Gay Washington DC: Where to eat, drink, play and sleep

By Emen8, updated 1 month ago in Travel and party / Overseas

The White House in Washington DC at Night with Rainbow

Are you looking for a great gay travel destination? Planning your gay-tinerary for WorldPride 2025? Well, look no further!

Thanks to a thriving gay scene and a range of queer activities, this city has something for everyone. Plus, did you know that Washington, DC boasts the highest population of gay people per capita in the US? With stats like these, it’s easy to see how the city has earned its reputation for being a truly welcoming and inclusive place for the LGBTQ community to visit.

Whether you’re planning to visit during WorldPride in 2025, or the famous Cherry Blossom season in March/April, you’re going to need our gay travel guide to Washington DC.

Where is the queer community in Washington, DC?

Dupont Circle and Logan Circle are the gaybourhoods of Washington, DC. Just north of the White House, the area emerged as a centre for gay life in the 1970s. It’s where DC hosted the first official Gay Pride celebration and where LGBTQ restaurants, bars and businesses are. You’ll also find an impressive mix of shops, hotels, galleries and museums.

What to do for WorldPride 2025: Washinton, DC

Washington, DC is the next city to host WorldPride celebrations in 2025. The festivities will run from May 23 to June 8, 2025. The organisers have said:

“WorldPride DC 2025 will feature a vibrant and innovative slate of events and cultural programs that will highlight the best that Washington, DC has to offer. From music to film, from the National Mall to Embassy Row, you will experience the world through Washington’s multi-faceted and multi-cultural community.”

Portrait of a cute little dog with gay flag during gay pride


We’ve put together this guide to give you some ideas for your WorldPride 2025 international extravaganza.

Where to eat – gay restaurants and cafes in Washington, DC

Mi Vida

Gay owned and operated—and located in the lively Wharf neighbourhood—Mi Vida serves up modern Mexican cuisine in a vibrant atmosphere. Enjoy their group-friendly shared dishes and get in some people-watching at this waterfront spot.

Succotash

This Southern-inspired restaurant, located in the Penn Quarter, offers up a unique fusion of Southern steakhouse meets Korea. Indulge in classic dishes with a twist, such as their famous fried chicken and shrimp & grits.

Logan Tavern

Nestled in the trendy Logan Circle neighbourhood, Logan Tavern is a bustling American eatery. With a make-your-own Bloody Mary bar, and casual and friendly service, it’s a great place to start with brunch and see where the day takes you!

Three Fifty Bakery and Coffee

Jimmy Hopper, the self-titled Gay Baker, runs this cosy and welcoming cafe located in the heart of the gay district. Start your day with a coffee and pastry whilst supporting gay-owned dining in Washington DC.

Where to drink – gay bars in Washington DC

JR’s Bar and Grill

Located in the Dupont Circle neighbourhood, JR’s Bar and Grill is a legendary gay bar that offers a great atmosphere, drink specials, and hosts show tunes sing-along nights!

Duplex Diner

This quirky neighbourhood bar in Adams Morgan is known for its comfort food, signature cocktails, and welcoming vibe. Order a burger, get yourself a drink and attend one of their famous RuPaul’s Drag Race watch parties.

The Dirty Goose

Situated in the U Street Corridor, The Dirty Goose is a stylish gay bar with a diverse crowd. Pop up to the rooftop or stay downstairs and meet a local hottie.

Larry’s Lounge

Larry’s Lounge is a laid-back neighbourhood staple. Grab a drink, play some pool, and mingle with friendly locals. Plus, Larry’s Lounge is only a 10-minute walk from JR’s, so why not make a crawl out of it!

Number Nine

This modern gay bar in Logan Circle offers a multi-level setting with a killer cocktail menu. They boast one of the best happy hours in Washington DC, with 2-for-1 drinks before 7 pm on weekdays, so get there early to kick off a fun night out in the gay bars of Washington DC.

Kiki

A new kid on the block, Kiki is a fun gay bar located in the Shaw neighbourhood. They host events and parties almost every day of the week, so if you’re in need of a kiki, this is the spot for you.

Little Gay Pub

With by far the most adorable name on this list, Little Gay Pub is a lively bar in Adams Morgan. Another new bar which opened at the start of 2023, the vibe is casual and community-focused, so a great option if you’re after a catch-up with a mate (or date) where you don’t have to yell over music!

Uproar Lounge and Restaurant

With a rooftop area, Uproar Lounge and Restaurant in Shaw is the perfect place to enjoy a drink and take in panoramic views of the city. Check out their event schedule to find something up your alley.

Where to play – things to do in Washington DC

There’s no shortage of gay-friendly activities in Washington DC. Whether it’s theatre, saunas or dancing the night away, gay Washington DC has got you covered.

Looking for more information on navigating partying whilst travelling? Check out our Guide to Partying Overseas for a list of handy tips and tricks you can follow.

Gay friendly clubs and nightlife in Washington DC

Green Lantern

Step into this iconic bar and club and immerse yourself in pulsating music with a 30+ crowd. With a lineup of talented DJs, themed nights, and special events such as their Glow Crazy party, The Green Lantern is a must-visit destination for anyone seeking a big gay night out in Washington DC.

Nellie’s Sports Bar

Located in the U Street Corridor, Nellie’s Sports Bar seamlessly combines sports and the LGBTQ community. With a welcoming atmosphere, friendly staff, and numerous flat-screen TVs, Nellie’s is the perfect spot to cheer on your favourite team while embracing gay-friendly Washington DC.

Nellies-bar-DC-outside-of-building

Bunker

A brand new underground club reminiscent of legendary Sydney nightclub ARQ, nestled in the heart of gay Washington DC. Expect sweaty bodies and big beats at Bunker Thursday to Sunday.

Trade

Trade is your go-to for a more diverse clientele from across the gay community. Get there early for happy hour and stay for their epic rotation of parties and DJs.

Gay saunas and cruise clubs in Washington DC

Washington DC has a few places you can check out if you’re wanting to hook up. If you need some help upping your game, check out our guide on how to up your chances of picking up a gay venue.

Remember that enjoying a fulfilling sex life also comes with the need to look after your sexual health — for your sake and your partners’. Get your sexual health tests sorted at least 2 weeks before you head to the party. If you’re planning to travel with PrEP, we’ve got these tips for taking it overseas. And for guys living with HIV, here’s what you need to know about international travel.

If you’ve had a possible exposure to HIV, accessing PEP within 72 hours can help you stay HIV negative. Local DC organisations, such as +Sex Positive, will usually only supply PEP to DC residents — but they may be able to provide you with options without insurance. You can also approach an emergency room and request a course of PEP, though there may be costs involved. DC has a PEP Hotline available 24/7 with medical providers ready to help — call (202) 299-3PEP (3737)

inside kaiserbruendl gay sauna in vienna austria

Crew Club

Washington DC’s premier gay sauna and bathhouse, Crew Club is open all day, every day, for you to find the fun. They’ve got a steam room, sauna, lounge areas with screens, and entry is free for 18-24 year olds.

Glorious Health Club has you covered for a night of cruising, with plenty of lounges, dark corners, dungeon equipment, and even an outdoor patio for nude sunbathing!

Gay theatre in Washington DC

Washington DC boasts a vibrant theatre scene, and there’s no shortage of gay friendly theatre options. Catch a performance at renowned venues like the Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Studio Theatre, Keegan Theatre, and even the nationally recognised Kennedy Center, which often showcase LGBTQ+ themes, talent and stories.

Other gay activities to do in Washington DC

See Washington DC’s OG LGBTQ+ friendly Neighbourhood

Dupont Circle has long been a beacon of gay Washington DC and is a must-see for anybody seeking an authentic and gay friendly experience in the city. As you stroll through the tree-lined streets, you’ll encounter rainbow flags proudly displayed, welcoming businesses, and an electric atmosphere that embodies the spirit of inclusivity. From historic landmarks like the Dupont Circle Fountain to the renowned LGBTQ+ Center, a sense of pride can be found at every corner.

Rainbow sidewalk at the gay pride parade in Washington, D.C.

Sample brews at Washington DC’s only 100% gay-owned brewery

If you’re a craft beer fan, then you must visit Red Bear Brewing Co., DC’s only 100 % gay-owned brewery. Located in the central NoMa area of Washington DC, it’s the perfect place to sit back and sip on craft beers, browse their selection of board games, and enjoy a brewery with a queer flair.

Where to stay – LGBTQ+ friendly and gay hotels in Washington DC

When it comes to accommodation in Washington DC, you can’t go past picking a spot within the triangle of Dupont Circle, U Street Corridor, and Logan Circle.

These neighbourhoods offer a variety of gay-friendly hotels and guesthouses, ensuring a comfortable and welcoming stay for our whole community. Plus, with all the best bars, clubs and activities in these areas too, you’ll be spoilt for choice staying here.

To find a spot that suits your vibe and budget, there are plenty of places where you can look. Try searching for these areas on your favourite hotel search site or hopping on Airbnb or HomeAway. If you’d like to narrow your search to LGBTQ+ specific accommodation options you can try Misterbandb, Fabstayz or Purple Roofs.

If you’re on more of a budget, there are hostels located in Dupont Circle, U Street Corridor and Logan Circle, or you could look at staying a little outside the city centre and utilising the city’s comprehensive Metrorail and Metrobus system.

Ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft are also readily available, and the city is very bike-friendly with services like Capital Bikeshare offering bike-sharing options too for getting around, no matter where you stay.

What are you waiting for? Start planning your trip to Washington DC today!

Washington DC is a fantastic destination for LGBTQ+ travellers, offering everything you could need to eat, drink and play. We hope our gay travel guide to Washington DC has tickled your pickle, and that you’ve found all the information you need to start planning you goal trip.

But remember, if you’re ever at a loss for what to do when you get there, you can always hop onto your favourite dating app. It’s one of the best ways to find locals to show you around, who can also introduce you to the gay community while you’re visiting.

Getting excited but a little strapped for cash at the moment? Why not plan your visit to Washington DC for World Pride 2025? The city will play host to thousands of visitors from all over the world—including you!

We’ll see you there.