Tourism

Where to Stay in Houston – The 5 Best Neighborhoods

“Houston” was the first word being heard from the moon. Today, hosting the Johnson space center, Houston is known as the world capital of space exploration and the most populated city in Texas, plus the fourth most populous city in the US! Be ready for its incredible artistic and cultural scene, its special Texas-Mexico fusion cuisine, exciting nightlife, and crazy shopping!

This modern town has the power to amaze anyone… Did you know that it has the largest theatre district outside of Broadway? And that it hosts the biggest shopping center in Texas? Or that here you can find the first traditional Hindu temple in the nation? I bet not… so what are you waiting for? It’s time to think about where to stay in Houston and what to explore!

And here comes the hard part. The city has countless things to see or do and an incredible number of neighborhoods (I counted at least 21!), all of them with their own personality and tourist attractions. But don’t worry, I’ve been searching among all the best booking websites and gathered the best accommodation options, divided by the city’s main areas to stay in Houston for you.

Here are my highest recommendations for any budget and traveler from party enthusiasts to families, art lovers, and shopping addicts. Take the time to make the best choice but make sure you book your accommodation in advance, this tourist gem is not waiting for you!

Ready? Let’s go!

If you are in a hurry

Don’t have much time to decide where to stay in Houston? Here’s a quick list of the best accommodations in Houston city center, from the most exclusive to the cheapest!

airbnb

Historic Downtow

An Airbnb with amazing reviews

budget hotel

Wanderstay Hostel

Best affordable accommodation in the center

Here’s a map of the 5 main neighborhoods to stay in Houston that I’ll go through in this post to help you visualize them better:

1. Downtown Houston – perfect area for first-time visitors

If you’re new to the city and you cannot make up your mind on where to stay in Houston, why not be close to everything? The Downtown area, also called “the heart of Houston”, is the city’s business center. Connected by public transport (with the metro light rail) to every other area, it is the perfect place to start some extensive exploring.

This metropolis is known for its urban architecture, amazing skyline, luxury apartments, and office buildings with great food halls. Downtown Houston itself is worth visiting, as it provides entertainment for people of all ages, the basketball stadium, and ballpark, shopping centers, the theatre district, an exciting nightlife, parks, and activities.

If you’re into green spaces, you cannot miss Discovery Green, an urban park where you can enjoy live music, fitness facilities, and a magical ice-skating rink in wintertime!

With so many options, it’s no wonder why this area is one of the most loved and visited by tourists. If I were you, I wouldn’t risk booking here at the last minute! Take a look at the following great budget-luxury hotels and Airbnb! While you’re at it, if you like huge cities like Houston, I suggest you also check out the cosmopolitan Dallas and the fun Austin!

Luxury hotel

This luxury hotel is the perfect compromise for someone who wants to explore the city center and enjoy all the comforts of a 5-star accommodation. JW Marriott Houston Downtown is located just 5-minute walking distance from Alley Theater, the Theatre District Houston, and Wortham Center. Go check the Downtown Aquarium and take a walk in Discovery Green Park… all just a few meters away!

Other accommodation options in Downtown Houston

Mid-Range

This hotel is one of Houston’s art deco gems and most iconic skyscrapers!

Budget

Stunning mid-century architecture, free wi-fi, and award-winning cuisine in the city center!

Airbnb

A cute loft-style apartment in the middle of the bustling business area

Things to do in Downtown Houston

  • Hike or bike along the trails of Houston Arboretum Nature Center
  • Watch some sporting events at the Minute Maid Park Houston
  • See some of Texas’ tallest buildings: J.P. Morgan Chase Tower
  • Have an underwater adventure at the Downtown Aquarium!
  • Take a picture of the colorful “Houston is Inspired” mural
  • Spend a day in Elizabeth Baldwin Park, Midtown Houston
  • Explore the Houston Tunnel system

2. Montrose and River Oaks – best area for art enthusiasts

If you love diving into art and culture but also enjoy a good night out, you should go for the eccentric Montrose, located in Midtown Houston, just west of Downtown Houston. Here you can pass from neon-lit tattoo saloons to world-class art galleries and finish the day in great bars, clubs, and restaurants.

For this reason, Montrose has been the favorite spot of hipsters, artists, and musicians from the ‘60s through to today which makes it a super vibrant and diverse area.

Just nearby, on the west of Montrose, you’ll find Houston’s most regal and wealthiest neighborhood, River Oaks. This luxurious area is characterized by picturesque streets of perfect yards, green spaces (like the River Oaks Park), and dense and majestic oaks… guess where its name comes from!

If you’re looking for a first-class weekend, visit the elegant shopping center, try the exquisite cuisine and exciting social clubs.

Luxury hotel

Do you want to treat yourself and take your weekend to the next level? Then this five-star hotel is ready to exceed your expectations! Experience holistic treatments in the Spa or immerse yourself in the heated outdoor pool after an intense day of walking around this exciting city.

Other accommodation in Montrose and River Oaks

Mid-Range

Enjoy the outdoor pool of this 3-star hotel close to Galleria Houston and the Waterwall Park!

Budget

Start the day with a gourmet, organic breakfast in this cozy bed & breakfast before exploring the city

Airbnb

Experience the best of Space center City in this quiet bungalow with modern comforts

Things to do in Montrose and River Oaks

  • Experience Montrose’s best nightlife with your friends
  • Take Mural Instagram Tour
  • Walk, bike, or relax in Buffalo Bayou Park!
  • Go check out the Menil Collection
  • Have dinner in Steak 48, Le Colonial, or Ford Fry’s State of Grace
  • Have a long walk or run in the Memorial Park
  • Visit Montrose’s great cultural centers like the Printing Museum and the Houston Center of Photography

3. Galleria/Uptown – the shopping paradise!

Are you a shopping addict and your budget isn’t so much of a concern? Then you’ll fall in love with Uptown, just west of Downtown Houston! Here you find the largest shopping center in Texas which attracts more than 26 million people every year, The Galleria Mall.

This popular tourist spot has 375 stores, including the best brands such as Yves Saint Laurent, Versace, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and many more! But this is not just a mall, it hosts a skating rink, 2 huge swimming pools, and 40 dining places from worldwide cuisine to the local Houston delicious food.

And that’s not all, it also offers various entertainment facilities for children and women, a children’s play area, spas, beauty salons, etc… you can spend the entire day here (Just try and leave some time for other activities during your stay in Houston)!

I personally don’t like shopping, especially when I am traveling, but the Houston Galleria itself is like visiting a small town… I would make an exception for that!

The Galleria is surrounded by exclusive bars, restaurants, and clubs, which make it perfect for a fun night with your friends. As you can imagine, near Galleria you’ll find the best luxury hotels with stylish designs, but I also found some cheaper choices if you want to stay on a budget.

Luxury hotel

Located within 1 mile (1.6 km) of The Galleria in Houston, The Post Oak hotel can meet the desires of both business and leisure travelers. This 700,000-square-foot tower offers elegant accommodations, a conference and office space, a fitness center, culinary excellence, and even direct helicopter pad access! Treat yourself like a celebrity and get world-class service!

Other options in La Galleria/Uptown Houston

Mid-Range

A sophisticated and modern hotel, only 2 min walking distance from the Galleria!

Budget

Feel like at home in this cozy and affordable stay in Houston, only 5 min drive from the Galleria Houston

Airbnb

A contemporary and elegant apartment for a perfect getaway, in a very quiet area!

Things to do in La Galleria/Uptown Houston

  • Spend a full day at the Houston Galleria 
  • Check out Houston Williams Tower, a class A art deco office tower!
  • Watch a movie in the Rooftop Cinema Club, with the city skyline at your backdrop!
  • Have an artistic experience at the FOMO Factory
  • Have a walk in Gerald D. Hines Waterwall uptown Park and check its sculptural fountain

4. Museum District – where to stay in Houston with family

If you’re going to have a family vacation, Museum District is definitely the place to be. This quiet area is located in the south of Houston close to the Texas Medical Center, and is one of the best-known cultural districts in the US! With its 19 world-class museums (some of them are even free!) and child-friendly shows, this District meets the desires and interests of every member of the family!

Go check out the interactive exhibits at the Children’s Museum and be amazed by the Houston National Museum of Natural Science, featuring a Giant Screen Theatre, a Planetarium, and even a Butterfly Center during your stay in Houston!

Also, home to natural attractions such as Hermann amusement Park, this area can keep you busy for days… You just need to choose where to start!

Luxury hotel

Right in the heart of the vibrant Museum District, Hotel ZaZa is the perfect choice to balance a cultural holiday with some deserved relaxation. Outdoor swimming pool Villas, Concept Suites, and The Magnificent Seven Suites… any elegant accommodation you’ll choose will be a feast for your senses at this amazing place to stay in Houston!

Other accommodation options in Museum District

Budget

Enjoy a social atmosphere with travelers from all over the world during your stay in Houston at this hostel

Airbnb

A beautiful big apartment with a private bathroom, ideal for a stay in Houston with kids

Things to do in Museum District

5. Northwest Houston – the best local and cheap neighborhood to stay

Northwest is the perfect option if you want to experience the typical Houston while staying on a budget. When I travel, I always look for the most authentic areas to experience the real soul of the city and interact with the locals. If you’re like me, you will love this part of the town!

Being more residential and relaxed, it will give you a glimpse of the local life at lower prices than the ones you find in the touristy neighborhoods.

Immerse yourself in Houston’s everyday life walking, biking, and having picnics in the several green parks, such as the stunning Terry Hershey Park. You can also try something exciting and race Go-Karts at the nationwide indoor go-kart Circuit! Or why not just watch a movie in a traditional theatre or explore the local shops? In the end, Northwest is all about enjoying a quieter pace of life!

Luxury hotel

Have access to the best of Northwest Houston from this all-suite, urban high-rise hotel! Indeed, the strength of the Embassy Suites consists in their central location, just a few steps away from the George R. Brown Convention Center, in front of the Discovery Green, and adjacent to the Houston Rockets’ Toyota Center. Its delicious breakfast will give you the energy to explore all these tourist attractions!

Other accommodation options in Northwest Houston

Mid-Range

Get yourself comfortable in these private rooms, 1 mile away from the Texas medical center!

Budget

You’ll feel at home in this new and quiet motel, ideal for pleasure or business travelers

Airbnb

Historic Bungalow Apartment situated right in the center of Houston Heights for a convenient stay in Houston

Things to do in Northwest Houston

👑 Luxury price: $400
💵 Mid Range: $200
🛏️ Budget: $100
🏠 Airbnb: $150
💰Accommodation prices: Medium
📍Best area: Downtown Houston
👪 Best area for families: Museum District
🛎️ Best luxury hotel: JW Marriott
🧳 Best mid-range hotel: InterContinental Houston
👛 Best budget hotel: Wanderstay Hostel

Frequently asked questions about Houston

👨‍👩‍👧‍👦What to do in Houston with kids?

There are lots of options for kids in Houston, most of them in the Museum District, where you should stay if you’re visiting with the family. The best ones are, the Downtown Aquarium, the Space Center Houston, The Museum of Natural Science, or the famous Houston Zoo.

🏙️ Which is the best area where to stay in Houston?

If you’re new to the city, consider Downtown Houston, where you should stay at the Cambria Hotel Houston. If you’re looking for something eccentric instead, you should go for Montrose, otherwise choose Uptown, the shopping paradise!

🧭 How can I visit Houston in just one day?

If your stay in Houston is just one day, don’t miss the Discovery Green Park and The Heritage Society Downtown. Go visit the Museum District and Hermann Park, and check out The Houston Galleria shopping center.

💸 What are inexpensive things to do in Houston?

The Houston CityPass gives you access to the top attractions in the city for only $59. Otherwise, these museums are always free, Contemporary fine Arts Museum, Holocaust Museum, Houston Center for Contemporary Craft/ Photography, The Jung Center of Houston, and many more!

Conclusion

Here we are! Now that you’ve found out where to stay in Houston, aka Space City, you’re free to decide which accommodation to book -luxury, Airbnb, or cheap- and in which neighborhood. Whether you want to party with your friends, have a cultural holiday, or relax with your family, you know that this huge city in the southern United States has the right place for you!

You still cannot make up your mind? Let me give you my top recommendations, here are the 2 best hotels with a great central location and the best value for money:

  • Hotel Zaza – Located in the heart of the Museum District, this boutique hotel offers a collection of exquisite guestrooms and suites
  • The Whitehall Houston – Iconic mid-century architecture and award-winning cuisine right in the center of Houston!

I hope this guide will help you make the right choice but don’t wait too long to book, this metropolis hosts millions of tourists every year!

If you haven’t found what you were looking for in the article, or you wish to give me any suggestions, please leave a comment below. I’m looking forward to answering your questions and receiving your tips!

Have an amazing trip!

Elena


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