The South Main
neighborhood rests about 8 miles southwest of downtown Houston.The enclave contains a diverse assortment of housing options, including numerousapartment communities, owner-occupied condos
and a pocket of single-familyhomes. A few light industrial and office areas can be found here in addition to several retail establishments along the 610 Loop and Main Street. NRG Stadium to the east of the neighborhood hosts all kinds of events and serves as home to the NFL's Houston
Texans. South Main attracts a diverse population of individuals, and families who appreciate the convenient location and residential choices that suit a range of lifestyles and budgets.
Schools in South Main
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Restaurants & Nightlife
Residents enjoy a few national chain restaurants and a handful of homegrown eateries within this neighborhood – most located on the 610 Loop frontage roads and along Main Street. For some good old-fashioned Southern-style fare, locals consider themselves lucky to have Mama’s Oven to frequent. This hole-in-the-wall eatery on Main Street has been serving up soul food since 1954. Patrons find that food preparation can take some time here, but most consider the reward for their taste buds worth the wait. Favorite menu items include the cornbread, oxtail and smothered pork chops.
South Main residents hungry for seafood head to Captain Benny’s on Main Street. Locals appreciate the unique boat-shaped exterior and laid-back casual interior of this Texas mainstay, which specializes in Cajun dishes and oysters served at the bar or in the dining room. Regulars recommend the baked oysters or the jalapeno boudin as appetizers. The Mate’s Plate rates as a good entree selection, and the crawfish etouffee continues to be a crowd favorite.
A favorite local Japanese place is Asahi Sushi on Kirby Drive near the football stadium. This restaurant offers a cozy dine-in experience, but takeout can also be ordered by using a downloadable smartphone app or at the website. Regulars on a budget especially like the fresh sushi, fried rice choices and dishes served with udon or soba noodles.
Locals seeking nightlife in the South Main neighborhood have many options along the 610 Loop corridor and Main Street. Locally owned bars and lounges include the Red River Ice House, Libra Lounge and Fat Boy’s Bar & Grill. The Libra Lounge features a free cover and DJs nightly, and Fat Boy’s has stand-up comedy as well as free poker nights twice a week. For a club with live music and an urban-professional vibe, residents frequent the Main Street Lounge, where they enjoy drink specials and a complimentary dinner buffet during some events.
History & Culture
Development in the South Main neighborhood began in the mid-20th century as the city of Houston expanded outward. Incorporated in 1837, the town saw an oil boom and the transition of the adjacent Buffalo Bayou into a major shipping channel. Massive federal spending in the 1940s dramatically expanded the economy, and the Port of Houston grew in importance. Houston has become the country’s fourth-largest city thanks to its strategic location, diverse economy and population and can-do entrepreneurial spirit.
South Main lacks museums or an arts scene, and no annual events occur here. The Houston Museum District sits about 6 miles away and contains 20 museums within a 1.5-mile radius. For theater and other live shows, downtown choices include the Hobby Center, Houston Ballet, Wortham Center, Alley Theatre and Bayou Music Center. A popular annual festival continues to be the Houston Shakespeare Festival held every August in Hermann Park.
South Main’s network of streets and highways doesn’t lend itself to walking or cycling. The nearest hiking and biking trail passes just to the north and west of the neighborhood. The Brays Bayou trail spans 13.75 paved miles along the Bayou. Most locals drive their own vehicles to get around. Drivers can hop on the 610 Loop for easy travel to anywhere in the city and beyond.
For those who use public transportation, the METRO bus system runs several local routes in the South Main area. The Fannin South Park
& Ride sits about 1 mile east of the neighborhood, and travelers can take the train or bus from here to downtown or other locations throughout the city. Alternatively, residents can call ahead for taxi service or request a ride with Uber.
Drivers take advantage of free parking in this neighborhood and surrounding residential and commercial areas. Meter rates in the downtown area range from 35 cents to $2 per hour depending on location. Daily rates at parking lots and garages range from $5 to $12 per day.
The cost of living in the South Main neighborhood remains on par with the city’s average. Residents can expect to pay about $1,186 per month for a one-bedroom
apartment and around $3 for a beer at the local pub. Locals enjoy gas prices that come in 21 percent lower than the national average, and a one-way fare on the METRO bus or light rail stands at $1.25.
South Main shoppers have many choices within the neighborhood and in the surrounding area. Most retail stores lie along the Loop 610 frontage roads and Main Street, and those looking to make a unique fashion statement or pick up an accessory need not go far to find a locally owned shop or boutique.
A favorite neighborhood women’s clothing store is Designs by Lynn Boutique on the northern side of Loop 610. Known for selling trendy and unique fashions at affordable prices, this shop has choices available for all shapes, including plus sizes that are often missing from upscale boutiques. Patrons enjoy free cocktails and food delicacies served here every Monday and Wednesday from 4 to 7 p.m.
For a day of upscale boutique shopping a bit outside the neighborhood, residents can venture north on Kirby Drive about 4 miles to Rice Village, a 10-block collection of shops, restaurants and bars situated near the Rice University campus. In the heart of the district sits the Dao Chloe Dao boutique, which sells exclusive ready-to-wear pieces and bridal collections. Local designer Chloe Dao is known around the world for her fun and fresh designs, and the locals appreciate the large in-store selection and the staff’s knack for matching fashions to specific body types.
Nearby grocery stores include a Kroger, Fiesta Mart and Super Target on the northern fringe of the neighborhood. Providing a warehouse-shopping experience, Sam’s Club sits on the south frontage road of Loop 610 just east of the neighborhood. Fresh local produce, herbs, bread, chocolates, preserves, jellies, flowers and handmade soaps can be found at the Houston Farmers Market at Rice Village, which is 4 miles to the north of the South Main neighborhood.
Residents get free admittance to Houston city parks. None exist within the South Main neighborhood, and no nearby parks host regular exercise
programs. Residents can walk a few blocks from the west edge of the neighborhood to Linkwood Park, which features a playground, tennis and basketball courts and a short trail for hiking and biking.
The largest park has extensive facilities and lies about 4 miles to the north on Main Street. Hermann Park hosts the city zoo, a golf course, an outdoor theater and the Houston Museum of Natural Science. Park amenities include a large lake with fishing and pedal boats, playgrounds, a small railroad for the kids, fountains and a jogging trail. A popular annual park festival continues to be the Bayou City Art Festival held each spring in Memorial
Park about 10 miles north of the South Main neighborhood.