Why Chicago, Illinois is a Haven for LGBTQ+ Travelers
Chicago Pride, gay-friendly luxury hotels, award-winning bars, Lollapalooza music festival… you name it, Chicago’s got it!
Indeed, America’s third largest city is a must-visit destination for members of the LGBTQ+ community looking to explore a new part of the world. From world-class museums, theatre and Michelin-star restaurants to the fast-paced nightlife, there truly is something for everyone.
Famed for its inclusive queer and trans community and rich LGBTQ+ history, Chicago is a mix of diverse neighborhoods that boast food and culture from all across the globe.
While there are plenty of great places to stay in the city, Boystown – located in the East Lakeview community – is most loved by locals and visitors alike for its gay-friendly establishments.
It’s not only home to the world’s only outdoor LGBTQ+ history museum, but also famously hosts the iconic Chicago Pride Festival – one of the largest LGBTQ+ celebrations in America. With this year honoring the 50th anniversary of Stonewall and the birth of the Pride movement, guests can expect a fabulously exuberant celebration attended by up to 100,000 people.
August sees the unofficial Pride follow-up, Northalsted Market Days, descend on the city as attendees rock colorful outfits and party with the fiercest drag queens during the two-day street festival. While Reeling: The Chicago LGBTQ and International Film Festival, is another great way to soak up international LGBTQ+ culture if you’re in the city in September.
Even with thousands flocking to the city for the Pride Parade and Market Days, it’s easy to instantly feel like a local thanks to the city’s hospitable Midwestern energy.
Boystown – one of the first recognized villages in the US – boasts a lively party scene thanks to the flourishing bar and restaurant district, with popular establishments such as Kit Kat Lounge & Supper Club. Visitors can feast on top quality contemporary cuisine while enjoying table-side performances from a number of Kit Kat’s talented divas, or book a table for their legendary drag brunch!
A simple stroll along North Halsted Street provides a chance to check out boutique shops like Beatnix, energetic dance clubs such Hydrate and Charlie’s Chicago and popular bars including show tune institution Sidetrack. The spacious video bar has multiple areas to chat and mingle while guests sip on slushies and enjoy drag shows. Be sure to head up to the rooftop patio during the summer.