In September 2016, the Southwest Virginia LGBTQ+ History Project launched our first-ever walking tour!
The Downtown Roanoke LGBTQ History Walking Tour is a free monthly two-hour walking tour exploring Roanoke’s queer past.
Tour stops may include: Roanoke’s late nineteenth-century red light district; the site of Southwest Virginia’s first gay bar from the 1950s; popular cruising locations of the 1960s and 1970s; and places associated with the history of the gay liberation movement, the AIDS crisis, and much more.
The walking tour is offered Sunday afternoons, 2pm – 4pm, once a month, as follows:
March 26, 2017: https://www.facebook.com/events/345663065827388/
April 23, 2017
May 21, 2017
June 4, 2017
July 16, 2017
August 20, 2017
Stay tuned for more information, including future tour dates!
Reservations: Helpful, but not required. We use Eventbrite to manage RSVPs, but you are also welcome to just show up!
Cost: $0. This tour is free. Knowledge is power!
Meeting Place: We meet inside the City Market building and begin promptly at 2pm. Your guide will be there by 1:45pm. Your guide will carry a sign that says “Southwest Virginia LGBTQ+ History Project.”
Late arrivals: Our tours do not wait for late arrivals. Tour introductions begin promptly at 2pm and then the group will depart the building for the walking tour, so please be on time!
Stops for food, drink, or bathrooms: No. The City Market building, where we begin, has food and drink for sale as well as public restrooms. Please come prepared to go on a two-hour walking tour without rest stops.
Where and when does the tour end: at Elmwood Park. We always try to end right at 4pm, but we may go a little bit over depending on walking pace and sidewalk conditions.
Accessibility: Our tour begins in the City Market building but then proceeds exclusively on the sidewalks of downtown Roanoke. We welcome people of all mobilities to participate in this tour! Please be advised that we cover approximately two miles. Google Maps says this equals roughly 40 minutes of walking. There may be a few steps to climb, depending on the route, but changes can be made if necessary. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about accessibility.
Rain or shine: Yes. We offer this tour twelve months out of the year. Light rain, snow, drizzle, wind, or sun does not impact the tour. Please dress appropriately! In the event that weather is very bad, or road conditions downtown are hazardous, we will announce the cancellation of the tour on Facebook and on this website by 8 AM on the day of the tour.
Private tours and group tours: Yes. We are interested in offering this tour to private groups, school groups, college classes, non-profit organizations, and others. Just contact us about making a reservation.
Other questions? Please contact us!