LGBTQ Travel Guide to Washington, DC
Gay-Friendly Places to Go and Things to Do in the Nation's Capital
by Kwin Mosby
June marks the start of the summer travel season and it’s also an important month to the LGBTQ community. It’s Gay Pride month! And now, same-sex couples can legally plan the perfect destination wedding and the ultimate gay honeymoon thanks to the Supreme Court’s decision in 2016. And every year, hundreds of people converge on Washington, DC for Capital Pride.
And even if you don’t make it to the District’s Gay Pride celebration this month, you’ll want the nation's capital to your list of top LGBTQ travel destinations and add these not-to-be-missed things to see and do to your trip itinerary.
Explore the Gayborhoods
Once the go-to spot for fun, DuPont Circle, has seen a few gay-owned businesses and bars close, but a few staple bars and restaurants remain like Cobalt, The Fireplace, J.R.’s, Floriana and Annie’s, the late-night spot to grab a bite after a night of bar hopping. And areas like Petworth, Brookland and NoMa have seen dramatic changes with construction of new residential areas and businesses popping up everywhere.
In fact... a new wave of bars, restaurants and shops are attracting the LGBTQ community to the U Street and Logan Circle neighborhoods with hip hangouts such as Uproar (think bears, cubs, otters, etc.), Nellie’s Sports Bar (LGBTQ sports fans), Dirty Goose (young professionals), Town (dance club), Number 9 (professional after-work crowd) and Trade (after-work crowd with an edge). Visitors staying downtown may find it more convenient to catch an Uber or Lyft ride to venture out to other local bars and clubs, such as the DC Eagle (Northeast DC), Ziegfeld's & Secrets (Southeast DC) and the Bachelor's Mill (Southwest DC).
Get a Metro Pass
Seeing it all in a few days can be a challenge, but luckily the city’s vast and affordable Metro system makes it possible. Take the children to the National Zoo in Woodley Park, stroll through Eastern Market in the Capitol Hill neighborhood on the weekend, catch a play or performance at the John F. Kennedy Center or go shopping at the numerous shops located in Georgetown or at the new City Center. Feeling energetic and adventurous? Stop by a CapitalBikeshare Program bike rack, and pedal around the city to see the sights from the seat of your bike.
Catch at Game with Local Sports Fans
Depending on what time of year you’re visiting the District, you may be lucky enough to catch the Nats play a baseball game at Nationals Park in Navy Yard, Consider planning your trip in time to attend the gay-friendly baseball game on Nationals Night OUT. the Mystics play b-ball at the Verizon Center in Chinatown, DC United play soccer at RFK Stadium or the Washington Kastles play a couple tennis matches at Kastles Stadium at the Smith Center. Get your game on!
Hobnob with Celebrities
If the opportunity to see a celebrity chef sounds appetizing, you’ll be happy to know that the District has become a major destination for foodies now that some of the best – such as José Andrés, Wolfgang Puck, Bobby Flay, Bryan Voltaggio, Christina Tosi and Mike Isabella – have opened one or more successful restaurants in the District. Unique dining experiences and watering holes are everywhere.
Here’s a quick sample of a few spots to whet your palate: The delicious dishes made with local ingredients at Farmers & Distillers, the meticulously prepared cocktails paired with food at the cozy Columbia Room, the tasty Spanish tapas served at Estadio, the authentic French cuisine at Le Diplomat, the eclectic vegetarian small plates served at Rose’s Luxury, spirits made on-site at District Distilling, fine Italian cooking at Michelin-starred Masseria, amazing southeast Indian dishes at Rasika, and the original handcrafted press cocktails poured at Provision 14. Getting hungry yet? Start making your reservations now!
Reserve Tickets at the Smithsonian’s Newest Museum
And last, but not least, don’t leave DC without visiting the hottest addition to the National Mall. The National Museum of African American History and Culture has more the 36,000 artifacts on display, ranging from the slavery era to modern pop culture. Tickets are a hot commodity, so purchasing them a couple of months in advance is a must.
Inspired by this article and want to speak with a Vacation travel agent about how you can plan a gay-friendly getaway to Washington, DC? Let one of Vacation’s on-call travel experts match you with a LGBTQ travel specialist, who can customize a gay-friendly itinerary you're going to love.