I’m an African-American male who likes to domestically travel and explore new cities from time to time, even if I don’t have a true destination or landmark in mind. Sometimes on my journey I find it difficult to find places my people hang out. Over the years, I’ve somewhat become an aficionado when it comes to sniffing out places frequented by African-Americans. So, I’m here to share a few of my tips to help you find African-American hotspots when you’re in an unfamiliar area.
Imagine you’re in a new city and you want to get your hair done, but you have no recommendations and online isn’t yielding any responses. What if you just want to be in an atmosphere that has a high African-American presence. What about you want to go clothes shopping, but looking for urban styled clothing. Or maybe you want to go out to a club, lounge or bar, but want to make sure you arrive somewhere playing your style of music and caters to a black crowd, then what do you do?
Use these following tips to identify places frequented by African-Americans in whichever city you’re in.
Downtown is usually the center and the melting pot of the city. Here within lies multicultural communities, which commonly includes an African-American community in or around the downtown area. Take a ride or stroll through neighborhoods surrounding downtown and pay attention to the demographics of the area. Also, travel to nearby cities and visit their downtown area and sub-communities as well. Choose the cities with the highest populations.
Look For Landmarks
Look for African-American landmarks, such as statues, museums, centers, or street names that give homage to African-American people or culture, such as a street named, Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Landmarks and street names do not always result in finding an African-American neighborhood, but it’s highly probable African-American landmarks and street names will be in or near African-American neighborhoods or communities.
Talk To The Locals
Just flap your gums. When you see someone who look like they could point you in the right direction, then ask “Where are the black people?” Or use more covert language, such as “Where can I get some great soul food? What are the best hip hop clubs in the area? Where do you get your hair done? Do you know where I can find urban clothing? What are some things our people like to do out here?” Talking and asking one of the locals will almost always get you results.
Eat Out At Soul Food Restaurants
You are sure to find African-American people at soul food restaurants in any city. Here you can ask your waiter/waitress about the city and places to go. You can also ask other patrons, but don’t be rude or too vigorous. You can find soul food restaurants easily online.
Event Boards and Loose Flyers
Be on the lookout for event boards or loose flyers that boast African-American related events. Sometimes event boards are inside restaurants or local businesses. Sometimes you’ll find someone passing out flyers for events in a crowded area like downtown.
Ask Family, Friends & Coworkers
It’s likely you might know someone who’s been to the city you are visiting or they know someone who’s been, if they haven’t themselves. They may have knowledge about the area and can help you navigate to a destination of your comfort zone. Ask family, friends and coworkers for recommendations and places to go.
Ask People Online
Online seems to have all the answers these days. Forums and message boards are a good place to start. Post a question and ask about things to do for black people. However, it sometimes seem some people get offended when posing a race-related question. Therefore, if all else fails, then just perform an online search for phrases like, “things to do for African-Americans in [insert city here]”, “hip hop clubs in [insert city here], soul food in [insert city here], black churches in [insert city here]”, etc. Other online sources would be social media sites or dating sites. Join a group (especially African-American related groups) and post a question to the group or pose the question individually to potential daters.
Ask The Hotel Staff
If you’re staying at a hotel in the city, then the hotel staff can be great resources for finding places frequented by black people. Suck it up and just ask the hotel clerk, hotel maid, hotel concierge, hotel shuttle driver, hotel bartender, etc. Politely excuse yourself and ask, do you know of any black [clubs, churches, restaurants, etc.] in the area? It’s likely it wouldn’t raise an eyebrow from the hotel staff, because you’d be surprised the questions they get from travelers. They’ll likely be use to it. What’s the worst that can happen? The hotel staff will tell you “no” they don’t know of any place you seek or worst, you’ll be known by the staff as the person looking for the negro hotspots the rest of your hotel stay. Lol.
Take Public Transportation
Catch the bus, grab a taxi, or contact Uber. Public transportation such as, buses and trains will take you through different neighborhoods. It will allow you to see different areas and demographics. Taxi and Uber will give you the chance to speak with someone who likely knows the entire city like the back of their hand, thus knowing most places where African-Americans hang out. In most cases, you’ll need a destination to request a taxi or Uber, so I’d suggest start with going downtown and make friendly conversation on your way. If you’re already staying downtown, then maybe start with a soul food restaurant destination and make friendly conversation with the driver, to ask your question.
Go For A Drive
If you have wheels, then go for a drive through the city. Get lost, but not without a GPS. Getting lost will usually put you in different neighborhoods and demographics. You could also check with gas station attendants or clerks, and ask your question.
These are just a few basic tips and suggestions for finding black people in any city. When stepping out always be cautious and use common sense. Once you find a new place that you enjoy, then keep a record and share your experience.
I’m sure there are plenty other ways to find where black people hang out, but now you have a reference guide to help you. Although, this helps you find people of color, I do encourage diversity and exploring other cultural happenings while on your journey. This is just specifically for those special times you want to be amongst black people. Happy travels!