It was 1969 that marked the year of the infamous Stonewall Rebellion, which led to the modern LGBTQ rights movement. Riots began inside the Stonewall Inn in the West Village neighborhood and lasted for six days. In the present day, this gay neighborhood has a large number of LGBTQ monuments, bars, and historic sites. Although New York is generally a very open-minded city, since the days of the riots, other neighborhoods have become very LGBTQ friendly as well. This article covers neighborhoods in the boroughs of posh, upbeat Manhattan and more laid back hipster Brooklyn that boast some of the best gay areas in NYC.
Since the 1970s, Chelsea has been one of the most popular gay neighborhoods in NYC. In fact, it has the largest number of same-sex couples in New York. Along Eighth Avenue, there are several gay-friendly businesses, where rainbow flags hang all year long. Chelsea also features some of the best art galleries in the city. Fashion is a key part of the culture here, with stores such as Jeffrey, inside the Meatpacking District, and Parke & Ronen. As a leisurely activity, you can walk through High Line Park, a converted rail line with a high vantage point great for people watching.
Inside the Chelsea Market, there are lots of shopping and dining options, including the wine bar, Corkbuzz. The nightlife scene in Chelsea has gay bars, comedy clubs, dance clubs, rooftop lounges, and cocktail clubs. Popular gay bars like The Eagle and the Barracuda attract visitors for the music, drag shows, and rooftop deck. And the Gotham Comedy Club features LGBT comedians.
As you can see, this neighborhood has it all. And the good news is many of the fully-furnished and beautifully decorated apartments offered by Blueground are based in Chelsea. They all come completely equipped and move-in ready so you don’t have to worry about a thing. You now have plenty of housing options to choose from where you can show up and start living with just a suitcase.
Hell’s Kitchen has an abundance of entertainment and dining choices. Many businesses are LGBT-owned by the residents who live here. Hell’s Kitchen is conveniently adjacent to the Theatre District, where Broadway and Off-Broadway shows take the stage each week. LGBT-friendly nightlife in this neighborhood includes popular venues like, Flaming Saddles Saloon which has an authentic Western feel with bartenders who perform choreographed dances on the bar. Also, you can watch live drag shows at Therapy, including the Sunday night Slurp Show, and sip on frozen cosmos during the nightly happy hour at Barrage.
Finally, Hell’s Kitchen offers many fantastic restaurants. Some of the better options include The Marshal, Kashkaval Garden, and Totto Ramen. Hands down, Hell’s Kitchen is one of the best gay areas in NYC.
West Village is a charming neighborhood with a long history in NYC’s gay culture. During the 1920s, this area had a reputation as the gathering spot for gays, with several welcoming speakeasies and salons. Although West Village isn’t a primarily gay neighborhood anymore, it’s still home to the infamous Stonewall Inn. In 2016, President Obama declared this widely known venue a National Historic Landmark. Stonewall Inn bar and club is usually frequented by regulars, but due to its notoriety, you can find many tourists here as well. During the weeknights, you’ll find drag bingo, performances, and singing competitions. The weekend nights draw more crowds, and that means bigger parties like Friday night’s go-go themed dance party.
Along with Stonewall Inn, other gay bars in the West Village include Hangar Bar, Pieces, The Monster, and Cubbyhole. The bar Cubbyhole is one of the few lesbian bars left in the city. It’s an iconic treasure in the LGBTQ community because of its charm and eccentricity. Customers come to Cubbyhole to play songs on the jukebox, order happy hour drinks, or break out in spontaneous sing-alongs.
Park Slope can be found in central Brooklyn. Known as one of the best gay areas in NYC, Park Slope features brownstones, boutique shops, and the lovely Prospect Park. Many of the households here are same-sex couples and lots of Brooklyn’s Pride events take place in Park Slope. In fact, there’s an annual 5K run in Prospect Park to celebrate Pride Week from June 24 to 30. Notably, this year WorldPride is coming to New York City with special events taking place during the entire month of June.
Shopping in the area includes vintage clothing at Beacon’s Closet and indie fashion at Bird. At Annie’s Blue Ribbon General Store you can find cute gifts, and unicorn horns at the gift shop, Brooklyn Owl. The best gay and lesbian bars here are Excelsior and Ginger’s Bar, which offers televised sporting events along with backyard seating.
Another LGBTQ-friendly neighborhood in Brooklyn is East Williamsburg. Here, you’ll discover local artwork, tasty, affordable eateries, and several LGBTQ bars and clubs. As a resident in East Williamsburg, you can stop by Tar Pit on your way to work. It’s a coffee shop selling Brooklyn made pastries and high-quality coffee. Or if you made coffee at home, grab a rainbow bagel at The Bagel Store. They were the first ones to think up and create that Instagram-famous bright multi-colored bagel. Looking for a hearty meal with an outdoor patio? Visit Mother’s, where you can savor a burger and a New York craft beer while enjoying the summer or fall weather.
The Rosemont bar is a favorite late-night party venue with a spacious back patio to help you cool-down after a long night of dancing. Even with the crowd leaning more towards gay males, the lesbian community adores the occasional Peggy parties. Then there’s the 3 Dollar Bill. It’s regarded as the largest queer bar and club in Brooklyn. There’s a full-service bar, dance floor, outdoor area, and a kitchen that cooks up the best Mexican dishes. Their monthly party called THEMbot is a big hit and is organized by the well known LGBTQ party planner, Hot Rabbit.