Ayana Obika

Connect with Ayana

Love Richmond? Tell us why and receive invites to exclusive events and more.

Why do you love Richmond?

There is such a wonderful variety of things to do. There is always something to do! For a city of it's size, the amount of cultural activities is amazing. And OMG! I simply love my neighborhood Church Hill - historical, friendly, walkable...

What’s your favorite thing to do in Richmond?

There's so much that I love, it's hard to choose. I do love all of our free concerts and festivals. And the food! Oh my, we have some really great restaurants.

What do you do here?

I own Gratitude Rising Events, a company that specializes in creating entertaining, educational, and engaging events for the LGBT community. I'm also very involved in community engagement, volunteerism and fundraising.

But really I'm a busy body that loves my city and the people in it. One of the things that I offer is a tour of the city called "Built by Blacks". It's based on a book by the same name. I love showing people all of the hidden treasures in the city. I am so proud of the history that people really don't know about.

I also coordinate two LGBT meetup groups, so if you need something to do...I'm your girl! :)

What’s your favorite restaurant?

Really, you want me to choose one? Just one? Impossible! LOL But since I'm thinking about sweets right now, I'm going to just mention Shindigz! It's a dessert cafe...no, it's dessert heaven. And they have Ladies Night. The biggest slices of cake you have ever seen and Sangria. Wicked!

What would you tell somebody who has never been to Richmond before?

Explore the city. The suburbs are nice.... but the city is where it's at.

What's your favorite store?

I love handcrafted items, especially things made by local artisans. I tend to buy things like jewelry and soap from local artisans. I really like The Artisan Cafe in Stoney Point Shopping Center. Everything in it is handmade by mostly local artisans and the owners are wonderful.

How do you spend your free time?

I like hiking or taking long walks with my dog, Teena (best dog in the world) or chilling on the deck of a local restaurant. I also like dancing a lot! You will find me shaking it to anything from J-Pop to Salsa at a local club.

What's your favorite neighborhood?

Why, Church Hill of course!! I am completely spoiled living here. Great restaurants, great views of the city and the river, great neighbors, great markets, the best vet in the city, etc. It's all right here within walking distance of my front door.

How do you describe your community?

We are "neighborhoody." My community is active and friendly. Everyone seems to have a dog, we all walk or run or bike or skate. Any given Saturday you can walk to one of our 4 parks and find families on blankets, people playing with their dogs, joggers and groups doing zumba or yoga. Everyone stops to chat. The people in the neighborhood coffee shops and bakeries know your dogs name! Let me stop or you will be jealous.

Anything else you would like to add?

Like any city we may have issues to overcome, but Richmond is a growing, thriving, wonderful place full of awesome people. I love my city and you will too!

Anthony Chatman

Love Richmond? Tell us why and receive invites to exclusive events and more.

Why do you love Richmond?

I love Richmond because it's such a large melting pot of cultures wrapped inside of a small city. Oh, and the traffic isn't bad either.

What’s your favorite thing to do in Richmond?

I love going for strolls around Carytown and the Fan, with friends, searching for hidden gems in Richmond's ever-growing restaurant scene.

What do you do here?

Stand-up comic, photographer, and insurance account representative.

What’s your favorite restaurant?

I love New York Deli in Carytown! Their Reuben is amazing! But beyond that, the energy of the place gives off a big city vibe.

What would you tell somebody who has never been to Richmond before?

Yes, we are the Capitol of the confederacy. No, we're not some "podunk" town. Richmond has lots to offer from the arts to outdoor recreation and so much more.

What's your favorite store?

Chop Suey Books.

How do you spend your free time?

My free time is usually spent wandering aimlessly, with a small camera in tow, snapping candid pictures.

What's your favorite neighborhood?

The Fan.

How do you describe your community?

Richmond's LGBT Community, like Richmond, is small, yet diverse. We are formidable. We are resilient. Over the years RVA has undergone a change from "that bad place that you don't visit" to "artistic hotbed" and we've rode with the changes. We're getting bigger every year and turning RVA to the place to be for the LGBT Community and allies alike. We're here to stay.

Abby Waller

Love Richmond? Tell us why and receive invites to exclusive events and more.

Why do you love Richmond?

Richmond is a big little town. There's tons to do and loads of cool stuff to see, but it still maintains this small town feel.

What’s your favorite thing to do in Richmond?

It's hard to pick a favorite, but I'd say right near the top would have to be perusing the many consignment/thrift stores. Richmond has so many and each one is totally unique. Plus, bargain hunting is super eco-friendly. Why by new when you can find a charmingly restored (or well-loved and worn) vintage treasure?

What do you do here?

I work for the Richmond SPCA, a humane organization that saves the lives of homeless animals as my daily 9-5, but my hobby is my blog all about Richmond Virginia: ISpyRVA.com

What’s your favorite restaurant?

Geez...you kidding me? This is Richmond we're talking about, there are more delicious restaurants than I have fingers and toes. Again, if I had to pick some favorites that top my list, I'd say Comfort, Proper Pie, Coppola's, and Akida.

What would you tell somebody who has never been to Richmond before?

Richmond is a smaller Portland with a Southern drawl. Except we have sweet tea and cook with more butter.

What's your favorite store?

I really love Ashby's in Carytown along with their kid store Clover. I'm also a big fan of Era Vintage in Church Hill.

How do you spend your free time?

Besides snuggling my wife, and three rescue critters: two dogs and a too-fluffy cat - I really enjoy writing. Since most of my writing is my blog about Richmond's quirks and hot spots, I tend to zip around on my scooter checking out restaurants, parks, and shops.

What's your favorite neighborhood?

While I adore Lakeside, my wife and I dream of the day we can afford a modestly sizeable home in Bellevue...who doesn't?

How do you describe your community?

Mostly accepting. I truly believe Richmond is pretty much as liberal as a city can get in a good 'ol capital of the confederacy. Richmond is rich in war history, but brimming with open-minded VCU grads that came and ended up staying, because really - what's not to love?

Stanley Moreira

IMG_1660.jpg

Love the Richmond Region as much as we do?

Why do you love Richmond?

I was born and raised in RVA. To be honest, I hated it as a teenager. But as time passed, I learned that the onus was on me to become a little more adventurous. Once you take a step outside of your comfort zone, RVA affords you so many possibilities.

What’s your favorite thing to do in Richmond?

People watch! I love to do so many things in RVA, but whilst doing all of them, I find myself people watching. Let's eat out on the patio and enjoy the surrounding. Let's go for a run, and check out everyone else that's working out. Let's go grab a beer flight, and watch people who had one too many. It's awesome.

What do you do here?

By day, I work in downtown Richmond, as a Senior Business Systems Analyst, but by night I'm a Group Exercise Instructor. I also sit on the Junior Board for ROSMY.

What’s your favorite restaurant?

Heritage.

What would you tell somebody who has never been to Richmond before?

Richmond can be whatever you want it to be. RVA can be about the water; go whitewater rafting, hang out at pony pasture, stroll down the canal. It can be about the beer; visit one of the many brewers. It can be about the art; visit our awesome museums, enjoy the amazing street art, join the festivities of First Friday. It can be whatever you want it to be.

What's your favorite store?

Orange. Where else can you shop like a true Richmonder?

How do you spend your free time?

I love to check out the latest and greatest in food. RVA has such an interesting and growing food scene. New restaurants open up every month and there is so much to explore in the eating and drinking field.

What's your favorite neighborhood?

Church Hill. It has the best view of the city. How can you resist it?

How do you describe your community?

RVA is a community that is passionate. In any RVA attribute, we strive to do it well. We have festivals that fill your calendar. We have athletic events that push your limits. We have vineyards that keep you exploring the state. We are passionate about what we do.