With its many parks and tree-lined streets, Bellaire exudes small-town charm with the convenience of close proximity to Downtown Houston, the Galleria area, the Medical Center, and other inner-loop destinations. Its award-winning schools, well-kept amenities, and calm atmosphere are the perfect ingredients for a highly desirable community.
William Marsh Rice, founder of Rice University, used to own the land that would become the city of Bellaire. He sold his ranch to the South End Land Company, who advertised the region’s gulf breezes to encourage new residents. An electric streetcar line that ran from 1910 to 1927, nicknamed the Toonerville Trolley, was built to connect Bellaire to Houston. Houston annexed the land surrounding Bellaire in 1948, but Bellaire remains its own city today.
All pupils in Bellaire are served by the Houston Independent School District. High school-aged students in the area attend Bellaire High School, which is often seen in lists of top high schools in the nation. The curriculum offers more than ten languages, Advanced Placement courses, and International Baccalaureate programs. Notable alumni include actors Dennis and Randy Quaid, Blue October lead singer Justin Furstenfeld, and NBA Rookie of the Year Emeka Okafor.
Bellaire may be small, but it’s big on local flavors. Head to Bernie’s Burger Bus for hearty burgers, thick shakes, and specialty fries, all freshly made. Opened by a sommelier from Madrid, Costa Brava Bistro brings fine Spanish cuisine to the streets of Houston. For quick bites, Dandelion Café serves local foods from Weights and Measures and quality coffee from Greenway Coffee.
The recently restored shopping center on the corner of Dashwood St. and Ferris St. is home to a Nekter Juice Bar, Define: barre, cycle, yoga, and the ‘401, a popular new restaurant serving up innovative American fare. This handful of neighboring businesses contribute integral value to the Bellaire community.
The small-town feel of Bellaire doesn’t stop at its residential areas. The area is rich with Houston-owned shopping that you can’t find anywhere else. Collectors Coin Shop is a great place for hobbyists and serious collectors to buy, sell, and trade coins, metals, and jewelry. Black Dog Records stocks high-quality vinyl albums that are individually cleaned and restored. Magpies Gifts has been open since 1983 and it lives up to its name by offering shiny and unique gifts and home décor.
Hana and Arthur Ginzbarg Nature Discovery Center
For those craving some time with nature, the Nature Discovery Center is a lush oasis in the city. The four-acre nature park features four distinct habitat zones. There are also discovery rooms that house interactive exhibits, specimens, and some live animals. In addition to a variety of children’s and family programming, there are also adult programs like the Creatures & Cocktails Night Hike.
Bellaire Town Square Family Aquatics Center
This Bellaire gem is a fun place to take the whole family, especially during the hot Houston summers. The facility features a play structure for the kids, three diving boards for brave swimmers, a leisure pool with zero-depth entry, and a heated competition pool with six lanes.