Local Highlights

Montrose, Houston: The neighborhood guide


With a population of over 2 million, Houston is an exciting city known for its energy, diversity, and lively community. From its Southern hospitality and extensive contributions to medicine to a thriving arts and culture scene, delicious cuisine and pro sports, there’s a lot of things to love about Houston. This also includes its distinct neighborhoods, each with its own charm. 

Today we’re going west of downtown Houston and exploring Montrose, one of the city’s most eccentric and quirky neighborhoods. With its endless galleries and museums, one of a kind boutiques and vintage stores, hip coffee shops and restaurants, Montrose stands out for its creativity, talent, and community. 

Whether you’re new to the area or a long-time Houston resident, this guide can help you navigate all there is to know and love about Montrose. 

Where is Montrose? 

Houston skyline at dawn

Often described as “the heart of Houston”, Montrose is a 4-square-mile neighborhood with an incredibly central location within the city. The area is roughly bordered by Allen Parkway to the north, Bagby Street to the east, I-59 to the south and Shepherd Drive to the west.

Montrose is also surrounded by several diverse neighboring communities, including: 

  • Museum District 
  • Upper Kirby 
  • Midtown 
  • Neartown 
  • Rice Military 

The history of Montrose, Houston 

Originally intended to be a highly marketable neighborhood and Houston’s most fashionable district, Montrose was platted in 1911 and attracted a number of iconic residents including Howard Hughes, Clark Gable and Lyndon B. Johnson. 

Montrose experienced tremendous growth during the 1960s and 1970s, as the neighborhood became home to numerous artists, musicians, and hippie communities. It was also during this time that Montrose became known as a center for Houston’s LGBTQ community, with several businesses and places catering to the queer community flourishing in the neighborhood. 

Throughout the decades, Montrose has faced many changes and developments, but the neighborhood’s rich history and unique spirit remains strong. This can be felt in the eclectic mix of art galleries, boutiques, restaurants and nightlife spots across the neighborhood, which attract both locals and visitors. 

Life in Montrose 

Today, Montrose remains a testament to the power of community, creativity, and diversity. As one of Houston’s most exciting neighborhoods, Montrose has no shortage of fun things to do and see. 

Here are some of our top picks! 

What to do 

There’s never a dull moment in Houston’s Montrose. Whether you’re into art, enjoying the outdoors or shopping for vintage treasures, you’ll have no trouble filling your calendar with some of these activities: 

  • Visit the Menil Collection – The most famous place to view art in Montrose, the Menil Collection houses more than 17,000 pieces of artwork and sculpture, including paintings by Pablo Picasso, Max Ernst and René Magritte. While you’re at the Menil, don’t miss out on Rothko Chapel, located right next door. 
  • Discover Buffalo Bayou Park – Enjoying the outdoors is part of the Montrose lifestyle, and this 160-acre park bordering the neighborhood to the north is the perfect place to do so. Whether you’re in the mood to rent a bike and take a scenic stroll, have a picnic with friends, or marvel at the art installations and sculptures, Buffalo Bayou Park has got you covered. 
  • Explore Montrose Collective – Boutique retailers, dining destinations, and wellness spots: you’ll find it all at Montrose Collective. Created to embrace the energy and inclusiveness of Montrose, this creative hub also hosts several events, so be sure to mark your calendar for all things happening at Montrose Collective. 
  • Shop like a local – From luxury boutiques to thrift stores, Montrose offers some of the best shopping in H-Town. The shopping scene is mostly centered on Westheimer Road, where you’ll find something special for every style, taste and budget. Make your way to Out of the Closet and the Montrose Market for vintage treasures, or browse Space Montrose for a selection of original pieces from local artists and creators. 

Where to eat 

From Tex Mex fare to local favorites and trendy new additions, the dining scene in Montrose is as exciting as the neighborhood itself. A few spots to keep an eye on include:  

  • Hugo’s – One of Houston’s most celebrated restaurants, Hugo’s is the place to go for creative Mexican fare. Whether you’re in the mood for a tequila-soaked brunch or looking for savory vegetarian options, you’ll have no trouble finding them at Hugo’s. 
  • Niko Niko’s – First opened in Montrose more than 30 years ago and an important part of Houston’s foodie history, Niko Niko’s has been one of the city’s top choices for Greek bites. Aside from tasty gyros, dolmades, and kebabs, this beloved Montrose spot is also known for their tangy and lemon potatoes. 
  • Uchi – A popular spot that is considered one of the best destinations for sushi in the city, Uchi offers non‑traditional Japanese cuisine with signature tastings and seasonal omakase. Make sure to try some of the local favorites including the hama chili, gyutoro, and fried milk.
  • El Tiempo Cantina – No Hoston food guide is complete without Tex Mex cuisine. Whether you’re in the mood for some chicken breast fajitas or craving a fresh margarita, El Tiempo Cantina has you covered. In addition to delicious Tex Mex fare, their Montrose location is also right next to the iconic Rainbow Crosswalk! 

Where to drink 

Whether you’re looking for a quiet place to enjoy a good glass of wine or a trendy bar to savor a signature cocktail, you’ll find plenty of options in Montrose. Some of the must-visit bars in the neighborhood include: 

  • Light Years – If wine is your thing, you’ll surely love the selection of trendy natural and biodynamic wines at Light Years, a wine bar / shop where you can also enjoy a well-curated list of meats, cheese, and snacks. 
  • Anvil – Offering more than 100 cocktails, Anvil has earned a reputation for serving some of Houston’s best drinks. The place has a refined, industrial feel with a casual yet chic atmosphere where you can enjoy anything from beers on tap to house specials. 
  • Poison Girl – In the mood for a no-frills bar experience? Head down to Poison Girl, a beloved Westheimer dive offering a generous selection of whiskeys and Texas beers to regulars and newcomers alike. Apart from the drinks, the place is also known for the iconic Kool-Aid Man statue that sits on the patio. 

Where to go out 

From LGBTQ+ institutions to historic music venues, Montrose’s nightlife offers something for everyone to enjoy. Popular spots for your next night out include: 

  • Numbers – Open since 1970, this iconic Montrose nightclub is known for its new wave, punk, goth, industrial and electronic music scene. A true Houston institution, Numbers has hosted an impressive list of alternative acts throughout the years, including the Village People, Iggy Pop, and the Cure. 
  • AvantGarden – Based in a historic house, AvantGarden is a patio, bar and lounge offering diverse acts that cater to every mood and taste: think burlesque shows, local bands, open mics, poetry readings and art classes, among many others. 
  • Anderson Fair – Fondly called by regulars as “AFair”, Anderson Fair is one of the nation’s oldest and longest-running singer-songwriter venues. It’s the perfect place to enjoy a beer or wine over an intimate live music performance. 

Why Montrose is one of Houston’s most exciting neighborhoods

Aside from its diverse community, amazing restaurants and bars, and a truly eclectic art and shopping scenes, Montrose is also a great neighborhood to live in thanks to its walkability and transportation

Montrose residents enjoy one of the most walkable areas in the city, and homes are often located within a few blocks from shopping spaces, restaurants, grocery stores, and many more amenities. The neighborhood is also served by several METRO bus stops, making it easy and convenient to reach other parts of Houston such as Downtown, Texas Medical Center, and Hermann Park. 

Explore Montrose with Common 

There’s a lot to love about Montrose–and with Common, living in this eclectic Houston neighborhood is even more fun and convenient! 

With all-inclusive shared coliving suite, microunits, and private 1-and-2 bedroom apartments at UNITi Montrose, Common allows you to live in the heart of Montrose for a fraction of the price. Plus, you’ll enjoy the privacy of your very own bedroom, be part of an amazing community, and have access to modern amenities right outside your door. From a sunny pool deck and rooftop to a handful of loungers, a fitness center and a coworking space, UNITi Montrose is redefining modern urban living–and you can be among the first to experience this new era of stylish living spaces. 

Ready to make your move? Find out firsthand why living at UNITi Montrose is the best way to experience Montrose and the rest of Houston’s most exciting attractions.

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