Neighborhood of the Year: The Official 2013 Ballot

Here it is, the official ballot for Neighborhood of the Year. It’s the next-to-last category for the 2013 Swamplot Awards for Houston Real Estate, and it all came together thanks to your nominations.

Just a note: This category is for neighborhood of the year. If we had wanted to name this category best neighborhood, we would have. For Neighborhood of the Year, you get to decide what the criteria are — and which nominee deserves the award. Of course, it sure helps if you explain your reasoning as you cast your vote.

Do that by leaving a comment below or contacting us via email, Facebook, or Twitter. You can vote all 4 ways, too, so long as you follow the voting rules.

And the nominees are:


4722 mckinney st eastwood

1. Eastwood. “Great neighborhood for everyone (families and singles alike), decent housing stock, new construction, new businesses moving in, close to Inner Loop attractions, and still mostly affordable. Dynamo — er, BBVA Compass — Stadium is next door in EaDo (I hate calling it that), and the light rail on its way. They say it’s the ‘new Montrose.'”


114 payne st germantown

2. Germantown Historic District. “This tiny neighborhood of 71 homes tucked between Woodland Heights and I-45 used the historic preservation ordinance to protect itself from a big, bad developer — without drawing the wrath of haters.”


88 grant regency the woodlands

3. The Woodlands. “Sure it’s nice, but The Woodlands deserves our appreciation for what it’s done for the rest of the Houston area. Without it, real estate prices in Houston would be like inside the beltway in DC. The Woodlands has done an excellent job at luring away many a million-dollar home buyer from Houston. The Woodlands has also done a great job at building up enough arts, entertainment and ‘culture’ to keep people busy on the weekends instead of coming down to Houston and taking 15 minutes to parallel park (even with the assistance of a spotter who jumps out of the car and violently waves instructions to the driver) and buttering their tortillas before making their fajitas at Tex-Mex restaurants (I have actually seen this and it still haunts me to this day). The key to Houston emerging from being nothing more than a typical Southern city with a hollow core that is nothing more than a 9-to-5 business center and sprawling suburbs is to have somewhere for people to live who cannot deal with the hustle, bustle, and diversity of a thriving metropolis. The Woodlands is just that place.”


2027 libbey dr oak forest

4. Oak Forest. “2013 seems to have been a ‘tipping point’ year for Oak Forest, where the residents have come together to cause good things to happen, rather than just watching while others controlled the action. Fundraising efforts have occurred, security programs implemented — things you have seen next door in Garden Oaks for years. The quality of Oak Forest Elementary and the improvements occurring at Black Middle School don’t hurt a bit. OF seems to have a good present and an excellent future.”

“Oak Forest has a ridiculously active Homeowner’s Association/Facebook page (and there’s now SEALS security, hah!), large lots, great and improving schools, and TC Jester Park.”


1001 fugate norhill

5. Norhill. “It’s one of the few, maybe only, Heights-area neighborhoods to have escaped the scourge of New Charlestorleans-style homes, humper house additions and the light industrial/garden apartments that infiltrated the area in the ’60s and ’70s. It even has sidewalks and a park! Deed restrictions and historic district status have helped it keep the original look, and attract the type of buyer who wants and appreciates that look.”


306 northwood st brooke smith

6. Brooke Smith. “Although it’s still rough around the edges, older properties have been purchased by developers and investors who are working with the original bones and maintaining a similar aesthetic to other homes within the neighborhood. Just in the last year or so there’s been significant change. Thankfully, the former unbridled 3-story townhouse tsunami has been contained, and the focus has redirected onto single family homes that aren’t built to the lot lines. Also, many original owners have taken to repairing and fixing up their homes. Montie Beach Park is flourishing with the neighborhood’s active Civic Club, and it’s awesome to go to the park and see people partaking in classes, basketball, or soccer games and kids playing with their families. I love how it’s diverse (working class, young professionals, families, couples, singles), and it’s easy to walk or bike to the Heights and Woodland Heights. D&T Drive Inn opened this year, and it’s brought in a bunch of new faces into the neighborhood. It makes me happy to see that people are actually coming into the neighborhood for drinks and a bite to eat with their family and friends. And really — where else can you get 24-hour donuts (Shipley) and Mexican food (Teotihuacan) at 9:30 on a Monday night? (For the nights where you need a backup plan, there’s Whataburger!) HCAD agrees with me — it raised my property taxes 43 percent. (I wish I were joking.)”


1027 Chamboard Ln., Shepherd Park Plaza, Houston

7. The Shepherd Parks. Shepherd Park Plaza, Candlelight Plaza, and Shepherd Park Terrace are neighbors with the GOOFers, but still somewhat more affordable. All 3 have great neighborhood organizations, and you can’t beat the holiday lights! There are teardowns and new builds happening even in Shepherd Park Terrace — much sooner than anyone probably anticipated — as people are priced out of Garden Oaks and Oak Forest.”


One of these will be crowned Neighborhood of the Year for 2013. Which one should it be?

Photos: HAR (306 Northwood St., 4722 McKinney St., 2027 Libbey Dr., 88 Grand Regency, 1001 Fugate, 114 Payne St., 1027 Chamboard Ln.)

The 2013 Swampies

130 Comment

  • My pick is the Meyeraland area not just Meyerland area itself the areas around it to. It is the best bang for your buck close to everything and generally a low crime area

  • Brooke Smith. Personal bias. And the property tax increase is no joke!

  • I vote for Oak Forest

  • 1. EASTWOOD. I’ve lived in the neighborhood for 10 years and wouldn’t think of living anywhere else. Great neighbors, active civic association, hipster businesses, light rail, lots of gays, easy access to freeways, great restaurants, and low crime. Eastwood Academy is in the Top 10 schools in Texas and #56 in the country :)

  • I’d vote the Woodlands, but that is not a neighborhood in the way that any of the other choices are, it is like declaring Katy a neighborhood.

    So I go with #4 Oak Forest

  • Write-in: Cinco Ranch. What do we have to do to get a good neighborhood on this ballot???

  • The Shepherd Parks. I’ve lived in the neighborhood for 5 years now and LOVE it!!! The neighborhood feels like a real community.

  • Well you know where I’m voting… +1 for Oak Forest!

  • Another vote for Oak Forest!

  • Montrose (even though it’s not on here. Geeze, that’ll teach me to take a few weeks off)

  • Germantown – the people who live there did a BUNCH of heavy lifting on their own behalf, quietly and effectively. They deserve the recognition.

    I did, however, practically double over laughing again at the spot on description of a ‘burboid attempting to wedge a ginormous land barge into two adjacent parallel spaces (and ultimately taking both).

  • i will vote for the Woodlands, but not for the original reasons in my snarky post. The Woodlands has lots of housing options from $250k to 2 mil+. It has the best concert venue in Houston and the Symphony for the summer at Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion. It has a marathon and an Ironman triathlon (fun to watch participants blow their fluids all over the road when temps hit 90 during the marathon leg in early May). The Hughes Landing project is as progressive a development as anything that has ever been seen inside the Houston metro area. Great schools from K-12. Miles of trails, many of which connect to parks and playgrounds in close proximity to almost every house. The commute time to Houston will eventually reach parity with Houston’s celebrated inner loop neighborhoods as an onslaught of multifamily with not infrastructure upgrades will make much of the inner loop impassible during rush hour commute. There will eventually be theme parks for the kids up the road and maybe the Astros AAA team. No need to evacuate during hurricanes. Temps tend to be a touch cooler and the humidity a bit lower than inside the loop. You can see stars at night. No giant signs for businesses. Trees everywhere. Whole Foods is coming. No risk of some developer from Atlanta dropping a highrise in your back yard and having everyone call you names for being against it. Short drive to Lake Conroe, Huntsville State Park and Sam Houston National Forest. Exxon Mobil will eventually purchase the entire community from the US government to help retire the Federal debt and make it the sovereign private nation of Exxonistan.

  • My vote is for the Shepherd Parks!

  • 2. Germantown Historic District

  • Eastwood. The closest in location without the price tag or the snottiness.

  • Eastwood!!!! No contest really. It has everything: historic homes, new housing stock, convenience, GREAT NEIGHBORS, the new light rail line, cultural diversity, Voodoo Queen, D&W, and it just happens to be the tex mex capital of the world. I’ve lived in Montrose and I work in the Heights and I say unequivocally that Eastwood is the most charming, social, and fantastic neighborhood in the city.

  • Eastwood! I live here :)

  • #4, Oak Forest – It’s a thriving up and coming neighborhood.

  • Brooke Smith.

  • Eastwood!

  • We have lived in Shepherd Park Plaza for almost 40 years. It just gets better. It’s the perfect size neighborhood. Durham Elementary has a great principal and staff. Our park has one of the few labyrinths in Houston.

  • Shepherd Parks. Candlelight Park is a great place to live!

  • 4. Oak Forest

  • The Shepherd Parks

  • Eastwood! The light rail is just one of many things making this longstanding East End neighborhood hot property!

  • Eastwood. We love our neighborhood – we can bike to Discovery Green, get anywhere in about 10 minutes, we have rail, and we enjoy beautiful, historic homes that mirror our sister neighborhood in Woodland Heights. But, the best part is the people. Eastwood is home to so many artists, educators, and politicos. We have a tight-knit community that is fun, creative, and down-to-earth.

  • Definitely Eastwood! My partner and I have lived in this beautiful neighborhood for 15 years. It is THE hidden gem in Houston. Close to everything with fantastic homes–everything from quaint bungalows, fabulous Foursquares, and glorious Mission architecture. All of this and the best neighbors you could ever imagine.

  • Oak Forest is the best dog-gone dog loving, kid-friendly, geographically desirable naybs in H-town. Our original beauties sitting next door to the McMansions says it all: Size doesn’t matter. Is all about what’s on the inside. We love coming home to Oak Forest!

  • Eastwood.

    Reasons I love Eastwood:
    Eastwood Home Tour, Eastwood baby sitting Co-op, National Night Out, Yucca Flats, Halloween, Bohemeos, Bohemeos Bad Ass Bike Ride, The BEST Taco Trucks, Light Rail, Coffee Factory Smells, Bread Factory Smells, Lantrip Elementary, Chrysalis Middle School, Eastwood Academy…

  • The Shepherd Parks. Great location, great neighbors, and beautiful homes!

  • Lots of swell nabes but I’ll go with Eastwood because it’s the been both the spark and anchor of the true historic East End’s (sorry EaDoites, your area is great but is a new species of animal) 21st century rebirth. I live on this side, but not in Eastwood, and so am enjoying seeing the continuing ripples of improvements on the pond still spreading from those early Eastwooders in the 80s who took the plunge.

  • Hallelujah Old School! Another vote for The Woodlands!

  • Germantown–and I hope we can keep it that way!

  • Norhill, fear not the charlestorleans are coming. The blight of quasi-restored cookie-cutter bungalows will be wiped out of this section of the heights as soon as we finish up the remaining tear-downs north of 20th street MWWUUAAHHAHAHAHAHAAAAA!

    I do like Germantown but now that Old School has coined Exxonistan I absolutely have to go with the Woodlands.

    My Vote: Exxonistan.

  • Eastwood!

  • My vote is Oak Forest. So many positives that have happened and the property values are soaring.

  • Eastwood!

  • Eastwood! We are going on our second year here, have lived all over the inner loop and this is, by far, the best neighborhood. why? Beautiful homes, giant oaks, friendly tight knit community, active civic association, amazing food, effortless commute, light rail. I could go on and on. Absolutely love it here.

  • Shepherd Park Plaza

  • Oak Forest. Well located, and on the move.

  • An honorable mention for Eastwood, but I actually appreciate the substance underlying Old School’s nomination for The Woodlands and so I’m going to get behind that one.

  • Shepherd Parks! Affordable, family friendly, high level of neighbor interaction, good development in terms of restaurants, etc. coming to the area.

  • Eastwood. Close to downtown and still very reasonably priced.

  • Eastwood! It’s a great place to live and it just keeps getting better…

  • Eastwood. Its the only neighborhood on the list with a bustling population of free range chihuahuas.

  • Voting for Germantown!

  • Team Eastwood! I moved into the neighborhood after a year in Shady Acres, and I’m so glad I hopped across 45.

  • Eastwood ftw! McMansions are gross.

  • The Shepherd Parks… definitely a awsome choice for neighborhood of the year.

  • Eastwood! The neighborhood has worked hard on a number of projects from the East End and South East light rail lines to working with groups on a master bike and pedestrian path plan. I love knowing more of my neighbors than anyplace I’ve lived, many of which are involved in great volunteer activities.

  • The first time I heard about Eastwood was 10 years ago when we were looking for a house. We loved it then, and love it more today. I vote for Eastwood for the Neighborhood of the Year award.

  • Eastwood!!!!

  • Eastwood! Both sets of my grandparents lived in Eastwood, as did my parents. So when I moved here eleven years ago, there was a great sense of homecoming. But I had no idea how wonder-filled the neighborhood had become. Great neighbors who know each other. Lots of parties. Civic and political involvement. Cool businesses. Good schools. Light rail coming. Close to downtown with a small town feel. People in Eastwood are a family.

  • Eastwood is the best neighborhood in Houston–awesome neighbors, great food, great schools, diversity, lots of community activists, lots of animal lovers, fantastic parties, active civic association, and just a great vibe. There are some truly amazing homes, and our home tour is fantastic. The neighbors here are basically an extension of your family (and are sometimes preferable to family). Finally, if you care at all about animals, Eastwood is THE place to be. You can add a furry family member (the kitties … my goodness, the cute kitties …) to your family on any given day. (And, by the way, Eastwood has the BEST porches for porch kitties.)

  • I like all of the Shepherd Parks, Garden Oaks, Oak Forest areas, especially my neighborhood, Mangum Manor, which is a part of the group. I am 3 blocks from the freeway, 5 min. from the Galleria and 12 min from downtown. We have a neighborhood park that is kept up by the city, no association fees, access to Metro transportation as well as a lot of great restaurants and shopping as well as schools within walking distance.

  • Norhill! Not only does it have “a park,” but Proctor Park is one of the most loved parks in the area. People drive from all over Super Neighborhood 22 for parties and playdates at that gem of an outdoor space. A small but active neighborhood associatio, couples with the fact that it’s still a front porch community with socio-economic diversity, make it suitable for those who like old school Heights, as well as young couples who can’t afford a giant new construction. Lovely place.


  • My vote is for Eastwood!!! I love my neighborhood! Even if I didn’t live in the neighborhood I would still vote for it, because it is close to downtown, the light rail is nearby, there are beautiful old trees all around. There are awesome hang out places within walking and biking distance: Bohemeo’s cafe, El Tiempo, The original Ninfa’s, Voodoo Queen, Moontower, Mandola’s, Blue line bike lab #2 etc. etc. There are beautiful homes with so much character. There is a great sense of community and something cool is always going on. Most importantly, the people in the neighborhood are awesome!

  • Oak Forest!

    Moved here earlier this year and couldn’t be happier. Super friendly neighbors who look out for each other. Close to downtown and the freeways. An oasis away from the craziness. As my (now envious) friends say “It’s like the Heights, but without the traffic.” Since 2013 is the centennial anniversary of Eastwood’s establishment, it deserves to be named “Neighborhood of the Year”!

  • I vote for Eastwood. I fell in love with this neighborhood in the 70’s. We’re 2 miles from downtown and half a mile from U of H. It’s quiet and we have some really good if not well known restaurants like Mandola’s.

  • Norhill. It’s a convenient and friendly old neighborhood, and it’s less pretentious than the Heights proper. As much as I like Eastwood, I consider it my second choice since it lacks a decent grocery store. Also, there’s the occasional odd smell blowing in from Baytown or the ship channel.

  • Oak Forest!

  • Oak Forest! (and for gosh sakes, quit calling us the GOOF! We don’t refer to ourselves as GOOFs … well, not to anyone’s face….

  • #4, Oak Forest!!

  • Eastwood! Eastwood! Eastwood!

  • Oak Forest!!!!!

  • Oak Forest is my pick. There are lots of reasons as to why The Houston Chronicle called it “the new West U.”

  • Old School has it right I vote The Woodlands.

  • Oak Forest- been here for 25 years. I love this neighborhood!

  • I 100% stand by the nomination I wrote for Brooke Smith.
    I disagree with the “decent housing stock” in Eastwood; there hasn’t been any for some time (low/no inventory; the home featured in the picture was built in 2012 and is priced at ~$450K). But kudos for their civic club coming out to support their hood. :)
    I thought the picture of the Oak Forest home was actually located in the Woodlands/Kingwood/Katy.

  • Oak Forest- love this neighborhood! :)

  • Oak Forest for the win!

  • Definitely Eastwood out of the neighborhoods nominated. The homes are very charming and yet still reasonably priced. Waking up to the smell of coffee and fresh bakery is awesome. I also love the mature oak trees in this area and the great proximity to downtown.

  • #4 Oak Forest

  • I vote for Eastwood; beautiful homes, great location relative to Downtown and a marvelously eclectic community of friends and neighbors!

  • Oak forest!!!!

  • I vote for Eastwood, our neighbors to the west.

  • Gotta go Oak Forest. Nice peeps, good schools. ( grocery store needs improvement though – inside joke)

  • I vote for Eastwood

  • Eastwood. I adore it and I never want to leave it.


  • I vote Norhill.

  • Eastwood celebrated its 100th Anniversary this year – I vote for Eastwood

  • Oak Forest-since relocating to Houston 10 months ago we looked for an area to raise our three boys that would be close to the city. We made a great choice in OF. Great people, close to many attractions, active community, diverse (race, ethnicity, and income), family friendly, great elem schools and wonderful tree lined streets with a mix of old and new.

  • I vote for Oak Forest. In the last year the neighborhood has gone through tremendous change and drama worth a Telenovela.

  • I lived in Lizzietown Terrace for 12 years. You’ve never heard of it but it’s surrounded by Brookesmith and is by all accounts, Brookesmith. So, Brookesmith is my vote because it really is an amazing place. My friends used to say I lived in the ghetto but I felt 100 times more safe at that house than I do at my new place in the “Heights Proper”.

  • Oakforest – close to everything important yet far enough away to have a laid back vibe.

  • The Woodlands.

  • Oak forest!!

  • Oak Forest, On the rise in prpery value, family friendly, home to Oak Forest Elementary, near parks and joggin trails, close to downtown and galleria. Less traffic vs The Woodlands.

  • oak forest of course! could have told you that 49 years ago.

  • Shepherd Parks – We are more affordable and a great community.

  • Oak Forest is an amazing place to leave.

  • I meant Oak forest is an amazing place to LIVE in!

  • The Shepperd park plaza is the BEST

  • This year its Oak Forest for sure. The hottest ‘hood in town.

  • 4 – Oakforest.

  • Oak Forest!!

  • #3 woodlands pre xom!

  • I vote for Oak Forest. We have lived here 48 years and intend to stay. Our daughter wants to stay here when we are gone. One of our sons bought a house here. We are very close to Stevens elementary and Black middle school. We are close to shopping and we are close to access loop 610. Traffic we use is not bad. Rarely backed up unless a train has gone by or school is about to dismiss. The homeowners association has kept businesses out of the homes so to our knowledge all are still private residences. There are approximately 5500 homes here.

  • Shepherd Parks.

  • Eastwood all the way! Lovely neighborhood full of history and charm. Lots of families, good eats and an awesome park.

  • GERMANTOWN! We survived becoming the 1st HD to achieve the new 67% “support” vote per the new Historic Preservation Ordinance and the first to have the City use it’s most stringent enforcement efforts yet because of a “big bad developer” (aka Terry Fisher). We’re the guinea pigs but we’re also fighters! Vote for GERMANTOWN!