LGBTQ Travel


Your community is a part of ours.

If you're looking for an escape from the everyday routine, bring your partner or spouse and head to the Chapel Hill/Carrboro/Hillsborough communities of the Raleigh Triangle. Nestled in the rolling hills of the Carolina piedmont, these progressive communities are one of the most welcoming sections of the state..

Writes Steven Petrow, Hillsborough resident and Washington Post columnist and author. “This area is home to James Beard Award-winning restaurants; the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill--the oldest public university in the United States and a place where gays and lesbians are right at home with everyone else. That’s true equality.”

In fact, Orange County is currently home to half of the state's gay and lesbian elected officials, a trend that started in 1987, when Chapel Hill Town Council Member Joe Herzenberg became North Carolina's first openly gay elected official.

Community Leaders at PRIDE event in Carrboro

Further proof of the community’s values: “Carrboro has the oldest domestic partner registry in North Carolina and recently declared October 10 Marriage Equality Day in celebration of the October 10, 2014 court decisions that brought marriage equality to North Carolina,” explains Damon Seils, Carrboro Mayor. Chapel Hill also has a registry."Our community has a long-standing reputation as the most welcoming place in the state for the LGBT community," says Seils. (Picture above L to R: Former Chapel Hill Mayor, Mark Kleinschmidt with Superior Court Judge Alyson Grine and her wife Chapel Hill Mayor Pro Tem Karen Stegman and Damon Seils, Mayor of Carrboro.)

Here's a sampling of some of the things
you can see and do in Orange County,


Food & Drink

Named as one of America’s foodiest small towns Bon Appetit, make sure you visit some of our award-winning restaurants and find craft brews at our many brewpubs.

Favorite eateries include the James Beard-winning Lantern Restaurant; plus the acclaimed Neal’s Deli, ACME Food & Beverage Co., Talullas, Vimala’s, Imbibe and Sage. Fuel up at a friendly coffee house, like Caffé Driade or The Open Eye Cafe. Prefer a more potent potable? We are home to six breweries (Carolina Brewery, Top of the Hill, Craftboro, Steel String, Dingo Dog and Vecino/Haw River Tap & Table) that create tasty craft brews for every season and palate. Popular bars include The Baxter Bar/Arcade, The Crunkleton and Tru Deli +Wine Bar. (Pictured: New Morning Jazz at Vecino/Haw River Tap & Table)

Entertainment & the Arts

The Chapel Hill/Orange County community has a vibrant arts and entertainment scene. There’s live music every night at our many clubs, including the famous Cat’s Cradle. Take in a comedy at The ArtsCenter, a play at Playmakers Repertory Theatre or performance at Memorial Hall. The area features dozens of public murals, sculpture art, and there are a myriad galleries and art tours.

The Chapel Hill area might host more festivals than any community in the nation. “All of these events give us the opportunity to highlight the wonderful community we live in, with all of our fabulous locally owned shops, galleries and restaurants, there’s no better place in the Triangle,” says local arts advocate, photographer and author, Jackie Helvey of Carrboro. (Picture: Jamison Stern, Adam Valentine & Jamar Jones, The Legend of Georgia McBride at PlayMakers Repertory Co. Photo by HuthPhoto)

Band playing at Vecino-Haw River Tap & Table


The Legend of Georgia McBride Actors on Stage at PlayMakers Repertory Co

Visit the New South

Whether you’re ambling along our scenic downtown streets or rambling through the wooded hills, you’ll find yourself in a unique Southern community. “It epitomizes ‘The New South’,” says Jen Jones, who is a former director of communications for EqualityNC. “It’s a place of the future that welcomes diversity, embraces inclusivity, and is a gateway for native Tar Heels, wayward travelers and new transplants alike. Chapel Hill-Carrboro remains one of the most LGBTQ-friendly areas in North Carolina and across the South.”

Petrow agrees. “I travel all over the country and gays and lesbians are ‘tolerated’ more and more just about everywhere, which is great. But here we’re accepted,” he says. “I’ve looked for a place like this to call home my entire life and now I don’t plan to leave until my toes point up at the stars.”