Travel to gay Las Vegas
Travels over? Nope! Las Vegas is only for straight people? Think, again! Here’s your ultimate uber guide to all things gay in gay Las Vegas, and here’s the best way to book that trip.
What You’ll Find Here:
- Travel to Gay Las Vegas
- Gay Hotels in Las Vegas
- Las Vegas attractions
- Gay-friendly Fremont East
- Hikes Near Las Vegas
- Gay Bars in Las Vegas
- Dance Clubs in Gay Las Vegas
- Gay-owned and operated shops, restaurants and services in Las Vegas
- Gay Bathhouses in Las Vegas
- Free Things to do in Las Vegas
- A Gay Day in Las Vegas for Under $75 per couple
- A Gay Day in Las Vegas for Under $150 per couple
- 15 Tips for Saving Money in Las Vegas
Why it’s a great time to visit gay Las Vegas
We’re not the only ones desperate for even a weekend get-a-way. As with most gay men, our gay gene also came with the travel genes. But with COVID-19 looking like it’ll be around for a while, we can at least start researching and planning what destinations to visit first and have something to look forward to later or plan for more COVID-cautious travel such as in places like Las Vegas.
Well, we’re here to tell you to put Las Vegas at the top of your post-COVID travel itinerary. You didn’t know that Vegas is LGBTQIA-friendly?
Gurl, we’ve got some news for you!
Full disclosure, we recently moved to Las Vegas and now call it home. But we, alone, aren’t what makes gay Vegas so gay. Before our residency, we traveled to and vacationed here many times, including two and a half weeks last year in the Before Time.
Vegas always seemed like it should be a gay hotspot, but it wasn’t. After the housing crash of 2008, Las Vegas realized it needed to open its doors to all – meaning it realized it was missing out on a $211 billion annual global travel market.
Below we’ll share how you can party on the Strip, enjoy all things gay Las Vegas, find non-Vegasy fun for when it’s time to hit the road or board planes, again.
The best way to get to gay Las Vegas
Unless you’re in one of Nevada’s five surrounding states, and probably even if you are, you’ll likely come by plane. Yes, you can drive, but the drive to Las Vegas from anywhere is long and not necessarily the safest mode of transportation
Bussing is another option but that has its challenges.
So, you’ll likely arrive in Vegas by plane, landing at McCarran International Airport. This is the first exciting part of your upcoming trip to gay Las Vegas.
Once you arrive, it’s barely a 10-minute drive from taxi, shuttle, Uber or Lyft to the Strip. To save money, see if your hotel offers a free shuttle back and forth from the airport to your hotel. A taxi will cost you up to $20. Uber and Lyft will each cost you under $15.
Note – that you can also book your travel accommodations directly on the new Orbitz LGBTQ site.
Why use Orbitz to book your gay travel?
We’ve partnered with Orbitz for two reasons. The first is that we’ve been using Orbitz for years. The second is because Orbitz is doing more to support LGBTQIA travelers and to ensure LGBTQIA travelers are using the best, most inclusive travel partners.
All the hotels and services featured on Orbitz’s new LGBTQIA travel site have been vetted by Orbitz per their LGBTQIA inclusivity and personal safety. This means Orbitz has researched and confirmed each brand’s affinity organizations, and historical and core values.
Plus, all these brands have signed the Orbitz Inclusivity Pledge.
Finally, when you refer a friend on Orbitz, you will receive $20 in Orbucks, a travel credit for you to use on your next hotel booking through Orbitz. Additionally, your friend will get 15% off their next hotel booking as well.
Gay hotels in Las Vegas
To be sure, Las Vegas has a very “bro” vibe, and that makes some LGBTQIA folks uncomfortable. If we want to hold our same-sex partner’s hand walking down a hotel corridor, we should be able to without fear. If we want to sit poolside in our hot pink Speedo, no one else should care.
But that’s not always the case. That’s why we’re excited that Orbitz has done the queer-friendly vetting for us.
The best gay- and gay-friendly hotels in Las Vegas
1. MGM Grand Hotel & Casino
MGM has long been a supporter of the LGBTQIA community, and it’s no surprise that it’s one of the first hotels to sign Orbitz’s Inclusivity Pledge.
MGM Grand Hotel & Casino is located right on the strip, is just minutes away from most of Las Vegas’s most popular attractions. It’s where we saw Madonna for both her Reinvention and Confessions tours!
With nearly 5,000 rooms, 13 restaurants, two coffee shops, four pools, full-spa and games, games everywhere, you never need to leave the MGM. But you will because you don’t want to miss the rest of this amazing list of gay Las Vegas must-dos.
2. TI – Treasure Island Hotel & Casino
TI Hotel & Casino is another of the more popular hotels on the strip. It has all you need, plus affordable rates starting at $78 a night and a bridge that’ll connect you to both the Fashion Show Mall and Grand Canal Shoppes. TI has over 2,888 rooms, 10 restaurants, 3 coffee shops, a full-spa and a pool.
Oh, did we mention that Captain America sleeps here? Yes, he does. You can visit him from 11 am to 6 pm Wednesday through Sunday at the Marvel Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. exhibit.
To sleep where Captain America sleeps, book your reservation here.
3. Paris Las Vegas Resort & Casino
With over 2,900 hotel rooms, 13 restaurants, a full-service spa, casino and a nightclub, you might think you’re actually in gay Paris France when you’re at the Paris Las Vegas Resort & Casino.
Paris is adjacent to the Miracle Mile Shops and the LINQ Promenade. The LINQ Promenade is a Caesars entertainment area with an observation wheel and ziplines, both of which are super fun and COVID-safe.
The only thing that delights more than the French theme is some of the most affordable rooms on the strip. You’ll save enough money to go to real Paris when COVID ends.
To make Paris Las Vegas even more affordable, active military, veterans and their spouses, folks over 50+, government employees, first responders, nurses, students and teachers get up to 35% off with proper proof and verification through ID.me.
As soon as you can, book your French-themed stay at Paris Las Vegas Resort & Casino here.
More Las Vegas hotels, resorts and casinos
Above are the three resorts with which we’re most familiar. Many other gay-friendly, Las Vegas hotels, resorts and casinos have signed Orbitz’s LGBTQIA Inclusivity Pledge. See them all by clicking this link here.
Las Vegas attractions
As we said, we’ve been to Las Vegas many, many times – mostly to see Madonna. We’ve played in the Mandalay Bay Lazy River (if you find sunglasses at the bottom, they’re ours!), we’ve slept at MGM and spent too much money at the Bellagio.
While we love the Vegas Strip, three days is enough. So, when we agreed to house sit for a friend who owns a condo in Vegas, we knew we needed to find non-Vegasy ways to play.
That’s when we learned that there’s a whole other side to Las Vegas that we originally didn’t know existed. During these COVID-19 times and as we head into the winter months with seasonal concerns, many of these ideas are great alternatives for a COVID-safe, queer-friendly vacay.
So, here we go! Our top 80+ COVID-safe, gay Las Vegas attractions.
Las Vegas Arts District
On the edge of Downtown Las Vegas and beyond all the neon lights of the Vegas Strip, art’s happening, from modern to political to beautiful. Artists making names for themselves out from under the noise of NYC and LA have come to the “peace and quiet” of Vegas to shine.
The Arts District or 18b, as it’s aka, is in the Fremont East area of DTLV that spans E. Charleston Blvd. If all the mid-century modern antique stores and murals don’t give it away, you’ll know you’re there when you see the ‘18b Arts District’ sign.
With warehouses turned art galleries, mini-shops, restaurant and bars, one of our fave, mostly outdoor activities is riding bikes (rent electric bikes here from RTC for $5/day or $10 for 3 days) to the arts district for some window shopping, seeing the latest artistic creations, grabbing a snickity snack or drinkity drink here and there.
Many bars, shops and restaurants have started to safely open again. When here, you’ll want to visit the Art Factory, Art Square, Recycled Propaganda for amazing art, Retro Vegas for Vegas’s best mod-antique shop and Rebar for a refreshing beer.
The best of the Las Vegas Arts District
1. Art Square
Art Square houses eclectic businesses, including a hair salon, architecture firm, The Elvis Wedding Chapel and the Cockroach Theatre. It also boasts a few art galleries.
But you’ll want to start your adventure at the gay-owned and operated, The Garden, for LGBTQIA people and allies.
2. The Garden
The Garden is the newest gay bar in town and, unfortunately, opened just before COVID-19 hit. Fortunately, it’s still there. If you visit gay Las Vegas, please, please, please, swing by The Garden.
The beautiful and spacious interior keeps it COVID-safe and, well, the garden’s outside. So, that helps make this new, LGBTQIA establishment that much safer.
The Garden offers craft cocktails, brunch, drag queens, Latin nights and much more. You don’t want to miss it, COVID or no COVID.
If you’re lucky, you may have a drink with Cher. As we’re writing this, Cher made a secret trip to The Garden to urge us all to vote.
3. Art Factory
While you’re still north of Charleston Blvd, hit The Art Factory.
The Art Factory is an upscale (and bright) strip mall with boutique shops, restaurants and art galleries. The exhibits change regularly, and some staples such as Faction Barber Shop and Blue Sky Yoga stay.
Need a unique gift for someone back home? Stop at Studio One. Need a drink? Finish your Art Factory excursion at 18Bin.
4. Recycled Propaganda
Some of the best art we’ve seen all around Downtown Las Vegas, including wall art and building murals come from “an artist-driven by the urge to encourage critical thought and nuance in an apathetic and polarized society.”
That artist is Izaac Zevalking, and he owns this shop and it’s worth your time.
5. Retro Vegas
If you love mid-century modern furniture and design like us, Retro Vegas will have you high-kick and pirouette. A boutique antique shop, Retro Vegas sells antique furniture, accessories and art that capture the vibe of the Rat Pack Days.
Who knows?! You may buy a chair Dean Martin once sat in while sitting cross-legged smoking a cigarette.
6. Makers & Finders Coffee
Makers & Finders has the best coffee in Vegas. Anthony Bourdain said so.
It has everything, too. Breakfast, brunch (with brunch packages), lunch, dinner and cocktails. All its coffee syrups are made in-house.
And here’s a tip, if you can get one or more people in your party to agree to what to eat for brunch, Makers & Finders’ brunch packages for 2, 4 or 6 will save you oodles of pink dollars. If six people agree to Brunch Package A, it’ll cost $11 a person, not including drinks or tip.
Makers & Finders has two shops in Vegas. We’ve only been to the shop in the Arts District. We’re sure that the Downtown Summerlin location is just as good.
Speaking of recycling, how about an entire shopping center made from old shipping containers?
That’s Container Park – an open-air, boutique shopping center with stores, bars, restaurants and entertainment near the edge of the ever-growing Fremont Street.
On the far, southwest end of Container Park are an outdoor stage and seating area where visitors and locals enjoy good, socially distanced live music and DJs. One of our favorite memories is us sitting on the Downtown Terrace balcony eating sandwiches while watching people below dance to a silent disco (people dancing to and listening with headphones to the DJ on stage). Everyone suddenly started singing Like a Virgin out loud – with no music – acapella. It was the best!
Even better than the best is how comfortable we are holding hands to, in and from Container Park. You and your gay guy or gal will heart it.
The best of the best at Container Park
1. Oak & Ivy
To be fair, we may love Oak & Ivy too much. What can we say? We like whiskey (wished it liked us as much).
We visited Oak & Ivy so much last November we made a rule that we couldn’t return more than once a month while living here.
Oak & Ivy ‘is an American craft whiskey cocktail bar.’ Along with a couple of rare beers and other spirits, Oak & Ivy specializes in barrel-aged whiskey cocktails. Their cocktails use fresh, seasonal ingredients, which takes their mixology to the next level.
If you’re Vegas-lucky, their Apple Pie Harvest will be on the menu. It comes with a droplet of Becherovka and a torched Granny Smith apple slice glazed with butter and brown sugar. It’s so good that even grandma would be impressed.
Oak & Ivy’s drinks are reasonably priced, especially for Vegas. It’s also most enjoyable that the men bartenders are hot in their aprons with brown leather straps.
The bar’s small, which is why the sliding glass door that leads to the large patio is usually open. Tableside heaters are out during the cooler months, all of which make Oak & Ivy COVID-safe.
Note that its menu’s limited to flavored almonds and pecans. So, go on a full stomach or plan to grab a bite elsewhere in Container Park, as the drinks can go straight to your head.
2. Bin 702
With its charcuterie and cheese selection and savory sandwiches, Bin 702 is the perfect complement to a couple of Oak & Ivy libations. Bin 702 also has a lot of outdoor space and uses tableside heaters in the Fall and Winter.
After your amazing gastric tour of Container Park, you’ll need a special dessert. How about gelato in a Hong Kong-style waffle cone?
What’s a Hong Kong-style waffler cone, you ask? It’s a waffle but with bubbles instead of crevices, which is fine because you’re not making pools of melted butter. You’re filling this waffle with scoops of gelato as good as most gelaterias in Europe.
Waffelato’s a little pricy and the servings are a lot large, so balance the two and share your decadent dessert with your favorite man. We do!
Attractions all over Las Vegas
Some of the best of Las Vegas is off the strip, and some require a car to be seen. If you venture off, you’ll find reasonably priced cars here.
1. Sunset Park
Did you know that between the Vegas Strip and East Fremont near Sunset Lake there’s a mysterious oasis? So, even on the hottest desert days, you’ll find shade in the out of doors.
With miles of paths for walking and running, a splash pad, dog run and fitness course, there’s something outdoors and COVID-safe any time of the year. Have a workout, cool off in the lake and finish with a picnic with your husband or queer crew of “mary” travelers.
Sunset Park, duh, is particularly beautiful at sunset when the local wildlife is most active.
2. The Neon Boneyard
From the Sahara to the Stardust to the letters from the Moulin Rouge, if you need more Vegas art – and who doesn’t? – the Neon Boneyard is another great outdoor, 2.25-acre attraction. Las Vegas has decades of iconic and historic neon signs; some you’ve seen in your favorite movies.
Over 200 of them are on display outside at the Neon Boneyard and, believe us when we say it’s ready for a million Instagram pixx. For those amazing pictures and inspiration, visit at three different times of day:
- daytime (doors open at 3 pm these days),
- at sunset as all the unlit neon lights refract with the setting sun, and
- at night when the neon signs are lit and in full glory.
The Neon Boneyard is a non-profit, which is great for saving bucks. It does take donations and it needs those donations to stay open, especially during the pandemic. So, help as you can.
P.S. If you don’t see your favorite signs, like the Silver Slipper, keep your eyes peeled as you tour the town. Las Vegas is wonderfully putting these masterpieces everywhere: sidewalks, parks, medians and more.
3. Fremont Street Experience
If the Vegas Strip is Disney World for adults, Fremont Street Experience is Disney Land for adults.
When you hear about Vegas’ good ol’ Rat Pack days with Sammy Davis, Jr. and Frank Sinatra, they were on the original Vegas Strip – now the Fremont Street Experience and East Fremont. Historic casinos, such as the Golden Nugget, Binions and Fremont Casino have been maintained and updated.
With the various street performers, restaurants, bars and casinos, you’ll get a tiny glimpse of Las Vegas’ glory days. While technically outside and COVID-19-safe, Fremont Street Experience is covered with a gigantic LED canopy the displays visuals and musical performances.
If the crowd isn’t socially distanced enough for your liking, we challenge you to soak it all up 7-stories high on the Slotzilla Zip Line.
4. 7 Magic Mountains
You’ve probably never heard of this curious outdoor attraction and, if you don’t hurry, you’ll never see it.
7 Magic Mount is the masterpiece of Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone and consists of seven towers, or painted fluorescent “totems,” of colorful, stacked limestone boulders each standing over 30 feet tall. Rondinone’s idea was to physically and symbolically represent the mid-way point between the natural and the artificial.
7 Magic Mount is in the Ivanpah Valley, about 30 minutes from the Vegas strip near Jean Dry Lake and Interstate 15. It was originally exhibited in 2016 and was supposed to be disassembled in 2018. But due to its popularity, Rondinone and the Bureau of Land Management have extended the exhibit through 2021.
This attraction is Instaworthy both at daytime and dusk, too, but you’ll only need to reserve about 15 minutes per visit.
5. Hemenway Park
The 10-acre Hemenway Park is your traditional park with its playground and basketball courts. It’s a non-traditional park with its Bighorn sheep that come down from the mountain for water and food.
Located in Hemenway Valley on Ville Drive, Hemenway Park offers a great view of Lake Mead. If you visit one, visit both. The best time to spot the Bighorn sheep is early in the morning. So, visit Hemenway Park first.
Here’s something we didn’t know. Las Vegas has a Chinatown!
It’s true. Less than two miles from the strip, a Chinatown organically sprung up. Head northeast for about 15-minutes from the strip to Spring Mount Road and stop when you see a Tang Dynasty-inspired gate complete with painted and sculpted dragons.
Chinatown Plaza and the blocks surrounding the gatehouse up to 150 various restaurants of all kinds of Asian cuisine, Chinese, Japanese, Korean and more from traditional to experimental.
There isn’t a whole lot of Vegas-y things to do in Chinatown, so be prepared to eat.
7. Drag Brunch by Voss Events
Every queen aims to follow in Cher’s footsteps, so they follow her to Vegas. Watch some of RuPaul’s Drag Race’s best queens at Señor Frog in the Treasure Island Hotel. From India Ferrah to Coco Montrese to Yara Sofia and more, see your favorite queen accompanied by a fabulous brunch buffet and open bar.
While $69 per person’s a bit pricey, 20% off food and bottomless cocktails are nice.
8. Men, men and more shirtless men
Men strip, too!
When people think of Las Vegas, female strippers might come to mind. While we respect the lady strippers, we luv the gentlemen stripers a bit more. What’s wonderful is all the shows are LGBTQ-friendly. While there’s a healthy dose of ladies in the audience, gay men are more than welcome.
Some of the dancers are gay, too. Just don’t ask because they won’t tell you. This is fantasy and they don’t want to pervert anyone’s imagination.
All reviews have reopened after being closed due to COVID. All require masks and social distancing. Some of the entertainment has been modified to follow social distancing guidelines. So, sorry, no lap dances for now.
Fortunately, there’s a meaty variety of male reviews to get you titillated. Here are the must-sees.
1. Thunder Down Under
Once upon a time, we spent 30 days down under between Australia and New Zealand and the Aussie men did not disappoint. They were sexy, and beefy and ooooh, those accents.
Catch the chiseled bodies and sizzling Outback dance moves 12 shows a week.
Voted “Best Male Revue 2018” by the Las Vegas Review Journal, see the original shirtless dancing men at Chippendales Lounge & Showroom at the Rio. The gents strip, sing, strip, dance, strip, play music, strip. Oh, and there’s some body butter action.
Did we say that the men strip?
3. Aussie Heat
Can’t get enough of those Aussie boys? Us, either.
Check out the best variety of dancing in the male striptease genre. If they do say so themselves, they’re the best “hands-on” experience in Vegas and you may see a derrière or two.
Also worth noting, reviewers list Aussie Heat as the most LGBTQ-friendly of all these LGBTQ-friendly all-male reviews.
4. Magic Mike
Yes. The Magic Mike of Channing Tatum, and we all know how much Channing Tatum loves the gays. So, you’ll feel super welcome watching these hot gents.
With some of today’s best modern dancing and a highly stylized show, Sahara’s Las Vegas will be the place to be in Spring 2021 when Mr. Tatum finally brings his naughty boyz to Sin City.
9. Las Vegas Pride OUTside
See the calendar for when you’ll be in gay Las Vegas.
Gay-friendly Fremont East
According to the powers that be in Las Vegas, “Fremont East is centered on Fremont Street, spanning Las Vegas Boulevard to 8th Street.” From our experience, it extends as far East as Maryland Parkway. That’s because our favorite place to eat in gay Vegas, PublicUs, is at Fremont and Maryland, smack dab in the middle of historic Downtown Las Vegas.
Between 8th and Maryland are local bars, men’s barbershops, tattoo parlors and – extra cool – Fergusons Downtown. Fergusons is a renovated motel. What were once motel rooms are now shops and restaurants. You know you’ve hit Fergusons Downtown when you see a tractor-trailer doing a “handstand.”
But we digress. Below are our favorite gay-owned and operated and gay-friendly must-dos in Fremont East.
The best of Fremont East
1. Juice Stars
Especially after we’ve blown our diet for a few days, we need a juice fix. Juice Stars’ smoothies and smoothie bowls are perfect!
Juice Stars prides itself on helping its customers eat a delicious plant-based diet. We love the Pro Green and Strawberry Twist smoothies. If you need help recovering from a hangover and can’t tolerate the hair of the dog, try a combo of Juice Stars’ ‘The Orange,’ with its orange, turmeric, apple and lemon with an Antioxidant Booster Shot (apple cider vinegar, ginger and orange). Follow this combo with lots and lots of H2O.
Juice Stars also has a restaurant on the Strip that’ll help your hangover, but it’s also more Vegasy than hip. The downtown location offers socially distanced, outdoor seating with umbrellas to shield you from the Ra.
2. Donut Bar
If you want to sabotage your plant-based boost or be more “balanced,” don’t miss Donut Bar. Donut Bar’s so fabulously famous it’s been featured on The Food Network, Ellen and Conan just to name a few.
We’d describe it as a more refined version of Voodoo Donuts. The selection is over-the-top and delicious but has a refined sensibility. Our favorites are the Old Fashioned and Vanilla – Donut Bar’s version of a glazed donut. If you’re more adventurous, try the French Toast, The Creme Brûlée or the Pop Tart Donut – yes, a rectangular donut with a pop tart inside.
But get there early, especially on weekends, because last call’s when the last donut’s left and donut’s sell fast. There’s no restaurant seating during COVID-19 but a socially distanced line forms out front and down the block.
Further down the street at Fremont and Maryland, but sticking with our breakfast theme, is PublicUs. Hands down, PublicUs is our favorite place in Fremont East. The ambiance is cool, the people are hip and you can’t swing a dead cat without seeing another gay.
PublicUs is open until 3 pm and serves breakfast, brunch lunch, wine and beer, but we go for brunch. It’s probably more us and our gay-DNA than PublicUs, but no one can know?
Our fave is sharing the salmon toast with added avocado, getting two iced lattes (one with whole milk, the other with oat) and two mimosas light on the OJ. We top it off with our favorite, favorite, favorite dessert in town, the donut muffin.
It’s a donut. It’s a muffin. It’s a donut muffin with a thick outside made crunching with a thick coating of granulated sugar and a muffin inside. O-M-G!
This perfect date costs $35 after tax and tip. Oh, PublicUs also requires socially distant seating with its combo of tables, bars and picnic-like picnic tables.
4. Bocho Downtown Sushi
Who comes to a desert for sushi? We do. Where do we go for sushi in the desert? Bocho Downtown Sushi.
The sushi’s fresh and delicious. The sushi chefs are trained artists, some trained in Japan and it’s in the heart of Fremont East.
Here’s another day date tip: Get a couple’s massage at Neko Massage Studio – gay owned and operated – then have a delicious spread of sushi with Saki at Bocho’s right next door.
We sit socially distanced at the sushi bar, but there are socially distanced tables on the second floor. So, peep inside and ask even if the bar’s full.
5. Carson’s Kitchen
If you’re craving comfort food with style so you don’t feel guilty, Carson’s Kitchen is where to go.
The Black Rice & Oxtail Risotto’s amazing. The Watermelon and Feta salad is refreshing. The Wild Mushroom Flatbread is the savory you need, and the Glazed Donut Bread Pudding is the sweet you want. Yes, the glazed donut comes from Donut Bar just next door.
Carson’s Kitchen only offers socially distanced seating.
6. Flock & Fowl
On the other end of 6th in The Ogden, fly by Flock & Fowl. Flock & Fowl has a lot to boast with its Asian fusion, but its lucky star is its Mandarin Martini.
Each bartender adds their flair, but the concoction mostly consists of Aperol (something every spritz lover’s loved), egg whites, Deep Eddy Orange Vodka and mandarin juice. You’re a luckier star if your Mandarin Martini is topped bottomed with a mandarin orange slice.
Insider tip – when the Las Vegas Raiders or Vegas Golden Nights play, Flock & Fowl gives free shots of the Flock & Fowl punch each time the home team scores.
7. Le Thai
Brace yourself. Le Thai is a Thai restaurant. Yep, it is.
It’s a hip restaurant that serves mostly street food but includes some traditional dishes with an American flair. Everything we’ve had here we love but be careful when you tell them your heat tolerance.
Hikes near Las Vegas
When we visited Las Vegas last year, we skipped the strip. We wondered, what can we do outside in or near Vegas.
So, we Googled hikes and natural wonders in Vegas. That’s when we discovered a ton of hikes, walks bike trails and more. There’s a ton to keep you entertained – and inspired – in and near Vegas that’s no so Vegasy and is COVID-safe.
You don’t need a car when you’re in Vegas, but you will to hit these hikes. Book your car here.
Best hikes near Las Vegas
1. Red Rock Canyon
The closest and most popular national park near Vegas is Red Rock Canyon. Red Rock Canyon is 17 miles from the strip, so it makes both a great morning and late afternoon activity.
The highlight of Red Rock Canyon is the Calico Hills with bright red rocks and cliffs that make Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado look beige. The other big draw is Calico Tanks with bright red rocks and cliffs but with hidden but pristine water pockets and a great view of Vegas. Both hikes are moderate and perfect partial day hikes.
For an easy to moderate hike also with a waterfall and pool, visit First Creek Canyon. It’s a nice, 4-mile hike
For you’d like a strenuous hike, Ice Box Canyon is where you want to go. It’s a tight canyon with high walls that includes seasonal waterfalls which, when pouring, and with the near-constant shade makes this one of the coolest (temperature) spots in the park.
If you just want a scenic drive, starting November 2020 you’ll need to schedule a timed entry reservation here.
2. Sloan Canyon Petroglyph
Sloan Canyon National Conservation is just 22 minutes outside of Vegas and is a scenic and mostly easy outdoor walk. One of the main reasons to visit Sloan Canyon is to spot one of the over 1,700 petroglyphs created by native cultures from the Archaic era.
3. Valley of Fire
Valley of Fire is the most popular state park near Las Vegas, just 50 miles from the strip. Valley of Fire is 40,000 acres of red and pink rock formations made of bright red Aztec sandstone with gray and tan limestone.
It’s so beautiful, it attracts hikers and moviemakers alike. Movies such as Total Recall, Con Air, Transformers and Casino are just some of the celluloid that have featured Valley of Fire.
Must-dos include Fire Wave Trail and Beehives. Fire Wave Trail is by far the most beautiful and Instaworthy feature in the park with its red and white zebra print. The Beehives are the result of geologic cross-bedding and look like . . . well . . . huge beehives.
4. Lake Mead
Formed by the Hoover Dam and filled by the Colorado River, Lake Mead is the largest reservoir by water capacity in the U.S.
What’s there to do at Lake Mead, 45-minutes from the strip? There are tons of to-do that are outdoor and COVID-safe.
Swimming, boating, hiking, cycling, camping, fishing and more.
Emerald Cave in the Black Canyon is a must-see if you only have time for one activity. That’s because, with the afternoon sun, the caves’ yellow-brown rock walls and the bright blue water of the Colorado River make for an emerald green usually only found in Oz.
Lake Mead National Park Gay Beach
If you’re in gay Vegas in the summertime and looking for a beach scene with action, Lake Mead has a nude beach that many gay men frequent. The drive and mini-hike are a little circuitous and “the beach” lacks amenities, so bring water and protection (sun and otherwise). If you’re there at the right time, Lake Mead may be everything you can’t tell your mother about.
5. Zion National Park
Zion National Park in southwestern Utah is a day trip from Las Vegas. There’s much to see and do in Zion, but two hikes worth your time are The Watchman and the Narrows.
The Watchman is about 4 miles long and mostly easy, but there are times it feels as if you’re walking straight up. What makes the Watchman worth the effort is the peace, quiet and beauty at the top of the trail. If you’re like us, you’ll find it a great place for yoga and meditation.
While you’re up there, walk the Watchman Loop Trail. It’s quick and lets you see different views from way up.
For some perspective on your place in this world, walk The Narrows, the narrowest section of Zion National Park. The rock walls in some locations are over 1,000 feet tall. Depending on how adventurous you are, you may even find yourself walking in the Virgin River. But don’t drink the water.
6. Death Valley
Another day trip from Las Vegas is Death Valley in California.
Death Valley, part of the Mojave Desert, is the hottest, driest and lowest point of elevation in North America. If you’re camping, enjoy Death Valley’s certified dark sky – one of the darkest night skies in the U.S.
There’s a lot to see and do, but the Badwater Basin isn’t to be missed. Badwater Basin is a huge salt flat. Walkout into the middle, look into the distance and tell us you don’t feel like you’re on Mars. Well, except for all the O2.
Gay Las Vegas Fruit Loop
The Fruit Loop, the closest Las Vegas has to a gayborhood, is a bunch of LGBTIA bars, nightclubs and businesses on East Naples Street near UNLV. It sprung up organically as early as the 1950s and 1960s. It didn’t get the endearing Fruit Loop name until the 1970s.
The Fruit Loop includes some of the bars and nightclubs below, such as Quadz, Piranha Ultra Lounge and Freezone. It also includes Club Unity, a supper and dance club, and the Get Booked bookstore and adult shop.
Gay bars in Las Vegas
COVID or no COVID, it’ll be next to impossible to come to Las Vegas and not connect with your LGBTQIA tribe. Most people come to Vegas to party and have experiences they can’t tell their momma about. LGBTQIA folks are no different.
Below are the best gay bars and their COVID precautions. Most places require masks when you’re not eating, drinking or smoking. Most places will give you a mask if you don’t have one. Don’t be a Karen and not wear a mask. Your respect helps keep these gay bars open.
Best gay bars in Las Vegas
1. The Phoenix Bar & Lounge
Previously known as the Escape Lounge, the Phoenix Bar & Lounge is now 100% LGBTQIA-owned and operated. That’s enough of a reason to visit the Phoenix Bar & Lounge. You’ll know you’ve arrived when you see the gigantic phoenix on the front doors.
But you’ll also want to visit for the daily happy hour specials, weekly karaoke, pool tables, darts, patios, special events and more.
Trivia night returned for Tuesdays. On most Friday nights, you’ll catch a drag show from some of Las Vegas’ best queens. Most Saturday nights, you’ll find yourself dancing to a local DJ. You’ll watch most local games on the jumbo tele.
Table reservations are required. Masks are required when you’re not eating or drinking or smoking (outside). Parking’s a challenge, so Uber or Lyft. This is especially important if you plan on having drinks.
2. Badlands Bar LV
Badlands has drinks, fun and gaming 24/7 for an all-around good time.
Wanna sing show tunes at the top of your lungs? Go to Badlands on Sundays. Want to laugh your arse off? Go on Tuesdays. Have too much booty in your pants? Catch one of Las Vegas’s best DJs most Friday nights.
On a budget, hit Badlands any day between noon and 8 pm for buy 1, get 1 (BOGO) for $1 or Sunday through Thursday go for reverse BOGO for $1.
Due to COVID restrictions, the shuffleboards and pool tables are closed.
3. The Garage
Like cars or the boyz who fix ‘em? The Garage is your joint of choice. The Garage is a 24/7 low-key gay bar with pool tables, shuffleboard, darts, video poker and drink specials.
On a budget, 2 for 1 drinks are offered every day 11 am – 7 pm or check out their daily specials.
P.S. If you’re into trivia, visit Thursdays at 7 pm to compete locally and nationally.
4. The Garden Las Vegas
As we shared above, The Garden is the newest LGBTQIA establishment not to be missed. If it’s good enough for Cher, it’s good enough for us.
5. The BackDoor
Yearning for a Latin vibe? The BackDoor is your bar of choice for hot dancing, strong drinks and Latin men. Most nights catch a DJ or drag queen doing what they do best.
Most nights there’s no cover. Every night you must cover your face with a mask.
6. Fun Hog Ranch
The Fun Hog Ranch is another 24/7 establishment. If you’re into Levi, leather, poker and jukeboxes – and a different drink special every night – hit the Fun Hog. Best deals are Mojito & Mules on Mondays, $2 Tuesday ($2 wells, $2 16 oz draft beers, $2 bottled beers), Hump Day Wednesdays ($4 Bacardi drinks, Smirnoff drinks and Jose Cuervo) and Thirsty Thursdays ($12 all you can drink wells or $22 all you can drink calls).
Most sites list Fun Hog Ranch as one of the top-rated gay bars in gay LV and many comments praise its lack of pretension.
7. Charlie’s Las Vegas
Howdy cowboys, cowgirls and cowpersons! If you’re seeking a gay country vibe, Charlie’s Las Vegas is your point of interest.
As with Charlie’s Denver, Phoenix and Chicago, get your full of 10-gallon hats and boyz in chaps. What makes Charlie’s Las Vegas a bit different is the pop-up appearances of your favorite local drag queen.
Living up to your Charlie’s expectations, Charlie’s Las Vegas has the cheapest drinks in town to help you stick with your budget. Sundays get $3 Long Island Iced Teas. On Wednesdays, wearing nothing but your skivvies will get you free drinks. On Saturdays, get $5 Red Bulls.
Charlie’s Las Vegas is off the strip and currently only open from 2 pm – 5 am due to COVID restrictions. Also, masks and social distancing are musts.
8. QuadZ Video Bar
QuadZ Video Bar is a . . . video bar off the strip and in the heart of the gay Las Vegas Fruit Loop. It, too, includes gaming, pool, darts and a variety of drink specials that won’t leave you with a money hangover.
As for the other kind of hangover, that’s up to you.
2-4-1 happy hour is every day – every. single. day. – from 12 pm – 8 pm. Want some poker? The Nevada Poker League hosts Poker Nights at QuadZ on Thursdays from 6 pm – 10 pm. Then, stick around for dancing from 11 pm – 4 pm with Electric Thursdaze.
Not enough dancing yet? Return on Friday’s at 11 pm for Fresh Friday. Need one more drink but don’t have the bills, return for Social Sunday and get a free drink when you like, tweet, snap or tag QuadZ on social media.
9. Don’t Tell Mama
Has everything on this list of greatest gay Las Vegas bars been a little too loud? Are you seeking that quintessential gay piano bar or yore? Then, don’t tell mama, but Don’t Tell Mama is where to go.
Don’t Tell Mama is open every night. Every night is open mic night. The piano plays every night. Plus, the entire staff are up-and-coming singers and performers. So, if you step up for open mic night, know your competition.
And sing. It’s fun!
10. Freezone Alternative Nightclub
The Freezone Alternative Nightclub has been around since 1996 and is for both locals and tourists.
There are DJs and drag shows every night of the week. But if you’re in Las Vegas for your birthday, make hit Freezone for your free bottle of birthday champagne (requires a minimum of 8 people per birthday party). If you have too much champagne, Freezone also serves food, including burgers, BBQ and steaks.
Due to COVID restrictions, the menu’s limited.
11. Club Unity
Club Unity is a gay supper club that includes a full menu, full bar, full drag show and much, much more. Happy hour is 4 pm – 8 pm seven days a week and includes 50% off on cocktails, $5 beer bust and $10 well bust.
With its outdoor patio, Club Unity is perfect for even the most COVID-conscious patron.
Dance clubs in gay Las Vegas
Need more dancing? Gay Las Vegas has a dance club just for you.
Best gay dance clubs in Las Vegas
1. Piranha Ultra Lounge
Piranha Ultra Lounge, also located on the famous Las Vegas Fruit Loop, is a thumping nightclub inside despite it inauspicious outside. With its hot blue and red lighting, dance floor, disco ball, a scenic overlook and outdoor patio, your “crazy, don’t tell anyone about this” Vegas day, is best capped at Piranha.
Piranha’s high-end and fancy. It’s open from 9 pm – “close” every night of the week, too.
Piranha’s also practicing social distancing, requiring masks and encouraging staff and patrons to wash their hands frequently. P.S. Let’s all agree to continue this post-COVID.
Gay-owned and operated shops, restaurants and services in Las Vegas
You can vote with your pink dollars even when – especially when – you travel. That goes for gay Las Vegas, too. Below are some of the queer-owned and operated businesses in gay Las Vegas.
Best gay shops in Las Vegas
1. Get Booked
Present-day Get Booked was once upon a time Bright Pink Literature. Not only was it the only bookstore on the Fruit Loop, but it was also the only bookstore in Las Vegas that specialized in LGBTQIA books. Bright pink literature became Get Booked in about 1993 and then moved across the street.
Get Booked now specializes in waaaaaay more than books. From clothing to personal care to toys and all the naughty things in between that gay boyz want for naughty weekends, Get Booked makes you happy.
2. Neko Massage Studio
Neko Massage Studio is a gay-owned and operated business and while its staff isn’t 100% gay, the male massage therapists have no problem giving couples’ massages to gay couples.
Neko offers Swedish, Deep Tissue, Trigger Points, Sports massage in addition to cupping, hot stone, aromatherapy and CBD treatments. Don’t have time for a full massage? Stop in for a chair massage, shoulder and neck massage, foot massage or relax in one of Neko’s massage chairs.
Walk-ins are welcome and offered when available, but appointments are preferred.
3. Timeless Connections
Wanna get married to your favorite man while you’re in Vegas, whether spontaneously or planned? You may appreciate the help of Timeliness Connects.
Timeless Connections offers officiants, witnesses, marriage certificate filings, photography and a chapel all very a la carte and all very LGBTQIA-friendly.
4. Prisma Events
If you plan on making your wedding day in Las Vegas a bigger event with friends and family, then plan on a wedding planner. Aimee Palifroni’s Prisma Events specializes in same-sex weddings all over the country.
From wedding invitations to wedding and reception venues to coordinating your guests’ travel arrangements, Prisma Events can help you from A to Z and soup to nuts with all your wedding plans and will save you money.
Full disclosure, Aimee was our wedding planner, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Connect with Aimee here.
5. DW Bistro
What do you get when you mix Jamaican and New Mexican cuisine? DW Bistro.
DW Bistro is the grand partnership of Bryce Krausman and Dalton Wilson and has quickly become a best of in its seven years. The menu changes regularly and the current guest chef series is everything. If you can only stop here once, though, make it Saturday or Sunday for brunch.
Gay events in Las Vegas
As of the time of this writing, Las Vegas Pride, Hustlaball, Las Vegas Gay Rodeo and Temptations Sunday at The Luxor are all postponed with hopes of resuming in 2021. Check back regularly, as we’ll update this section as event coordinators confirm plans.
Gay bathhouses in Las Vegas
Let’s be real. When gays plan on coming to Sin City, they too plan on sinning, and gay bathhouses have been gay men’s plans since ancient Greece.
Modern-day Las Vegas is no different with its two distinct bathhouses. Whether you want comradery, spa-level relaxation or more, gay Vegas will not disappoint.
Las Vegas bathhouses
1. Entourage Vegas
Established in 1994 and a sponsor of Las Vegas Pride, Entourage Vegas features an indoor pool, jacuzzi, steam room, sauna, weight room, alley, video room, smoking area, private and group showers with free use of towels.
Due to Nevada COVID restrictions, the sauna or jacuzzi are closed. Check back regularly, as we’ll update this section accordingly. For safety, Entourage Vegas is currently only renting rooms for social distancing (6ft apart), $40 for 8 hours and $25 for 4 hours for locals, $35 for 8 hours and $20 for 4 hours for tourists.
Entourage Vegas is everything you want in a gay men’s spa, plus it’s close to the strip and 10-minutes from the Fruit Loop.
2. Hawk’s Gym & Spa
Hawk’s Gym & Spa is the gay-owned and gay-operated of the two gay bathhouses in Las Vegas. Hawk’s features private rooms, lockers, showers, a sauna, steam room and a small gym. Hawk’s is also close to the strip and minutes from the Fruit Loop.
Due to COVID restrictions, the sauna and steam room aren’t open and only private rooms are available.
Free things to do in Las Vegas
- Don’t miss the spectacular Bellagio fountain shows
- Watch the Mirage volcano eruption show
- Walk the Mirage Aquarium
- See the Atrium Waterfall
- Visit the other big aquarium at the Forum Shops at Caesars
- Walk the Bellagio Conservatory
- Watch the lights of the Eiffel Tower replica at Paris
- Sit at the Fall of Atlantis show at the Caesars Forum Shops
- Watch (and tip) the street performers on Fremont Street Experience
- Hold hands and walk under the gorgeous painted ceilings at the Venetian
- Visit the wildlife at the wildlife habitat at the Flamingo
- Check with your hotel to see if they offer a free shuttle between the hotel and the airport
- Your hotel’s pool or pools are usually free to you as the guest
- Most hotels and resorts offer free shows in their lounges
- Dream away at the Wynn’s Lake of Dreams show
- Don’t feel the rain at the Miracle Mile Shops with its hourly (every half hour on weekends) rain shower
- See who wins at The Bar at Time’s Square in New York New York’s dueling pianos show
- Visit, don’t shop, Gold & Silver Pawn Shop of the History Channel’s Pawn Stars
- Hold hands under the LED canopy over Fremont Street Experience
- Walk, don’t shop, the Arts District
- Take an Instaworthy pic of yourself with $1 million at Binions on Fremont
A gay day in Las Vegas for under $75 per couple
- Wake early and make 2 cups of coffee in your hotel room with your coffee grounds from home
- Grab your coffee to soak up the beauty of the Chihuly ceiling at the Bellagio and then walk the Bellagio Conservatory – $0
- Go to La Salsa Cantina at The Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood, order 2 eggs any style, choice of ham, bacon or sausage, choice of corn or flour tortillas and southwest potatoes for $4.79 each – $13 with tax and tip
- Visit the wildlife at the wildlife habitat at the Flamingo – $0
- Spend a few hours relaxing your body beautiful at your hotel’s pool (take your own water) – $0
- Clean up, then watch who wins the dueling pianos show at The Bar at Time’s Square in New York New York – $0
- Walk to The LINQ Hotel to In-N-Out Burger for 2 burger combos (2 burgers, 2 fries, 2 sodas) (if you’re not from the Southwest and haven’t eaten at In-N-Out Burger, you’re in for a treat – $13 with tax
- In the evening, hop on the Downtown Loop to Fremont Street Experience – $0
- Watch the amazing LED display over Fremont Street Experience – $0
- Take a picture of yourselves next to Binions’ million dollars – $0
- Walk through Fremont Street Experience to Fremont Street to split dinner at Le Thai (portions are big and spicy) – $20 with tax and tip
- Walk to Container Park – $0
- Download the Explore DTLV App to get $10 off your first purchase of $15 or more – $0
- Share a couple of Vegas’s best cocktails at Oak & Ivy (make one an Apple Pie Harvest) on the deck and use your Explore DTLV App discount to save $24 – $10 with tax, tip and $10 discount
A gay day in Las Vegas for under $150 per couple
- Take the Downtown Loop to Fremont and walk on the north side of Fremont through the Freemont Street Experience and Freemont East to PublicUs – $0
- Soak up everything Freemont Street Experience and Freemont East have to offer – $0
- Split a breakfast at PublicUs for $15 and 2 mimosas for $10 – $30 with tax and tip
- Hold hands while you walk to Fergusons Downtown – $0
- Grab 2 lattes at Mothership Coffee – $14 with tax and tip
- Sip your lattes under a tree in The Yard – $0
- Walk back up Fremont East toward Fremont Street Experience on the south side – $0
- Soak up everything Freemont Street Experience and Freemont East have to offer – $0
- Turn left/south on S Main St and walk toward the Arts District/18b, stopping for window shopping at Arts District Shopping Mall (one block southeast of Main) – $0
- Stop at The Garden (Yelp for directions) to meet the local gays, grab 2 spritzers or martinis for $10 each – $25 with tax and tip
- Tour the Arts Factory on Charleston Blvd – $0
- Head one block west on Charleston Blvd back to Main
- Continue walking the south side of the Arts District to browse and window shop – $0
- Stop at Tacotarian to lunch on the 2 3-taco platters for $11 each and 2 margaritas for $7 each – $45 with tax and tip
- Finish walking the Arts District as far was W Wyoming Ave – $0
- Catch the Downtown Loop back to the strip – $0
- Watch the fountain show at The Bellagio (top of the hour) – $0
- Walk to Secret Pizza in the Cosmopolitan – it’s a secret where it is, but ask around and someone will help you – when you’ve reached the Galaga Machine, you’re on target
- Have 2 slices of pizza each for $16 and 2 PBRs for $7 – $30 with tax and tip
- Don’t gamble
- Get $10 off your first order plus $15 more when you download the Explore DTLV App
- Get your wine and spirits from Albertson’s on Charleston Blvd and save 10% when you get 6 bottles of wine and/or 6 bottles of spirits – save more with the Albertson’s app and membership card
- While at Albertson’s, stock up on snacks, light food and bottled water to store in your hotel room
- If you must do the nightclubs on the strip, get The V Card for free VIP admissions and drink discounts
- Use your credit card reward miles when you book flights to Las Vegas
- Save between $200 – $300 with discounts, coupons and promos on the Explore DTLV App
- Visit at off-peak times, mid-week and non-holiday
- Sign up for Player’s Cards and hotel newsletters
- Ask your hotel concierge for free upgrades and offers
- Get all your cash and/or travelers’ checks before you arrive – Vegas ATM fees are expensive
- Most hotels offer discounts to active military and veterans
- Get all the discounts on Groupon
- Take the Deuce bus, a 24/7 bus that goes up and down the strip and back and forth from the strip to Fremont Street
- Skip the minibar
- Take your own coffee grounds and make your own coffee in your room with the French presses we use
That’s it! Everything you need and want for traveling to gay Las Vegas in 2021. As we said from the beginning, Las Vegas has become very LGBTQIA-friendly over the last decade and that’s only increasing.
If you’re yearning for a vacation and aren’t sure where to go in the time of COVID, gay Las Vegas is it. Thanks to our friends at Orbitz, it’s never been easier, cheaper or safer for LGBTQIA travelers. Click here to learn more.
Finally, if you’re looking to move to an affordable, LGBTQIA-friendly city, see why it’s on our list here of the best gay cities in which to move.