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20 awesome gay hubs in beautiful Sacramento
Diversity, in terms of sexual orientation, is not a trait Sacramento is particularly known for and for years California’s capital was seen as the ideal hub from which to visit San Francisco’s exciting gay scene. But this charming river city is ought to surprise you with its strong and growing LGBT community, vibrant art scene, delightful restaurants, and cultural offerings.
Sacramento may not be as queer and flamboyant as Los Angeles or San Francisco, but this doesn’t mean it is less gay-friendly than those two. A liberal enough place, locals here are tolerant and open-minded and tend to keep their political or religious beliefs to themselves.
Lavender Heights in Midtown, centered within and around K and 20th streets is the epicenter of Sacramento’s gay and lesbian community, with plenty of gay-friendly bars and restaurants, as well as gay-owned joints. It’s considered to be Sacramento’s equivalent to The Castro, San Francisco’s gayborhood, even though the night life here is far less entertaining than that in San Fran.
A city best known for its stunning beauty, historic sites and strong theater tradition, Sacramento may not be the best destination for those who are looking for a free-spirited atmosphere and hopping party scene. However, there are few places in Lavender Heights where you drink and dance the night away.
If you are planning to visit Sacramento, check Gayborhood’s guide for the best gay-friendly hangouts in the city where you can eat, drink, dance and have a good time.
Sprawling over two levels and boasting a huge dance floor, four bars, an oversized lounge area, and a patio, it easy to see why Badlands is Sacramento’s premier gay club. This is one of the few places in Sacramento where you can dance all night long and probably the most engaging.
California’s capital throws its annual Sacramento Pride in mid-June. The festival consists of a parade and festival and takes place along the streets of Capitol Mall.
Located in Lavender Heights, Mango’s reigns supreme over Sacramento’s night life. Three floors with areas featuring different music, Mango’s Antro can satisfy just about any demand in terms of entertainment. Choose between the main dance floor, the main bar room, or the side room or take a breath of fresh out on their large patio. Whatever you are looking for, Mango’s probably has it.
If you are in Sacramento and craving for Italian food, stop at Parsanos. Located in Lavender Heights, Midtown Sacramento, Paesanos probably serves the best pastas and Italian specialties in town. From brick-oven pizzas to rigatoni and fried polenta, this gay-friendly bistro will make you feel full and satisfied.
With multiple locations scattered throughout the city, Crepeville is Sacramento’s go-to place for all things crepe. A popular hangout during brunch hours, it can get pretty crowded. Everything on the menu is worth trying.
Conveniently located in Midtown Sacramento, the Courtyard offers easy access to popular attractions and well-appointed guest rooms and suites. All accommodations are newly renovated and include high-speed Internet, flat screen TVs, and luxury bedding ensembles. Gay-friendly and intimate, Courtyard Sacramento is a nice lodging option for LGBT travelers.
The Citizen Hotel
Historic charm blends sleek modern amenities at this luxury hotel in downtown Sacramento. Beautifully designed guest rooms, each one different from the other one, provide the proper ambiance for a unique experience. All rooms include high-definition LCD TVs, iPod docking station, plush bathrobes, coffee makers, and lather bath amenities. In addition to its charming rooms, The Citizen Hotel also features a restaurant, a fitness center, and meetings and events rooms.
Billed as “The Center of Everything”, Arden Fair is a two-level shopping mall where you can find pretty much everything you need. From fashion stores to IT & gadget shops, from restaurants to beauty shops, all you need is within this 1,100,000 square foot retail space. A popular shopping destination, it tends to get pretty crowded, especially during weekends, and finding a parking spot can be pretty hard.
24 Hour Fitness
If you are looking for a Sacramento fitness club that offers a wide range of classes, modern amenities, as well as various benefits, 24 Hour Fitness may be the place for you. Located in Downtown Sacramento, 24 Hour Fitness provides state-of-the-art gym equipment and a team of professionals to help you reach your goal. Whether you want to lose weight or tone-up, this fitness center offers a plethora of weights and machine, swimming pool, treadmills, and so on.
Mellow Me Out Day Spa
Let the work stress melt away at this day spa in Arden. Cheaper than most spa clubs in town, Mellow Me Out is a great option if you are on a budget. Their services include body wraps, skin care, massages, waxing, tanning, couple massages, and more. The staff is very professional and goes out of its way to pamper you.
Billed as “Sacramento’s premier gay nightclub”, Faces is undoubtedly one of the city’s most popular gay venues. One of the traits that make Faces stand apart is its variety of dance rooms, each one featuring a different music genre. There’s a hip-hop and R&B room, a circuit music bar, and a house dance floor. Adding to the experience, there’s also an upper patio overlooking an interior pool, where you can catch your breath and socialize, and a martini bar station. The party crowd is extremely diverse and, although Faces is catered as a gay club, there are plenty of straight couples, as well.
For more than 40 years, Evangeline’s has been providing toys, gifts, and practical jokes to those who love to laugh. Whatever you need, in terms of fun toys and gifts, you can probably find it here. Evangeline’s is worth checking out even when it’s not Halloween.
The Bolt may not be located downtown amongst most gay venues, but is the only leather/cowboy/bear bar in Sacramento and the cub community loves it. Make sure to put your leather vest and Levi’s before coming here, since The Bolt guarantees this isn’t a place for “girly men”.
Lucca Restaurant and Bar
Located between Midtown and Downtown Sacramento, Lucca Restaurant offers a California-Mediterranean influenced cuisine with reasonably priced menu choices. Set in a classy, comfortable environment, Lucca is a great dining option.
Blending Mexican fare with California-fresh ingredients and a casual upscale ambiance, Zocalo is one of Sacramento’s favorite hangouts. A popular dinner, it can be a bit noisy, but the friendly vibe, cheap margaritas and good food make Zocalo a great place for meeting with friends before a night out. The outdoor patio, which is set along Capital Avenue and 18th Street, offers a good people-watching spot.
From the moment you walk past Fringe’s eclectic windows, you will know this is a one-of-a-kind place, filled with antiques, collectibles, and unique items. Located on 21st Street, Fringe is a large vintage shop best known for its amazing display of items that you cannot find just anywhere.
Blue Sky Day Spa
Located in East Sacramento, Blue Sky Day Spa is an award-winning spa where you can relax, relieve stress, and be pampered by professional masseurs. Some of their services include massage therapy, spa body treatments, skin care, manicure and pedicure, and more.
A neighborhood institution for more than 17 years, The Depot is Sacramento’s go-to place for casual fun and friendly atmosphere. Busy without feeling crowded and full of friendly folks willing to talk, dance, and mingle, it would be a pity not to drink at this place when cruising through Sacramento. With amazing Happy Hours, TVs screening favorite shows and trivia nights, this place is always bristling with activity.
Pizza Rock features gourmet pizzas in a variety of styles, hand-crafted artisan cocktails, and an extensive beer and wine list; all served up in an artistic and energetic atmosphere. Additionally, a selection of pastas, calzones, Stromboli, antipasti, and salads are offered, all with a focus on authentic Italian ingredients and organically grown produce. Open until late, Pizza Rock is a great place for hungry revelers.
Sacramento Lawyers for the Equality of Gays and Lesbians
SacLEGAL (Sacramento Lawyers for the Equality of Gays and Lesbians) is an association of attorneys, professionals, and legislative advocates catering to the members of the LGBT community and providing support and assistance in all LGBT-related legislative matters. Their goal is to promote equality for members of the gay community through strong leadership, legislative advocacy, and education.