Clear Lake, Houston
The Johnson Space Center, where NASA astronauts train, is located in the Clear Lake area. There is consequently the highest concentration in America of astronauts in this little SW corner of Houston. So, if you are interested in seeing an astronaut, for whatever it could bring you to see one sipping on a beer, there are 3 places where they like to hang out.
Frenchie's Italian Kitchen: a popular Italian restaurant (see my restaurant tips). Lots of dedicated picts of astronauts and crew on the walls.
The Outpost Tavern: a bar I have never been to, so no opinion on what they serve! Traditionaly, astronaut crews have a party there before going up in space.
Both places are located at the corner of NASA Road One and El Camino Real.
Finally, lots of people working at NASA, including astronauts, go to a pub I like very much, Boondoggles (see my Restaurant tips) .
This is a preserved bayou (= river/wet land in Southern US english) in the Clear Lake area (SE Houston, near NASA-Johnson Space Center). It is ideal to get an idea of what the area looked lke before Houston existed. It has several loop trails, each passing a different natural environment: wet-land, coastal forest, prairie. To observe birds and alligators, the best is to rent a canoe and paddle the many water ways. The center also organizes early morning canoe trips to watch the wild life ($20, reservation necessary).
if you do not want to pay the $3 to enter the Nature Center, you can always go to Bay Area Park just West of it, where they have a nice pier with a great view on the bayou.
Address: 8500 Bay Area Blvd, Houston, TX 77507
From Houston, take I-45 South, take exit 26 at Bay Area Boulevard, go east 7 miles just past Bay Area Park.
This wonderful nursery (in english, where you can buy plants and trees) is located in the Clear Lake area, Southeast of Houston. It is really out of the ordinary: huge and looks like an immense paradise garden, with flowers everywhere, fountains, and all types of gadgets you can put to decorate your garden. It is located in a very nice area, right next to Galveston Bay. Finally, it has its own little zoo: longhorns (see my "Texas longhorns" tip in my local-customs section on Houston), kangooroos, pigs, ...
I strongly recommand it even if you do not need to buy any plant!
Address: 5511 Todville Road, Seabrook, TX 77586
Direction: from downtown Houston, take I-45 South. Exit NASA Road 1. Go East on NASA Road 1 until you hit Galveston Bay (pass 146). Turn left on Todville Road. Mass nursery is on your right.
Clear Lake Shores is an island on Clear Lake located next to the Kemah bridge (just South of the bridge of highway 146). It is an original neighborhood with houses on stilts, a slow pace of life (people go around on golf carts). It is quaint. It can be beautiful at sunset with the reflection on the water. You can watch the sailboat go by. Perfect for artists and poets! It is great for a casual stroll. It is a great change from steral boring typical suburbia.