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Denver Gay Travel

Denver gay travel melds majestic mountainsides with vivacious gay nightlife. Here are wolfyy’s tips for hotels, where to stay, things to do & gay nightlife in Denver.

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The Gay Travel Experience: Denver, Colorado

Denver was the first stop of my Colorado travels. The city is known to be much more liberal than many other areas of the western United States. A large year-round gay scene makes Denver such an attractive destination.

Plus, while you have the urban perk of abundant restaurants, shopping and bars, you also have easy access to breathtaking scenery nearby.

Downtown Denver
Denver gay travel experience
Denver gay travel

Denver gay travel is ideal for those who like urban gay life as well as the great outdoors. If you love hiking and exploring national parks, but also like a drag show and a circuit party, then I’d recommend you add Denver to your list!

Denver gay travel experience

This city has such a comforting ambiance; it’s actually a bit difficult to explain! But everywhere you walk feels vibrant, happy and safe. People are quite friendly, too. If you’re from an American city like New York or Los Angeles, you’ll definitely notice how much politer everyone is out here.

Denver gay travel
denver gay travel
denver gay travel

I wasn’t in Denver long, but I had quite a jam-packed experience. Below, I’ll start with some of Denver’s best areas to stay, and then move on to fun experiences and gay nightlife.

Gay Denver: Hotels & Where to Stay

Denver has a few different popular areas to choose from. Regardless of which of these areas you choose though, you’ll likely take a few trips back and forth to explore the others.

best hotels Denver

Cherry Creek

The more upscale and spread out area of central Denver is Cherry Creek. It’s a popular neighborhood for tourists as well as for locals. The area offers an abundance of high-end hotels and is quite walkable. There’s plenty of shopping and the neighborhood is dense enough to give off a fun urban vibe.

gay friendly hotel Denver
best hotels Denver
gay friendly hotel Denver

I stayed at The Jacquard Hotel, a wonderful luxury property in Cherry Creek. It is part of the Marriott collection, so if you’re part of their loyalty program, this could be a great choice. They have a stellar restaurant on the lobby level called Narrative. Expansive, high ceilings and a crisp white design make Narrative an ideal dinner spot.

where to stay in denver

LoDo & Five Points

The heart of Denver is Lower Downtown, or LoDo. Five points is another neighborhood to the northeast of LoDo. This part of the city certainly has a bustle to it, especially in the evenings after working hours when locals take to the streets.

Downtown Denver
where to stay in denver

It’s best to stay in LoDo if you’ll find yourself wanting to bar hop near Larimer Square, a quaint yet urban popular hangout area. Located about 20 minutes by car from the Cherry Creek neighborhood mentioned above, LoDo is one of the most popular places to stay in Denver.

Capitol Hill

If you’re on a tighter budget, the best area to stay in Denver would be Capitol Hill. It’s right in between LoDo/Larimer Square and Cherry Creek, so you get the best of both worlds in terms of transit time. Although It’s not as glitzy as the former two neighborhoods, it’s still a great option.

Where Is The Denver Gay District?

Denver’s gay district is considered to be Capitol Hill, although the gay areas of Denver are found more so in pockets surrounding the actual Capitol Hill neighborhood. North Capitol Hill has the most LGBT activity, but you’ll also find Denver gay life to the south, along the eastern edge of the Baker neighborhood.

Denver gay district
Barcelona gay travel
Denver gay district

Since Denver is a newer city, and hence more spread out, I would not base your choice of accommodation on being close to the Capitol Hill/Baker gay areas. You’ll be able to easily hop around by car to these spots.

Denver Experiences for the Gay Traveler

One of my favorite Denver experiences was actually quite a touristic one! I found Union Station at night to be a big highlight. The intense neon colors and lively atmosphere outside was so inviting. I recommend walking around Union Station at some point during your Denver gay travels, even if it’s not at night.

union station Denver
union station Denver
gay friendly bars Denver

While you’re near Union Station, you have to get cocktails at Cooper Lounge. This classic, high-end bar is on the second level of Union Station. The best part about Cooper Lounge is that it’s a bit hidden from public view, so it feels super private. 

Dress is more on the formal side, or at least smart/chic casual. They do take reservations, but I was able to grab a table without one, waiting only five minutes.

gay friendly bars Denver

Take A Day Trip to Boulder

Many Americans are quite fond of Boulder, Colorado. The adorable town is home to a large student population attending the University of Colorado, so there’s quite a youthful vibe. Its only about a 40-minute drive from downtown Denver, so you should definitely check it out.

boulder gay travel
boulder gay travel

Head directly for Pearl Street Mall. It’s the number one place to visit in Boulder. Pearl Street is a long stretch of pedestrian walkway lined with shops, restaurants and bars. You can even pick up some marijuana or CBD products at a local dispensary (weed is legal in Colorado)!

pearl street mall boulder

Gay Denver Mountain Day Trip

Only an hour and a half outside of downtown Denver, there are several majestic sights you can plan to see in a single day trip.

First and most popular is Rocky Mountain National Park. Navigate some epic trails to take in the dramatic landscapes here. The trails are just outside the dreamy vacation town of Estes Park, which serves as the base town for hikers.

Simply driving around Lake Estes is an experience in itself. You might even spot some wild elk on the side of the road! Definitely an authentic Colorado experience.

chapel on the rock

While you’re on your way toward Estes Park, stop at Saint Catherine’s Chapel on the Rock. This beautiful historic building will beg you for photo-op. Some travelers go inside, but many just take pictures around the grounds.

If you get there earlier in the morning, you might be able to see it without any other tourists.

cocktail

Cocktails in Larimer Square

Denver gay travel is certainly not complete without a night out in Larimer Square. This area is the most vibrant in Denver and it’s easy to bar hop. You’ll also be able to choose from countless restaurants for a nice dinner. It’s most lively at night, so I would plan to head there after 7PM or so.

Larimer square restaurants

As the night progresses, bars and restaurants will fill and things will become rowdier. I guarantee you’ll find yourself loving the vibe of Larimer Square. But, you’ll have to trust me and see for yourself!

Denver Restaurants

I mentioned the restaurant Narrative earlier, but it’s definitely worth repeating that the food here is scrumptious. Brunch was really a highlight here. I shared a tuna tartare and mixed nut, beet and cheese pesto dish with Michael, before moving onto egg dishes. It was definitely filling!

Narrative restaurant Denver
Narrative Denver
Narrative restaurant Denver

In Larimer Square, I recommend grabbing dinner at a gay-friendly restaurant called TAG. They have all sorts of food and brand themselves as an establishment with “eclectic eats.” I ordered a ton of sushi with some of their delicious custom cocktails. The waiters were super friendly, too.

denver gay travel

Another night, we stopped by Marg’s World Taco Bistro for some delicious margaritas and a quick dinner since they’re open later than many other establishments,. The food was pretty delicious Mexican, but the drinks were even better.

margarita
denver gay travel
margarita

While I didn’t get to try it myself, I passed by Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar quite a few times given it was right next to my hotel. Bad Daddy’s is super popular for juicy burgers with gourmet toppings. Keep in mind though, they’re only open until 9PM! If you’re a late eater like me, make sure to plan for an earlier dinner here.

Denver Gay Bars & Clubs

Denver is known for having a pretty substantial gay nightlife scene, especially for a state that is not super-liberal. There are a bunch of bars to choose from!

boyztown Denver

During my time in Denver I only visited one gay bar. I played it safe given my Colorado trip was the first since the Coronavirus pandemic. However, I’ll still help you out with the knowledge I do have about Denver gay bars.

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Denver's Classic Gay Bar

Definitely the most well-known Denver gay bar, Boyztown is a classic gay establishment. They’re notorious for their male stripper shows, which start at 10PM Tuesday through Sunday. Boyztown also hosts daily happy hours, attracting a rowdy crowd. They’re open until 2AM, so make the most of your night by starting it early.

Denver gay strip club
boyztown Denver
Denver gay strip club

Tracks Gay Club

Tracks is one of Denver’s biggest gay venues and they sure know how to throw a party. They host various types of events including Circuit Saturdays, Jazz Night Fridays, Visibility Thursdays and an afternoon Sunday Funday party.

gay club
Tracks Denver
gay club

Indoor events at Tracks are on hold due to Covid-19, but they have an expansive outdoor space with large tents and space to move around.

X Bar Denver

You can definitely count on some hilarious drag queens at X Bar, another popular gay bar in Denver. They have an indoor-outdoor space, great to take advantage of in the warmer weather. X Bar hosts popular dance parties too, with rotating guest DJs.

X bar gay

More Denver Gay Bars

Not too far from X Bar, you’ll find a few other gay bars in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. Along East Colfax Avenue, you’ll find Charlie’s Denver, a country western themed gay bar. A few blocks to the east is a place called Blush & Blu. Here you’ll find a more relaxed atmosphere in a space popular with lesbian, transgender and queer partygoers.

Denver nightlife

There is one prominent gay bar close to the LoDo neighborhood, called Triangle Denver. Expect more of a cozy, community feel in their modern industrial style space.

Triangle is a good bet if you want to start your night out on the calmer side, or maybe grab some food to fuel the rest of your evening. They have ample table and booth seating.

Denver nightlife

Denver Gay Travel Tips

Keep in mind that restaurants in Denver close a bit earlier in the evening as compared to other large U.S. cities. The majority of restaurants close at either 9PM or 10PM, with only a handful of places open later. These are mostly in LoDo.

denver gay travel tips

Denver will certainly live up to its name as the mile-high city. I can definitely confirm that when trekking out to higher elevations in the mountains, you lose your breath much more easily! While it’s nothing debilitating, it’s worth mentioning that you can certainly feel a difference.

Rent A Car

If you’re planning to explore the mountainous countryside outside of Denver, I highly recommend renting a car. 

rental car DEN

There are various busses that transport you from airport arrivals to the rental car facilities nearby. Michael booked us a car with Hertz and we were in and out in less than ten minutes.

rental car DEN
rental cars

Denver Public Transit Options

If you’re content with staying within the city of Denver, public transit is definitely an option. Denver has expanded their public transit system significantly over the past decade. You can even catch a train from the airport to head into the city center.

rental cars

The A Line RTS train is easiest if you’re heading toward Union Station from the airport. There are also more routes to different locations via the SkyRide bus. Here are all the Denver Airport transport options.

I hope you enjoy your Denver gay travel adventure!

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Browse more gay travel guides to cities around the world to plan your next vacation. Don’t forget to share this Denver Gay Travel Guide with a friend! 

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