The city of New Orleans is filled with extremely rich history and cultures that are reflected throughout the various areas of the city. New Orleans is also known for being particularly welcoming towards the LGBTQ+ community with GayCities, a travel platform that recognizes it as the second most welcoming city to the community for two consecutive years. That being said, there’s a diverse range of welcoming businesses, hotels, restaurants and bars that are worth checking out during your trip to The Big Easy. Here’s our guide to LGBTQ+ friendly travel in New Orleans (with an emphasis on culture and community) to help you start planning your stops.
The Ace Hotel boutique hotel chain has gay founders and their Downtown NOLA location is where guests can find a retro hotel experience steeped in culture within the growing Warehouse District. The Bohemian decor of the various suites, like the Ace Suite and Corner Suite, ensures your room will have plenty of French Deco-inspired character. Be sure to take advantage of one of their four restaurants, which include Josephine Estelle, Seaworthy and Alto, the hotel’s rooftop garden where you can enjoy food and panoramic views of the city.
The hotel is also within walking distance of the French Quarter, where you can explore the LGBTQ+ friendly nightlife of the Lavender Line. Celebrate up-and-coming artists at these nearby galleries: Arthur Roger Gallery, Jonathan Ferrara Gallery and Stella Jones Gallery, whose emphasis is on artists from the African diaspora.
Hotel Monteleone is a fifth generation, family-owned luxury hotel in the heart of the French Quarter, placing you at the center of the iconic New Orleans nightlife. Timelessly elegant, the hotel is home to a rooftop pool, spa and iconic revolving carousel bar, which is the only revolving bar in the city. Indulge in dinner at Criollo, their onsite restaurant that features a fusion of cultures reflected in their cooking and the unique tastes that comprise Louisiana cuisine.
A favorite for LGBTQ+ friendly travel in New Orleans, this hotel is TAG-approved, which means they belong to a verified group of LGBTQ+ welcoming accommodations based on their employment policies, services and support for the community. Committed to “Southern Green Hospitality,” Hotel Monteleone integrates sustainability into everything from energy efficiency to the elimination of waste.
Cafe Lafitte In Exile
Another uniquely historic spot in the Crescent City is Cafe Lafitte In Exile, a famous gay bar that should definitely make it onto your destination list. This two-story bar proudly holds the mantle of being the oldest continually operating gay bar in entire United States and boasts the welcoming of their space since the end of the Prohibition Era.
Considered the perfect spot for the “Laid Back Crowd” by the LGBTQ-Owned Business Guide, you can find upscale decor, a few pool tables and outdoor seating on both levels so you can be truly immersed in the nightlife of the French Quarter while enjoying drinks.
Bourbon Pub and Parade
The Bourbon Pub and Parade, also referred to as Pub, is the largest gay and lesbian bar in New Orleans. At this 24/7 bar, you can expect to dance, sing karaoke and catch a drag show on special event days. This Pub is also conveniently located across the street from another prominent gay bar in New Orleans called Oz, know for its Drag shows and karaoke, making both of these leaders in LGBTQ+ friendly travel in New Orleans.
Eat New Orleans
Offering authentic Louisiana cuisine made from locally sourced ingredients, EAT is a LGBTQ-owned restaurant worth visiting. Find a variety of Creole and Cajun dishes at this spot in addition to weekend brunch. Artwork by local artists adorns the walls, making you feel right at home with the neighbors. The EAT team also operates the generations old Wayne Jacob’s Smokehouse and hosts a pop-up weekly. The BYOB-friendly restaurant is down the street from the New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum, so you can explore the area after stopping by for an early afternoon brunch.
Louisiana Pizza Kitchen
The Louisiana Pizza Kitchen Uptown is another popular LGBTQ-owned restaurant in The Big Easy that has been serving the community for more than two decades. Providing much more than pizza, they have an expansive menu of Italian cuisine including pastas, sandwiches, calzones and salads. They offer indoor dining, outdoor dining and take-out options so you can enjoy their delicious New Orleans-inspired Italian food however you’d like. One of the first restaurants to re-open after Hurricane Katrina, this spot is a fan favorite in the community.
Dutch Alley Artist Co-Op
You can find The Dutch Alley Artist’s Co-Op in the French Market District of New Orleans where the artwork of 25 local artists is showcased. The cooperative is completely run by these artists and it continues to provide a space for the diverse range of art that exists within all of New Orleans. Pottery, paintings, jewelry, photography, clothing, and print work are just some of the types of work that you will find at this wonderful gallery.
The city of New Orleans is home to many beautiful parks that can be the perfect activity daytime for your trips. Louis Armstrong Park, named after the famous Jazz musician, is a spectacular urban park that even has a free Jazz concert series during the seasons of spring and fall. Lafitte Greenway is another unique option for outdoor activity because it’s a 2.6 mile-long linear park that’s open 24 hours a day with the help of energy-efficient lights along the path.
MATEO GIN TARANGO