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Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Travel

Huge and sprawling and incomprehensible in its vastness (even natives have never seen all of it), Los Angeles can be daunting to the first-time visitor—especially if you don’t drive. The best way to approach this gay popular megalopolis is to think of it as a series of cities adjoining one another, each with its own vibe. There’s beachy, mellow Santa Monica and its funky seaside neighbor Venice. There’s dense and walkable downtown (DTLA) with its new yuppie residents elbow-to-elbow with the old-timers. The Valley incorporates a string of cities, including gay-popular Studio City, and it's far more than its unfair reputation as a suburban wasteland. And then, of course, there’s West Hollywood, which includes most of the famous Sunset Strip, littered with celebrities, nightclubs and swank hotels. WeHo’s wide and tasteful Santa Monica Boulevard is the focal point of most of the area’s LGBT action—with probably the best lesbian-specific nightlife on the West Coast. The other main gay area of L.A. is Silverlake, once seen as a leather-y village but now quite fashionable, and also home to a wide swath of LGBT nightlife. Long Beach, south of L.A. and bordering Orange County, has a large gay population that is slightly more sedate than in L.A. but still enjoys its local queer nightlife and beach life. But almost every one of L.A.’s cities has its own LGBT bars and businesses so you’re never far from the action.


Activities in this enormous metropolis are as plentiful and varied as your imagination. The traditional tourist sites are Hollywood Boulevard (with its stars embedded in the sidewalk and the fancy Hollywood and Highland shopping complex, home to the Academy Awards); Beverly Hills (with its exclusive shopping on Rodeo Drive); Universal City (with its backlot studios tour and theme park); Santa Monica and Venice (with a fun pier full of rides and a lively boardwalk scene that could rival Fellini); DTLA (which includes great museums, hipster hangouts and fun ethnic enclaves like Little Tokyo, Chinatown and nearby K-Town); and a ferry trip to Catalina Island (with its upscale Mediterranean vibe). And don’t forget the gay-popular attraction Disneyland and laid-back Laguna Beach—both of which are actually in Orange County.

Gay and Lesbian Hotels in Los Angeles

Andaz West Hollywood - a concept by Hyatt $239
Andaz West Hollywood - a concept by Hyatt

Andaz West Hollywood - a concept by Hyatt

8401 W Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood
     
    4.4
    of 5, from 64 reviews
    4.0 out of 5.0

    With the Hollywood Hills as the backdrop, Andaz West Hollywood - A Hyatt Hotel is on the Sunset Strip near popular nightclubs and restaurants, a short distance from Beverly Hills and Hollywood.

    Chamberlain West Hollywood $240
    Chamberlain West Hollywood

    Chamberlain West Hollywood

    1000 Westmount Dr, West Hollywood
       
      4.0
      of 5, from 72 reviews
      4.0 out of 5.0

      Nestled in a residential neighborhood with easy access to Los Angeles finest shopping. One mile (1.6 kilometers) from Beverly Hills.

      Hollywood Hotel - The Hotel of Hollywood $143
      Hollywood Hotel - The Hotel of Hollywood

      Hollywood Hotel - The Hotel of Hollywood

      1160 North Vermont Avenue, Los Angeles
         
        3.4
        of 5, from 342 reviews
        3.5 out of 5.0

        This four-story hotel offers a convenient location 1 block from the Santa Monica/Vermont Metro station, 3 miles from beautiful Griffith Park, and about 5 miles from Universal Studios Hollywood.

        Residence Inn by Marriott Downtown Long Beach $144
        Residence Inn by Marriott Downtown Long Beach

        Residence Inn by Marriott Downtown Long Beach

        600 Queensway Drive, Long Beach
           
          4.3
          of 5, from 43 reviews
          3.0 out of 5.0

          Located in the heart of Long Beach, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of California State University-Office of the Chancellor, RMS Queen Mary, and Aquarium of the Pacific. Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center is 1.1 mi (1.8 km) away.

          The Hollywood Roosevelt $226
          The Hollywood Roosevelt

          The Hollywood Roosevelt

          7000 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles
             
            4.2
            of 5, from 42 reviews
            4.0 out of 5.0

            Attracting Hollywood's stars since it opened in 1927, The Hollywood Roosevelt offers a prime location along the Hollywood Walk of Fame, across from Grauman's Chinese Theatre and the Hollywood & Highland center.

            Travel tips

            1. Watch out for "June Gloom" and "the Santa Anas." 

            Two L.A.-specific weather phenomena are the fog banks and overcast skies that can hang around for days in June (actually, it can happen anytime from March to August), and the Santa Ana winds that can make you feel like Dorothy in Kansas. Summer in general can also be very hot—especially in the Valley—and it’s peak tourist season.

            2. Join a live studio audience.

            A guaranteed way to actually see a celebrity in L.A. is by seeing a TV show being taped. Tickets are free, and are sometimes handed out on Hollywood Boulevard or Universal City. You can also get them at www.tvtickets.com.

            3. If you don’t drive, stay in West Hollywood. 

            If you don’t drive or are scared of the city’s monumental traffic, and simply want to focus on gay life, stay in one of WeHo’s upscale hotels. You’ll be within walking distance of gay nightlife, shops and restaurants.

            Los Angeles LGBT Events

            The City of Angels eschews the traditional last weekend in June (perhaps so as to not compete with San Francisco) and instead celebrates its LA Pride (lapride.org) with an outrageous mid-month parade right through the heart of WeHo coupled with a full weekend of parties and events like a music festival featuring legit headliners.

            While paling in comparison to its Orlando counterpart, Gay Days at Disneyland (gaydaysanaheim.com) finds the queer community barnstorming Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure theme parks in Anaheim in a show of LGBT solidarity (wear red to make your presence known!). While not officially connected with the parks, Disney is more than welcoming and be sure and check out the full weekend itinerary including pool parties, brunches and cocktail hours happening near the parks.

            * Prices reflect the lowest "base rate" found over the next 30 days. Rates are subject to change and may not include taxes and fees, hotel service charges, extra person charges, or incidentals, such as room service. All rates are displayed in USD unless otherwise noted. Converted rates are provided for your convenience. They are based on today's exchange rate, but the hotel will charge you in the local currency.