Gay Vacations in Las Vegas, Nevada

Chorus girls posing by the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign in Las Vegas, Nevada
Two chorus girls posing by a road sign in Las Vegas, Nevada (Digital Vision/Getty)

Las Vegas Highlights

  • Avoid traffic by not driving. If you’re staying on the Strip, which a majority of travelers do, you don’t really need a car—and traffic here can be bumper to bumper even at midnight! The Strip has an easy-to-use monorail system, and just walking along the larger-than-life boulevard is an experience in itself.
  • Get hitched. Although Nevada is not likely to pass a same-sex marriage law anytime soon, Vegas still makes for the classic quickie wedding destination. A number of smaller, campy chapels on the northern part of the Strip will perform gay ceremonies, as well as some of the larger Strip hotels.
  • Vegas can be cold. Although everyone laments the summer heat (which is never that awful because most of tourist Vegas is experienced indoors), wintertime can be downright chilly in Sin City. Hotels close their outdoor pools, and it has been known to snow on the Strip! Be sure to pack a jacket if you're not going in summertime.

Once the getaway for gangsters, honeymooners, and over-the-hillers, neon-lit, over-the-top Vegas in the 21st century is one of the most popular gay travel getaways in the world. Despite the lack of a huge queer-specific infrastructure, the town is as gay as it comes by its very nature. Tightly clad gymnasts are beautifully featured in every Cirque du Soleil show in town, feathered showgirls still high-kick their heels, and the whole place feels like a cartoon of fabulousness—heck, even campy Celine Dion has a regular act here.

Vegas has no bona fide gay ghetto, although the "Fruit Loop" between Paradise and Swenson has a number of LGBT establishments. The city’s pride event is in May (mercifully before summer hits), and the Big Horn gay rodeo beats the heat every September, followed by a queer film fest in October. There are so many shows and attractions in Vegas—most of them centered on the Strip—it would take a lifetime to see them all. Almost all the hotel resorts are open to the public, and just walking amid their crazily themed decor is a journey in itself—you can visit Paris, Venice, New York, Egypt, the Tropics, and Old England all in one go! Meanwhile, once-downtrodden downtown Vegas is now alive with a pedestrian mall and a sound-and-light show called the Fremont Street Experience.

And although it's hard for some to drag themselves away from the casinos, the surrounding area offers some excellent outdoor opportunities, including hiking in Red Rock Canyon or the Valley of Fire State Park, houseboating or kayaking at Lake Mead, or even skiing at Mount Charleston.

Published: 16 Jul 2008 | Last Updated: 8 Aug 2012
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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