NOLA

A list of some of my favorite spots in New Orleans

In the summer of 2015, my wife Jenelle and I decided to move to New Orleans. We'd visited before and felt a magical draw. So on a bit of a whim, we left Oakland and headed out for the other side of the country with our two year old son Cosmos. We didn't know quite what to expect, but a change of scenery sounded fun.

We only ended up staying in New Orleans for six months before deciding to move back to sunny California (Southern, this time) to be closer to family as we prepared to bring out second baby into the world.

Our stay was short, but in that six months we explored a bit and found some cool places. Here's a list of the ones I can remember.

Lebanon's Cafe for middle eastern food. Gyros, souvlaki, kebab, greek salad, dolmas. Try the famous iced tea.

Surrey's Juice Bar is great for breakfast and fresh juice. I recommend the shrimp and grits, the Costa Rican breakfast, and the banana pancake. Yummmm. Two locations, both good.

Audubon Park is a huge park in the beautiful Uptown neighborhood, on the west side of New Orleans' "crescent". This seems to be the spot where everyone goes running. It's picturesque, with mossy old trees, lakes, and walking paths. It's also just across the street from the Tulane and Loyola campuses.

Audubon Zoo is great! It's huge. Not the kind of zoo where you end up feeling sorry for the animals. Everyone has lots of space and really comfortable habitats. Petting zoo, crocodile swamp, scores of spider monkeys with prehensile tails... worth it.

The Tree of Life is a giant, magical tree in Audubon park. Sometimes you can see the giraffes from here.

Lafayette Cemetery is one of many cemeteries we visited in New Orleans, but it was our favorite. It's the funkiest one we found, with lots of 100+ year-old tombs. It's also centrally located in the crescent.

Swan River Yoga is a beautiful and spacious yoga studio in an old two-story library building. The yoga practiced here is of the chanty "om namah shivaya" persuasion.

Good Karma Prasad Cafe is downstairs in the same building as the Swan River Yoga studio. The website doesn't look like much but the food is fresh and delicious. Lots of vegetarian options, and good smoothies. It closes pretty early, around 3pm.

Reyn Yoga is the fanciest yoga studio in town. It's in the CBD (Central Business District), situated to the west of the French Quarter. The CBD is not much of an attraction in itself, but if you're into natural light, cleanliness, and alpha yogis, this place might be for you.

The street car is fun. Don't take it if you need to get somewhere in a hurry, but do take it if you have the time. Great people watching, and a good way to take in the architecture of New Orleans. There are four lines, but the St. Charles line offers the prettiest view of the city. Be warned, though: these lines are constantly under construction, so don't expect to be able to make a full trip from one end of the line to the other.

That's all I've got for now. Will add more spots as I think of them.