WASHINGTON, D.C., IS MORE than just the nation’s capital. It’s also a hub for LGBTQ life and tourism, with a vibrant array of nightlife and events that represent the city’s role as a national gathering place. D.C. also happens to be in the running to host Gay Games 2022, competing against Hong Kong and Guadalajara, Mexico, to welcome the world’s largest LGBTQ sporting event.
“As one of the top destinations for LGBTQ travel, Washington, D.C., recognizes the importance of leading by example for freedom and equality,” said Elliott L. Ferguson, president and CEO, Destination DC, the city’s official tourism organization. “We have a rich history of civil rights and LGBTQ activism and proudly welcome people of all backgrounds in our destination.”
The ideal starting point for any visit is Dupont Circle, a long-running LGBTQ-popular neighborhood with small bars, shops and restaurants. The larger gay nightlife options are in other areas. Sports fans may opt for a drink at Nellie’s Sports Bar, which hosts “drag bingo” every Tuesday and live DJ music on its year-round patio. Also, a long-time favorite, JR’s on 17th Street, is known for its lively happy hour and Showtunes night on Mondays.
Visitors looking to hit the dance floor won’t want to miss venues like Town, one of the city’s largest gay clubs, where Tuesday happy hours, weekend drag shows and top DJs are among the draws. Male revelers (as well as a few females) pack Ziegfeld’s/Secrets, a two-level club that hosts drag shows on the first floor and male dancers on the second.
There is no dearth of gay-friendly accommodations in Washington. Top choices include the Embassy Row Hotel, conveniently located in Dupont Circle; the Mayflower, an Autograph Collection property listed on the National Register of Historic Places; and the Park Hyatt Washington, which offers a Masters of Food & Wine series as well as a bicycle valet service so guests can explore the city by bike.
In June thousands flock to D.C. for Capital Pride, the annual LGBTQ pride celebration, which includes a parade, street festival and lots of parties and related events.
Destination DC makes it easy for travelers to plan a visit with a robust listing of LGBTQ attractions, activities and gay-friendly businesses throughout the city.
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