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Neighborhood guide: Everything you need to know about Bellaire

Your guide to Bellaire

The City of Bellaire
The City of Bellaire (The City of Bellaire)

Bellaire’s residential character, strict construction standards, parks aplenty and proximity to downtown Houston, the Texas Medical Center and the Galleria area make the city a draw for families and those who want the benefits of small-town living while retaining access to Houston’s big city amenities Whether you’re considering a zip code change or you’re just searching for things to do in the area, here’s your guide to Bellaire.

History

William Wright Baldwin, president of the South End Land Company and a native Iowan, founded Bellaire in 1908. Baldwin established Bellaire on the eastern edge of Rice Ranch, William Marsh Rice’s 9,449-acre estate, which Baldwin acquired after the famed businessman’s death, according to the Texas State Historical association.

Promotional advertising in 1909 stated the area was dubbed Bellaire for its Gulf breezes. Others speculate Baldwin, who also served as vice president of the Burlington Railroad, named the land for Bellaire, Ohio, a town his railway served.

Baldwin invested $150,000 in improvements and infrastructure to turn the prairieland into an attractive site for settlers. He constructed Bellaire Boulevard, which ran from the site to Main Street in Houston, then about six miles from Bellaire, and built an electric streetcar line.

A post office opened in the residential neighborhood in 1911.

On June, 24, 1918, with a population of some 200 settlers, Bellaire obtained a general-law city charter and incorporated as a city.

Bellaire’s population grew to 1,124 by 1940 but Houston’s rapid expansion soon stifled the small city’s growth. By December 1948, Houston had annexed the land around Bellaire.

Bellaire adopted a home rule charter with a council-manager government in April 1949. The city council is made up of the mayor and six city council members. All are elected at large. The mayor is elected for two-year terms, while each city council member is elected for four-year terms.

Fast forward several decades, and as of 2018, the city reps an estimated population of nearly 19,000, according U.S. Census Bureau.

Location

If you’re not sure where Bellaire is, there’s a good chance you’ve driven through it on your way to downtown Houston, the Galleria or some other buzzy Houston locale.

The 3.6 square mile city in a city is surrounded by Houston, West University Place and Southside Place.

Some of the best restaurants in Bellaire, according to Yelp

'401 Table and Tap

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Patio weather is here!

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Named after the last three digits of the city of Bellaire’s ZIP code, ’401 Table and Tap embodies the label “neighborhood restaurant.” ‘401 offers a warm atmosphere, industrial digs and a modern menu.

6700 Ferris St., Ste. 150, Bellaire

(832) 962-7649

Hours: Mon.-Thu. 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Fri. 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Sat. 9 a.m.-11 p.m., Sun. 9 a.m.-10 p.m.

Costa Brava Bistro

Owner Angeles Dueñas moved to Houston from Madrid in 1980. In 2012, she fulfilled a lifelong dream when she opened Costa Brava Bistro in Bellaire with co-owner and executive chef Kitty Bailey. The tapas bar serves Spanish food with a French flare.

5107 Bellaire Blvd #100, Bellaire, TX 77401

(713) 839-1005

Hours: Mon.-Thu. 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m., 5 p.m.-9 p.m., Fri. 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m., 5 p.m.-10 p.m., Sat. 5 p.m.-1p.m., Sunday: Closed

Blood Bros. BBQ

This casual Bellaire joint offers classic Texas barbecue repping Asian and Cajun influence. The Bellaire barbecue sports a stellar review from Texas Monthly.

5425 Bellaire Blvd, Bellaire, TX 77401

(713) 664-7776

Hours: Closed Monday and Tuesday, Wed 11 a.m.- 3 p.m., Thu. 11 a.m.-3 p.m., 6 p.m. - 10 p.m., Sat.-Sun. 11 a.m.-3p.m.

Dandelion Cafe

A favorite among Bellaire brunch fiends, Dandelion Cafe sports a hefty menu loaded with sweet and savory breakfast favorites, paninis, salads and sandwiches.

5405 Bellaire Blvd, Bellaire, TX 77401

(832) 988-9210

Hours: Mon.-Fri. 6 a.m.-5 p.m., Sat. 7 a.m.-5 p.m., Sun. 8 a.m.-3 p.m.

Bernie’s Burger Bus

Snag a burger and fries from this school bus food truck turned brick and mortar. With on-theme offerings like lunch lady fries, the double patty class clown and the first grader burger, this beloved eatery offers a concept fit for kiddos and adults alike.

5407 Bellaire Blvd, Bellaire, TX 77401

(713) 349-9400

Hours: Sun.-Thu. 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m.

4 things to do in Bellaire

The city boasts loads of parks, sports fields and outdoor fun. Here are some of the highlights.

Russ Pitman Park and Nature Discovery Center

The 4-acre Russ Pitman Park offers a play area, a pavilion, a sensory garden, critter classroom and a walking trail perfect for exploring. Head in to the Nature discovery Center for some interactive, educations exhibits.

Evelyn’s Park

The 5-acre park sports an event lawn, art installations, a children’s play space, multiple trails, several gardens, a cafe and even a food truck pavilion.

Bellaire Town Square Family Aquatic Center

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Fresh paint job! #bellairepool

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Less a community pool and more like a water wonderland, the Bellaire Town Square Family Aquatic Center features multiple pools but the standout is a splash pad boasting an activity tower, a water slide, a giant dump bucket and more. Each summer, the city hosts a dive-in move night

Toonerville Trolley

In 1909, Bellaire founder William Wright Baldwin ordered the construction of a trolley line, which was built along Bellaire Boulevard. According to the Texas State Historical Association, the trolley line began running on December 28, 1910 but was abandoned just sixteen years later in September 1927 due to frequent derailments and the availability of motor transport. The town now displays a refurbished trolley car in Paseo Park as a nod to the city’s past.

6 annual events

Daddy Daughter Dance

Each Febraury, the Bellaire Parks and Recreation Department hosts its annual daddy-daughter dance, open to both residents and non-residents. Expect music, refreshments and a photo booth.

Bellaire Trolley Run

Each year, the City of Bellaire, Patrons for Bellaire Parks and the Al Lawrence Running Club host the Bellaire Trolley Run, a 5k run that begins begins and ends outside of Bellaire City Hall. Each year, the race is held on the first Saturday in April.

Wine and Tapas

The annual event, held each March offers music, tapas, wine and a different theme each year/ The fundraising event benefits Patrons for Bellaire Parks.

Fourth of July Parade and Festival

The annual 4th of July parade begins each year at 9:30 a.m. and is followed by a festival from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

The Great Pumpkin Hunt

During October, kiddos and their families flock to Bellaire’s great lawn for the Great Pumpkin Hunt, a Halloween event for children ten and under. Kids can hunt for toys,candy and prize-filled pumpkins. The event is free and open to the public.

Holiday in the Park

Each December, the City of Bellaire transforms the Bellaire town Square into a winter wonderland for its free holiday event, which boasts food, snow slides, the city’s official tree lighting, musical performances and a visit from Santa himself. The event is often held sometime during the first week in December.


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