A Slice of City Life: Why the Heights is Perfect for Our Family

I’m a city girl. Having grown up in Houston and then living centrally in both West University and Montrose after college, I thrive in a bustling environment with all of my favorite things at my fingertips but still plenty of space to call my own, walk the dog and go for a drive. So when we started house hunting around town, the Heights immediately seemed like the most natural fit. A charming, dynamic and constantly evolving neighborhood with a range of traditional, Victorian-style and bungalow homes, new townhomes, walking and biking trails, trendy restaurants, dive bars, cute boutiques, city parks, and proximity to the Galleria, Downtown Houston, Upper Kirby, Washington Heights and Montrose (not to mention easy access to nearly all highways), the Heights combines a cool, young vibe with rich historic character and is the epitome of what makes Houston so magical.

We found out I was pregnant just weeks before moving into our new home in the Heights. Everything seemed to just fall into place and even with a little one on the way, we never thought twice about our choice to live in an urban neighborhood.

When we brought Morgan home from the hospital, we immediately felt the perks of having a child in an urban neighborhood. Friends and family were eager to stop by because it was convenient to get to. It was easy to make a quick trip to the store or run an errand, grab a bite down the street, and go on walks as a new family of three. This is also about the time when I started to note all of the strollers in our neighborhood! In fact, I’m pretty convinced at this point that the Heights alone is keeping the baby business in business.

And as Morgan grew, so did his toy collection. We slowly felt the walls closing in on us… and we even started talking about moving to the suburbs. We need a bigger backyard. Maybe even one with a pool! The dog needs more room play. We could get a swing set. Oh, and a big outdoor patio for entertaining!

But then crawfish season started.

We were just a few blocks from our house sitting at a picnic table with friends, sipping beer in the sunshine. Morgan was snapped into his high chair laughing and making a mess per usual. We had buckets of freshly boiled crawfish en route to our table. I looked around and saw such a variety among us: other families with kids, young professionals with dogs at their feet, tables of friends getting together for a low-key Sunday, even a couple birthday parties where (to be honest) they were maybe having a little too much fun. There was music and corn hole — it was just the most perfect day.

When we came home, I looked at Dr. P and said, “We can’t move.”

The reality is, we have a tiny sliver of a backyard. We don’t have a lot of storage space. We have to walk our dog three times a day because he doesn’t have enough yard to play in. Our kitchen is tight. I want a mudroom.

But what we do have outweighs any and all of that. So I’ve rounded up our Heights family favorites to share!

Amazing culinary culture
Even though Dr. P and I have gone paleo, we are foodies at heart and that is something we have certainly brought into our life with Morgan. Houston is such a culinary mecca! We love exploring restaurants throughout the city — and it’s important that we expose Morgan to those same culinary adventures. So many spots in the Heights are kid-friendly, which we really appreciate.

Barnaby’s – I’m fairly certain that there are at least three charges on our credit card bill to Barnaby’s every single month. We often carry out too, because it’s just so stinkin’ good. The staff is always so gracious as well, something I really appreciate since Morgan tends to get equal parts food in his mouth and on the floor.

CRISP – Pizza, wine and patio. Need I say more?

EQ Heights – Another great patio in the Heights! I often start or end our walks along Heights Blvd with a visit to EQ. Delicious coffee for mommy and warm buttery croissants for baby. It’s generally a bit hit.

Hugs & Donuts – With the most deliciously creative gourmet donuts and just blocks from our house, this spot is so good it really makes you want to walk in and give everyone a hug. I mean heck, what kid wouldn’t go nuts for a donut covered in Fruity Pebbles? Pro tip: Half price donuts an hour before they close!

JuiceLand – Within walking distance of the Heights Hike and Bike Trail, I visit JuiceLand all the time. Thankfully they have plenty of straws for Morgan to play with and it helps that they have the cutest little outdoor space for us to sit and share a smoothie.

Lee’s Fried Chicken & Donuts – This spot has my heart, y’all. I have yet to find fried chicken that I like better than Lee’s — yes, it’s really that good. We went there in our jammies on my birthday and it was amazing. Pro tip: Order the apple fritter. Worth the $2.50.

Lola – We’ve been taking Morgan to Lola since he was born. Casual and comfortable with super friendly staff and good diner food, Lola is one of our favorites for a super easy weekend breakfast. They recently got new high chairs too, so that’s a major win for mealtime with kiddos!

Maryam’s Cafe – Not only is the menu incredible (hello pancakes!) but also the kids play area in the back is heaven on earth and keeps Morgan happy and occupied while mommy gets to enjoy a hot cup of coffee.

Mel’s Seafood Shack – Yep, you guessed it. Crawfish.

Pinkerton’s – Barbecue runs in Dr. P’s veins, and by association, we require some burnt ends and pork ribs on the regular. This hidden gem serves up high quality ‘cue in a brand new location. Morgan has quickly embraced his carnivorous bloodline and loves this spot just as much as his daddy. Pro tip: FULLY STOCKED BAR.

Revival Market – Everything on the menu at Revival is absolutely delicious but my favorite hands down has to be the roast beef sandwich with a side of coleslaw. They make a mean coffee, too. Super kid friendly (Morgan usually has a smorgasbord of breakfast options to choose from) and hello patio!

Steel City Pops – Really delicious and creative popsicles that Morgan so desperately wants to hold himself. While that fight usually ends in tears, he gets a few good licks in and when he’s older, we’ll get him one of his own. Good news, they have kid-friendly popsicle holders for tots!

Vietnam Restaurant – Let me just put it this way… Morgan LOVES fried rice and they haven’t kicked us out yet. Pro tip: BYOB!

Great green spaces
Because we don’t have a big backyard, we use nearby outdoor spaces a lot as a family. Between the White Oak Bayou Trail, Paul Carr Jogging Trail along Heights Blvd, and the Heights Hike and Bike Trail, you can usually spot us on long walks around the neighborhood.

And now that we have a newly walking 14-month-old on our hands, the public parks have been so wonderful for our family. Our three favorites:

Donovan Park – This is such a special spot in the Heights. Tons for kids to explore and enjoy, and big enough to gather as a group for a birthday party or picnic with friends. We just love it!

Milroy Park – Lots of flat and lush green space with a nice playground area. It’s generally not very busy, which I like for those days when I pack a picnic for Morgan and he can wander around chasing the birds.

Wright-Bembrey Park – I just recently stumbled upon this park and the best part? It’s a short walk from our house! Brand new with a shaded picnic area, basketball and tennis courts, we’ve been using it weekly and Dr. P has even shown off his tennis skills a bit!

Groundbreaking, I know
Here’s the thing: I know this likely isn’t anything you didn’t already know. The number of young professionals and families flocking to the Heights isn’t new. We were lucky to find a home that feels like our little slice of city life, and after two years plus a new human in the house, we’ve watched the neighborhood evolve in such a short amount of time already. And that’s exactly what’s keeping us here. The Heights boasts a ton of other family-friendly activities (libraries, gyms, markets, special events, etc.) … I could go on and on and on. It’s just too good to give up.

The truth is — if we can do it, anyone can. There’s no rule that says when you grow up and get married and have kids that you have to live in suburbia. Granted, the perks of suburban life with a family are certainly appealing! But for now, this season of life is bringing our family so much joy, wonder and an active lifestyle with lots of learning and adventure right outside our backdoor. My 30s already feel so much more magical than my 20s, and I can thank the Heights for a lot of that. So for now, we’ll take the dog on more walks, leave our shoes on the patio instead of a fancy mudroom, and order a few more buckets of crawfish to savor in the sunshine.

Have a wonderful weekend, y’all! xo

Heights tees c/o Ruby + James

Photography by LA Photography

  • I found your blog not knowing you live in Houston! Seeing this post helps a lot. I’m currently looking into getting a house but afraid about being in the loop and worrying that my job can take me anywhere and if so my house might be too far away from wherever I land. Sigh … but that lifestyle you’re describing is everything I want. So tough!! Great post.

    • I’m so glad you found this helpful! My motto: live where it best fits your lifestyle. I’d rather be closer to the restaurants, parks, shops and spots that we love to enjoy in our free time rather than live close to a job that is likely to change at some point. But that’s what works for my family! Thanks for stopping by. xo