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Though steeped in politics and American history, our nation’s capital is also a formidable gay capital. From expected queer activities like bars, nightlife and Pride parades, to cultural and historical attractions that are far older than you imagine, DC rivals cities like Chicago, Los Angeles and even San Francisco for its sheer number of LGBTQ-oriented things to do. No matter when you plan to travel (you’ll find DC deals here), or what your general interests are, there are plenty of ways to paint the town rainbow. Here are 10 amazing facts about LGBTQ DC to get your inspiration—and your pride!—flowing.

RELATED: 10 things you didn’t know about LGBTQ Chicago

Capital Pride washington dc

Capital Pride | Flickr CC: Elvert Barnes

1. There’s more than one Pride celebration

Like most major cities in the US, Washington, DC has a Pride festival, which includes a lavish parade that takes place every May or June. Unlike many cities, however, Capital Pride resides under an extremely big tent. You’ll have a chance to attend additional Pride celebrations throughout the year for trans, black, Latinx, senior and other sub-sets of the LGBTQ community!

Male Couple Enjoying Each Other's Company at an Urban Coffeehouse in washington dc

2. The city’s home to numerous gayborhoods

It can be daunting to pursue queer tourism in Washington, DC, if only because there are so many gay-friendly things going on in the city. Certain areas of town, however, feature extremely visible LGBTQ communities. Visit Dupont Circle and Adams-Morgan neighborhoods, where you may see as many rainbow flags flying as you do American ones!

3. Even cherry blossoms support the gay agenda

Cherry blossoms aren’t the only pink thing in our nation’s capital in the spring. Named in a nod to the seasonal spectacle, the annual CHERRY party is not only a great reason to get glammed up, but has been donating proceeds to area HIV/AIDs charities for the entire quarter-century it’s been happening.

4. DC gay bars take many forms

The population of the Washington, DC area is among the most diverse in America, and its gay haunts are similarly diverse. From the LGBTQ-friendly sports bar Nellie’s, to the Fireplace with its largely African-American clientele, to the swanky MOVA Lounge, there’s a DC drink for every color of the rainbow. Of course, you could go the simple route and have a cocktail at JR’s, which is one of the longest-standing gay establishments in DC.

LGBT asian lesbian couple in washington dc

5. There are plenty of places just for the girls

Looking for things to do in DC for lesbians? Until recently, you might’ve been out of luck, since longtime staple Lace left a massive void for some time after it shuttered. But these days, a pair of new establishments—the kitschy A League of Her Own and the homey XX+—serve as vibrant, lively gathering places for LGBTQ women.

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6. Budget LGBTQ travelers can get in on the fun

Although many LGBTQ-friendly hotels, bars and restaurants are on the higher end (namely the four-star Embassy Row, whose rooftop pool is almost as famous as its swanky guest rooms), you needn’t be a big baller to stay, eat and drink in gay-friendly places. Stay at HighRoad Hostel, located in the aforementioned Adams-Morgan neighborhood, and sip affordable pours at Larry’s Lounge.

Transpride in washington dc

Transpride | Flickr CC: Ted Eytan

7. So can trans ones

Although some gay activities in DC focus on the L, the B and especially the G, DC has a vibrant range of offerings for the trans, gender-fluid and queer communities, too. If you can’t come for the aforementioned Trans Pride, attend April’s National Trans Visibility March, or take part in frequent events put on by the DC Regional Trans Ladies’ Community & Events.

8. There’s a must see LGBT exhibition

The bad news? There’s no gay museum in DC, though a few have been proposed in the past (but ultimately shelved). The good news is that many renowned museums in the capital have LGBTQ exhibits. Visit Newseum (which spotlights the role of media in America—essential viewing these days!) before December 31, 2019 to look back 50 years to the Stonewall riots.

9. But DC (like America) is all about intersectionality

Of course, just because we don’t have our own museum yet doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate the other communities that have theirs. From the long-famous United States Holocaust Memorial Museum to the already classic National Museum of African American History and Culture, DCs streets are filled with the stories of groups who have refused to let themselves be marginalized.

gay kiss in washington dc

10. There are countless amazing spots to share a same-sex kiss

While gay dance parties in front of the VP’s residence are sadly not a regular occurrence in DC, there are plenty of places to use your love to make a statement. Whether you kiss in front of the Supreme Court to celebrate the 2015 passage of marriage equality, in front of the White House to send a message to its occupant or anywhere on the streets—because it’s America, dammit—the political mood of DC can be a surprising aphrodisiac.

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Tagged: Washington DC

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Robert Schrader
Robert is a writer and photographer who's spent the better part of the past decade roaming the globe. Read hundreds of inspiring, informative travel articles on his blog Leave Your Daily Hell, or see the world through his eyes on Instagram, where he's @leaveyourdailyhell.

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