West Houston, at first glance, seems to be no more than urban sprawl at its worst: strip malls, gridlock, billboards, and more strip malls. Yet one need not travel far from the interstate to discover a trove of hidden gems: tranquil parks, the absolute highs and lows in both upscale and bargain shopping, and an endless variety of exotic, authentic eateries - as proof, look no further than New Chinatown.
Despite a plethora of rundown apartment complexes and a reputation for crime, Southwest Houston was the center of much of the city's suburban development from the 1940s through the 1970s, today it is one of its most diverse quarters and is also home to some of the city's most desirable neighborhoods, including Meyerland and the charming City of Bellaire. This area is almost completely outside of the 610 Loop, although the City of Bellaire is partially inside the 610.
New Chinatown (AKA Little Saigon or Asiatown) would be the largest Chinatown in the world area-wise, but the term Chinatown is misleading due to the fact that the majority of the shops and restaurants cater to Houston's large Vietnamese population. This area is outside the 610 Loop and near the Beltway, Houston's outer freeway loop.