Discover The Top Lesbian Destinations in the U.S.

Lesbian Destinations in the United States
Photo by Irina Nisiforova from iStock

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A well-known lesbian comedian would always end her show with this quip, “Lesbians are like Visa cards, they’re everywhere you want to be.” While this may not be 100% true, there are plenty of destinations throughout the U.S. where lesbians receive the red-carpet treatment. Read on to discover these top lesbian destinations in the U.S.

Asheville, NC

Calling all craft beer and wine lovers! Located between the Blue Ridge and Great Smoky Mountains, Asheville seamlessly blends its culinary, wine, and beer scenes, with an artistic and gay-friendly community that’s second to none. 

There are nearly 30 breweries in Asheville along with enough wineries that the Travel Channel has named Asheville one of the “New Top 10 Cities for Wine Snobs.” We recommend a trip to the Biltmore Estate & Village where you can kill three birds with one stone. Take a tour of the estate, visit Hi-Wire Brewing, and do a wine tasting and tour of the Biltmore Winery, one of the most visited wineries in the US. 

For more things to see and do check out our LGBTQ+ Friendly Travel Guide to Asheville, NC 

Mountains of Asheville NC
Photo by Cody Scott Milewski from Unsplash

Austin, TX

Combining history with a contemporary and inclusive vibe, Austin is an unexpected slice of lesbian heaven “deep in the heart of Texas.” 

We recommend a stay at the Hotel San Jose on South Congress Avenue, (SoCo) one of several hotels founded by Liz Lambert, who has become something of a local lesbian folk hero. When you’re looking for good eats, the lesbian-owned La Barbecue has some of the best slow-smoked Texas barbecue around. Indulge your sweet tooth at gay-owned Lick Honest Ice Cream with its one-of-a-kind flavors. The best entertainment is in the heart of the gay club scene at Oilcan Harry’s, Austin’s oldest and most famous gay bar.

For more things to see and do, check out our LGBTQ+ Friendly Travel Guide to Austin, TX 

Brooklyn, NY

Known for its famous Park Slope neighborhood, aka “Dyke Slope,” it’s home to Brooklyn Pride and the volunteer-run Lesbian Herstory Archives. With thousands of books, photographs, and magazines all centered around the history of the lesbian community, it’s a must-visit for queer women.

You also want to check out the artsy vibe in DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass). You can grab a bite at lesbian-owned Superfine, where art, food, and music collide. For a taste of Brooklyn’s queer nightlife and community, explore neighborhoods like Williamsburg. While you’re there, The Woods has a weekly lesbian dance party “for cute queers and friends” called Missters. And, of course, a stop at Ginger’s Bar, one of the few remaining lesbian bars in the country is a must. 

Burlington, VT

Vermont’s largest city, affectionately called “Girlington” has it all. With its arts scene, shopping, college-town vibe, and museums, as well as year-round outdoor adventures, it’s no wonder this Queen City consistently draws lesbian travelers. 

Here, you can enjoy outdoor activities like walks along the lake, camping at North Beach in the summer and skiing and snowboarding in the winter. There’s no “gayborhood” in Burlington as you can find LGBTQ+ owned businesses as well as LGBTQ+ friendly bars and restaurants everywhere. But if you’re looking for the lesbians, The Three Needs is the unofficial bar where the ladies hang, while The Higher Ground is the best spot for live music.

Lesbian Destination Burlington VT
Photo by Stephen Mease from Unsplash

Chicago, IL

As a lesbian, Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood is synonymous with the “gayborhood.” Back in the day, it was known as “Girlstown,” the sister neighborhood to Chicago’s Boystown. This North Side community is home to two of the last remaining lesbian bars in the country, Dorthy and Nobody’s Darling. We strongly suggest a visit to both.

When you want some retail therapy, you can shop til you drop on Clark Street in mostly independent and locally owned boutiques and specialty stores. When hunger strikes, some of the best restaurants in Chicago are here. We recommend Anteprima for Italian, m.Henry for mostly organic cuisine with meat-free options, and Little Bad Wolf for upscale bar food. And, of course, no visit to Chicago is complete without having some deep dish pizza. Pizza Lobo is considered one of the best. 

Andersonville also plays host to Midsommarfest, a street festival that kicks off the summer neighborhood street festival calendar of events.

For more Pride events in Illinois, check out our Complete Guide to Illinois Pride Events 

Columbus, OH

With a motto of “equality for all means ALL,” Columbus is a queer hotspot especially for the lesbian community. While the downtown area attracts a lot of attention, specifically because of Slammers Bar, the only lesbian bar in the state which is a must-go, there are other neighborhoods inviting you to explore. Short North has a mural or art sculpture at every corner, and it is a certified Columbus gayborhood. While you’re there, don’t miss a meal at gay-owned Union Cafe, where the martinis are to die for.

German Village, just south of downtown Columbus has plenty of fun and unique things to do. Check out The Book Loft, you’ll thank us later. And, make sure not to miss gay-owned Barcelona, a Spanish restaurant you definitely want to try. 

For Pride events in Ohio, check out our Complete Guide to Ohio Pride Events 

Fire Island, NY

One of the first truly queer towns for the LGBTQ+ community, Fire Island has been welcoming lesbians to its shores for over a century. Just a 20-minute ferry ride away from its launch in Sayville, Cherry Grove is the place to be once you step off. It’s located between Sailors Haven and Fire Island Pines. 

Traveler Tips: When you get on the ferry, you are given a ticket back to the mainland. Put it in a safe place so you have it for the return trip. Take cash as most places are cash-only.

We recommend you stay at the Wisteria Fire Island, a seven-room women-only guest house that serves a complimentary breakfast daily. During the day, you can bask in the sun, swim in the waters of the Atlantic on the clothing-optional beach, or explore the unspoiled natural beauty of the Sunken Forest. Grab a slice of pizza at Cherry Grove Pizza or have dinner at Island Breeze, then take in a drag show. They are some of the best in the country.

Fire Island Lighthouse
Photo by Patrick Tomasso from Unsplash

Key West, FL

While Key West is one of our top destinations for lesbians any time of the year, there is never a better time to plan your visit than early September when the city celebrates ALL women at Womenfest! It’s the ultimate “fun in the sun” for the lesbian community and one of the biggest gatherings of queer women in the country. You can start the festivities on a two-hour sunset sail with food, drink, and music. Then enjoy drag king shows, stand-up comedy routines, art expos, live music by all-women bands, and endless pool parties. You don’t want to miss what many call “the hottest party for women in the Florida Keys.”  

Can’t make it to Womenfest? Check out our LGBTQ+ Travel Guide to Key West for everything to see and do in Key West any time of the year.

New Orleans, LA

When it comes to the queerest, most welcoming cities on earth, New Orleans is at the top of our list. Pretty much anything goes here in “The Big Easy.” Plan on spending the bulk of your time in The French Quarter where “watching the sights go by” is one of the city’s favorite pastimes. Nearby Marigny is a great location to stay. When you’re ready to be entertained, you can see a drag show, or simply explore the shops, eateries and bars on Bourbon Street. Speaking of bars, there are no exclusive lesbian bars here, however there are some local hangouts where queer women and their friends frequent. One such place is Pal’s Lounge, a woman-owned bar that’s been a mainstay of the lesbian community for years. 

For more things to see and do in New Orleans, check out our LGBTQ+ Friendly Travel Guide to New Orleans

Lesbian getaway New Orleans
Photo by Joao Francisco from Unsplash

New York, NY

In “the city that never sleeps,” where the streets are always buzzing with activity, New York is a heaping helping of big-city gay life. Greenwich Village is the original heart of the LGBTQ+ community in New York. Visit the Stonewall Inn, where the first Pride was five days of rioting that “forever changed the face of gay and lesbian life.” While in “the Village,” do a mini bar crawl from Henrietta Hudson to the Cubbyhole Bar, two of the few remaining lesbian bars in the country. 

The city is always alive with things to see and do. Take in a Broadway show, explore Central Park, or visit the city’s museums. Foodies love the culinary scene, and eating food from one of the many street vendors is an absolute must.

Northampton, MA

Known as “Lesbianville, USA,” Northampton has a rich queer history. The city is home to Smith College as well as to artists and activists all who helped make Northampton one of the most liberal cities in America.

The Majestic Saloon, while not exclusively a lesbian bar, is the go-to for the LGBTQ+ community. It has a fun atmosphere with events like karaoke and drag shows. Put it on your to-do list. The city also has eateries and cafes that reflect its inclusive vibe. Stop into Familiars Coffee & Tea, housed in a historic 1930s train car, for a great selection of coffee, tea, and all-day breakfast. Northampton’s connection to nature and art is evident at Smith College, where you can explore the Botanic Garden and the Smith College Museum of Art. Northampton is a perfect mix of urban culture and small-town charm, making it an ideal destination for lesbian travelers.​

Palm Springs, CA

It’s not just the endless sunny days or the desert backdrop that make Palm Springs special, it’s also the welcoming of queer women during the Dinah Shore Weekend. This annual event is famously known as the largest lesbian party in the world, drawing crowds for some of the most unforgettable pool parties and music events.

But Palm Springs isn’t just big events, it’s the relaxed vibe you get as you step off the plane or out of your vehicle. We suggest you stay at the Queen of Hearts Resort, an intimate stay with mountain views, catering especially to lesbians. You can explore the downtown area’s unique shops and eateries. Or, you can kick back by the pool which is perfect for a leisurely afternoon. Whether you’re here for “the Dinah,” a peaceful getaway, or just to soak up the sun, Palm Springs offers a little slice of paradise for queer women everywhere.

Palms Springs California golfing
Photo by Robert Ruggiero from Unsplash

Provincetown, MA

Ptown, as it’s affectionately known, is one of the original “four corners” of the US for lesbians and gays looking for a beach escape from their “straight” day-to-day lives. It’s one of the few spots where the queer community is always in the majority, but also one that has weeks and weekends set aside to celebrate the lesbian community. These include Single Women’s Weekend in May, Womxn of Color Weekend and Girl Splash Week both in June, and Women’s Week in October. Not able to work any of these into your schedule? No worries. Regardless of what summer month you decide to go to Ptown, you can sunbathe and swim at Herring Cove, whale watch, shop, take in a show, and dine in some great restaurants while making unforgettable memories to last a lifetime.

For more things to see and do in Ptown, check out our LGBTQ+ Travel Guide to Provincetown 

Rehoboth Beach, DE

Another beach town along the east coast, Rehoboth Beach is also great for shopping, dining, and nightlife. The lesbian community is alive and well here, and comparisons to Ptown are becoming more common.  

North Shores Beach, aka Gordon’s Pond, is the lesbian beach that can best be described as, “calm, cool, and collected, where queer women gather to spend a day in the sun.” After your fun in the sun, do a little shopping on Rehoboth Avenue and along the way, stop into Fin’s Fish House for happy hour Monday through Thursday starting at 3:00. Plenty of good seafood eats are on the menu. Get there early as the bar fills up quickly. The after-hours hang for the ladies is at The Ale House where you can listen to live music, catch up with friends, or dance the night away. 

San Francisco

The epicenter for the counterculture movement of the 1960’s, San Francisco is a come-as-you-are, be-who-you-are, and love-who-you-love kind of city. While the Castro may get all of the publicity as the “gayborhood,” Bernal Heights is the hotspot for the lesbian community. 

Perched atop a hill, this village has one-of-a-kind views of the city. But the heart of this neighborhood is Cortland Avenue, where many shops and businesses are owned by queer women. Stop into Pinhole Coffee, a perfect blend of coffee, art, and community. Be part of a baking workshop at Little Bee Bakery, or have lunch at Precita Park Cafe. When night falls you don’t want to miss a mini pub crawl from St Mary’s Pub to Wildside West, to Jolene’s all queer-women-centric bars and a whole lot of fun.

Seattle, WA

You may only know Seattle for its Space Needle and the infamous “fish throwing” at Pike Place Fish Market. What you don’t know is Seattle is one of the few cities in the country with its own publication for queer women, The Seattle Lesbian. They don’t call it the second gayest city in America for no reason, and Capitol Hill may be the reason why. It’s there you find gay-owned, as well as gay friendly businesses – and a lot of them.

For hikers and nature lovers, there’s no place like Seattle. Whether you prefer winter skiing and snowboarding or summertime hiking and biking, Seattle has it all when it comes to the great outdoors. Prefer the beach? You can hang out at Madison Park Beach, Seattle’s “unofficial gay beach.” And, do not miss the lesbian bar, Wildrose for drag bingo, trivia, queer songwriter’s night, karaoke, and tacos every Tuesday.

Lesbian destination Seattle Washington
Photo by Luca Micheli from Unsplash

St Petersburg, FL

The lesbian scene is always buzzing in St Petersburg with meet-ups and safe spaces for queer women to connect and socialize. There are plenty of social groups like Rainbow Recreation, Alt Women Events, Pro Sisters, and Les Meet: St Pete for meeting locals and finding things to do. 

The area is also home to several lesbian-owned businesses. The Coconut Inn in Pass-a-Grille (about a 20-minute drive) has great accommodations with a personal touch. While Stella’s in nearby Gulfport, is a MUST-DO for breakfast. The Salty Nun in St Pete, is where the ladies have a drink, watch a game, and dance. Traveling with a four-legged friend? Head to the popular hang-out, Mutts and Martinis. For something a bit different, check out LuvHer Lounge Events. These events are hosted in different venues across the city. And, If you’re coming for Pride, both Gulfport and St Pete Pride are run by lesbians.

Destinations for Queer Women Are Closer Than You Think

From east to west and north to south, from busy cities to quiet towns, lesbian destination spots are sprinkled all across the country. They’re a reminder that sometimes, the best travel experiences for queer women are closer than you realize, offering the perfect mix of adventure, relaxation, and community.

**Disclaimer: There is a good chance that this post contains affiliate or sponsor links. If you make a purchase through them, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you (for which we are extremely grateful).

Also, while we do our best to highlight LGBTQ-friendly destinations and businesses, info provided is based solely on personal experience and recommendations by community partners. We hope that nobody experiences discrimination or homophobia while visiting Florida and beyond, but we make no guarantees. Please inform us if you experience discrimination or homophobia while visiting any destination so we can make updates to our recommendations.

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