Gay events in Illinois:
- Chicago Pride Parade: The Chicago Pride Parade is one of the most anticipated lgbtq+Q+ events in Illinois. It typically takes place in June and features colorful floats, live music, and vibrant displays of lgbtq+Q+ pride. The parade route usually runs through the Boystown neighborhood, known for its vibrant lgbtq+Q+ community.
- Northalsted Market Days: Northalsted Market Days is a popular street festival held in Chicago's Boystown neighborhood. This two-day event typically takes place in August and features live music, food vendors, arts and crafts, and a variety of entertainment options. It attracts a diverse crowd, including lgbtq+Q+ individuals and allies.
- Reeling: The Chicago lgbtq+Q+ International Film Festival, known as Reeling, showcases a wide range of lgbtq+Q+ films and documentaries. The festival takes place annually and offers screenings of both domestic and international lgbtq+Q+ cinema. It provides a platform for emerging filmmakers and aims to promote lgbtq+Q+ visibility and storytelling through the medium of film.
- Pride Fest: Pride Fest is a weekend-long celebration held in various cities across Illinois, including Chicago. The event usually includes live performances, DJs, food vendors, and a marketplace showcasing lgbtq+Q+-owned businesses and organizations. Pride Fest often takes place in the weeks leading up to the Chicago Pride Parade.
- Out in the Park: Six Flags Great America in Gurnee, Illinois, hosts an annual lgbtq+Q+ event called "Out in the Park." This special night at the amusement park offers exclusive access to rides, live entertainment, and other attractions, creating a welcoming and inclusive environment for lgbtq+Q+ individuals and their allies.
Illinois is seen as one of the most progressive states in the United States in regard to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (lgbtq+) rights and often viewed as one of the most liberal states in the Midwestern United States. Same-sex sexual activity has been legal since 1962, after Illinois became the first U.S. state to repeal its sodomy laws. Same-sex marriage was banned by statute in 1996, but has since been legalized after a law allowing such marriages was signed by Governor Pat Quinn on November 20, 2013 and went into effect on June 1, 2014. Civil unions have been recognized since 2011, and same-sex couples are also allowed to adopt. Additionally, discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity is banned in employment, housing, credit and public accommodations, and conversion therapy on minors has been outlawed since 2016.
Here are 12 popular gay hotspots in Illinois:
- Sidetrack (Chicago): Located in the heart of Chicago's Boystown neighborhood, Sidetrack is a lively gay bar known for its friendly atmosphere, diverse crowd, and energetic dance floor. It features multiple bars, video screens, and a rooftop deck, making it a popular destination for both locals and tourists.
- Roscoe's (Chicago): Another iconic establishment in Boystown, Roscoe's is a popular gay bar and dance club that offers a vibrant nightlife experience. With a spacious dance floor, drag shows, and talented DJs spinning a variety of music genres, Roscoe's attracts a mixed crowd of gay, lesbian, and straight patrons.
- Berlin (Chicago): Situated in the eclectic neighborhood of Lakeview, Berlin is a renowned nightclub known for its alternative and underground music scene. It has a diverse range of events, including themed parties, live performances, and drag shows. Berlin's unique ambiance and welcoming environment make it a beloved spot among the lgbtq+Q+ community.
- The Baton Show Lounge (Chicago): Established in 1969, The Baton Show Lounge is a legendary transgender-friendly cabaret and nightclub. It showcases spectacular drag performances, featuring talented drag queens and celebrity impersonators. The Baton is a cultural landmark that has been entertaining audiences with glamour and humor for decades.
- Little Jim's Tavern (Chicago): Located in the South Loop neighborhood, Little Jim's Tavern is a long-standing gay bar known for its casual and unpretentious atmosphere. It's a favorite spot for locals to gather, have a drink, and socialize. The bar offers a friendly environment that welcomes everyone, regardless of sexual orientation.
- Phoenix Bar (Chicago): Situated in Chicago's Andersonville neighborhood, the Phoenix Bar is a neighborhood gay bar with a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere. It features a cozy interior, friendly bartenders, and regular events such as karaoke nights and trivia contests. The Phoenix Bar offers a space for people to connect and unwind.
- Gentry (Chicago): Gentry is a stylish piano bar located in Chicago's Streeterville neighborhood. It attracts a sophisticated crowd and offers live piano performances, showcasing talented musicians who entertain guests with a mix of classic and contemporary songs. Gentry provides a classy and intimate setting for an enjoyable evening.
- Club Krave (Blue Island): Club Krave is a popular lgbtq+Q+ nightclub situated in Blue Island, a suburb of Chicago. It caters to a diverse crowd and hosts a variety of events, including drag shows, dance parties, and themed nights. Club Krave is known for its energetic atmosphere and inclusive environment.
- The SoFo Tap (Chicago): Nestled in the Andersonville neighborhood, The SoFo Tap is a laid-back gay bar with a welcoming vibe. It offers a relaxed space to enjoy a drink, shoot some pool, or catch a game on TV. The bar's friendly staff and regular patrons create a comfortable and inclusive atmosphere.
- Charlie's Chicago (Chicago): Charlie's is a lively gay country-western bar located in Chicago's Lakeview neighborhood. It features a spacious dance floor, pool tables, and regular drag performances. With a mix of country and pop music, Charlie's provides a unique and entertaining experience for lgbtq+Q+ patrons and allies.
- Phoenix Center (Springfield): The Phoenix Center is a lgbtq+Q+ community center located in Springfield, the capital city of Illinois. It serves as a hub for support, education, and advocacy, offering various resources and programs for the lgbtq+Q+ community. The center hosts social events, support groups, and educational workshops to foster inclusivity and equality.
- The Cellar (Springfield): Situated in downtown Springfield, The Cellar is a popular gay bar known for its friendly atmosphere and affordable drinks. It hosts a variety of events, including karaoke nights, drag shows, and themed parties. The Cellar provides a welcoming space for lgbtq+Q+ individuals and their allies in the Springfield area.
Here is a list of nine gay-friendly hotels in Illinois:
- Steamworks Chicago: Located in the heart of Chicago, Steamworks is a well-known and popular gay sauna that offers a range of amenities for its patrons. It features a variety of facilities such as private rooms, steam rooms, saunas, hot tubs, video lounges, and a fully equipped gym. The venue often hosts themed events and offers free HIV testing services. It is important to note that Steamworks Chicago enforces strict safe-sex practices and provides free condoms and lubricants to promote sexual health.
- Man's Country Chicago: Another longstanding gay sauna in the city is Man's Country. With a history dating back to the 1970s, this establishment has become an iconic destination for the lgbtq+Q+ community. Man's Country offers an array of amenities including steam rooms, whirlpools, private rooms, a maze, and a spacious dance floor. The venue often organizes themed nights and features a bar serving alcoholic beverages.
Steamworks Baths Berkeley: Located in Berkeley, a suburb of Chicago, Steamworks Baths Berkeley is a sister location to Steamworks Chicago. It offers similar amenities such as steam rooms, saunas, hot tubs, private rooms, and video lounges. This venue aims to provide a safe and inclusive environment for gay and bisexual men to socialize and unwind.
- Club Krave: Located in Blue Island, just outside of Chicago, Club Krave is a gay bar and nightclub that also features a sauna and steam room. In addition to the sauna facilities, Club Krave offers a dance floor, a stage for live performances, and a bar serving a range of beverages. The venue frequently hosts drag shows, themed parties, and other lgbtq+Q+-oriented events.
- The Peninsula Chicago (Gay-Friendly): Located in the heart of Chicago, The Peninsula offers luxurious accommodations with modern amenities. The hotel features a spa, a rooftop pool, and several dining options. Its central location provides easy access to popular gay-friendly establishments in the city. Check Availability and Prices: Link
- The Guesthouse Hotel (Gay-Friendly): Situated in the trendy Andersonville neighborhood of Chicago, The Guesthouse Hotel offers stylish and spacious suites. Each suite features a fully equipped kitchen, a living area, and a private bathroom. The hotel's location provides proximity to gay-friendly bars, restaurants, and boutiques. Check Availability and Prices: Link
- The Langham Chicago (Gay-Friendly): Situated along the Chicago River, The Langham offers luxurious rooms and suites with stunning views of the city skyline. The hotel features a spa, a fitness center, and multiple dining options. Its central location provides easy access to gay-friendly establishments in downtown Chicago. Check Availability and Prices: Link
- Virgin Hotels Chicago (Gay-Friendly): Located in the Loop neighborhood of Chicago, Virgin Hotels offers stylish and modern accommodations. The rooms are designed with comfort in mind and feature unique amenities. The hotel's central location provides convenient access to gay-friendly bars, clubs, and entertainment venues. Check Availability and Prices: Link
- Thompson Chicago (Gay-Friendly): Located in the Gold Coast neighborhood, Thompson Chicago offers boutique accommodations with contemporary design and modern amenities. The hotel features a fitness center, a restaurant, and a rooftop lounge with panoramic views of the city. Its location provides easy access to gay-friendly establishments in the area. Check Availability and Prices: Link