Skip to Content

Gay Los Angeles: The Ultimate Gay Guide 2024

Gay Los Angeles Guide: There are few cities that can conjure up as vivid a mental image as Los Angeles. Thanks in large part to Hollywood, the City of Angels has a reputation known around the world.

Los Angeles is a huge metropolis located in Southern California, made up of multiple cities and neighbourhoods. With a population of over four million people, it is the second most densely populated city in the United States after New York.

Thanks to its year-round warm temperatures, stunning beaches, and of course iconic landmarks such as the Hollywood Sign and the Walk of Fame, it is no wonder that each year millions of people visit. And of course, due to being one of the most diverse cities in the United States, a large number of those visitors are members of the LGBTQ+ community, who are warmly welcomed.

Is Los Angeles gay friendly?

la gay guide

In short, yes, Los Angeles is viewed as a very gay-friendly destination. We felt very safe and very welcomed as an open gay couple in all parts of the city that we visited, not just when we were in West Hollywood.

Los Angeles has one of the largest and most-established LGBTQ+ communities in the United States, and its annual Pride Parade in June is one of the largest in the world, attracting visitors from all over the globe.

While the vast majority of the gay scene is centred in and around West Hollywood (more on this below), it’s not uncommon to find members of the local LGBTQ+ community in any part of the city that you visit.

Where is the gay area in LA?

Given the sheer size of Los Angeles, you will of course encounter members of the LGBTQ+ community across the city. However, just like any other major city Los Angeles also has its own ‘gay-borhood’ where the highest concentration of our community have chosen to live – West Hollywood.

West Hollywood – more commonly known as WeHo – is located right in the centre of LA, just east of Beverly Hills.

A survey found that 40% of WeHos citizens identified as gay. As WeHo is actually an autonomous city, this high percentage technically makes WeHo the gayest city in the world!

WeHo is home to a large number of gay bars and gay clubs, as well as many LGBTQ+ owned and friendly businesses, such as bookstores, shops, restaurants, and cafes.

We loved strolling through WeHo, shopping, or sitting enjoying a cup of coffee and seeing so many other LGBTQ+ couples going about their day, and engaging in PDA with no second thought because they were in a gay city!

Gay-Friendly Hotels in LA

As previously mentioned, Los Angeles is a very gay-friendly city, and as such LGBTQ+ travellers will be warmly welcomed in pretty much every hotel that they choose to stay in.

Where did we stay in Los Angeles?

During our visit to Los Angeles two hotels came highly recommended for the purposes of our visit – one located in North Hollywood, close to Universal Studios, and then other in the heart of Hollywood.

The Garland

gay friendly hotel los angeles

The Garland was our home for our first 4 nights in Los Angeles, and we were very warmly welcomed and well looked after during our stay here.

The Garland brands itself as an “urban oasis” and we can see why – the hotel is built within seven lush acres, yet is still within easy access from some of the iconic landmarks and attractions for which Los Angeles is famous, such as Universal Studios and the Hollywood Sign.

We loved the large outdoor pool, perfect to cool off at the end of the busy day sightseeing, and the onsite restaurant ‘The Front Yard’ – a casual and relaxed dining venue – was ideal for unwinding and enjoying a meal without having to venture out of the hotel.

Tommie Hollywood

gay hotel los angeles

Tommie Hollywood is a newly opened luxury boutique hotel in the heart of Hollywood.

The location here is key – the hotel is just minutes’ walk from the stars of the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and just a few blocks from Hollywood Boulevard.

Our favourite feature of the hotel has to be the rooftop pool – there was no better way to end the day than cooling off with a swim, looking out over the city and Hollywood Hills.

The rooms were super modern, and we loved the floor to ceiling windows, ideal if you are in one of the rooms with the panoramic view of the hills!

Gay-friendly hotels in WeHo:

When it comes to choosing a hotel in Los Angeles, given the scale of the city location tends to be the deciding factor for most people, based on where they plan to spend most of their time, or depending on the attractions they want to visit.

For LGBTQ+ travellers, given that West Hollywood is the epicentre of gay Los Angeles, many choose to stay here, and there are plenty of gay-friendly hotels to choose from in this gay city.

Petit Ermitage

gay friendly hotel weho

Petit Ermitage is a beautiful 4-star hotel located close to WeHos vibrant gay nightlife scene. The hotel is also just five miles from Santa Monica Boulevard, and within a 15-minute drive to Universal Studios Hollywood.

The hotel also offers a private rooftop pool, with incredible views of Los Angeles, as well as poolside cabanas and a stylish cocktail bar.

Kimpton La Peer Hotel

gay hotel west hollywood

Kimpton La Peer is a gorgeous 5-star hotel located in the Design District of WeHo.

The hotel has an onsite restaurant, 24-hour gym plus an outdoor courtyard pool.

And after a hard day exploring the sights and sounds of LA, guests can unwind at the complimentary wine hour – as if you needed any other reason to choose a hotel!  

Andaz West Hollywood

gay hotel los angeles

The Andaz is an incredibly LGBTQ+ welcoming hotel located in the heart of West Hollywood.

The hotel has very stylishly decorated rooms and suites, some of which even offer views of the Hollywood Hills!

Within walking distance of the Andaz you will find art galleries, music venues, shopping, as well as many restaurants and bars.

Don’t forget to check out the rooftop pool too!

And if you needed extra convincing that the Andaz was LGBTQ+ friendly, they were awarded gaytravel.coms “Gay Travel Approved” certificate this year.

The above are just a small selection of some of the most gay-friendly hotels found in WeHo, but of course there will be many more choices to suit any traveller’s needs.

Should you wish to stay elsewhere in Los Angeles other than WeHo, there are certain hotels located across the city that are naturally more gay-friendly than others and based on these recommendations we have produced a dedicated gay friendly hotel guide, link below, that includes other options found across the city, including the two properties we stayed at.

For the purposes of our recommendations, we have looked at hotels within brands that are known for supporting the LGBTQ+ community, such as Kimpton or Hilton. We have also looked at hotels that carry booking.com’s “Travel Proud” certification – showing that the property has been certified by booking.com as an inclusive and welcoming place to stay for members of the LGBTQ+ community.

Gay Bars in LA

Gay nightlife in Los Angeles is very diverse and offers something for everyone. The majority of the gay bars and clubs are concentrated in West Hollywood, although there are also a few other gay bars in downtown LA too.

There are far too many to list all here, so we have just selected a few noteworthy bars, including those we have visited ourselves.

One important fact to bear in mind however when planning your night out is that due to a state law, bars and clubs in Los Angeles close a lot earlier than you might expect at 2am. This is something that might come as a shock to European visitors who generally arrive to the nightclub at this time!

The Abbey Food and Bar and Chapel at the Abbey

gay bar los angeles

The Abbey is a staple when it comes to the gay nightlife scene of WeHo; it has even been described as the most famous gay bar in the world – thanks to being featured in various TV shows. Their own website even advertise that they are a “two-time winner of the MTV Logo ‘Best Gay Bar in the World’ award! Quite a feat!

The Abbey is so well-known and popular that in 2016, the then-owner opened an additional sister bar next door to The Abbey, called The Chapel. Technically one establishment, they are two separate bars and use different entrances, but there are times that the internal gate between the bars is open so you can explore both venues.

The Abbey has four separate bars, a large patio out-front, and a large multi-level dancefloor towards the back. The Chapel also has a large dancefloor. They also have some very attractive go-go boys – seems to be a common thing amongst most LA gay bars!

The crowd here is very mixed, but one thing that stood out to us was how well-dressed the boys were – The Abbey seemed to be the place where the trendy LA gays come to party.

The Abbey also serves food during the day, as well as a popular Sunday brunch.

Address: 692 N Robertson Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069, United States

Micky’s West Hollywood

gay bar la

Micky’s WeHo was one of our favourite venues, one that we kept going back to!

Located in the heart of West Hollywood, Micky’s is one of the oldest and most iconic LA gay bars and nightclubs. Micky’s seems to be the go-to venue for great drinks, good music, dancing and also beautiful boys – and I’m talking both the crowd and the numerous go-go boys performing!

As well as being a venue for drinking and dancing, Micky’s is also well-known for its many events, live entertainment and themed nights – including drag shows, go-go boys, Drag Race viewing parties, game nights…

And if all that isn’t enough, Micky’s is famous for Friday and Saturday Afterhours – as it is the only gay nightclub in West Hollywood able to stay open until 4am – however to abide by the state law they still have last call for drinks at 2am.

Address: 8857 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069, USA

Hi Tops

gay bar los angeles

Hi Tops own website describes themselves as “not a gay-themed sports bar, not a sports-themed gay bar, but the go-to neighbourhood Gay Sports Bar” – we loved this description, and it is so accurate!

Hi Tops are a chain of gay sports bars, with locations currently in Los Feliz, San Francisco and of course West Hollywood.

Hi Tops is known for their food, drinks, various events like their famous Tuesday Trivia Night, and games being shown live on screens within the bar.

Address: 8933 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069, United States

Eagle LA

gay bars los angeles

No gay nightlife scene is complete without an Eagle bar!

Like their counterparts in various other major gay cities, Eagle LA is a classic gay fetish and leather bar, and comes complete with a large darkroom.

The bar gets really popular on a weekend, which is generally when they host various cruising events and parties, such as Meat Rack and Cruise LA. However, they also host various events and themed nights during the week too, such as $5 beers on ‘Tightwad Tuesdays’, and Drag Race viewing parties.

Definitely one to add to the list and check out – and don’t forget to pack your harness and jockstrap!

Unlike the other gay bars listed above, Eagle LA is not located in WeHo, however is found more downtown, between East Hollywood and Silver Lake.

Address: 4219 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90029

Gay Parties in LA

In addition to all of the above bars and clubs, Los Angeles is home to a number of local gay parties, including circuit style events, held in different venues around the city.

The below are some of the best gay parties held regularly across the city.

Tiger Heat

TigerHeat is one of the biggest, weekly gay club nights in Los Angeles that takes place every Thursday night, however they also produce other gay club events throughout the year.

TigerHeat Thursdays are held at Stache West Hollywood, and are often themed nights dedicated to various gay icons and pop princesses, having run Taylor, Britney, Mariah and Ariana nights in the past. Sounds like our kind of night!

Reflex

Reflex Presents are the production team behind various themed circuit style parties held frequently in LA, such as ROAR, and Blackout.

At their parties you can expect shirtless men dancing to circuit music until the early hours.

You can keep up to date with which parties are on, and at which venues at their website here.

Masterbeat

gay parties los angeles

Masterbeat host huge gay circuit parties in Los Angeles semi- regularly – generally during holiday weekends or big events. You will always find their parties happening on Memorial Day, New Years Eve and of course during LA Pride as well as other dates.

We went to two Masterbeat parties during LA Pride last year and had a great time. They are the typical circuit party – taking over a venue but transforming it into an epic party complete with superstar DJ’s, dancers and big production.

Make sure you pack your circuit wear – but as usual, you can’t go wrong with a harness!

GPS

GPS is another premier circuit party that takes place in Los Angeles during large events and festival weekends, as well as the occasional pop-up party.

Just like with Masterbeat, you can expect parties running into the early hours, incredible dancers and music from some of the best DJs.

LA Gay Pride

When talking about celebrating Pride in LA, it is worth mentioning that you actually have the choice of two separate Pride celebrations to choose from! Given that West Hollywood is a city in its own right, it hosts its own Pride celebrations separate to that of LA.

Generally, WeHo Pride and LA Pride are held two consecutive weeks, so if time and travelling circumstances permit, you can enjoy twice as many festivities and be twice as proud!

LA Pride

gay pride la

LA Pride usually takes place during one of the first weekends of June. Known as the LA Pride Festival, there are different events and parties running from Thursday to Sunday, with the pride parade being on the Sunday.

Key highlights of LA Pride include:

  • The LA Pride Parade – The LA Pride Parade is the largest of all parades in Los Angeles. Always held on the Sunday of the LA Pride Festival, the parade usually kicks off mid-morning. While the route can vary, the parade is usually in Hollywood, generally traversing Hollywood Boulevard and Sunset Boulevard. Almost 150,000 watched the parade last year.
  • Pride is Universal – Held last year and back for 2024 is ‘Pride is Universal’ – an epic after-hours pride party held at Universal Studios Hollywood.
  • LA Pride in the Park – Held on the Friday and Saturday of the Pride Festival, LA Pride in the Park is a large-scale music event with different stages and entertainment. Held in the State Historic Park, there are also vendors selling pride gear, fetish wear, a community marketplace, as well as lots of bars and food trucks. Last years headline acts were Mariah Carey and Megan Thee Stallion so you can imagine the scale of the event!
  • Circuit Parties – LA hosts some epic circuit parties at the best of times as we have already described above, so you can imagine the size and popularity of these parties during the pride weekend. Expect special pride editions of the likes of GPS, Masterbeat and more!

West Hollywood Pride

weho pride

West Hollywood Pride, or WeHo Pride is usually held the first weekend of June each year, and usually the weekend prior to LA Pride, however it is always best to double check the schedule.

WeHo Pride runs Friday through to Sunday, featuring events such as concerts, street parties, circuit parties and of course a pride parade!

WeHo Pride highlights include:

  • WeHo Pride Parade – Just like with LA Pride the parade is held on the Sunday of the pride weekend. The parade generally starts at noon, and runs along Santa Monica Boulevard.
  • West Pride Street Fair – Running for the duration of the weekend, the street fair features a main stage that with three days of performances and celebrations.
  • Bars, Clubs and Parties – Whilst WeHo’s numerous bars and clubs are busy at the best of time, during the WeHo Pride weekend they are host to various pride events and parties.

Gay Beaches in LA

With warm dry summers and mild winters, it’s little wonder that life on the beach is a huge part of LA culture. For those wanting to enjoy the city’s outdoor spaces and soak up the sun, there are a number of gay-friendly beaches to choose from.

Will Rogers Beach

Will Rogers Beach, affectionately known as Ginger Rogers Beach by locals is recognised as LA’s unofficial gay beach – being the only gay beach found within the city limits.

Located just off the Pacific Coast Highway, the gay section of the beach is found near lifeguard station 18, near to the volleyball courts.

The water quality here isn’t the best, but it seems that most beach goers come here mainly to hang out with friends, top up their tans and show off their latest pair of speedos.

West Street Beach

West Street Beach is another popular gay beach among LA locals, however, is actually located just south of Laguna Beach, about an hour to an hour and a half from LA.

It is however worth the trip as it is known as one of the best gay beaches in Southern California, with turquoise waters and a wide stretch of sand to sunbathe.

The beach does get very busy, especially on a weekend, or around holidays such as Labor Day, and 4th of July, so the advice is to arrive early as parking can be very tricky.

Muscle Beach

We can’t not mention Muscle Beach, found in Venice, California!

While not a designated gay beach as such, there is often a large gay crowd found here, more likely than not there to people watch as the bodybuilders and athletes work out and show off in the open-air gym.

Gay Saunas in LA

There aren’t many gay saunas left in LA, as quite a few of them were unfortunately victims of the dreaded C – 19. We have included the one below that seems to currently be the most popular choice and most easily accessible.

FLEXspas Los Angeles

FLEXspas Los Angeles is the LA branch of this chain of gay bathhouses that are found in various locations around the US.

Known for its outdoor swimming pool for skinny dipping and nude sunbathing, other amenities include a dry sauna, steam maze, a video lounge, and a fully equipped gym.

Flex is located in East Hollywood, close to the Eagle LA and is the best reviewed of the LA gay saunas, and as such is a very popular gay cruising choice for both LA locals and tourists alike.

Flexspas Los Angeles is open 24/7.

Address: 4424 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, California 90029

Top Things to do in LA for Gay Travellers

Hollywood Sign Tour

la gay guide

It’s impossible to picture Los Angeles without the white ‘Hollywood’ sign coming to mind, and for many seeing this iconic landmark IRL is a must-do.

Whilst the sign is visible from various locations within Hollywood, the best views come from hiking up to the sign – well, hiking as far as you are permitted to of course, given that it is no longer possible to go right up to the sign.

We went on a Hollywood Sign Tour with Bikes and Hikes LA – their tour took us directly below the Hollywood Sign where we had some incredible photo opportunities. We also learnt the history of the sign, as well as enjoying some incredible views of LA.

The Hollywood Sign Tour is a quick and easy 90-minute version of the full Hollywood Sign Hike, a longer version which takes you closer to the sign than any other tour, including behind the sign! You can check out all the tours that Bikes and Hikes LA offer here.

Hollywood Walk of Fame

la gay guide

The Hollywood Walk of Fame is another must see attraction for many visitors to LA, with travellers eagerly seeking out their favourite artists star so they can snap a selfie alongside.

The Hollywood Walk of Fame is located on Hollywood Blvd from Gower to La Brea and on Vine Street from Sunset to Yucca. There are currently over 2700 stars on the Walk of Fame.

To find out if your favourite artist has a star, and where to find it, you can visit the directory on www.walkoffame.com.

There are also many other things to do in the near vicinity of the Walk of Fame, such as visiting the Dolby Theatre – home to the Oscars, the Chinese Theatre, and if you enjoy shopping you can go to Hollywood and Highland – an entertainment venue with many shops and viewpoint with a view of the Hollywood Sign.

Academy Museum of Motion Pictures

The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures is the largest museum in the United States devoted to the arts, sciences, and artists of moviemaking.

The Academy Museum features multiple exhibitions and programs, some of them interactive, that bring the world of cinema and motion pictures to life, and tells the story of how this has evolved over time.

Address: 6067 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036, United States

Explore the Grove

los angeles gay guide

The Grove is an open-air shopping, dining and entertainment complex, consistently ranked as one of California’s most popular malls.

The Grove is home to some high-end designer stores, such as Michael Kors and Nordstrom, as well as multiple restaurants, and a cinema. The Grove is also home to various events throughout the year, and from time to time has live entertainment.

One of the biggest attractions at The Grove is the dancing fountain that plays along to music every hour.

Address: 189 The Grove Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90036, United States

Explore the Original Farmers Market

The Original Farmers Market has been a favourite destination among locals and tourists since 1934, and nowadays is one of the city’s top tourist attractions.

The market features over 100 old-world gourmet grocers, restaurants and shops serving cuisines from around the world – Brazilian, Mexican, Italian, Chinese and many more.

The majority of the businesses here are family-owned and have been operating for generations. This is definitely a must-see attraction for the foodies!

Address: 6333 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90036, United States

Venice Beach and the Santa Monica Pier

la gay guide

Venturing a little out of the city limits, Santa Monica and Venice Beach are two of the must-see places within the greater Los Angeles area.

Santa Monica is a coastal city west of downtown LA, and is most well known for the Santa Monica Pier – which comes complete with its own amusement park and the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium.

And just three miles down the coast is Venice Beach – a gorgeous wide sandy beach, and home to Muscle Beach – which as we mentioned above is a firm favourite with the gays. Venice is home to the Venice Beach Boardwalk, a 2-mile promenade lined with shops, bars and restaurants on one side and street performers and artists the other.

It’s perfectly feasible to do both Santa Monica and Venice Beach on the same day – in fact, you can walk from Santa Monica Pier and be on the Venice Beach Boardwalk in less than an hour!  

Disneyland Resort

Gay guide la

Does this really need any introduction?

The Disneyland Resort is located in Anaheim, roughly 45 minutes from Los Angeles. The resort is home to two theme parks – Disneyland Park, and Disney California Adventure, as well as three Disney branded hotels, and a shopping, dining and entertainment district called Downtown Disney.

Despite most people immediately thinking of Florida when they think of Disney, Disneyland Park is where it all began, as this was the first theme park of them all to be opened by the Walt Disney Company, almost 70 years ago!

Universal Studios Hollywood

la gay guide

Universal Studios Hollywood is the only authentic, working movie studio and theme park in the world, and as such is a must-visit attraction for many travellers to Los Angeles.

Universal Studios is easily a full-day of entertainment – with the chance to visit a real working movie studio, world class shopping and dining at Universal City Walk, and of course the theme park with heart stopping rides.

The studio tour itself is world-famous, and perhaps the most popular attraction at Universal Studios. This offers guests the chance to explore the working backlot of a real Hollywood movie studio, with the tram taking visitors past film sets from War of the Worlds, Jaws and King Kong.

Practical Tips

  • LA weather is generally sunny – with on average 300 sunny days a year. There may be some fog during late spring, locally known as May Gray and June Gloom however during spring and summer it’s very unlikely to rain. If travelling in summer, it can get hot – so pack accordingly!
  • While the beaches are gorgeous, and the sea may look a tempting shade of blue, the Pacific Ocean is fed by currents from Alaska so it is COLD! Wondering why the surfers wear wet suits even in summer? This is why!
  • As we have touched upon, LA is HUGE and made up of multiple cities. This can make getting around quite difficult. Most visitors will hire a car for the duration of their stay. Alternatively, whilst there is a respectable public transport system, it can be tricky to navigate as a tourist. As such, it may be worthwhile to download Uber and Lyft prior to travelling, both quite reasonable.
  • Last call in California is 2am – bear this in mind when planning your night out!

And there you have it – our complete gay guide to Los Angeles! We will be back again later this year and are already looking forward to exploring more. Anything we have missed and should do before our next trip? Let us know!