With a towering skyline set against a backdrop of spectacular mountain peaks, Seattle is one of those cities recognizable at a glance. Its urban pleasures rival those of most cities. There's the symphony, many theaters, opera and ballet companies, and a lively club and jazz scene.
Outdoors activities such as biking, hiking, skiing, camping and boating are popular, and many locals head out of town on weekends and holidays.
Capitol Hill around Broadway, Pine and Pike streets is where most gay bars and businesses are located. Here you'll find plenty of coffee shops and restaurants, many with sidewalk tables. To the north, Volunteer Park is full of strollers, Frisbee players and those seeking a quiet place to read. Everything on the hill is within walking distance, so park the car and explore on foot.
Sea-Tac Airport is served by two dozen domestic and international carriers. Sound Transit Central Link Light Rail links between Westlake and SeaTac Airport, with connections to and from downtown stations that take just over half an hour, with departures every 8-15 minutes. King County Metro Transit buses depart from the same Link Light Rail Station - take the walkway from the Airport Parking Garage fourth floor and exit to International Boulevard.
The Amtrak Cascades train links Eugene OR (Eugene Station), Portland OR (Union Station) and Seattle WA (King Street Station) to Vancouver BC (Pacific Central Station), a trip of about 12 hours, five times a day. Coast Starlight trains connect Los Angeles and Seattle, as well as cities along the way, including San Francisco.
Since the majority of visitors spend most of their time downtown and on Capitol Hill, a brisk walk or short taxi ride will usually do the trick. King County Metro Transit buses, trolleys, streetcars and a water taxi can also get you around. Fares are $2.50 - $3.25 depending on time and zone. If you are paying cash and would like a paper transfer, ask the driver for one when you pay.
The number 99 bus is useful downtown along waterfront - from Broad Street through Belltown to Pioneer Square with stops at the waterfront, Pike Place Market, and the Seattle Aquarium before returning northbound by way of 1st Avenue. The number 10 runs down 15th Ave and E Pine on Capitol Hill, to downtown 2nd Ave, then returns to the Hill by way of Pike St. The Monorail, at $2.25 per trip, runs every 10 minutes from Seattle Center (location of the Space Needle) to Westlake Center Mall.
The Seattle Streetcar system First Hill line connects Denny Way, along Broadway on Capitol Hill, to Pioneer Square, downtown by way of South Jackson Street for $2.25.
In 2016 the University Link Extension of Sound Transit Light Rail, extending the Central Link northward from downtown Seattle to the University of Washington, will open the underground Capitol Hill Station beneath E Denny Way, just east of Broadway.
City-wide bike lanes and green initiatives have made this city quite bicycle friendly. Pronto is the new bike share program with 50 stations around town. Purchase a 24-hour pass for $8 or a 3-day pass for $16 at any Pronto station using the touchscreen kiosk. For extended periods see any of a number of area shops, including PedalAnywhereSeattle with weekly rentals and free delivery in Seattle and Eastside.
Media and Resources
Seattle Gay News, (SGN), has been among the best gay newspapers anywhere for 40 years. Their website also has a 7-year archive of back issues.
Seattle Gay Scene has an online events calendar, along with photos from around town.
The Capitol Hill Seattle Blog has community news and photos for "The Hill."
NarkMagazine covers the interests, and features the party photography of DJ Nark (aka Kevin Kauer), the promoter of crazy-glamorous new club nights around Seattle.
The Stranger is gay-friendly, informative, sometimes-feather-ruffling weekly alternative newspaper, with listings for most everything you need to know.
The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, The Abbey of St. Joan educate the public on safer sex issues, fight for queer rights and visibility, address women’s issues and the needs of homeless youth, and support other community organizations that share their vision.
For a city map and website links to businesses, museums, and entertainment venues, see our gay Seattle listings pages. For some photos from around town, see our gallery pages. We also list some upcoming local events and activities.
Ace Hotel (2423 1st Ave, Belltown; 206-448-4721), stylish, modern, informal, economy or deluxe rooms near Pike Street Market; pets welcome, shared kitchen to make fresh breakfast, with DIY waffles, juice and Stumptown coffee provided.
Bacon Mansion (959 Broadway E; 800-240-1864), large stately Edwardian B&B, eleven rooms and suites, private entrance, cable TV, WiFi, breakfast.
B&B on Broadway (722 Broadway E; 206-329-8933), beautiful grand and elegant Pacific Northwest house, walk to shops and restaurants; main dining room or outside on the garden deck breakfast.
Gaslight Inn (1727 15th; 206-325-3654), century-old house near gay area, adults only, kitchen facilities, eight rooms, heated outdoor pool, WiFi, continental breakfast.
Homewood Suites Hilton (1011 Pike; 206-682-8282) between downtown and Capitol Hill, full hot breakfast, WiFi, 24-hour convenience store, business and fitness centers, coin laundry.
Hotel Max (620 Stewart; 866-833-6299), ultra-comfortable adult-only rooms, iPod docks/ loans (with your favorite music genre), specialty pillow types, art works, pet amenities and services; Miller’s Guild restaurant breakfast, lunch, brunch and dinner.
Hotel Monaco (1101 Fourth Ave; 206-621-1770), pet-friendly boutique hotel near Pike Place Market, rich decor, all amenities; fitness center, companion goldfish, iPod alarm clock, WiFi, 24-hour room service.
Renaissance (515 Madison; 206-583-0300), central high-rise near gay village; 553 rooms/suites, fitness and business centers, breakfast buffet, R-View and Maxwells American restaurants, Lobby Court Coffee Bar & Lounge.
Shafer Baillie Mansion B&B (907 14th Ave E, Capitol Hill; 206-329-4628), magnificent Tudor Revival of bygone era, eight guest rooms/ suites, modern amenities, expanded continental breakfast.
Vintage Park Hotel (1100 Fifth Ave; 206-624-8000), Euro-style, pet-friendly boutique hotel, Tulio Restaurant Italian fine dining, hosted evening wine hours, yoga mats, fitness center, "Guppy Love" goldfish, complimentary bicycles, WiFi, 24-hour room service.
W Seattle (1112 4th Ave, Downtown; 206-264-6000), 26-story urbane refuge at Seattle's cultural core, Wow and Extreme Wow Suites, fully-equipped gym, business center, WiFi, The Living Room lounge with fireplace, TRACE restaurant/bar and sushi bar; pets welcome.
Bars & Clubs
CC Attles (1701 E Olive), new location, big windows, open space, cocktails, beer on tap, food, mostly guys, bears.
Changes (2103 N 45th St, Wallingford), prime rib to bar food fare, karaoke nights, games, special party nights, TV events.
Crescent Lounge (1413 E Olive), karaoke joint, over 20,000 songs, popular with locals, everyone welcome.
Cuff Complex (1533 13th, at Pine), big popuar complex, three bars, Levi/leather/mixed mostly male crowd; games, leather store, food, big open patio, weekend dancing.
Diesel (1413 14th), Capitol Hill neighborhood bar below Madison, mostly men, bears, bikers and friends, but all welcome; pool games, sliders, burgers, steak tips.
Kremwerk (1809 Minor Ave), futuristic club bunker/ electronic shows, DJ sets; Queer Hip Hop, Gay House, cabaret, drag shows, women's nights, live bands..
Madison Pub (1315 E Madison), local men's watering hole with jukebox, darts and pool games, WiFi, sports on TV, trivia games; packed with a good mix of guys.
Neighbours (1509 Broadway, alley entrance), large long-time dance club, big dance floor, go-go boys, famed DJs, drag shows, guest performers, Latin Sundays; 18-plus Wednesdays, also on Friday and Saturday for after-hours, 2-4am.
Neumos (925 E Pike St, Capital Hill), live music concert venue and bar, international music talents.
Outwest Bar (5401 California Ave SW), LGBTQA neighborhood bar in West Seattle, lesbian karaoke, bingo, trivia games.
Pony (1221 E Madison), trashy nouveau dive bar, mixed hip young crowd, mini dance floor, edgy music, good sound/ lights, quirky videos, karaoke, big year-round west-facing patio with fire pit. World's Tiniest TeaDance Sundays with Go-Go James, second Saturday monthly Glitoris with Queen Mookie.
Purr (1518 11th Ave), Capitol Hill cocktail lounge, burgers, snacks and Mexican dining; popular Monday/Tuesday karaoke, good warm-up for late clubs.
R Place (619 E Pine), multi-level club, hot DJs, Sunday-Tuesday karaoke, Wednesday Playground wet underwear and amateur strip contests and dancing, Thursday drag shows and dancing; lively, young and diverse crowd, mostly guys but women welcome.
Re-Bar (1114 Howell), mixed easy-going queer and friendly young crowd; theater and dance performances, burlesque, poetry, live music, found-video oddities, guest DJ sets, Flammable wicked House music Sunday dance nights - still going strong after 25 years!
Seattle Eagle (314 E Pike), leather guys in tight space, prime nightly cruising, DJs, raunchy patio action, pool table, busy underwear and jockstrap nights, third Fridays DICKSLAP! and Bearracuda bear dance parties most months.
Unicorn (1118 E Pike), beers on tap, fruity drinks, bright colors, weird wall hangings, pinball machines, energetic hipsters of all orientations and genders; burgers, corn dogs, snacks and Saturday/Sunday brunch.
Wildrose Tavern (1021 E Pike), popular women's bar and restaurant with taco and wings specials, pool table, dancing, live bands and spoken word performances.
CLOSED: The Lobby Bar (916 E Pike), gay lounge, food, cocktails, and game nights.
There are restaurants all over Seattle, but for a front-row seat on the most interesting passing people parade grab a table at one of the sidewalk cafes on or near Broadway, on "the Hill."
Ba Bar (550 12th Ave, First Hill), Vietnamese street food, pho, roast duck/chicken, pastries, lunch/dinner, late service, full bar, Kung Fu Karaoke, and Friday Kung Fu Movie Nights.
Bleu Grotto (1801 E Olive Way, Capitol Hill), open-air patio dining and cocktails; pasta, bruschettas, paninis, tacos, famous wassabi grilled cheese sandwiches and vegetarian BLTs.
La Carta de Oaxaca (5431 Ballard Ave, NW), regional Mexican enchiladas, quesadillas, tostadas, tamales, soups and house specialties; margaritas, sangria, mezcal and más mezcal cocktails.
La Cocina & Cantina (432 Broadway E, Capitol Hill), inexpensive Mexican-American buffets and entrees, vegetarian options, good Margaritas, open to street seating.
Dilettante (538 Broadway E, Capitol Hill), cafe and shop, gourmet chocolates, cakes, sandwiches, martini bar with chocolate and other varieties; weekend brunch.
Green Leaf Vietnamese Restaurant (418 8th Avenue S, Chinatown), traditional, authentic, home-made Vietnamese cuisine soups, rolls, grilled meats, rice and noodles, Duck Congee.
Honey Hole (703 E Pike, Capitol Hill), daytime and evening fresh meat or veggie, hot and cold sandwiches, burgers, soups, salads, draft beer, cocktails, casual vibe.
Julia's on Broadway (300 Broadway E, Capitol Hill) breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner; burgers, wraps, BBQ, Classic Reuben, veggie options, drinks, fabulous street seating, weekend drag burlesque cabaret shows.
Lost Lake Cafe & Lounge (1505 10th Ave, Capitol Hill), 24-hour breakfast, veggie options, benedicts, huevos rancheros, steak and eggs, milkshakes; lunchtime/dinner burgers, meatloaf, pot roast, fish and chips, soups, sides and salads. Cocktails, 24 beers and ciders on tap.
Mediterranean Express (1417 Broadway, Capitol Hill), Middle-East lunch and dinner favorites, gyros, shawarmas, kabobs, mishwi, falafel; big portions, great prices, free parking, take-out and deliveries.
Pike Place Market (Western Ave, off Pike) baked goods, wine, fresh & prepared food, flowers, books, antiques, arts, crafts. Strollers stop for waterfront vistas and to watch the street performers.
Piroshki on Madison (1219 Madison, Capitol Hill; also at 710 3rd Ave), scrumptious and inexpensive Russian vegetable, cheese or meat turnovers, fruit and poppy seed pastries, fresh-made borscht.
St John's Bar & Eatery (719 E Pike) new American cuisine, full menu dinner, sliders, casual atmosphere, weekend brunch, wine and cocktails, garden patio. Former Rosebud Cafe.
Teatro Zinzanni (222 Mercer), 5-course set gourmet meals, 3-hour cirque acrobatics, comedy, cabaret shows; vaudeville review, music, dance and sensuality. Sunday Brunch.
Travelers Thali House (2524 Beacon Ave S), platters with array of individual dishes for a complete Indian meal; monthly specials, delicious vegetarian options, small plates and chaats, chai, exotic teas, tisanes, sweets, burfi and lassi drinks, wine, cider and beer.
CLOSED: Cafe Parco (Madison Park); Grill on Broadway (314 Broadway Ave E); Plum Cafe (324 15th Ave E); Uncle Elizabeth's Cafe (1123 Pike).
Saunas & sex clubs
Seattle has two private 18-plus men's clubs each open 24/7 with lockers, rooms, showers, multi-channel porn videos and internet access.
Club Z (1117 Pike St), large facility, mixed male crowd, sauna, steam, maze, slings, glory holes, movies, video games, special leather nights on second Thursdays.
Steamworks Seattle (1520 Summit Ave), sauna and steam, hot local men, Lights Out Thursday dark parties, suckfests, fetish nights, fourth Saturdays bear parties, monthly CumUnion sex parties each first and third Saturday.
CLOSED: Tribe (1505 10th), the former Basic Plumbing.
Shopping & services
Babeland (707 E Pike) sex and bondage toys, books, DVDs, massage and body oils, store and online retail sales.
Central Co-op (1600 E Madison), aka Madison Market Natural Foods, organic/ non-gm foods, independent grocery, natural remedies, body care products, beer
Gay City Health Project (517 E Pike), multicultural gay men's health organization, HIV and STD testing; social events, resources, arts, and community building.
Lifelong Thrift Store (1017 E Union), high-quality household items and clothing. Profits support AIDS groups.
Panache Clothing (225 Broadway E) big variety of good, very inexpensive party clothes, shoes, accessories.
UnderU4Men (709 Broadway E) high-quality brand-name underwear, swimwear, gymwear, fashions, toiletries.
Yoga Den (514 12th Ave), a healing place for men, physical and meditative workshops, blending Kripalu, Ashtanga, and Viniyoga styles and including yoga postures, breath work, and meditation techniques; clothed and naked yoga classes.
CLOSED: The Crypt (1516 11th Ave) leather garb, accessories, bondage and fetish gear, bedroom toys, DVDs, magazines.