Richmond highlighted as LGBTQ travel hot spot by Passport Mag, Windy City Times
Our very own River City continues to be a featured destination for LBGTQ travelers according to a few travel publications with stories released in the last few weeks.
Passport Magazine, the Insider’s Guide to Gay and Lesbian Travel, wrote at length about their trip to Richmond, going as far as calling RVA ‘seductive.’
After some 25 visits here over the last decade, I am still discovering new favorites while enjoying old ones, like the splendid Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA). Opened in 1936, this Museum District anchor is among the nation’s most popular cultural institutions.
Passport’s story includes interviews with local LGBTQ historian and activist Beth Marschak, Gay Community Center of Richmond ED Bill Harrison, and Kelly O’Keefe, professor of creative brand management at VCU’s Brand Center which created the OutRVA campaign to help bring LGBTQ tourism to Richmond.
When Kelly asked for volunteers for the LGBT program, 18 hands went up, from which he convened three multi-disciplinary teams of six, tasking each with creating a rebranding solution. For a city with a vibrant LGBT scene well known locally but mostly a mystery to outsiders, the winning idea was to “out” Richmond.
“We saw ‘coming out’ as a direct way to shift outside perception of the city,” explained Kelly, who personally funded production of stylized “Out” stickers to start the campaign. “Students presented these to local businesses to display as an LGBT welcome message,” he said.
The publication continued to shower Richmond with praises, noting Richmond wasn’t just a place full of Civil War history:
What can the first-time LGBT visitor expect in Richmond? Fabulous food, top art and culture, lively history, great outdoor pursuits—the same as all travelers.
As for our write up in Windy City Times, the only Chicago, IL, gay media outlet, what it lacks in length and pictures it makes up for in flattery.
I recently took a trip to Virginia’s capital, Richmond. I hadn’t been there in a quarter-century ( since graduating from a local college ), so I expected some change. However, in some ways, this Richmnd is nothing like the capital of old—down to its culinary scene, which has some establishments that could rival the restaurants in various U.S. metropolises, including Chicago.
Travel writer Andrew Davis spent time with some of the same folks as Passport, but found just as much to love (and write about) – he traversed the cities many fine dining options, caught a play with Richmond Triangle Player’s Phil Crosby, and even got a workout in at the Richmond YMCA. His closing remarks stood out the most though:
For Chicagoans, Richmond may not seem like the first city to visit. However, it has something for everyone—and some of the most charming people you’ll meet, exemplifying that Southern hospitality.
Top image via Passport Magazine
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