Gay Vacations in Houston, Texas

Panoramic of downtown Houston, Texas, at night
Houston, Texas (Donovan Reese/Photodisc/Getty)

Houston Highlights

  • Downtown is walkable. A network of interconnected tunnels and elevated walkways that total seven miles links downtown shops and restaurants. Unlike Northern cities, Houston's indoor city is about escaping not snow but summer’s oppressive heat.
  • If you want to stay luxe, check into the downtown or uptown/Galleria areas. These districts have the most impressively upscale lodging.
  • Beat the heat at Galveston. Houston residents, both gay and straight, head to the Gulf to cool off—namely Galveston Island, 50 miles from Houston, with a happening LGBT nightlife scene.


Located in flat-as-a-pancake East Texas, Houston is not the tumbleweed type of town you’d expect from the Lone Star State. Glittering from oil money, it’s rather green and humid, with more in common with neighboring Louisiana than with the rest of the Texas. For the gay traveler, Texas’s largest city also has a huge LGBT scene. It's centered in the Montrose district, with more than a dozen gay bars and clubs mostly along lower Westheimer Road and Pacific Street—making for an easy, car-free bar crawl. Montrose is filled with historic architecture and is one of the most desirable places to live in Houston, with sidewalk cafes, galleries, boutiques, and specialty stores.

Houston’s gay nightlife is booming for what some consider a conservative Texan oil town—there's everything from leather bars to lesbian-popular hangouts to (of course) country/Western line-dancing clubs. And Houston definitely knows how to put on a party: The multi-day Jungle circuit party explodes in early April, at about the same time as the AIDS benefit Bunnies on the Bayou, Houston's largest outdoor cocktail party complete with flamboyant rabbit costumes. Pride in Houston is the largest celebration of its kind in the Southwest, with more than 150,000 revelers whooping it up for the nighttime parade.

Oil brings an international work force to Houston that adds a cosmopolitan flair. Houston is also a big arts town (fueled by oil profits, of course), with an excellent symphony, ballet, and opera, as well as a cutting-edge theater scene. The city is home to Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (by far the best and biggest public art museum in Texas), as well as an impressive modern art assortment at the private Menil Collection. Houston’s downtown is experiencing revitalization on the northwest side, in and around Old Market Square. And don’t forget your spacesuit: The world-famous NASA Space Center is open for tours.

Published: 17 Jul 2008 | Last Updated: 17 Aug 2012
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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