Visit Portland Gay Bars & Restaurants | Gayborhood
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Portland, a fun and quirky destination for gay travelers
Portland may feel like a small town, but its possibilities and offerings are those of a big city. Progressive, outgoing, gay-accepting, and packed with museums, artisanal cafes, hip neighborhoods, and an eclectic restaurant scene, Portland is a great destination for queer travelers.
Although Portland’s gay scene is not as visible and hooping as in San Francisco, New York, Chicago or other gay capitols of North America, the city is overflowing with chic, affordable bars and restaurants. Furthermore, the Rose City has a large transgender community and one of America’s strongest feminist and lesbian communities.
The main gay districts are concentrated around Southwest Stark Street and Old Town, but the whole city seems to be gay-friendly and gay-accepting, and you can find different gay spots scattered around town.
A laid-back city, with a relaxed vibe and friendly people, Portland is slowly becoming a hub for artists, musicians, and activists. Filled with beautiful gardens and parks, art and science museums, movies and film festivals, and home to a thriving indie scene, Portland feeds the soul of art lovers and culture seekers.
The Rose City also has an amazing restaurant scene, with numerous excellent and affordable eateries all around the city. From Thai, Japanese, Indian, and Lebanese cuisine to French and Italian dining, there are so many good establishments in Portland that is difficult to choose a single great spot.
Whether you are looking for a low-key bar, a high-energy dance party, or a good drag show, Portland has something for everyone.
If you are planning to visit Portland, check Gayborhood’s guide for the best gay-friendly hangouts in the city where you can eat, drink, dance and have a good time.
Nestled on bustling Belmont Street, Aalto Lounge is a gay-friendly bar popular with the hip, artsy crowd. Named after modernist Finnish designer Alvar Aalto, the bar gets its aesthetic inspiration from his work as well. Sleek and minimalist, but with a mellow vibe, Aalto Lounge is a great spot for after work drinks. They have 17 wines available by the glass, along with local and import craft beers and craft cocktails.
Where else than Voodoo Doughnut can one get married while munching on a delicious chocolate donut covered in coco puffs? Known for its unique doughnut, eclectic selection of flavors and toppings and unusual décor, Voodoo Doughnut is probably one of the most famous bakeries in North America. And yes, you can actually get married here.
Located in the Lower Southeast Industrial neighborhood, Rotture is a live music venue. Boasting two floors – a lounge and performance area upstairs and a music venue downstairs – Rotture attracts a younger crowd with great music, stellar sound-system, and stiff drinks to satisfy any palette. They also host monthly queer parties.
Music Millennium, the oldest record store in existence in the Pacific Northwest is also one of the top 10 record stores in the U.S. Specializing in mostly underground music not found in most department stores, Music Millennium is a heaven for music lovers. From Frank Zappa to Lady Gaga, from old LPs to new artists, this record store on Est Burnside Street is truly amazing.
Ace Hotel Portland
Nestled in the old Clyde Hotel building, a block from the Pearl District and a short walk away from city’s main attractions, Ace Hotel is a nice place to stay in downtown Portland at affordable prices. The rooms come in different sizes and styles and feature original art, curated minibar, flat screen TVs, private bathrooms, and free Wi-Fi. Next door to the lobby, there’s a restaurant and a Stumptown Coffee.
Located in the heart of Northwest Portland, Café Nell serves French inspired American classics prepared from fresh, locally produced ingredients. Known for the signature cocktail, friendly atmosphere, rotating tapas, and cheerful patrons, Café Nell is a great spot for meeting some friends for drinks and dinner.
Lan Su Chinese Garden
Billed as “the most authentic Chinese garden outside of China”, Lan Su is one of Portland’s most interesting sites and arguably one of the best places to visit in the city. The Lan Su Chinese Garden is the result of the collaboration between the cities of Portland and Suzhou, a Chinese city notorious for its beautiful Ming Dynasty gardens. It was built by 65 artisans from Suzhou and most of the plants featured in the garden are indigenous to China.
CC Slaughters Portland
A go-to since 1981, CC Slaughters is one of Portland’s largest, loudest, and most fun gay nightclubs. Boasting a massive dance floor, with DJs spinning creative mixes and cute gays dancing their shoes off, this is where everybody ends up. In addition to the high-energy dance floor, there’s also a chill Rainbow Room Lounge where patrons can sip creative cocktails and socialize. CC Slaughters is especially popular midweek and there’s also a night for country music.
Portland Saturday Market
Established in 1973, Portland Saturday Market is the Rose City’s largest outdoor arts and craft market. Operating every Saturday and Sunday from March through December, the market offers 251 spaces for local artisans to show their handmade articles. Considered to be the largest continuously operating open-air arts and crafts market in the country, Portland Saturday Market is one of the Rose City’s must-visit sites.
UnderU4Men sells underwear, sleepwear, and swimwear from well-known or lesser known brands from all over the world, including C-In2, Calvin Klein, Jack Adams, Andrew Christian, Greg Homme, and many others. Other items available at the store include socks, sunglasses, and accessories.
Portland Center Stage
Founded in 1988, Portland Center Stage is one of the top 20 largest theater companies in the U.S. attracting more than 150,000 theatergoers annually with its blend of classical, contemporary, and premiere works, Portland Center Stage offers a variety of education and cultural programs tailored for patrons of all ages.
Departure Restaurant + Lounge
Nestled on the 15th floor of the Meiers & Frank Building, Departures is a Portland favorite for the eclectic Pan-Asian food, cozy environment, retro look, and breathtaking view of the Rose City’s skyline. Chef Gregory Gourdet creates a captivating remix of authentic coastal cuisine with a modern twist. Food offerings include a wide array of stir-fried, smoked, and sautéed dishes. Sleek and relaxed, Departures is a great spot for cocktails and quick bites.
Doug Fir Lounge
With a standing room capacity of 299 and a seated capacity of up to 200, the Doug Fir Lounge is a favorite destination for concerts, live music and even corporate events or weddings. Popular with a younger, hip crowd, this gay-friendly concert venue hosted some of America’s top alternative acts, such as Future Islands, Freeman, Bob Mould, Foster the People, and many others.
Nested across from the Tom McCall Waterfront Park and the Willamette River, Hotel Rose calls itself an “oh-so-Portland” boutique hotel. With rooms that mirror the eclectic atmosphere of Portland’s, Hotel Rose is stylish, fun, and technologically advanced. All 140 guest rooms feature complimentary Wi-Fi and satellite TV. Other amenities include a restaurant, a lounge, and a fitness center.
Celebrated every year in mid-June, in Waterfront Park, Portland Pride attracts LGBT people from all over the city and the surrounding areas. The Portland Pride features musical acts, parties, parades, and more, including a week-log block party hosted by Scandals, a Gaylabration at the Crystal Ballroom and a Trans Pride March.
Powell’s Books, Inc.
Powell’s Books is one of the largest independent chains of bookstore in the world and one of the book world’s most successful dot-com. Boasting a gargantuan collection of books and covering an entire city block, you will probably need a map to find your way around. In fact, Powell’s offers a detailed map of its color-coded rooms, as well as a free app that offers turn-by-turn direction to a specific book.
The Eagle Portland is the Rose City’s destination for the leather and Levi community. Stop by the Eagle for drinks and a night of wild fun and check out one of their hot parties, such as Jock Strap Twister or Bearly Naked Billiards. They don’t have a strict dress code, unless there’s a theme party, and everyone is welcome.