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Los Angeles Gay Travel

Los Angeles gay guide to the best hotels, restaurants, gay bars & the West Hollywood gay neighborhood.

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The Gay Travel Experience: Los Angeles, California

A classic gay travel destination, Los Angeles has it all. Beautiful weather, lots of gay bars and clubs, a mixture of urban life and natural beauty, and even some gay beaches.

Los Angeles gay travel

Imagine cruising down Sunset Strip on your way to the West Hollywood gay neighborhood, relaxing at a chic rooftop pool, or dancing the night away at one of the city’s big gay clubs.

Los Angeles gay travel
Los Angeles gay guide
Los Angeles gay guide

The Los Angeles gay community is enormous and common to see adorable public displays of LGBT affection in places like West Hollywood. Many gay celebrities call Los Angeles home, too.

Los Angeles’ West Hollywood neighborhood attracts tons of gay tourists every year. With a densely concentrated local gay population, the area has tons of gay bars, drag shows, and stores that cater to LGBT clientele. There’s a ton to explore.

gay Los Angeles
Los Angeles LGBT travel
gay Los Angeles

As the second largest city in the United States along with a huge diversity of things to do, planning a visit to LA can be overwhelming. So in this Los Angeles gay guide, I’ll fill you in on all the best areas for gay travelers to stay along with plenty of other recommendations.

Los Angeles LGBT travel

Gay Los Angeles: Hotels & Where to Stay

Location in Los Angeles is key since heavy traffic can make getting around the city super frustrating. Make sure to decide on a neighborhood close by the places you’ll spend most of your time.

Los Angeles gay hotel

The best areas to stay in Los Angeles is generally between the city’s downtown and Santa Monica, a wonderful beach community along the coast.

Los Angeles gay hotel
gay travel to Los Angeles

West Hollywood, the gorgeous Beverly Hills, and Century City are three popular neighborhoods in this area of LA.

gay travel to Los Angeles

Staying In West Hollywood

West Hollywood is the famous Los Angeles gay neighborhood. Gay men are always strolling Santa Monica Boulevard past dozens of restaurants, storefronts and gyms.

Santa Monica Boulevard and Melrose Avenue are two vibrant thoroughfares running through West Hollywood that are perfect starting locations when browsing for hotels.

West Hollywood gay area
West Hollywood gay area
west hollywood los angeles vacation rental

Santa Monica Boulevard embodies more of a true gay neighborhood feel, while Melrose Avenue has more of a Brooklyn, New York City vibe. Melrose is lined with hundreds of boutique shops and unique restaurants, though. I truly adore both!

west hollywood los angeles vacation rental

Apartment rentals in West Hollywood will allow you to settle right in near the locals. If you stay here, I suggest choosing a place within walking distance of the gay bars. This will make things more convenient, especially if you’re traveling with a group of friends.

Beverly Hills Hotels

For luxury travelers, set your sights on hotels in Beverly Hills, the famous 90210 American zip code. If you’re willing to pay a little more, a hotel here will be worth it.

Beverly Hills has such an ideal location, it’s super easy to get almost anywhere.

hotel for Los Angeles gay travelers
hotel for Los Angeles gay travelers
gay hotel Los Angeles

The SLS Hotel Beverly Hills is fabulous, located on the border of Beverly Hills and West Hollywood. I stayed here during one of my trips to Los Angeles. 

This boutique luxury hotel was absolutely perfect, with a ton of eye-catching features like sliding mirror walls in the rooms and provocative art in the hallways. 

gay hotel Los Angeles

The staff is friendly and they embody the chill California vibe. They have stellar breakfast options and a relaxing pool deck. I highly recommend it!

Westwood & Century City Hotels

Westwood hotels and Century City hotels are also great for gay travelers. They offer a balance of easy access to both nightlife and beaches. Westwood is like a less-flashy version of Beverly Hills.

Westwood hotels for gay tourists

Staying in Downtown Los Angeles Hotels

Hotels in downtown Los Angeles are really only a good idea if you need to stay in the downtown for a particular reason, like for work. First-time tourists are better off choosing other neighborhoods of the city.

Westwood hotels for gay tourists
where to stay in los angeles

The heart and soul of Los Angeles gay life is in West Hollywood and beachfront communities like Santa Monica, which aren’t really near the downtown center.

where to stay in los angeles

Downtown Los Angeles is largely commercial and tends to be a bit boring in my opinion. It’s isolated from all the fun activities the city has to offer. 

You absolutely don’t want to stay anywhere (or even visit) the eastern part of downtown LA. In famously blighted areas like Skid Row, there are long stretches of city blocks full of homeless citizens living in tents. So stick to the recommendations above!

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Los Angeles Gay Travel Experiences

Hike Runyon Canyon

Runyon Canyon is my favorite park in Los Angeles and is wildly popular among gay locals.  There are beautiful trails and wide-open spaces. You can go for a casual walk here along the trail closer to the entrance or decide hike a bit and go further along the trails.

gay traveler in Runyon Canyon
Los Angeles gay locals
gay traveler in Runyon Canyon

I love going a couple of hours before sunset, heading to the top of one of the smaller peaks, and walking down as the sun sets. Runyon Canyon is definitely the best place to hike in Los Angeles!

Los Angeles gay locals

Drive Latigo Canyon

Head to Latigo Canyon if you have a car and love driving winding roads. An intensely scenic drive, Latigo Canyon Road hugs the mountainsides at a high elevation. You can see the beaches of Malibu and captivating vistas from these heights.

gay traveler visiting Will Rogers State Park

Explore Will Rogers State Park

Will Rogers State Historic Park, popular with the gay locals, is a great place to relax and take in some sun in a grassy field. Will Rogers Park is perfect for quiet walks in a wooded area or to have a little picnic with friends.

Will Rogers State Park
gay traveler visiting Will Rogers State Park
Will Rogers State Park

The Getty Museum

The Getty Museum is a fantastic place to spend an afternoon. The space is enormous and there is so much to explore. I love the beautiful vistas from the wide-open terraces. Try to get there earlier in the day to avoid lines and/or waiting in the hot summer sun.

gay traveler visiting Santa Monica

Visit Santa Monica

Santa Monica State Beach is right near Santa Monica Boulevard, a vibrant and walkable area with a ton of restaurants and shopping. Stroll the boulevard and then head over to the Santa Monica Pier. The area is still very lively after dark.

Santa Monica pier
Santa Monica pier
gay traveler visiting Santa Monica

Abbott Kinney Boulevard

Abbott Kinney Boulevard is a beautiful street near Venice Beach to shop, grab snacks, or have an early dinner! Local foodies love Abbott Kinney.

They have a monthly event called “First Friday” where high-quality food trucks line the streets before sunset.

Los Angeles Gay Beaches

Will Rogers Beach

Will Rogers Beach is the crowd favorite Los Angeles gay beach. To get there, head toward Lifeguard Tower number 18. This is the gay area. There is plenty of parking nearby.

how to get to the Los Angeles gay beach
Dorothy Green park
how to get to the Los Angeles gay beach

Dorothy Green Park

Dorothy Green Park in neighboring Santa Monica is a popular gay beach hangout. There’s always a fun crowd enjoying the weather, often doing some sort of acrobatic exercises. It’s fun to watch!

Dorothy Green park

West Street Beach

West Street Beach is another gay beach popular with Los Angeles locals. It’s just south of Laguna Beach, about an hour by car south of LA.

Los Angeles gay beach

The earlier you get there, the better, since parking can be quite a challenge. Don’t forget a pair of sexy swim briefs!

popular Los Angeles gay beach
Los Angeles gay beach
popular Los Angeles gay beach

Muscle Beach

I definitely can’t skip a mention of the famous Muscle Beach in Venice, California. If you have time for a second beach day, definitely check it out. 

Even though it’s not an official gay beach, I’m sure there will be some LGBT friends around. Make a point to at least stop by!

Restaurants in Los Angeles

Plan Check Kitchen & Bar

Plan Check Kitchen & Bar is perfect for a cocktail-filled brunch. They have locations in both Sawtelle and West LA. I love Plan Check for their industrial kitchen vibe, fantastic service and comfort food that will make your tastebuds super happy. 

Plan Check Kkitchen restaurant in Los Angeles
Plan Check Kkitchen restaurant in Los Angeles
brunch restaurant for gay travelers in Los Angeles

They are especially known for their fried chicken, but honestly everything here is delicious. I really enjoyed the spicy custom cocktails too.

brunch restaurant for gay travelers in Los Angeles

If you go to the Sawtelle Plan Check location, try digesting afterward with a walk through Japan Town. There are a lot of bubble tea shops and fun storefronts to browse.

Din Tai Fung

Din Tai Fung is a Taiwanese restaurant in the Century City Mall that you absolutely have to try! The food here is out of this world and the service is excellent. I love the huge window of the kitchen, where you can watch the cooks prepare all sorts of dumplings and other specialties. 

Taiwanese restaurant in Los Angeles

Din Tai Fung is especially popular on weekends. It’s best to go put your name in, do some shopping and come back for dinner.

Din Tai Fung restaurant
Taiwanese restaurant in Los Angeles

In fact, perusing the mall while waiting for dinner is quite relaxing considering how beautiful it is. It’s also one of the best places to shop in Los Angeles). 

Din Tai Fung restaurant

There are lots of other restaurants in this mall, in case you don’t opt for Din Tai Fung. The mall has an Eataly, popular with locals for dinner.

Northern Café

Craving amazing soup dumplings? Northern Café in Westwood has the best dumplings around. A casual Chinese place best for lunch or an early dinner, I promise you will not regret making a trip here.

Botega Louie

Have brunch at Botega Louie if you’re in Downtown Los Angeles. The entrées are delectable and the pastries are so adorable! You could also grab some pastries to go. A reservation for brunch is best since it can get crowded with people who work downtown.

Los Angeles restaurant LGBT travelers
Los Angeles restaurant LGBT travelers
downtown Los Angeles restaurant

Kitchen 24

Kitchen 24 is a fun spot for breakfast with a bit of people-watching in West Hollywood. They have a cute and colorful outdoor seating area where you can watch the boys of WeHo stroll the sidewalks.

Tired? Order In!

Food delivery with Grubhub is always an option if you just feel like ordering in. There are so many restaurants to choose from on the Grubhub App!

downtown Los Angeles restaurant

Los Angeles Gay Bars & Clubs

Gay nightlife in Los Angeles concentrates in West Hollywood, but there are some gay bars downtown as well. Here are all the gay bars and clubs you need to know about in LA.

The Abbey & Chapel

The Abbey and “Chapel at The Abbey” are crowd favorite Los Angeles gay bars. They are technically one establishment, but are two separate bars.

Los Angeles gay bar

Most of the time, they use two different entrances. There are times, however, that I have visited while the internal gate between them was open. It seems it depends on how crowded things get.

Chapel Los Angeles gay bar
Chapel Los Angeles gay bar
Los Angeles gay bar

The Abbey is technically a gay bar, but the crowd is typically mixed. Many straight couples also hang out here even though the vibe is clearly tailored to the LGBT community. Also, both Chapel and The Abbey have large dance floors in the back!

Micky's West Hollywood

Micky’s is my personal favorite Los Angeles gay bar. It’s located in the heart of West Hollywood. They have a nice area to hang outside along the street, plenty of room around the bar, and a great space to dance in the back.

Events at Micky’s are always fun, too. I love their Hump and Showgirls nights. The bar is also famous for performances by world-famous drag queens, like Alyssa Edwards in the video below!

If you are visiting Micky’s during a holiday weekend when things are very crowded, the bar will have people form a line on the sidewalk. But, they interestingly won’t let anyone in that line enter the bar!

Micky's gay bar

The only way to get in at times like this is to go directly to the door and ask to pay cash to the bouncer. It’s a bit chaotic, but I’ve seen it happen several times while visiting Los Angeles, most notably on New Year’s weekend. Most weekends though will be perfectly fine.

Flaming Saddles (Recently Closed)

Unfortunately, Flaming Saddles West Hollywood has permanently closed in light of difficulties related to the Covid-19 pandemic. Flaming Saddles was truly one of the most iconic Los Angeles gay bars and will be missed. 

Los Angeles gay bar
Los Angeles gay bar
Micky's gay bar

I’m hopeful that one day that the establishment can re-open and once again provide a rowdy place to grab a drink or enjoy Drag Race showings.

FuBar

FuBar is one of my favorites, only a short cab ride away from the main strip of gay bars in West Hollywood. FuBar is a small gay nightclub that typically attracts a 30+ crowd. On busier nights, you’ll find lots of guys showing off their sexy underwear!

Fubar
Fubar
Los Angeles gay club dancers

Mother Lode

Mother Lode is the oldest gay bar in West Hollywood and just recently reopened after renovations to the bar’s facade. Tourists and locals both love coming to Mother Lode for cheap drinks in a relaxed and unpretentious atmosphere.

The bar is right on Santa Monica Boulevard near the other West Hollywood gay bars, so it’s an easy place to visit while bar hopping. 

Los Angeles gay club dancers

Looking specifically for circuit parties? Check out these circuit party events to see if any of the US productions will be hosting a party in one of the larger Los Angeles gay clubs.

Bullet Bar LA

Bullet Bar LA is a hugely popular leather and fetish gay bar in Los Angeles that hosts all sorts of epic events. They pride themselves on having the largest outdoor patio in the Valley, being open 365 days a year, and having the longest happy hours in Los Angeles.

Bullet Bar LA
Bullet Bar LA
Los Angeles gay fetish bar

Cock Sock, Dog Pound, Hawt Rock, and Crisco Disco are just a few of the sexy, uninhibited events at Bullet Bar. Wear your best-fitting jeans, harness, or other leather party gear!

Los Angeles gay fetish bar

Eagle LA

Eagle Los Angeles is another classic gay fetish and leather bar with plenty of events to experience. Head to Tightwad Tuesday for $4 beers and no cover, or check out the drink specials on Hump Day Wednesdays.

If you’re in town over the weekend, Eagle LA usually has a cruising event planned. A couple of popular ones are Meat Rack and Cruise LA on the third Saturday of the month. Don’t forget a sexy jockstrap.

Redline

Redline is a pub-style gay bar with a decently-sized dance area. They’re known for their “Eggplant Fridays” where you can save on some 2-for-1 drink specials.

downtown Los Angeles gay bars
downtown Los Angeles gay bars
precinct gay bar

Precinct

Precinct is the second of two gay bars downtown. They’re an LGBTQ+ space open Tuesday through Sunday and always have something fun going on. 

precinct gay bar

Everyone loves Precinct’s Queen Kong and Bearracuda parties. At Bearracuda, there are sexy gogo wrestlers and a cash-prize body wrestler contest! Check the Precinct Facebook Page for events.

Los Angeles Gay Parties

In addition to all the gay bars and clubs mentioned above, Los Angeles has a variety of local gay parties. Here are some of the best gay parties, most of which are held semi-regularly and in different venues around the city.

Tiger Heat

Tiger Heat is one of the biggest weekly gay parties in Los Angeles. It’s hosted at the Vermont Hollywood every Thursday, attracting guys of all types and ages. 

Tiger Heat gay party in Los Angeles
Los Angeles gay party
Tiger Heat gay party in Los Angeles

The club has multiple bars, a few small seating areas, a balcony level, and plenty of places to dance. The biggest dance floor is in front of the club’s main stage, but later in the evening, you’ll find people dancing in the middle room area.

Los Angeles gay party

Tiger Heat is also an 18+ party, so you’ll definitely see a few more younger partygoers than at some other gay parties.

Masterbeat

Masterbeat hosts all sorts of popular Los Angeles gay circuit parties semi-regularly. They always host big gay parties during holiday weekends like Memorial Day and New Year’s, as well as during special events like pride.

Masterbeat gay party in Los Angeles

I’ve always had a blast at every Masterbeat event I’ve been to. They’re your typical upbeat, colorful circuit party filled with muscular guys. You’ll definitely want to wear your best gay circuit gear.

Los Angeles gay circuit party
Masterbeat gay party in Los Angeles
Los Angeles gay circuit party

Some of the other semi-regular parties by Masterbeat are Basic Training and Frat House. Check the Masterbeat Facebook page for scheduled parties like these, as well as their events in New York City.

Gay Cruising & Sex Parties

Los Angeles also has a handful of gay parties that blend both dancing and sex. Some of these events are gay parties with dark rooms, while others are strictly sex clubs or sex parties just for cruising.

I mention s few of the best venues and events in wolfyy’s post on Los Angeles gay bathhouses and sex parties.

Find over 20 gay sex parties in Los Angeles by downloading my complete PDF list, which includes direct sign-up links, contact information, event locations, and more.

Los Angeles Travel Tips

Should You Rent a Car?

Renting a car will make day trips and moving around Los Angeles much easier. You will need a car if you want to explore most major attractions, drive to great beaches and more. 

See wolfyy’s resources page has different car rental company options and other discounts. 

Los Angeles gay traveler
Los Angeles gay traveler
fast food in Los Angeles

If renting a car is not an option, you can still have a fantastic time by keeping activities local and exploring select gay attractions in the West Hollywood area.

fast food in Los Angeles

The Local Gay Scene

After experiencing the Los Angeles gay scene for the first time while out at the bars, I realized that people here put a lot of effort into the way they dress and present themselves. Everyone seems to have a carefully curated “look.”

Los Angeles gay scene

Don’t be afraid to dress to impress if you’re headed out on the town. Gay guys in Los Angeles dress a little more formally than men in New York do, for example.

the Los Angeles gay scene
Los Angeles gay scene
the Los Angeles gay scene

Luggage Storage Options

There are plenty of options for short-term luggage storage in Los Angeles, ideal if you want to stash your bags somewhere more convenient to your departure destination, or if your hotel can’t hold your luggage any longer.

Malibu Beaches: Be Careful

Be careful while walking along California beaches especially in the Long Beach, Malibu, and South Bay areas. There are frequently globs of tar along the shore. If you step in one of these balls of tar, it will be very difficult to remove it from your skin.

Malibu beaches

These globs are sometimes natural, a result of natural offshore oil seeps, and other times a result of oil spills that have occurred in past years. Keep an eye out.

Malibu beaches
driving in Los Angeles

Using Lyft & Uber in Los Angeles

Ride-share prices at the Los Angeles Airport tend to surge incredibly high as soon as a large flight lets out, especially in the evening. A ride to your hotel can easily triple in price over a few minutes’ time.

driving in Los Angeles

Try to avoid the surge by either rushing from your flight to the ride-share area as soon as possible or taking things very slowly until most of the other people have left and prices come back to normal.

Los Angeles Gay Life & California LGBT Rights

California is a great place to be gay. One of the most liberal states in America, California was one of the first to legalize domestic partnerships. The state provides various workplace discrimination protections for LGBT people and protects the LGBT community from a range of hate crimes.

being gay in Los Angeles
gay life in los angeles
being gay in Los Angeles

In 2008, California courts struck down laws that had banned same-sex marriage in the state. Proposition 8 arose a few months later, a newly created and approved ban on same-sex marriage which received a high amount of media attention across the United States.

gay life in los angeles

Prop 8 remains in effect in the state of California. However, the Federal US government in 2015 ruled that gay marriage is legal in all 50 states.

I hope you’ve found this Los Angeles gay travel guide useful! Don’t forget to subscribe to wolfyy for more of the latest gay travel information & special travel invitations.

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See more of California with wolfyy’s gay guide to Palm Springs.

For additional resources, head to Visit California’s Los Angeles official website.

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Because I've been to every destination I write about.

wolfyy gay travel guides are based on my own experiences, plus trusted tips from LGBT travelers & locals.

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