Washington was one of the first states to legalize same-sex marriage in the United States. Seattle is a progressive city that has always fought for equality for its citizens. The first gay pride event was held in June of 1974, and there’s been a pride parade in the city ever since on the last Sunday of June. In Seattle today, you’ll find a number of LGBT friendly bars, cafes, and restaurants in the area. Seattle overall is a pretty open and welcoming community, however there are some areas that the LGBT scene in Seattle focuses around.
When one is looking for a thriving LGBT scene in Seattle with bars and nightlife, you go to the Gayborhood: Capitol Hill. On the east side of I-5, you’ll find a neighborhood bustling with LGBT friendly areas. There are lots of gay friendly churches, book stores, coffee shops, community centers, and college campuses. It’s also locally known as “the Hill.” There’s a great music culture in this hood with theaters, live music venues, and art galleries. A lot of apartment buildings are scattered around the area full of members of the LGBT community and help make this neighborhood what it is today. The rainbow colored crosswalks help visitors spot this LGBT friendly community.
Gay Bars & Clubs
There are a ton of gay bars and clubs that make up the LGBT scene in Seattle. A lot of them center around Capitol Hill, but there are some spread out all over the city. Here are some of my favorites to give a try.
- Pony – Featured as one of the best gay bars in America, this pub has decor all over the walls for your viewing and a nice outside area.
- Madison Pub – A local favorite, this place is frequented by all types of people, but mostly guys seeking guys.
- Purr – A more upscale place, you’ll find current pop music playing with the music videos displayed on the walls. There’s seating upstairs and downstairs.
- The Eagle – A sex positive place that is very leather and kink friendly.
- The Crescent – This is a great place for Karaoke!
- Changes in Wallingford – A local spot outside of Capitol Hill. It’s a very relaxed atmosphere with a great happy hour.
Night Clubs and Dancing
- R Place – A three story night club with drag shows on Thursdays through Saturdays. Sundays are homo hip-hop night, and one of the more popular dancing venues in Seattle.
- Neighbors – One of the longest standing gay nightclubs in Seattle, you’ll find some beautiful go-go dancers and dance music to keep you up all night long. And they can since they’re open until 4am!
- The Cuff – This is another sex positive place, and a safe space for leather wearers and kinky displays. The vibe here is super comfortable, and they have an outside area to keep you cool on the summer night dance sessions. There’s also pool and arcade games available if dancing isn’t your thing.
- Q Nightclub – Everyone is welcome to Q, so you’ll get a great variety of gay and straight people dancing here. The interior is nicely decorated and they have a huge dance floor.
Make Room for the Ladies
A lot of cities have gay bars, and a lot of cities have gay spaces for people to join together and not feel alone. However, the queer women in society rarely get a space for their own. There’s a downward trend of the amount of lesbian bars available, and the number doesn’t seem to be growing anytime soon. Maybe it’s because we all stay in side with our cats? Who knows? But Seattle does not fail to deliver a space for women. There are quite a few options that queer women have available in the LGBT scene in Seattle.
- The Wild Rose – This is the only lesbian bar in Seattle. Actually, it might even be the only lesbian bar in the Pacific Northwest. It’s been around for over 20 years and provides some great drinks and dancing for those of the queer women community. Make sure to check them out for thier famous Taco Tuesday.
- Night Crush – This is a monthly party for queer women and thier allies. It takes place at Re-Bar and draws in quite the crown of pretty ladies. It gets pretty packed and always has hip-hop music playing.
- Hot Flash/Inferno – Another lesbian event that is hosted at Neighbors once a month. It’s the place to be “when the 20-something club scene isn’t your scene anymore!” When you arrive, you’ll put on a wrist band that let’s others know your status; whether you’re taken or single.
- OutWest – This is a gay bar in West Seattle that has lesbian night on Wednesdays. This also happens to be karaoke night. Coincidence? I think not.
With any lesbian scene, there is always a sports team nearby. Ladies tend to frolic to Seattle’s women teams in basketball and soccer. So check out the Seattle Storm and the Seattle Reign games for a glimpse of the scene during the day time.
The LGBT scene in Seattle has a very active drag community. On any given weekend, you can find a show or two to watch, and these queens and kings are amazing. Do the names Robbie Turner, BenDeLaCreme, Magnolia Crawford and Jinkx Monsoon ring a bell? All four of these beautiful ladies competed on RuPaul’s drag race, and all of them started in Seattle’s drag scene. If you’re looking to watch a drag queen show, some of the popular venues include R Place, Neighbors, and Julia’s on Broadway. Check out Julia’s for their drag brunch! If you’re looking to view some sexy drag kings perform, Kremwerk and Re-Bar will be your best choice.
Seattle Pride Parade
On the last weekend of June each year, the city of Seattle gears up for its annual pride parade held on that Sunday. All of the bars and clubs have events the entire week before the pride event, so you’ll have no problem finding something to do. On the Saturday, Seattle has its Broadway Street Fair in Capitol Hill, followed by Sunday with the parade in the Seattle Center. All weekend long you’ll find beer gardens in Capitol Hill enticing you with delicious drinks and amazing DJs. The Cuff, Purr, and the Wild Rose hold some of the most popular block parties.
Everywhere you go is very welcoming to members of the LGBT community and their allies. If you ever find yourself in the Seattle area the last weekend of June, you need to add the Pride Festival to your to-do list. Visit their website for a calendar of events for this year’s pride parade and other events in the LGBT scene in Seattle.
LGBT Resources in Seattle
If you are in crisis, please call the 24-HOUR Crisis Line: 1-866-4-CRISIS
According to Gallup, Seattle has the fifth highest population of LGBT identifying individuals as of 2015. It only fell short to San Francisco, Portland, New Orleans, and Austin in the United States. It’s no wonder why there’s such an amazing LGBT scene. Whether you’re a local Seattleite, or just visiting for the weekend, you need to make sure you check out some of the LGBT scene in Seattle. The city is so welcoming and open minded that everyone can find their place in this part of the world.
Let me know what your favorite part of the LGBT scene in Seattle is in the comments below! If you’re looking to plan your own trip to Seattle, check out our guide to doing 12 Unique Things in Seattle.