Atlanta, the Georgia state capital, is often considered the unofficial gay capital of the southern USA. Although the south may not have an LGBT-friendly reputation, this bustling metropolis is an open, friendly and welcoming destination for all travelers. Here you’ll find a melting pot of cultures and a unique mix of southern charm with all the conveniences of big city living. Atlanta is also a historically significant location due to its important role during the American Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. Today, it’s known for world-class museums, shopping, outdoor spaces, southern cuisine and nightlife as well as thriving neighborhoods.
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Table of Contents
1. General Tips
2. Transportation & Airport Transfer
3. Gay Hotels in Atlanta
4. Sightseeing & Activities in Atlanta
5. Gay Tours in Atlanta
6. Restaurants & Cafes in Atlanta
7. Atlanta Gay Bars
8. Atlanta Gay Clubs & Parties
9. Atlanta Gay Saunas & Cruising Bars
10. Gay Events in Atlanta
11. Day Trips from Atlanta
The hot and humid summer weather between June and August gives merit to the nickname, Hotlanta. This is also when room rates are their highest. The best time to visit is from March to May when you’ll enjoy milder weather to spend time outside and take advantage of all the outdoor events and activities. To save a few dollars, try visiting in December, January or February when the city is less crowded and room prices drop due to the cooler weather. When planning your visit, also consider the Atlantic hurricane season that lasts from summer through fall and could interrupt your trip.
When booking accommodations, keep in mind that Midtown is the center of gay life in Atlanta, although LGBT-friendly spots can be found throughout the city and suburbs. Other areas like Downtown, Westside, Ansley Mall/Cheshire Bridge, Buckhead and Grant Park and Cabbagetown all boast LGBT shops, restaurants and venues.
Transportation & Airport Transfer
The main airport in Atlanta is Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL). It’s located 7 miles (11km) south of the business district of Atlanta and is the primary hub for Delta Air Lines as well as some low cost carriers like Frontier, Southwest and Spirit.
From Atlanta’s airport, there are several transportation options to arrive at your destination such as MARTA (public Transit), taxi and rideshare.
Taking the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) is a train that offers public transportation throughout the city. It will also take you from the airport to your accommodations in the city center in 18-22 minutes and cost you just a few dollars for a one-way ticket.
Taxis are not the cheapest option, but one of the most convenient. A Taxi trip to downtown will cost you around $40 USD and take about 20 minutes or longer depending on traffic.
Whenever we have the chance, we recommend using a rideshare service like Uber as it’s safe, secure and usually costs a bit less than a typical taxi. For Domestic Terminal pickups, head to the lower arrivals level from baggage claim, exit the airport, cross the pedestrian zone then follow the Rideshare signs. For International Terminal pickups, meet your driver at the outer curb.
Gay Hotels in Atlanta
There aren't currently any gay hotels in Atlanta, but there are many gay-friendly options.
Hyatt Regency Atlanta Downtown – this iconic Atlanta hotel is best known for the rotating Polaris lounge offering breathtaking views of the city. It’s centrally located with convenient access to public transit and popular tourist attractions. Guests enjoy minimalistic and modern rooms with a refrigerator, outdoor rooftop pool, large fitness center, business center and an onsite restaurant and bar.
W Atlanta Midtown – located near the Midtown MARTA Station, this luxury property boasts top notch amenities just steps away from Piedmont Park, Atlanta Botanical Garden, shopping and nightlife. Enjoy a suite with city views and colorful, bold decor, swim in the outdoor pool with private cabanas and bar, relax at the spa, and sip and savor at the chic bar and lounge,
Georgian Terrace Hotel – bask in modern luxury at this classic 20th century Beaux-Arts hotel located in Midtown. Settle into one of the sleek and spacious rooms or suites (some with full kitchens and laundry rooms), relax at the sun deck and outdoor pool, exercise at the fitness center and have a drink or bite at the two restaurants and cafe.
Hotel Indigo Atlanta Midtown – this historic 3-star hotel is centrally located across from the Fox Theatre. It’s vibrant, colorful and elegant design and hip vibe is reflected in all its modern rooms. Mingle with guests on the outdoor patio and at the bar, enjoy a meal at the restaurant, take advantage of the fitness and business centers and feel free to bring your furry friend to this pet-friendly property.
Renaissance Atlanta Midtown Hotel – an LGBT-friendly 4-star hotel in the heart of Midtown that’s within walking distance of local restaurants, shops and attractions. Guests can enjoy the rooftop bar and southern-inspired restaurant, fitness center and pet-friendly policy. Retreat to recently refreshed rooms and suites with marble bathrooms, premium bedding and city views.
The River’s Edge – private membership, gay owned and operated, clothing-optional, campground located about 110 miles east of Atlanta. Free from the confines of society, accommodations include tent sites, RV sites and cabin rentals. Guests can enjoy the club house, game room, snack bar, general store, salt water pool and large hot tub.
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Sightseeing & Activities in Atlanta
World of Coca-Cola – opening in 2007, the World of Coca-Cola is where you’ll discover the history of the company at designated exhibits and a 3D theater. In the Taste It! exhibit, sample over 100 beverages from around the world. It’s located at Pemberton Place, a 20-acre plaza that’s also home to the Georgia Aquarium and the Center for Civil and Human Rights. Book tour →
Georgia Aquarium – conveniently located next to the World of Coca-Cola, it’s entertaining and educational for guests of all ages. Boasting over 60 exhibits featuring a variety of animals and habitats and a 4D theater, visitors explore the world's aquatic biodiversity through animal encounters, immersive experiences and special events. Book tour →
Atlanta Botanical Garden – an urban oasis adjacent to Piedmont Park in the heart of Midtown. Visitors will enjoy 30 acres of outdoor gardens, an award-winning Children’s Garden, the serene Storza Woods highlighted by a unique Canopy Walk and the picturesque Skyline Garden. Check their website for special exhibitions and seasonal events like the annual holiday lights. Book tour →
Piedmont Park – located about a mile northeast of Downtown, this 200-acre urban park sits between the Midtown and Virginia Highlands neighborhoods of Atlanta. It includes many attractions for outdoor enthusiasts such as bike paths, trails, playgrounds, recreational fields and the butterfly haven. Book tour →
Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Site – visit the Sweet Auburn neighborhood where you’ll find the birthplace and tomb of Martin Luther King Jr, Ebenezer Baptist Church, the King Center, the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park and the APEX Museum that has exhibits relating to African-American history. Book tour →
Gay Tours in Atlanta
Atlanta’s Queer History Bicycle Tour – Join your friends on this leisurely 3-hour, 9-mile bike tour that zeros in on the people, places, and events of Atlanta’s Queer History. On this tour, guests will learn about the development of the LGBTQ+ neighborhood centers; the role gay individuals played in the 1960’s Civil Rights Movement; the rise of political and professional influencers; nightlife culture, and the ongoing fight for LBGTQ+ Equality.
Restaurants & Cafes in Atlanta
Bacchanalia – for an upscale experience at one of Atlanta’s top restaurants, this is the place. Featuring contemporary American cuisine, their seasonal menu relies on locally-sourced organic ingredients and offers light and creative plates as well as a four-course, prix fixe menu that evolves each evening.
Ecco – a contemporary, upscale Midtown restaurant with impeccable old-world styling serving modern European favorites with an unparalleled wine list. The menu includes award-winning wood oven flatbreads, delicious pastas and inventive European-inspired main dishes incorporating local produce.
Canoe -a little out of the center but well-worth the detour, this beautiful restaurant is the very definition of a meal with a view. Canoe overlooks the Chattahoochee River, is surrounded by lush gardens and provides top-notch New American cuisine fresh from the farm.
The Breakfast Boys – Is brunch too early in the day for a drink? If your answer is no, then there’s no better place for a “boozy brunch” than The Breakfast Boys. This popular restaurant haunt specialises in breakfast and brunches, whether you want to partake of their lush cocktails and speciality mimosas with your morning bread, or not. They serve creative combinations like chicken sausage and French toast or jerk chicken and waffles. Not to mention they have an open kitchen full of delicious cakes.
Atlanta Gay Bars
Blake’s On The Park – celebrating over 3 decades of great drinks, music, live entertainment and delicious food, Blake’s is located in the heart of Atlanta’s Midtown Gayborhood. Visit for daily themed parties and specials like Latino Tuesdays and Super Sized Sundays as well as drag shows, music videos and dancing.
Bulldog’s Bar – for over 30 years, this has been the premiere male gay club in Atlanta serving mostly African American patrons, yet is welcoming to all. Come by for the strong drinks, pool table, hip-hop and house music beats and stay for the dancing on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.
Atlanta EAGLE – known as Atlanta’s leather/Levi bar, this is the spot to enjoy cutting edge music with a DJ and large dance floor, outdoor balcony and patio where you can enjoy a cigar. Here you’ll find hot leather men, guys in rubber and gear and furry bears and cubs. Enjoy 3 bars and a fully stocked leather shop.
MSR My Sisters Room – Atlanta’s award-winning lesbian bar, MSR has been a favorite destination for the queer community since 1996. It’s home to everyone who stops in. Visit to catch one of the nightly drag shows, burlesque shows, comedy and karaoke.
Woofs Atlanta – the nation’s leader in full service sports bars serving the gay community is a welcoming and friendly environment for all. This gay bar and restaurant features a full menu and 27 TV’s to watch your favorite sporting events whil enjoying food specials and a small patio out front.
Lips Atlanta – if you’re looking for some of the D…that is Drag, Drinks and Dinner, then Lips is your place. Through Wednesday to Sunday, Lips offers extravagant drag shows with your dinner and after drinks. Check the roster for a selection of shows ranging from twisted takes on popular Broadway shows to pure glamour extravaganza.
Oscar's – looking for a dirty Martini? Want a splash of gayness with your cocktails? This gay bar in Ansley Square Shopping might be right up your alley. Voted best martini ,video bar, & best bartenders in Atlanta, it more than lives up to its reputation with great service and an even better atmosphere.
Felix's – this bar has a cute neighbourhood feel to it, having been open for 22 years and counting. It straddles the line between bar and club, is always bustling, full of energy and hosts fun karaoke shows, live performances and DJs.
Mary's – Atlanta sure has a lot of gay bars named after a person! Mary’s is one of its best – voted as one of the best bars in the world by Out Magazine. It draws in a hip alternative crowd via special events, alternative DJs and karaoke with a wide selection of tunes.
Atlanta Gay Clubs & Parties
BJ Roosters – Go-go boys, billiards and fun – what more could you ask for? They’ve been offering Atlanta the best of gay nightlife seven days a week since 1995. Make your way in for the sexy male dancers and head to the back rooms for pool, darts and TV screens showing even more men.
The Heretic Atlanta – a popular gay club that draws a leather crowd making for a butch and cruisey atmospthere. The venue has 2 bars, a dance floor where the DJ pumps out great music and a custom leather shop. It’s open Wednesday through Saturday with nightly themes and specials.
Future Atlanta – one of the hottest new gay clubs in town and right in the middle of the historic downtown (ironically). Expect pounding house and hot topless guys over its two levels. Also hold drag shows and Drag Race viewing parties.
Atlanta Gay Saunas & Cruising Bars
FLEX Spas Atlanta – a private gay men’s club in the heart of Atlanta’s Midtown featuring a full gym, showers, a jacuzzi, a large dry sauna, a steam maze, massotherapy, an outdoor pool, TV changing rooms, a rooftop sundeck and a lounge. Open 24/7 with free parking, daily specials and themed nights.
Gay Events in Atlanta
Atlanta Pride – celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2020, this annual event takes place in October and features a festival in Piedmont Park and parade starting at the Civic Center MARTA station and ending in Piedmont Park. In fact, the Atlanta Pride Committee produces 3 marches in addition to the parade: the Annual Trans March, Bi & Pan March and Dyke March.
Atlanta Bear Pride – Calling all bears, cubs, otters, chubs and friends. Be prepared for 3 days of bear-themed events and parties showing the diversity of bear culture and bringing together folks from around the southeast to enjoy Atlanta in September each year.
Atlanta Black Pride – one of Labor Day Weekend’s biggest events with a weeklong of programs like brunch, pool parties, dancing and live entertainment leading up to the long weekend. Events are divided into female and male categories with a community festival that takes place in Piedmont Park.
Day Trips from Atlanta
Chattanooga – Although you can take a plan or bus, we recommend the 2-hour drive from Atlanta. Chattanooga is on the border of Tennessee and Georgia and located between the mountains of Southeast Tennessee and the Tennessee River. The city boasts plenty of options for outdoor adventure, amazing restaurants, live events, art and world-class attractions. Downtown sights include Miller Plaza, Tivoli Theater, Warehouse Row, Ross’s Landing and the Tennessee Aquarium. Book tour →
Blue Ridge – about an hour and a half drive north of Atlanta, Blue Ridge is a mountain town that sits on the Georgia-Tennessee-North Carolina line with 106,000 acres of Chattahoochee National Forest, 300 miles of hiking trails and 100 miles of trout streams. A perfect destination for a romantic getaway or family vacation, it offers visitors luxury mountain cabins, stunning views, hiking trails, waterfalls, wineries and craft breweries, galleries and shops. For an adventure consider tubing or kayaking the Toccoa or go whitewater rafting on the Ocoee River. Book tour →
Helen – Georgia’s third most visited city, it takes about an hour and 40 minutes to get to Helen by car. Once you arrive, you’ll find a charming Bavarian-style village in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Stay at one of the quaint hotels, walk the cobblestone streets and enjoy Alpine food and drink while on a family get-away or a quiet weekend retreat where you’re surrounded by natural beauty, wineries, artisan tours, festivals, and restaurants serving authentic Bavarian cuisine. Book tour →
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