LA is known for its golden beaches, Hollywood reputation and thriving gay scene. Constantly named one of the top LGBT-friendly cities in the world, LA’s gay scene is mostly split between the sparkling West Hollywood and the trendy Silver Lake where the glitz is a little grittier. Both sides of town boast an abundance of bars, restaurants, hotels, theatres and music to discover, and don’t forget LA’s Gay Pride is June 12-14th, making summer the perfect time to visit this diverse city.
Where to Stay
If you want to be in the centre of the action look no further than Santa Monica Boulevard. The string of vibrant shops, bars, cafés and clubs are dotted with enough gay-friendly options to keep you busy day and night. For a taste of fame, stay at the renowned Ramada Plaza West Hollywood and party all night like former superstar guests Andy Warhol, Jim Morrison and Blondie. For something a little more manicured, SIXTY Beverly Hills has a chic rooftop terrace, artwork by fashion photographer Steven Klein, and staff uniforms designed by the queen of style herself, Rachel Zoe.
Where to Tan
The beaches of LA need no introduction, think palm trees, golden sands and limbs, and enough sunshine to make that tan last all year. While LA is a generally gay-friendly city, the beach at Will Rogers State Beach just north of Santa Monica has a sizzling LGBT vibe, and a little further along is the eclectic Venice Beach, a fantastic spot with plenty of lively restaurants, hotels, and bars including the famous gay dive bar, Roosterfish, if you fancy some après beach drinks.
Where to Party
LA’s two biggest gay bar districts are West Hollywood (known as WeHo by locals) and Silver Lake on the other side of town. The stereotype goes that WeHo is where the queens party and Silver Lake is a little more punk rock, but of course the boundaries are blurred (perhaps from all the cocktails) and the atmosphere in both areas is welcoming and nothing short of wild.
- For drag queens, cocktails and pop hits head to The Abbey, Rage or Micky’s in WeHo. Rage’s popular GAMeBoi night on a Friday serves the Asian crowd with electro J and K-Pop, and Micky’s boasts regular shows from the stars of RuPaul’s Drag Race.
- For something a little less glam, Eagle LA is the city’s self-proclaimed ‘Premier Leather Gay Bar’ where beards, tattoos and of course leather, is the dress code.
- If it’s ladies night, The Palms is West Hollywood’s best known lesbian spot and shows that girls really do just wanna have fun.
- Oil Can Harry’s is loved by all folk for its karaoke, country and western Fridays and retro disco Saturdays.
- Gym Bar is LA’s very first official gay sports bar. It’s great for watching the game with a pint, whichever team you swing for.
- For a mix of anything and everything, Akbar’s is continually named the number one gay bar in LA and serves some serious fun without the usual shiny LA veneer.