Denver Gay Travel
wolfyy’s Denver gay travel guide to the best hotels, neighborhoods, gay bars, clubs & things to do.
The Gay Travel Experience: Denver, Colorado
Denver is known to be much more liberal than many other areas of the western United States, making it one of the most gay-friendly cities in the region. A large year-round gay scene also makes Denver a hugely attractive destination.
The city uniquely offers the urban perk of abundant restaurants, shopping, and bars, while at the same time providing easy access to nearby breathtaking mountains.
Denver gay travel is ideal for those who want to enjoy a mix of urban gay culture and the great outdoors. If you love hiking and exploring national parks, but also like a drag show and a circuit party, Denver is for you.
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 areas with fantastic hotels to choose from, including Cherry Creek, LoDo, Five Points, and Capitol Hill.
Denver Hotels in Cherry Creek
Cherry Creek is an upscale area of central Denver with an abundance of high-end hotels. The neighborhood is walkable and popular with both tourists and locals.
I stayed at The Jacquard Hotel, a wonderful luxury hotel 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.
The Jacquard has a stellar restaurant on the lobby level called Narrative. Expansive, high ceilings and a crisp white design make Narrative an ideal dinner spot.
The Halcyon is an absolutely gorgeous hotel popular with Denver gay travelers. Everything from the fixtures to the furniture feels swanky and luxurious. They also have a stunning rooftop pool. Without a doubt, I want to stay here the next time I’m in Denver!
Hotel Clio is another fabulous modern Cherry Creek hotel option that just opened in early 2022. The property is actually the recently renovated former JW Marriott.
Hotels in LoDo & Five Points
This section of the city certainly has a bustle to it, especially after working hours when locals take to the streets.
LoDo hotels are best if you’ll enjoy bar hopping 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.
Denver Hotels in Capitol Hill
Capitol Hill is considered to be the official Denver gay area. However, the gay areas of Denver are actually spread out in pockets surrounding the actual Capitol Hill neighborhood.
Capitol Hill hotels are a good choice for budget-conscious travelers. Located right between LoDo/Larimer Square and Cherry Creek, you’ll get the best of both worlds. Although it’s not as glitzy as the former two neighborhoods, Capitol Hill is still a great option.
North Capitol Hill has the most LGBT activity, but you’ll also find local gay life to the south, along the eastern edge of the Baker neighborhood.
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 or Baker gay areas. You’ll be able to easily hop around by car to these spots.
Denver Gay Travel Experiences
Walking around Union Station at night was a trip highlight. The intense neon colors and lively atmosphere outside was so inviting. I recommend meandering through this area at some point while you’re in Denver, even if it’s during the day.
Get cocktails at Cooper Lounge while you’re near Union Station. This classic, high-end bar is on the second level of the 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.
A Day Trip to Boulder
A day trip to gay-friendly Boulder is a fantastic idea, especially for couples. Boulder is home to a large student population attending the University of Colorado, so there’s quite a youthful vibe. It’s only about 40-minutes from downtown Denver by car.
Head directly for Pearl Street Mall once you’re in Boulder. It’s the number one place to visit! 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 (purchasing weed for recreational use is legal in Colorado)!
Explore Mountains Outside Denver
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.
Rocky Mountain National Park is hugely popular. 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.
Stop at Saint Catherine’s Chapel on the Rock while you’re on your way toward Estes Park. This beautiful historic building is perfect for a 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.
While you’re out exploring Denver and the surrounding area, keep fresh and prepared for anything with these on-the-go essentials.
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A night out in Larimer Square is a must for all gay travelers in Denver. This area is the most vibrant of the city and it’s easy to bar hop.
You’ll be able to choose from countless restaurants for a nice dinner too. Larimer Square is busiest at night, so I would plan to head there after 7 PM or so.
Bars and restaurants will fill and things will become rowdier as the night progresses. I guarantee you’ll find yourself loving the vibe of Larimer Square.
Visit for Denver Pride
The Center on Colfax hosts the Denver Gay Pride events. They’re one of the largest LGBTQ+ organizations in Colorado. If you’re planning on visiting Denver, aligning your visit with the pride festival events would definitely make for a fun time.
Show your LGBTQ+ support during the festivities with some awesome pride-themed clothing and accessories.
Restaurants in Denver
Grab dinner at TAG, a gay-friendly restaurant in Denver’s Larimer Square. 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.
We stopped by Marg’s World Taco Bistro another night for some delicious margaritas and a quick Mexican dinner since they’re open later than many other establishments. The food was delicious, but the drinks were even better.
I passed by Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar quite a few times given it was right next to my hotel, but unfortunately didn’t get to try it myself. Bad Daddy’s is super popular for juicy burgers with gourmet toppings.
Keep in mind they’re only open until 9 PM. If you’re a late eater like me, make sure to plan for an earlier dinner here.
Food delivery with Grubhub is always another option if you don’t have time to eat out (or you just don’t want to). There are so many restaurants to choose from on the Grubhub App!
Denver Gay Bars
Denver has a substantial gay nightlife scene, especially for a city in conservative Colorado. There are a bunch of gay bars to choose from. Below are all the crowd-favorites.
Since I visited Denver amid the Covid-19 pandemic, I personally only visited one gay bar. For an alternative first-hand account, watch the virtual Denver gay nightlife tour video below, produced by Gay Star News.
Boyztown is the most well-known, classic gay bar in Denver. They’re notorious for their male stripper shows, which start at 10 PM Tuesday through Sunday.
Daily happy hours at Boyztown attract rowdy crowds. They’re open until 2 AM, so make the most of your night by starting it early. While Boyztown doesn’t have a reputation for the friendliest service, many travelers and locals still visit for the gay dancer shows.
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.
X Bar Denver
X Bar is a mainstay Denver gay bar that’s been around for over 10 years. They have a huge indoor-outdoor space, making this venue a fantastic place to enjoy warmer weather.
On Wednesdays, X Bar hosts a fun event called Beat the Clock, where they play music from each decade successively for one hour, starting with 80’s music! Drinks are super cheap with the bar’s nightly specials.
Charlie’s is Denver’s local country-western gay bar, located along East Colfax Avenue. Popular events during the week include Game Night Tuesdays, Whiskey Wednesday drink specials, and Fierce Friday drag performances.
They also host a ton of special rotating and one-time events, as well as weekend brunches. Check the Charlie’s Denver Facebook page for the latest updates.
Blush & Blu
Blush & Blu is one of the few remaining official lesbian bars in the United States, so drop by and support them! They’re also popular with transgender and queer partygoers. Don’t miss Flannel Fridays or Queer & Karaoke Thursdays.
Trade is an awesome kink and fetish gay bar in Denver popular with the bear and leather communities. You’ll find mostly gay men here, but the bar also welcomes women and the queer community.
Daytime parties and events are a ton of fun at Trade, where everyone hangs out in the outdoor patio space. And in the summer, they set up a small pop-up pool!
Evening events get super sexy. Trade hosts their signature Skivvy Stripdown party. Other events include drag performances, karaoke, and the Thic-Cums Big Boys party. There’s always something entertaining happening!
Triangle Denver is one of the prominent Denver gay bars, located in the historic downtown. Expect more of a cozy, communal 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.
VYBE is one last LGBT bar, restaurant, and performance venue worth a visit while in Denver. An inclusive space open to everyone, they’re always hosting fantastic drag performances as well as karaoke nights and viewing parties.
Phuzzy is one of the most popular gay events at VYBE. It’s a sexy after-dark strip tease event that gay locals love! Check the bar’s social media for the next scheduled party.
Denver Gay Cruising
Midtowne Spa is the most popular Denver gay spa and cruising facility. They’re located in the Highlands neighborhood, not far from Downtown Denver. The facilities here are well-maintained and include a sauna, jacuzzi, and steam room.
Staying in Lower Highlands will be the most convenient if you plan on making more than one trip to Midtowne Spa or want to walk there. Arriving from Downtown Denver is also convenient.
Secondly, for those wondering, the Denver Swim Club gay sauna on East Colfax Avenue has permanently closed.
DNVR Jacks is a great choice for anyone who’s looking for cruising but doesn’t necessarily want full-on sex. A men-only “jack-off” club, DNVR Jacks hosts roughly six cruising events every month.
Events take place at a private venue, the location of which is only available to members. If you’re interested in attending, contact them ahead of time!
Before you head out for some cruising, make sure you have a pair of sexy underwear or jockstrap to wear!
Denver Travel Tips
CityPASS can be a huge money-saver if you’re planning to visit multiple of Denver’s popular tourist attractions, including many of the city’s museums, the botanical gardens, the history center, and more. They offer 3, 4, and 5-ticket packages.
Denver will certainly live up to its name as the mile-high city. While trekking higher elevations here in the mountains, it’s worth noting that you definitely lose your breath more easily!
Is Denver LGBT Friendly?
The city of Denver is LGBT-friendly, no doubt. There is a significant gay community here as well. But as a tourist, you should remember that Colorado as a whole leans toward the conservative side. In my opinion, it would be rare for gay travelers to encounter issues.
Dinnertime in Denver
Remember 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 9 PM or 10 PM, with only a handful of places open later. These are mostly in LoDo.
Rent A Car to Explore
If you’re planning to explore the mountainous countryside outside of Denver to take any day trips, I highly recommend renting a car at Denver Airport.
There are various buses that transport you from airport arrivals to the rental car facilities nearby.
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.
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.