be here a lot longer……

  • Idylwood – we ran away from the Heights, Montrose, and Downtown – finally found our peace here! Great neighbors, whom you actually get to meet more than once every three years… Safe, quiet, and close to downtown to boot!

  • We moved to Sherwood Oaks this summer. Big house with super big lot. Community pool and direct access to I-10. Top Spring Branch schools including Stratford High School and Sherwood Oaks Elem, which received Exemplary status for it’s 09-10 year. Kids love it and parents love it. After looking across I-10, this little neighborhood is a gem.

  • I don’t like this list, but can’t think of any neighborhoods I would have put on it. So none of the above.

  • Definitely Sherwood Oaks!

  • I vote for Sherwood Oaks. Lived here 35 years and love it.