An LGBTQ-friendly guide to visiting Washington, DC
Our nation’s capital is best known among tourists for its abundance of American history. With world-famous museums and sites like the Smithsonian, Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, and, of course, the White House, DC isn’t exactly a hidden tourist gem. However, with a bustling arts scene and active LGBTQ community, the city is more than just museums and monuments.
DC’s diverse array of theaters has reopened with an amazing lineup of shows, from the spellbinding story of an African American sports legend to the epic musical love story featuring Orpheus, Eurydice, Hades, and Persephone.
Visit the Arena Stage (1101 6th Street SW) to catch a showing of “Toni Stone” from now until October 3. The play follows the inspiring story of the titular Stone, the real-life athlete who was the first woman to play in the Negro Leagues and play professionally in a men’s league in the ’50s. More from Arena includes “Celia and Fidel” on October 8– November 21, set in 1980 as 10,000 Cubans seek asylum at the Peruvian Embassy and Castro, in a fictional conversation with the revolutionary Celia, decides whether to be mighty or merciful.
Productions showing at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (2700 F Street NW) include “Hadestown” October 13–31; a performance produced in collaboration with choreographer Ronald K. Brown and vocalist, composer, and bassist Meshell Ndegeocello October 21–23; and “Come Home: A Celebration of Return” November 6–14, which will feature a musical tribute to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Other shows include “The Amen Corner” from September 14–26 at Sidney Harman Hall (610 F Street NW); “My Lord, What a Night” from October 1–24 at Ford’s Theatre (511 10th Street NW), “Remember This: The Lesson of Jan Karski” from October 6–17 at the Michael R. Klein Theatre at the Lansburgh (450 7th Street NW); N from October 23–November 20 at the Keegan Theatre (1742 Church Street NW); and “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical” from November 23–December 5 at the National Theatre (1321 Pennsylvania Avenue NW).
LGBTQ To Do’s
Come into town next month to catch the Miss Adams Morgan Pageant, a Halloween masquerade party and pageant that’s not to be missed. Come in costume and enjoy a night of incredible performances. Also in October is the Reel Affirmations Film Festival, the city’s annual LGBTQ film festival (akin to our Out On Film) presenting international, documentary, short, and feature films from all over the world, as well as the 17th Street High Heel Drag Race, a race of 100 or so costumed drag queens drawing in thousands of spectators the Tuesday before Halloween.
When it comes to gay nightlife, DC has a lot to offer. Unfortunately, the DC Eagle, the District’s oldest and largest LGBTQ bar, has permanently closed. But you can still stop by Green Lantern (1335 Green Court NW), where shirtless men can drink for free on Thursdays (yep, you heard us!). Other queer faves include Uproar (639 Florida Avenue NW), a favorite among DC’s bear community, and A League of Her Own (2319 18th Street NW), a neighborhood bar catering to queer women.
Where to Stay
According to Queer In the World, a website dedicated to curating LGBTQ travel guides for the world’s most fabulous destinations, DC’s most LGBTQ-friendly stays include Kimpton Carlyle Hotel Dupont Circle (1731 New Hampshire Avenue NW), Sofitel Washington DC Lafayette Square (806 15th Street NW), and The Hay-Adams (800 16th Street NW).
For the environmentally conscious, goDCgo has a Hospitality Ambassadors Program that recognizes hotels and lodging for their commitment to sustainability, with levels from Bronze to Platinum. You can find a list of ambassadors on their website, godcgo.com.
For more information on Washington, DC, tourism, visit washington.org. To keep up to date with DC’s LGBTQ news, visit WashingtonBlade.com.