Arts, live shows, great restaurants, and incredible nightlife are all on the menu for New York’s LGBTQ visitors.
New York City is home to the country’s largest LGBTQ population. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer residents add to the city’s great diversity – and so do millions of LGBTQ travelers. They come from around the world to explore the city’s array of culture, nightlife and other gay-welcoming spots across Manhattan and the outer boroughs. Here’s our shortlist of the best LGBTQ-friendly neighborhoods that travelers can explore to soak up NYC’s dazzling, out-and-proud atmosphere.
1. West Village
The Village is NYC’s ultimate queer neighborhood. It was always an artsty, Bohemian enclave – then in June 1969, the Stonewall riots turned the Village into the launchpad of the LGBTQ civil-rights movement. Today, you can explore the Stonewall National Monument’s 7.7 acres, which includes George Segal’s iconic Gay Liberation sculptures of two same-sex couples relaxing in Christopher Park. Across the street, the legendary Stonewall Inn remains a top spot to grab a drink, game of pool or an evening show.
On West 13th Street you can visit The Center, the city’s LGBTQIA+ gathering place that’s served New York’s queer community since 1983. You can enjoy plenty of fabulous queer-owned businesses across the Village, like the famous (and delicious) Big Gay Ice Cream, and refined lesbian-owned bistros Buvette and La Carota. For a night of live showtunes, grab a spot at piano bars The Monster, The Duplex, or Marie’s Crisis. Or just sip and flirt at top local haunts Cubby Hole, Henrietta Hudson, Julius’, Pieces, and Ty’s Bar.
2. Hell’s Kitchen
Head to Midtown for more of Manhattan’s best LGBTQ hotspots. Hell’s Kitchen rivals the Village for great gay-friendly restaurants, including 44 & X Hell’s Kitchen and Añejo, and La Pulperia for deliciously randy weekend drag brunches. With the Theater District just east of Hell’s Kitchen, NYC visitors will want to score their Broadway musical or play tickets early, especially for hits like Mean Girls. Gay nightclubs pepper the neighborhood, like sceney Boxers, Therapy, The Ritz, and Posh, and more down-home faves Industry, Flaming Saddles, and 9th Avenue Saloon.
3. Park Slope, Brooklyn
In the early 2000s, the queer population surged in Park Slope, earning it the nickname “Dyke Slope” thanks to the local Lesbian Herstory Archives and favorite hangout Ginger’s Bar. Today, locals and visitors can enjoy everyday gay life virtually everywhere in the Slope, whether picnicking at Prospect Park, getting a trim at Badlands Salon, dancing at Xstasy Night Club (in South Slope), or plugging the jukebox at Commonwealth Bar. Just don’t miss fabulous dining at gay-helmed restaurants Bogota Latin Bistro, Miti Miti Modern Mexican, and Blueprint.
Just beyond Park Slope in Prospect Heights and Bed-Stuy, you can explore some of the (mostly free) Brooklyn Community Pride Center’s community events. Or catch a wide variety of live shows at Branded Saloon and always-eventful club C’mon Everybody.
4. Bushwick, Brooklyn
Bushwick has emerged as one of Brooklyn’s top LGBTQ areas, home to wild clubs House of Yes, The Vault, and Bizarre Bar; and chill spots like lounge/restaurant Lot 45 and tiki-themed Happyfun Hideaway. The queer streak extends beyond bars, though, at the all-inclusive, gender-fluid lingerie boutique the Rack Shack, gay-owned French bakery L’imprimerie, and always-intriguing Catland Books.
While many queers have migrated to Bushwick from Williamsburg, the original hipster ‘hood remains home to a few unmissable Brooklyn gay bars, like divey Metropolitan and friendly Macri Park. You can also catch DJs, drag shows, and artsy performances at 3 Dollar Bill.
5. Astoria, Queens
Across Astoria and adjacent Jackson Heights, Queens, LGBTQ life stays busy day and night. At gay-owned Fresco’s Cantina, reserve seats for Thursday drag bingo and Sunday drag brunches. By night, a bevy of gay bars await thirsty locals and travelers, including friendly Icon and Albatross, both with drag shows and bingo nights. Dance to hip-hop and Latin beats at Club Evolution, True Colors, and Friend’s Tavern, or catch happy hours and karaoke at Hombres Lounge. Locals also love the community spirit of the Queens LGBT Center (in nearby Long Island City), the borough’s branch of New York’s non-profit LGBT Network.