15 Best Houston Suburbs To Live In: Schools, Real Estate, Maps

Best 15 Houston Suburbs Within 45 Minutes of Downtown

best houston suburbsLiving in Houston has perks: short commutes, great accessibility, world-class retail, bustling business centers, divine dining, and great culture.

However, if you’re considering buying a home outside the heart of Houston, as you’re looking for more space, more top ranked schools or more affordability than what Houston’s Hottest Inner Loop Neighborhoods offer, then this resource guide is for you.

We created this list of Best Houston Suburbs To Live In by looking at population centers above 10,000 within 45 minutes of the heart of Houston. We included both independent cities and suburban regions within the city of Houston.

Each of these top Houston suburbs were graded on these five items:

  • Public Schools
  • Commute Time
  • Overall Livability
  • Accessibility
  • Amenities

The Houston suburbs list was then ranked from top to bottom based on their combined score. We included the 12 with the best score in our Top Houston Suburbs List, and three honorable mentions. (See our complete methodology below.)

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1. The Woodlands

Median Price: $384,500
Notable Features: Good schools, great neighborhood stats, great town center
Notable Top-Rated Schools (within 5 miles): David Elementary School, Ride Elementary School, Galatas Elementary School, McCoullough Junior High School, The Woodlands College Park High School, and The Woodlands High School

The Woodlands made it to the very top of this Houston’s Best Suburbs list due to great community amenities, good schools, and high quality of life.

Located about 30 miles north of Downtown Houston, The Woodlands is a business and employment center in its own right. ExxonMobil’s new campus just south of the community is just one of the companies with offices in the area.

Restaurants, schools, parks, and outdoor entertainment venues are highly accessible from The Woodlands homes. Community amenities like pools, trails, and lakes are also available within the 28,000-acre master-planned community.

Though The Woodlands started out as a Houston suburb, it has transformed into a bustling and balanced community with hundreds of restaurants and cafes as well as several corporate campuses.

Note: If you’re looking at commuting into the city each day, watch out, as the I-45 commute can take up to 2 hours each day, each way at peak traffic times depending on your start and end time.

See All The Woodlands Homes For Sale

 

the woodlands tx map

 

2. Sugar Land

Median Price: $321,500
Notable Features: Great schools, several master-planned communities, great neighborhood stats
Notable Top-Rated Schools (within 5 miles): Fort Settlement Middle School, First Colony Middle School, Dulles High School, Clements High School, and Stephen F. Austin High School

Covering a 24.9-square mile area, Sugar Land is Fort Bend County’s largest suburban city. Its fast-paced growth, as well as its great schools, cemented the city’s place in this Houston suburbs list.

Located about 24 miles southwest of Downtown Houston, Sugar Land features 13 master-planned communities and subdivisions, including Riverstone, Sugar Creek, First Colony, Telfair, and Great Wood. These communities offer luxury community amenities including golf, pools, and neighborhood centers.

Apart from its great neighborhoods, Sugar Land is also a business and employment center. Several companies operate within the city’s boundaries, including CVR Energy, a Fortune 500 company.

Sugar Land homes are zoned to the Fort Bend Independent School District. A small section of the city is served by the Lamar Consolidated ISD.

Sugar Land’s excellent schools, great accessibility, and high number of dining, retail, and employment centers make the city a great option – and number two in this Top Houston Suburbs list.

Note: If you’re in the market for a new construction Sugar Land home, you’ll want to look at the city’s master-planned communities (Riverstone, Telfair, and Imperial).

See All Sugar Land Homes For Sale

 

Sugar Land TX Map

 

3. Katy

Median Price: $275,000
Notable Features: High number of great schools zoned to Katy homes, lots of local amenities
Notable Top-Rated Schools (within 5 miles): Katy Elementary School, Ray and Jamie Wolman Elementary School, Rodger and Ellen Beck Junior High School, Memorial Parkway Junior High School, Cinco Ranch High School, and Taylor High School

The overall quality of schools from the Katy Independent School District and the number of local amenities catapulted Katy to near the top of this best of Houston’s suburbs list.

Convenient accessibility to the Energy Corridor and major freeways also contributed to the city’s overall score. Key Houston business and employment centers are minutes away, though several companies have also set up shop within Katy’s boundaries.

Katy homes are centrally located near hundreds of restaurants, retail stores, and entertainment hubs.

A number of master-planned communities like Cinco Ranch, Seven Meadows, and Grand Lakes are located within the Greater Katy area, spurring more residential and commercial development in the city and surrounding areas.

Note: The commute from Katy to Downtown can take about 2 hours during rush hours.

See All Katy Homes For Sale

 

Katy TX Map

 

4. Friendswood

Median Price: $211,000
Notable Features: High neighborhood stats, great school districts
Notable Top-Rated Schools (within 5 miles): Westwood Elementary School, Cline Elementary School, Bales Intermediate School, Windsong Intermediate School, Friendswood Junior High School, and Friendswood High School

Friendswood made it to near the top of our Houston suburbs list due to high overall livability and great schools. The city also features a good number of green spaces and parks.

Located about 22 miles southeast of Houston’s Central Business District, Friendswood is nestled in the area south of Beltway 8, west of Gulf Freeway, and east of Texas Highway 35. Highly accessible and centrally located, homes in the area are minutes away from key Houston retail, business, employment, and entertainment centers.

Friendswood homes are zoned to two highly rated school districts, namely Friendswood ISD and Clear Creek ISD. The Friendswood ISD was ranked first in Children at Risk’s 2014 Greater Houston School District Rankings, while Clear Creek ISD also ranked first for the “Large School” Rankings.(3)

A number of master-planned communities and subdivisions are located in the city, including The Forest of Friendswood.

Note: Friendswood is still growing, though you may want to drive to Houston, League City, and Clear Lake for more retail, dining, and entertainment options.

See All Friendswood Homes For Sale

 

Friendswood TX map

 

5. Pearland

Median Price: $238,600
Notable Features: Great schools, good neighborhood stats
Notable Top-Rated Schools (within 5 miles): Silverlake Elementary School, Silvercrest Elementary School, Shadycrest Elementary School, and Pearland Junior High School (East, West, and South)

Pearland made it into this list due to the number of highly rated schools zoned to its homes. The city also offers a relatively shorter commute to key Houston areas like the Medical Center and Downtown.

More than 80% of Pearland is residential, and like most Houston suburbs that made this list, it is home to several master-planned communities. Silverlake, Silvercreek, Green Tee Terrace, Sunrise Lakes, Shadow Creek Ranch, and Southern Trails are just some of the communities within the city.

Pearland features a number of shopping and entertainment centers, including the Pearland Town Center, Shadow Creek Town Center, and Silverlake Village Shopping Center. Golf courses like Clear Creek Golf Club, Southwyck Golf Club, and Golfcrest Country Club are all within Pearland.

Most Pearland homes are zoned to the Pearland ISD, though small portions of the city are under Fort Bend, Alvin, Clear Creek, Houston, and Pasadena ISDs.

Note: Though Pearland does have retail and golf options, you may want to take a drive to Houston for more entertainment, retail, and dining options.

See All Pearland Homes For Sale

 

Pearland TX Map

 

6. League City

Median Price: $230,000
Notable Features: Near employment centers, lots of outdoor entertainment options
Notable Top-Rated Schools (within 5 miles): Walter Hall Elementary School, Art and Pat Goforth Elementary School, League City Intermediate School, Creekside Intermediate School, Clear Springs High School, and Clear Falls High School

Located about 25 miles southwest of Downtown Houston, League City is known for its marinas and green spaces.

League City homes have easy access to over 15 parks, 3 golf courses, and 4 marinas. The city also offers several restaurants, bars, cafes, stores, and entertainment hotspots. Residents also enjoy easy commutes to some of the area’s major employment hubs like the NASA Johnson Space Center, Galveston Bay, the Gulf of Mexico.

Most League City homes are zoned to Clear Creek ISD, named 1st in Children At Risk’s 2014 Greater Houston Large School District Rankings.(3) Smaller portions of the city are served by the Dickinson and Santa Fe ISDs.

Note: League City is experiencing a lot of growth and features more new construction homes. Driving to town, however, can take a little longer (compared to other suburbs on this list).

See All League City Homes For Sale

 

League City TX Map

 

7. Richmond

Median Price: $228,000
Notable Features: High accessibility, good overall neighborhood stats
Notable Top-Rated Schools (within 5 miles): Austin Elementary School, Manford Williams Elementary School, McNeille Elementary School, and Hutchison Elementary School

Richmond is a small 2.9-square mile independent city southwest of Sugar Land, Missouri City, and Stafford.

Restaurants, retail stores, and cafes are mere minutes away from Richmond homes, and as county seat, it also features a number of historical sites and government buildings. Employment and retail centers in Sugar Land are also highly accessible from the city.

Richmond homes are zoned to both Lamar Consolidated ISD and Fort Bend ISD. Children At Risk ranked Fort Bend ISD 4th in its 2014 Greater Houston Large School District Rankings.(3)

Note: Because Richmond is a relatively small city, it doesn’t have a public transit system.

See All Richmond Homes For Sale

 

Richmond TX Map

 

8. Spring

Median Price: $192,000
Notable Features: Lots of amenities, several above average schools
Notable Top-Rated Schools (within 5 miles): Broadway Elementary School, Snyder Elementary School, Birnham Woods Elementary School, Kaufman Elementary School, Cox Intermediate School, and York Junior High School

A census-designated place (CDP) about 25 miles north of Downtown Houston, Spring made it to our list of best Houston suburbs due to its good standard of life. Its proximity to job centers and number of schools also contributed to its inclusion.

Spring homes are centrally located near parks, golf courses, restaurants, and schools. Employment centers in The Woodlands and Houston are also highly accessible from Spring.

The Cypresswood Golf Club, the Spring Creek Greenway, and the Spring Trails Preserve are among the community’s must-visit places.

Note: Like The Woodlands, commuting from Spring to town can take a fair bit of time.

See All Spring Homes For Sale

 

Spring Houston Map

 

9. Humble

Median Price: $136,800
Notable Features: Great accessibility, lots of amenities, good schools
Notable Top-Rated Schools (within 5 miles): Atascocita Springs Elementary School, Fall Creek Elementary School, Eagle Springs Elementary School, Maplebrook Elementary School, and Quest Early College High School

Humble ISD’s overall rating, number of local amenities, and high accessibility brought Humble to 9th place in our list of Houston’s best suburbs.

Located about 19 miles north of Downtown Houston, Humble features a number restaurants, retail centers, and outdoor entertainment areas. The city’s proximity to business and employment centers in The Woodlands and Houston and key areas like the George Bush Intercontinental Airport gives residents fairly easy daily commutes.

The city’s location near and along major arteries also contributed to its ranking.

The Humble Independent School District was fifth in Children At Risk’s 2014 Greater Houston Large School District Rankings.(3)

Note: You may be hard pressed to find newer homes in some parts of Humble. Nearby Fall Creek, Kings Lake, and other communities offer a wide variety of new construction homes.

See All Humble Homes For Sale

 

Humble TX Map

 

10. Kingwood

Median Price: $234,500
Notable Features: Good schools, good accessibility, community amenities
Notable Top-Rated Schools (within 5 miles): Bear Branch Elementary School, Greentree Elementary School, Kings Manor Elementary School, Kingwood Middle School, and Kingwood High School

Located in northwest Houston, Kingwood is a 14,000-acre master-planned community.

Kingwood is made up of 25 neighborhoods, called villages, and offers a good number of community amenities like pools and parks. Kingwood homes are highly accessible and are centrally located near restaurants, golf courses, schools, parks, cafes, retail stores, and outdoor entertainment venues.

Employment centers in The Woodlands and Houston are minutes away, as well as key areas like the George Bush Intercontinental Airport.

Most Kingwood homes are zoned to the Humble ISD, while others are served by New Caney ISD.

Note: While Kingwood does offer a lot in terms of retail, dining, and entertainment, some may want to go to Houston for more options.

See All Kingwood Homes For Sale

 

Kingwood TX Map

 

11. Clear Lake City

Median Price: $127,339
Notable Features: Good accessibility, great schools, proximity to job centers
Notable Top-Rated Schools (within 5 miles): Clear Lake City Elementary School, Victory Lakes Intermediate School, Clear Lake High School, and Clear Lake Intermediate School

Clear Lake City is a master-planned community located about 22 miles southeast of Downtown Houston.

Clear Lake City homes enjoy proximity to golf courses, restaurants, schools, and retail stores. Employment centers are also highly accessible from the community.

The community is subdivided into smaller neighborhoods, including golf course community, Bay Oaks.

Most Clear Lake City homes are zoned to the highly rated Clear Creek Independent School District. Among the schools that serve the area, Clear Lake Intermediate School was named a National Blue Ribbon School in 1986-87.

Note: The Clear Lake area offers a variety of housing options. If you’re in the market for new construction homes though, you may want to look into the area’s many planned communities.

See All Clear Lake City Homes For Sale

 

Clear Lake Houston Map

 

12. Stafford

Median Price: $151,900
Notable Features: Lots of amenities, convenient accessibility
Notable Top-Rated Schools (within 5 miles): Meadows Elementary School

Stafford’s motto says it all: City with no property taxes! Dubbed as an “Island of Business Opportunity,” the city is known for its business parks, home to several companies in a variety of industries.

Apart from employment and business centers, Stafford homes are minutes away from main roads including Beltway 8, US 59, and US 90A. Schools, parks, restaurants, and stores are also highly accessible from homes in the area.

The Stafford Municipal School District serves homes in the city, and is the only municipal school district in the state.

Note: Like most Houston suburbs, Stafford residents have to contend with long commute times.

See All Stafford Homes For Sale

 

Stafford TX Map

 


Honorable Mentions


Some Houston suburbs didn’t make the cut, but are notable enough to deserve mention in this list.

Jersey Village

Median Price: $220,750
Notable Features: Fast growth

Located about 18 miles northwest of Downtown, Jersey Village has transformed from a former cattle ranch to a fast growing city.

Thanks to its location, Jersey Village homes have convenient access to Beltway 8 (Sam Houston Parkway) and US 290 (Northwest Freeway). Other main thoroughfares like FM 1960, are minutes away from the city.

A comprehensive plan for the city’s development have recently been drawn up, with areas reserved for Jersey Village’s industrial and retail areas.

Jersey Village homes are zoned to the Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District.

Note: Jersey Village is mostly residential, and you’d need to drive to nearby areas for more dining, retail, and entertainment options.

See All Jersey Village Homes For Sale

 

Jersey Village TX Map

 

Cypress

Median Price: $204,900
Notable Features: High number of top-rated schools, a lot of residential and commercial developments
Notable Top-Rated Schools (within 5 miles): Adam Elementary School, Lamkin Elementary School, Spillane Middle School, Cypress Ranch High School, Cypress Woods High School, and Cy-Fair High School

Cypress is a growing unincorporated community located about 27 miles northwest of Downtown Houston.

Thanks to commercial and residential developments during the 1990s, Cypress is now a bustling Houston suburb made up of several master-planned communities and smaller neighborhoods. Bridgeland, Towne Lake, Kluge Lake, and Cypress Creek Lakes are among the master-planned communities within Cypress’ boundaries.

Cypress is zoned to the Cypress-Fairbanks ISD, one of the fastest growing school districts in the country. Cy-Fair ISD was ranked 6th in Children At Risk’s 2014 Greater Houston Large School District Rankings.(3)

Note: If you’re looking to commute from Cypress to Downtown, you’d have to set aside a good chunk of time for the drive.

See All Cypress Homes For Sale

 

Cypress TX Map

 

 

Missouri City

Median Price: $170,000
Notable Features: Growing master-planned communities
Notable Top-Rated Schools (within 5 miles): Quail Valley Middle School and Billy Baines Middle School

Missouri City is a growing 29.8-square mile city located about 17 miles southwest of the heart of Houston.

Much of Missouri City’s growth can be attributed to the master-planned communities within and just outside the city’s borders. Lake Olympia and parts of Riverstone are within Missouri City. Sugar Creek and Sienna Plantation, on the other hand, are a few minutes away.

Missouri City homes are highly accessible and have plenty of dining, retail, and entertainment options nearby. Employment centers are also within easy reach.

Note: The commute to key Houston areas like Downtown, the Galleria, and the Medical Center is shorter compared to the other suburbs on this list, but driving into town will still take a chunk of your time.

See All Missouri City Homes For Sale

 

Missouri City TX Map

 

Our Methodology


We created this list of best Houston suburbs to live by looking at population centers above 10,000 within 45 minutes of the heart of Houston. We included both independent cities and suburban regions within the city of Houston.

Then we evaluated each location with the following quantitative criteria:

  • Quality of Public Schools (GreatSchools.org rates schools depending on standardized test scores. We included schools within a 5 miles of each city/neighborhood with “above average” 8 to 10 star ratings. Find out more about GreatSchools’ methodology.1)
  • Commute Time (Google Maps)
  • Overall Livability (AreaVibes’ Livability Score is derived from several important metrics, including amenities, cost of living, education, employment, housing, and weather. Know more about AreaVibes’ methodology.2)

Each of these best Houston suburbs were graded on these items. The Houston suburbs list was then ranked from top to bottom based on their combined score. We included the 13 with the best score in our Top Houston Suburbs List.

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