When thinking about cities I foresee myself visiting or possibly moving to, one of the top criteria on my list is whether or not they are friendly to LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, etc.) people.
I've been lucky enough to have grown up in a very accepting (for the most part), radically liberal city. Olympia, Washington is full of hippies, hipsters and everything else you could think of. I absolutely relish in our diversity and appreciate every friendly, loving soul here.
However, not everyone is so jolly. While every Olympian will hold their own opinion on these, here are my top 12 friendliest, most welcoming places:
1. Obsidian Cafe & BarThis trendy cafe-by-day, bar-by-night sanctuary serves up a variety of panini sandwiches, breakfast items, delicious espresso and mixed drinks nearly 24/7. Open to all ages until 9PM, Obsidian creates a unique nightlife atmosphere with live music, educational talks and film screenings at night. Welcoming to all, they are one of the few in town to offer transgender-affirming restrooms.
[ Photo: Traditions Fair Trade ]
2.Traditions Cafe & World Art Known for their fair-trade art and collectibles from over 50 countries, as well as full menus and live entertainment, Traditions is the place to be! Order a hot bowl of soup or delicious full entrees, espresso and ice cream. The cafe is a central spot downtown for concerts, workshops and public forums--it's a gathering space for all walks of life.
3.Quality Burrito Quality Burrito, or "QB," as its affectionally known, is the downtown Mexican food hotspot, accommodating to many diets including vegan and gluten-free. Loved by the locals, QB celebrates civil rights issues such as the "Black Lives Matter," movement and LGBTQ equality.
An upscale, welcoming place that I personally believe has the best breakfast menu in town! Oly Rockfish is friendly to its LGBTQ patrons and works hard to please their bellies with a variety of seafood dishes (don't worry--they have stuff for vegetarians, too), as well as a full bar.
[ Photo: Winter Teems ]
5. King Solomon's Reef The cool kids hang here. King Solomon's Reef, or more simply: "The Reef," is the diner spot for all local college students. The epitome of diversity can be found here, along with the best waffles and burgers known to diner fans. Either sit in the restaurant side with your laptop completing some work, or feel free to head to the bar in back.
[ Photo: Devin True ]
6.Archibald Sisters Quirky, eccentric--embodying the true Olympian spirit, Archibald Sisters is a downtown boutique shop filled with bath products, knick-knacks, books, perfumes, cards and other fun items.
7.The Urban Onion Home to the most popular drag shows and host of many LGBTQ fundraising events, the Urban Onion Lounge is central downtown's hotspot bar and restaurant. You will often find rainbows here, as well as some of the best bartenders around. [ Photo: Caffe Vita ]
8.Caffe Vita The coffee company based out of Seattle, Wash., Caffe Vita now operates nine cafes around the Pacific Northwest region, providing a hipster-y, welcoming space for visitors.
[ Photo: Roadtrippers ]
9.Burial Grounds Dabbling in the darker sides of life (or death), Burial Grounds Espresso is the coffee shop that never fails to stun its patrons with beautiful, ghastly foam art in each of their beverages. Loud music and free WiFi (plus two open computers on site) completes the atmosphere ideal for punk-like college studying.
[ Photo: Katie Doolittle ]
10.Radiance Herbs & Massage Operated by LGBTQ owners, Radiance is a downtown sanctuary with the best local massages, candles, herbs and natural makeup products, to name just a few of their offerings. Celebrate holistic health and get in touch with the power of being good to yourself!
11.Olympia Film Society Housed in the iconic Capitol Theater, the Olympia Film Society brings entertainment from all around the globe, showing independent films that are underrepresented elsewhere, striving to enrich our community's knowledge of film. [ Photo: Food Network ]
12. Darby's Cafe Darby's is the talk of the town, and not just because it was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives! Serving up unique burgers and other plates, Darby's plays by its own rules and seeks to please all different dietary needs!
Of course, if you're looking for an LGBTQ celebration, consider sticking around the last weekend in June for Capital City Pride, a party with a parade, films, resources and contests for all!
What LGBTQ friendly businesses have you discovered in the area? Share your experiences in the comments!