Neighborhood of the Year: The Official 2012 Ballot

Please vote for one of these official nominees in this, the second-to-last category of the 2012 Swamplot Awards for Houston Real Estate. It’s for one of the biggies: Neighborhood of the Year. Where’d all the nominations come from? From you!

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 Wednesday, December 26th.

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


1. Alden Place. “It’s at the crossroads of Montrose, Midtown, Downtown, and the Washington Corridor. So much that’s new is nearby: Whole Foods, revitalized bayou access, the Sovereign. The only downside is that people have noticed, so it is becoming a maternity ward for new $500k+ townhomes.”


2. Meadowcreek Village. “A beautiful neighborhood with an active civic club and park director. Huge wooded lots, with the majority of them backing up to Berry Creek or a natural gully. Right outside the 610 Loop, close to everything but far enough away to have the kind of lot space that’s usually unheard of so close to town. Plenty of midcentury Mods here — one of which was recently featured in the Houston Architectural Guide. Reasonable home prices; home to some elected officials, journalists, and young professionals. A true gem!”


3. Old Sixth Ward Historic District. “Bordered by Houston Ave. on the east, Washington on the north, Sawyer on the west, and Memorial Dr. on the south. It’s an archetypal neighborhood with a park and community center at its heart. Its relatively ancient structures are animated by an active neighborhood association and waves of new residents; turnover is partially the result of sales and new builds and partially a result of a relatively large number of rental properties. We have frequent get-togethers for the whole community. You have young professionals, multigenerational families, rich and poor, stay-at-home moms, liberals, libertarians; all in a relatively small area, and all socializing regularly at Dow Elementary Park, at St. Joseph’s, at Catalina Coffee, or out in front of someone’s house. Just about everyone knows everyone else — whose kid, whose dog. And it’s right in the center of things. In the last year we’ve seen the installation of new sewer connections, brick sidewalks, signs indicating the neighborhood’s historic designation, and ‘classic’-looking streetlights. Reasonably-priced homes have been selling quickly; others are being rehabbed and new construction is going up on the last few vacant lots left in the neighborhood.”


4. The Greater Heights. “No other neighborhood is as loved — or hated — as the greater Heights. Articles about the Heights, new construction in the Heights, teardowns in the Heights, WalMart, whatever are guaranteed ‘hit’ generators on this site. Post something positive about the Heights, and here come the negatrons to hate and troll on the crappy old houses and decrepit sidewalks. Post something negative about Heights, and here come the defenders to wax philosophical about the quiet simplicity of living small and walking in the street.”


5. Montrose. “Just because.”


6. Oak Forest. “A great neighborhood with a mix of original midcentury homes and new construction. One of the bestselling Houston neighborhoods over the past year, with increasing property values. Large lots, excellent schools, great restaurants nearby (Petrol Station, Plonk), easy access to 610, 290, and I-10, and proximity to other popular neighborhoods (Garden Oaks, Heights, the Galleria) make OF a desirable place to be. The Oak Forest Public Library was beautifully restored last year; Waltrip High School will be remodeled as part of the new HISD bond measure. Oak Forest Elementary is already known for being one of the best in HISD, and Black Middle school recently began a vanguard magnet program. So many great things happening in this neighborhood!”


7. Garden Oaks. “Houston’s ‘country village’ inside the city. A warm and friendly mix of neighbors of all sizes, ages, and persuasions; homes (some old, some new, some great, some not so great — guess that could apply to the neighbors, too); and businesses (the restaurant invasion is in full swing). New construction has been sprouting up like crazy; neighborhood hotspots have been growing in prominence. You can expect this community to grow even more in the coming years.”


8. Piney Point Village. “It’s a beautiful, safe, and peaceful enclave located in a convenient area of Houston. Strictly residential, with wide spacing between homes. Lots of trees. Public schools are great. Walking through the neighborhood is like a stroll in a park.”


9. Springwoods Village. “No, nobody lives here yet, but this brand-new and slightly mysterious neighborhood next to ExxonMobil’s new campus is already attracting a lot of attention for its eco-themery and insta-quaint home styles.”


10. Braeswood Place. “North of Brays Bayou — includes Ayrshire, Braes Heights, Braes Oaks, Braes Manor, Braes Terrace, Emerald Forest, and Southern Oaks. Lots of old ranch homes, although (too) many are being torn down and turned into monstrosities (some of them in interesting styles, however). But there are good-sized lots and friendly neighbors; there’s an active neighborhood association, and deed restrictions are enforced. Neighborhood residents have been responsible for updating Karl Young Park; earlier, they worked to get rid of some old apartments and replace them with the Y and the new library. Mark Twain Elementary and Pershing Middle School have been newly rebuilt.”


11. Knollwood Village and South Braeswood. “Lots of 1950s (some mod) homes being renovated — mixed with new construction. Deed restricted for single-family use. A place inside the Loop where you can raise a family — there are lots of kids around. Walk to Texans games, bike and jog along Brays Bayou to Med Center and Hermann Park. Minutes to the Galleria, West U, Rice Village, and the Med Center. A few more minutes to restaurants in Downtown, Midtown and Montrose.”


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

Photos: HAR (611 W. Clay St., 2042 Forest Oaks Dr., 2110 State St., 1407 Herkimer St., 2606 Stanford St., 5030 W. 43rd St., 702 W. 43rd St., 11310 Williamsburg Dr., 3110 Stanton St., and 8315 Greenbush St., all listed for sale). Rendering: Sullivan Brothers Builders

127 Comment

  • Braeswood Place!!

  • #11 Knollwood Village!

  • South Braeswood, though I think Garden Oaks is pretty awesome too.


  • Heights. Even after Walmart and I-10 interrupting our routines, this neighborhood is still more fun. Nothing like holiday season to show us why people love it here. Thanks, neighbors, for being warchful of each other and throwing great parties.

  • #2 Meadowcreek Village

  • I vote Meadowcreek Village as neighborhood of the year 2012.

  • Montrose. That’s an easy one :)

  • I’m new to Houston, and I haven’t been able to find a clear answer to this question:

    What is the difference between Garden Oaks and Oak Forest?

    Every map I have seen shows them to have the same boundaries. I’m currently buying a house in one of them, so I feel like I should figure out which is where.

  • Just reading the nominees makes me happy to live in Houston. But the winner is Garden Oaks.

  • Heights does it like nobody else. I raced a motorized bicycle guy down durham street yesterday — damn thing kept up with me at 35 mph — but the driver’s dread locks (sp?) never moved an inch. God bless our neighborhod. fun people, used car lots as far as the eye can see, big government attitudes on housing, mature fruit trees, civic pride of ownership, random industrial facilities down the street, gigantic fruit-bearing trees…nobody touches my hood.

  • #3 Old Sixth Ward – this is the next Washington/Montrose type hotspot. It has proximity to trendy neighborhoods (Heights, Washington strip, midtown, montrose) and is filled with ready made tear downs/artful restorations.

  • #9 – ‘Cause it doesn’t exist yet, which means I don’t have to suffer the fools who live there continually flooding Swamplot with propaganda and tearful defenses of its merits.

  • I vote for #5 (Montrose) just because I’m incredibly biased (I love in Montrose, of course.)


    But seriously, this is really the year that the Heights came into its own. The Heights added Sonoma, Sale Sucre, Belissimo, Little Woodrows, Boomtown Coffee, Public House Heights, Crisp and Premium Draught to its quickly growing roster of food and drink options. Next year should see the opening of Colitvare, Torchy’s Tacos, a fried chicken and donuts drive through by the Liberty Kitchen guys, a Killen causual stakehouse, Ruggles Green (the real one), Union Kitchen and Town in the City Brewery. There are even rumors of a family interested in opening an Indian restaurant in the Heights. Two new doctors offices and one dentist office opened in the Heights. St. Lukes opened an emergency room at the hospital on 19th st.
    On the housing front, Sullivan Brothers have almost completed filling up a giant lot (made vacant by the demolition of Cooley Elementary) with 30+ units of new single family construction. Block long empty lots in Sunset Heights west of Yale along 25th and east of yale where the old elementary school was demolished are prime for future development. The new drainage detention pond near Rutland and the bike path could potentially be a new park if the stars allign just right. White Oak St. is seeing some good growth in retail with the addition of One Green Street, La Camella and Heights Vinyl. The Sparrow and the Nest is a great Houston only craft artist shop across the street from crafty Hello Lucky on Studewood and next to the Funny Potter to create a mini-craft district. New galleries went in where King Biscuit was and at an old grocery store in Sunset Heights. Lights in the Heights and White Linen Nights are emerging from growing pains to become great annual events in addition to the monthly First Saturday and dozens of smaller festivals (including my favorite, Sausagefest at the Odd Fellows lodge). The fever pitched battles over historic districts and Wallmarts have died down, but residents are ready with their pitchforks and torches if a developer tries to go all Ashby on the neighborhood. No other neighborhood in Houston is on such a dynamic tragectory as the Heights.

  • Meadowcreek Village

  • never like this category, but i’ll go with Montrose. the only ‘hood in town that continues to welcome anyone, and i mean ANYONE, with open arms so as long as you can make rent.

  • Montrose. Just moved out, but it still has my vote. Loved living there over the years – can’t beat the location, and it’s already dynamic

  • 5 – of course, Montrose

  • I live in Sunset Heights and grew up in Meadowcreek Village, but I have to vote for Oak Forest as NOTY because of all the movement there.

  • #2: Meadowcreek Village! (I’m utterly biased.)

  • This may not be the first response to CurtisJ at item 10 above, but it is quite simple: Garden Oaks is one subdivision, and Oak Forest is a different subdivision.

    Building in GO started before WW2, NE of Shepherd and what is now Loop 610, and Oak Forest came along after WW2. On average, the lots are bigger in GO, smaller in OF, and all (nearly all?) of OF is west of GO.

    OF is much larger – for a long while, it was the biggest subdivision in all of Houston. Of course, they do have much in common – the later sections of GO have lot sizes and had original structures very much like those in OF.

  • Montrose, of course.

    @OldSchool, I guess you could say that this is the year that The Heights tried to become The Montrose. (but you didn’t. See comment #20)

    Good luck to all the newcomers. I would imagine that the hipsters are heading your way. (well, except for Piney Point Village. If you are called a “hipster” there, it is because you have had one replaced)

  • Meadowcreek Village is a charm and gets my vote!!

  • I vote for #2 MeadowCreek Village, where I was born and raised and where I live now.

  • Meadowcreek Village ! Great houses huge lots !

  • #2 Meadowcreek, because we have Lisa Gray.

  • OLD SIXTH WARD HISTORIC DISTRICT – great old houses in an up and coming, yet historic, neighborhood gets my vote.

  • Dear toadfroggy: Meadowcreek Village is vibrant these days. It’s not too late to move back and change your vote. We’ll forgive you.

  • Number 5 Montrose–just moved in two weeks ago from Rice Military. Love the charm of new and old homes, young and old people,the grit and the shine and the feel of a real neighborhood.

  • #4 – Greater Heights!

  • I have lived in Meadowcreek Village for over 30 years and it just keeps getting better. Churches and schools close by and shopping in all directions in under 10 miles. I work downtown and I have multiple ways to get to work (if the freeway is backed up)and it never takes more than 20 minutes.

  • @Vonroach: I guess people in Montrose have no sense of humor. I was just having a little fun with the never ending Heights v. Montrose debates on swamplot and other sites, plus the silly enmity that some non-Heights residents have towards the Heights. But there is truth to no. 20 except that it should end with “as long as you can make rent, move out, find a place while your apartment is demolished and the new pencil box complex is built and then move back in at double your old rent payment.”

  • Meadowcreek Village!

  • Old Sixth Ward. And the house shown is now for sale. Very beautiful inside and out.

  • I don’t know how in the world Eastwood didn’t make this list. Somebody should fix that! That said, I’m voting for Meadowcreek Village for neighborhood of the year because the East Side is where it’s at, baby.

  • The heights.

  • Meadowcreek Village!

  • Meadowcreek Village!

  • #2–Meadowcreek Village–

  • —simply great!!!!

  • MEADOW CREEK VILLAGE!!!Still “Undiscovered” country living in the city! Quiet, beautiful, clean, community of family, churches & schools with all the city conveniences- 24 hours a day, surrounding but not invading the neighborhood. Hope this doesn’t send us a rush of “yuppies” (remember them?) but thats what is really cool, everybody is welcome & lives here, very culturally diverse, and ALL wonderful friendly neighbors in Meadow Creek Village!

  • We’ve lived in Meadowcreek Village 53 years. It has held up well, and we expect to remain here the rest of our lives …. in peace and happiness. If we won the lotto, we’d stay put.

  • Old Sixth Ward.

  • Meadowcreek Village

  • The Old Sixth Ward

  • I vote for Old Sixth Ward – a tight-knit historic district characterized by houses with porches and yards where everyone knows your name.

  • Miz Brooke Smith votes for Meadowcreek Village.

  • Meadowcreek Village. I live just across the freeway in very simple little ranch that I totally renovated. It’s an amazing place to come home to.

  • More than 30 years ago Meadow Creek Village was the only neighborhood we looked into, and we are still here! The big trees snuggle us into our homes. The Gold Crested Herons make their nests 40 feet above in the pines. These birds are our symbol, part of our identity. We are a small part of this large City, with easy access to downtown, medical center, and Hobby Airport. So our neighbors remain here, in a longtime, close-knit caccoon community.

  • The Old Sixth Ward is the only place my family’s ever lived in our years in Houston and we can’t imagine living anywhere else. Where else can you live in a real house in a real neighborhood less than a mile from downtown?

  • My vote goes to the Old 6th Ward. It is a great place to live and raise a family. Great porches and great neighbors. It is also walking distance to downtown.

  • My dad and grandfather built our home in the original 5 street Meadowcreek Village neighborhood in 1955-56. I even remember the evening we ‘officially’ moved in. My parents moved out of our home last year, the last of the original families to leave. 2 months later I moved back in. It has taken a bit of getting used to living outside of the Loop after all these years but I don’t regret the decision at all. I really love being ‘back home’! My vote for neighborhood of the year is Meadow Creek Village!

  • The Old 6th Ward is an awesome neighborhood!

  • HEIGHTS!!!! Are you kidding me? No competition!

  • The Heights – it has a little bit of everything anyone needs to make a good life. Despite all the new places, it still has some of the best thrift stores in town.

  • Heights Born here and 4th gen Heights native. I’ve been all over the world and would not make my home base anywhere else.

  • The OLD SIXTH WARD Historic District is the BEST overall ‘hood in Houston. This is both an ABSOLUTE & an HISTORICAL Fact. Oldest & great housing stock…..good value….quirky residents…location, location & location. Best views of CBD and……now the most Happening place to recreate. What else could anyone possibly want?

  • The greater Heights of course! I’ve lived here 32 years, seen a lot of changes, not all for the good but there is no other neighborhood I would rather be!

  • By far, the Houston Heights! Absolutely the best place to live! Close to dining, arts, shopping, downtown events, and above all… A true neighborhood where people know their neighbors and watch out for each other! I have never seen that somewhere in the middle of any other metro area I’ve lived in (and I’ve lived in A few!)

  • Meadowcreek Village has no competition. We have lovely churches, schools and attractive homes. Our active civic clu stays on top of everything…safety, security and city codes. Our trees are magnificent and yards are well maintained. We have a great Little League, too. Now. let me get started…

  • Meadow Creek is the best, on the bayou are many water fowl, all types of wildlife, we even have an eagle at times, the neighbors are tops, and it is a clean & a quiet neighborhood. I would not want to live any other place.

  • The Old Sixth Ward. The historic houses have been restored as handsomely as those in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury, and the sense of community is strong.

  • Out of respect for that mod and interest in watching the south side get the triple crown (idylwood, glenbrook, ????), I’m going with meadowcreek :)

  • Meadowcreek gets my vote

  • Old Sixth Ward. It is close to everything – work (downtown), parks, art, concerts, restaurants and the theater district. Each home is unique, and each home shares its own story of Houston’s history. The neighbors are great. They are active in the community, and work together to solve problems. It is a wonderfully diverse community, with a wide variety of talents and expertise and knowledge. It is a nice community, where the homes are close enough together that neighbors know neighbors. It is its own small community in the shadows of downtown skyscrapers, with cute homes and brick sidewalks. It is the keeper of Houston’s history, and it boasts the most magnificent, up-close view of a cloudy evening sunset reflected off the signature Houston skyline. Old Sixth Ward.

  • I vote for the Old Sixth Ward. It’s an awesome place to be!

  • Heights!

  • Old Sixth Ward.

  • Greater Heights


  • I guess I just see this category differently than others. It’s not Favorite Neighborhood, it’s Neighborhood of the Year. To me, that means that there should be something about the neighborhood that makes THIS year its year.


    Have lived in Woodland Heights and in Montrose. Montrose wins it for me!

  • Love MCV! Near I45 & Hobby.

  • The greater Heights of course. It is one of the few places in Harris county that has a soul.

  • MCV is an amazing neighborhood with an active civic club, involved and committed law enforcement and strategically placed geographically.

  • Old Sixth Ward, hands down!

  • Meadowcreek Village – close to several freeways, UH, downtown, not too large a community, not too small. Perfect place to live!

  • Greater Heights!

  • Meadowcreek = wonderful place to live! Close to UH – my favorite school in town!

  • The Old Sixth Ward has long been an interesting neighborhood with great old (1880’s old) houses and has been attractive to creative types with an interest in living close to everything important in Houston. Now that it has more amenities surrounding it, and historic designation to help protect it’s character, it is more special than ever.

  • “I wanna go where everybody knows your name & they’re always glad you came…” Meadowcreek Village is a close knit neighborhood where neighbors are extended family. I grew up in MVC, moved away for a year & then bought a house on a bayou lot. There’s no place like home. Kids leave their bikes in the middle of the street & neighbors walk them back over to the owners. The civic club is active and has a good relationship with HPD. The lots are spacious and so are the houses. The neighborhood enjoys a great nature life as well – blue herons, fresh water otters, turtles, ducks, fish and lots of mature pine, oak, weeping willow, pecan, lemon & orange trees. Its location is perfect – just outside the loop makes for great house prices & great driving distance to downtown, Reliant park or NASA! Why live anywhere else?!

  • #3, the Old Sixth Ward. Saving some of those old structures made for a good neighborhood.

  • Historic 6th ward. It is the oldest neighborhood in Houston and the homes there were actually built before the year 2000.

    This is a reference to all the homes in the heights being torn down and replaced by perry homes’ Victorian designed town homes.

    Woodland heights, Washington heights, greater heights and blah blah blah. There is only one actual heights and it was started way after the Historic 6th.

    You can walk anywhere from the 6th and during the 4th of July holiday it has the best fireworks access in the city.

  • Old sixth ward, it is a real neigborhood.

  • Meadowcreek Village! I am a PA who works in the ICU at Texas Children’s Hospital. I really appreciate my closeness to the medical center. I love taking my daughter down the street to our very popular Meadowcreek Village park. I definitely enjoy riding around our neighborhood looking at the uniqueness of each home sparkling with holiday decor. So what makes us the neighhborhood of the year? We do (active civic club, active neighborhood gatherings), our beautiful unique home with very large lots, our exemplary school (Patterson Elementary) and our eagerness to continue to grow and improve! Good luck Meadowcreek!

  • MeadowCreek Village

  • Someone should volunteer to make a map with the boundaries of all contestants shaded in :)

  • Meadowcreek Village
    Amazingly close to all the wonderful venues in Houston without the major traffic issues. You can have a small town experience within the big city. Also love the diversity of the neighborhood.

  • Knollwood Village! And it did NOT flood during Allison (honest), unlike Braeswood Place just to the north.

  • Having lived in several of these neighborhoods, Meadowcreek Village wins hands downs. Central location in city, great neighbors, trees and wildlife, schools, parks, churches. All here.

  • Old Sixth Ward!

  • I must, I have to vote for the OLD 6Th Ward, in Houston, Texas.
    It has lasted 150 years and will last another 150 years.

  • Meadowcreek Village! We moved from the suburbs of Pearland last June and we love our quiet neighborhood and our cool ranch house that backs up to the bayou. Neighbors are friendly and we have plenty of nearby shopping and easy access to i-45 and 610 makes commuting downtown very easy.

  • Meadowcreek Village! Relatively new residents here and the neighborhood has not disappointed at all. It is a great solace to live.

  • Old Sixth Ward! Great people, great location, great restaurants! Walking distance to downtown. Best Houston neighborhood, hands down.

  • Heights! Heights! Heights!

  • Montrose is world-class…it’s what makes Houston an interesting place to live!

  • Montrose obviously. Best everything in Houston. Someone obviously has a lot of time making repeat posts about meadow creek. That place is one huge cancer zone, you could never pay me to live that close to all those refineries.

  • Southside rules – Meadowcreek Village

  • I’d hate for logic and reason to have any part in selection of “neighborhood of the year”, but I’ve never heard of most of these neighborhoods. If Heights doesn’t win this thing after everything that has happened this year, it’s time to retire this category. If the category was “neighborhood you love the most” or “neighborhood with the most active HOA”, I would understand the nominations and votes. ?

  • Meadowcreek Village

  • Meow meow Meadowcreek Village.

  • Click on my link for Meadowcreek Village Map.


  • My vote for Braeswood Place. Great location, great schools, wonderful mix of old/new homes with easy commute. Perfect for families wanting to avoid the cost of private school. I would rather pay for better schools then an old house that I can walk to a coffee shop.

  • #5 Montrose
    Just because

  • The Greater Heights

  • Poor Mel, the sun doesn’t rise over Studemont and set on Shepherd. There are a lot of great neighborhoods all over the city that are not trying to be all things to all people, which is what has kept the appeal so strong for some and completely off the radar for others. Well, that, and some people just need to get out more. If you feel like the Heights needs a Swampie award, the Heights can always lay claim to the year the “Charlestorlean” won the design cliche category, after all, that one was really all about the Heights now, wasn’t it.