LGBTQ+ Friendly Travel Guide to Saratoga Springs, NY

LGBTQ+ Friendly Saratoga Springs NY
Photo by Harry Gillen from Unsplash

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“Everyone is welcome here” is Saratoga Springs’ open invitation to the LGBTQ+ traveler to visit. It’s where history, art, music, food, horses, natural springs, and the melting pot of people of different backgrounds, identities, and cultures come together to make the Saratoga Springs’ community. Check out our guide to find the most welcoming places and LGBTQ+ experiences in this city known as “Queen of the Spas.”

How to Get There: Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

Getting to Saratoga Springs 

Planes: The nearest major airport is Albany International Airport, located about 30 miles south of Saratoga Springs. Once at the airport, travelers can rent a car, take a taxi, or use ride-sharing services to reach Saratoga Springs.

Trains: Train travel is another option. Amtrak provides service to Saratoga Springs with its station located conveniently in the city. 

Automobiles: Driving to Saratoga Springs is straightforward, or should we say “gay-friendly forward,” with the city accessible by several major highways. It provides flexibility and the opportunity to enjoy the scenic routes of upstate New York.

Buses: Buses are a budget-friendly choice, with several bus companies, including Greyhound and Megabus, operating routes to Saratoga Springs. The bus station in the city is centrally located, making it easy to get to hotels or other destinations upon arrival.

How LGBTQ+ Welcoming Is Saratoga Springs

Time Out Magazine named Saratoga Springs one of the best LGBTQ+ friendly small towns in the United States, ranking it third. The city’s bars, restaurants, and cultural venues cater to the LGBTQ+ community. They provide safe spaces for socializing, dining, and enjoying local arts and entertainment, making it easy for visitors to find places where they feel comfortable and accepted. Saratoga Springs also has community resources and support networks for the LGBTQ+ community. These organizations focus on providing assistance, creating a sense of community, and advocating for LGBTQ+ rights and issues, underscoring the city’s commitment to inclusivity and support for all of its visitors and residents.

Saratoga Pride

The primary LGBTQ+ organization in Saratoga Springs, Saratoga Pride, is an affiliate of the Pride Center of the Capital Region. Its focus is on connecting LGBTQ individuals and allies in the Saratoga area, increasing the visibility of the LGBTQ community in the region, supporting LGBTQ-friendly businesses and organizations, and promoting awareness of inclusive services.

Rainbow Garden Club for LGBTQ+ Youth and Allies

Created specifically for young people ages 11 to 18, this group provides a supportive and inclusive environment dedicated to gardening and community enrichment. The Rainbow Garden Club for LGBTQ+ Youth and Allies provides a safe space for LGBTQ+ youth and their allies to connect, engage​, and be themselves.

Pride Events in Saratoga Springs

Saratoga Springs Pride Flag Raising – An annual tradition, marking the beginning of Pride Month, is the ceremonial raising of the Pride flag at Saratoga Springs City Hall.​

Saratoga Pride Festival – The Saratoga Pride Festival is a rain or shine event held at High Rock Park – Farmers Market Pavilion in Saratoga Springs. It features live music, entertainment, raffle prizes, local businesses and non-profit organizations, snack foods, and more. 

Golf with Pride – Hosted by the Saratoga Pride Golf League, this “tournament” is a scramble style, where each golfer hits every shot, and the team chooses the “best ball” to play until the ball is in the hole. All are welcome for this 9-hole round of golf.

Saratoga Pride Softball Tournament – Welcoming both new and experienced players from the LGBTQ+ community and their allies, “come out” for a day of fun and competition. Sign up ahead of time to reserve your spot on a team, and plan on joining an afterparty of food and drink at a local sponsor’s venue.

Pride Mini-Golf Night – Who doesn’t love mini-golf? This “shot-gun” style tournament in August, where each foursome is assigned a hole to start play and continues forward until all 18 holes are completed, is a fun night out for the entire family. 

History Of Saratoga Springs

Saratoga Springs, originally inhabited by the Mohican tribe, became known for its mineral springs and was settled by Europeans in the 17th century. By the mid-1800s, it became a popular destination for wealthy Americans seeking health treatments and leisure activities. 

Today, Saratoga Springs has seen significant growth and transformation. Once known for its historic racetrack and mineral springs, the city has expanded its appeal with a focus on arts and culture. This growth has been complemented by the development of new businesses and the revitalization of its downtown area, making it a popular upstate New York destination for tourists.

Saratoga Springs Cabin
Photo by 12019 from Pixabay

LGBTQ+ Friendly Places To Stay In Saratoga Springs

Whether you’re looking for a luxury hotel, full service, or budget-friendly, a cozy inn or bed and breakfast, Saratoga Springs has the perfect fit for the LGBTQ+ traveler. Here are three of our favorites.

Saratoga Arms Hotel – The queer-owned Saratoga Arms Hotel, is an award-winning luxury hotel in the heart of downtown. Recognized for its blend of historic elegance and modern amenities, it features 31 individually appointed rooms with fireplaces and whirlpool tubs. With a full breakfast served daily, and concierge service, it’s pampering at its finest.

The Adelphi Hotel – The Adelphi Hotel is a historic, boutique hotel blending modern design with its historic charm. The hotel has 32 luxurious and oversized guest rooms and suites, and is located on a main street in the city center, for easy access to activities and attractions​​​​​​. Salt and Char, its on-site farm to table steakhouse, is a unique dining experience right in the heart of Saratoga Springs.

Saratoga Farmstead B&B – The Saratoga Farmstead B&B has five guest rooms, each decorated with artistic touches and furnished with bed options to suit travelers’ needs. It features a green-certified, farm-to-table approach, resting on 9 acres of gardens and meadows at the foothills of the Adirondacks, and is known for providing a fresh, nutrition-forward breakfast each morning using locally sourced ingredients.

Recommended Restaurants In Saratoga Springs

From casual eateries to fine dining restaurants, the city’s food scene includes a mix of local and international cuisines, with everything from classic American dishes to exotic global flavors. Many restaurants in the area focus on farm-to-table concepts, utilizing fresh, locally-sourced ingredients. 

15 Church – An upscale restaurant in a restored historic building, 15 Church is a refined dining experience in an upscale setting. Daily fresh seafood and top-quality USDA prime aged beef are featured on a menu that blends traditional and exotic elements, presented with flair in a dining room that is comfortably elegant.

Osteria Danny – Located in the heart of downtown Saratoga Springs, Osteria Danny is a family-run American Italian restaurant. Blending fresh, simple cuisine with an ever evolving menu, the restaurant focuses on serving dishes inspired by traditional Italian recipes.

Mrs. London’s Bakery – A boutique bakery and café located on Broadway, Mrs. London’s Bakery specializes in French-style food. Serving breakfast and lunch, the bakery has everything from pastries and fresh breads to sandwiches and desserts. 

Triangle Diner – “It’s worth the wait,” the locals say about the line to get a table at the Triangle Diner. This 1950s, old-school, throwback diner serves “the usual suspects” you expect to find on its menu, in sizable portions, in a friendly, laid-back vibe. Get the Irish Eggs Benedict! It’s the best selling breakfast item on the menu.

Things To Do & See In Saratoga Springs

You’re never at a loss for things to see and do in Saratoga Springs. From exploring historical sites and enjoying outdoor recreation to attending cultural events, amusements, concerts, and races, it is non-stop fun for everyone.

Saratoga Springs Race Track NY
Photo by Noah Silliman from Unsplash

Saratoga Race Course – One of the oldest race tracks in the U.S. the Saratoga Race Course spans nearly 350 acres and hosts thoroughbred horse racing from July to early September. Want to get an early start to your horse-race-watching day? The race track serves breakfast on the Clubhouse Porch daily.

National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame – Since 1951, this museum has been celebrating the achievements of American Thoroughbred racehorses, trainers, and jockeys. It includes memorabilia, statues, trophies, and exhibits significant to the sport’s history.

Saratoga Spa State Park – This park, part of the National Register of Historic Places, has plenty of outdoor activities. In the summer, you can enjoy picnicking, hiking and biking, while winter activities include cross-country skiing on 12 miles of trails, ice hockey, and ice skating. While you’re there, you may want to try a mineral bath.

The Sarasota Springs History Museum – The Saratoga Springs History Museum, located in the Canfield Casino in Congress Park, chronicles the history of Saratoga Springs. Its three floors of exhibits provide visitors an opportunity to explore the city’s past and the people who shaped its development.

Where To Shop & Stroll In Saratoga Springs

You can find lots of shopping and strolling in this quaint little city. From the downtown area to the charming arts district, the city has plenty of local boutiques and a few well-known chain brands. If you prefer to simply stroll and take in the scenery, there are scenic green spaces that are perfect for just that. 

Downtown Saratoga Springs – Also known as the historic “Broadway District,” the downtown area is not only walkable, it’s dog-friendly, too. Whether you’re looking for the latest clothing styles, the perfect gift for someone “back home,” or a bite to eat, downtown Saratoga Springs has something for everyone.

Beekman Street Arts District – The Beekman Street Arts District, also referred to as the “Village in the Spa City” is three blocks of galleries, studios, shops, restaurants, and turn-of-the-century homes and buildings. Just a short walk from downtown, Beekman Street is an unforgettable Saratoga Springs experience.

Spa City Farmers’ Market – Open every Sunday year round from 10AM to 2PM, The Spa City Farmers’ Market has everything from fresh fruits and vegetables to handmade crafts, baked goods, and more. With activities and entertainment for the kids, don’t miss this one-of-a-kind market at The Lincoln Baths & Saratoga’s National Museum of Dance and Hall of Fame.

LGBTQ+ friendly events in Saratoga Springs NY
Photo by Jason Edwards from Unsplash

LGBTQ+ Bars, Clubs and Nightlife In Saratoga Springs

Saratoga Springs has so much to offer the LGBTQ+ community after the sun goes down. You can choose from upscale wine bars and sophisticated lounges to sports bars and dance clubs. The city also has live music, including jazz and blues, in its clubs, pubs, and downtown cafes. Check out our favorite spots.

Tin ‘n’ Lint – The Tin ‘n’ Lint, on Caroline Street, the center of Saratoga’s nightlife, is your typical dive bar. It’s known for its cheap drinks and musical history. Its walls are decorated with photos and memorabilia. Remember the pop hit American Pie? It’s an urban legend that Don McLean wrote the lyrics on a napkin here.

Caffe Lena – Speaking of Don McLean, before he hit the big time, he was a resident singer here along with other notable singer/songwriters Bob Dylan, Ani DeFranco, and Arlo Guthrie. Known for its intimate and acoustic music performances, this 1960s “coffeehouse,” is one of the oldest continuously operating coffeehouses in the United States.

Vapor – When you feel the boogie in your feet and you’re ready to get your groove on, head to Vapor in the Saratoga Casino Hotel for a night of dancing with some of the city’s top DJs. You can amp up the experience by booking a private lounge or table, making you and your friends feel like VIPs for the night.

9 Maple Avenue – Having the largest selection of single malt scotches between Manhattan and Montreal, and a martini menu of over 250 choices, 9 Maple Avenue is the place to go if you’re a lover of spirits. With weekend jazz music, and a huge selection of bourbons and whiskeys, it’s a great spot to relax and unwind with friends.

Annual Events and Festivals in Saratoga Springs

Saratoga Springs is alive with fun annual events, from Jazz Festivals and county fairs to Brewfests and more.

Flag Day Parade – Celebrating patriotism and community spirit, the Flag Day Parade brings together local bands, floats, civic groups, and military units in a display of national pride. Did someone mention pride? Be on the lookout for the rainbow flags as Saratoga Pride marches with “pride” in this parade on Broadway in June.

Saratoga Chowder Fest – Chowder Fest is one of the highlights of the annual festival calendar. More than 80 local chefs present their chowder creations at just $2 for a 4 oz. serving. You can taste all the chowders you like, and vote for your favorite. With live music, kids activities, and a shop of Chowder Fest memorabilia, it’s the perfect way to spend a cold February afternoon. 

Saratoga Food & Wine Festival – Wine lovers and foodies unite for this September weekend of fine food, fine wines, and spirits. The Saratoga Food & Wine Festival is an opportunity for festival goers to taste and learn. You can also participate in cooking demonstrations and chat with chefs and winemakers. Come hungry and prepare your taste buds for a unique gastronomic experience.

Saratoga Springs: Where Everyone is Welcomed and Accepted

Saratoga Springs doesn’t have a dedicated “queer scene” or “gayborhood,’ but what it does have is people who embrace and create safe spaces for the LGBTQ+ traveler. The LGBTQ+ community may be small compared to other cities, however it is both thriving and growing. Home to a number of LGBTQ-friendly businesses and organizations, it’s a great place to live or visit for people of all sexual orientations and gender identities. Everyone is welcomed, everyone is accepted, and free to be exactly who they are.

**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.

Events are subject to change. Please check the events webpage for updates and schedules.

ChatGPT or another AI writing platform may have contributed to the writing of this article.

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