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. The cultural scene includes the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, plays, musicals and alternative productions at the city's many theaters, the Seattle Opera and Pacific Northwest Ballet companies at Seattle Center, and a lively club and jazz scene all around the city.
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, short taxi or Lyft ride will usually do the trick. King County Metro Transit buses, trolleys, streetcars and a water taxi can also get you around. Fares are $2.75. Use the ORCA Card to pay your fare - it works like cash or a pass, and lets you transfer between the bus, Link light rail, Sounder, the Seattle streetcar and the King County Water Taxi. Buy online, at ticket vending machines or retail stores (see link).
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 $2.50 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 single rides, or $4.50 day passes.
The University Link Extension of Sound Transit Light Rail, extended the Central Link southward from the University of Washington to downtown Seattle and beyond to SeaTac Airport and Angle Lake. The underground Capitol Hill Station is located beneath E Denny Way, just east of Broadway.
City-wide bike lanes and green initiatives have made this city quite bicycle friendly. Bike share in Seattle is run by two private vendors: Jump, wth pedal-assist electric bikes, and Lime, with electric scooters and smart bikes. See the SDOT site for news and updates. A number of area shops, including PedalAnywhereSeattle offer weekly rentals and free delivery in Seattle and Eastside.
Media, Resources, Big Events
Seattle Gay News, (SGN), has been among the best gay newspapers anywhere for 43 years. Their website also has a 12-year archive of back issues.
Q-Urban Magazine, Seattles's Queer Urban Lifestyle Magazine, launches early 2017 in print and online.
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 -- including their guide to Recreational Weed Stores of Seattle, now the stuff is legal.
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.
The Volunteer Park Pride Festival weekend on Capitol Hill is on the second Saturday of June, followed by the the Seattle Pride Parade which heads out on Sunday, two weeks later. The Capitol Hill Pride Festival will take place another week later, on the last Saturday in June, along Broadway in the Capitol Hill neighborhood.
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; 206-329-1864), large stately Edwardian B&B, eleven rooms and suites, private entrance, cable TV, WiFi, 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. The Miller’s Guild (612 Stewart) restaurant offers 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; 206-322-4654), 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.
CLOSED: B&B on Broadway (722 Broadway E).
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 floor, go-go boys, famed DJs, drag shows/ pageants, guest performers; Friday/ Saturday EDM/ House dancing with Saturday 18-plus after-hours, Latinx nights, and monthly Inferno: Hot Flash women's dance parties.
Neumos (925 E Pike St, Capital Hill), live music concert venue and bar, international music talents, dance parties.
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 boys.
R Place (619 E Pine), multi-level club, hot DJs, Sunday-Wednesday karaoke, Take It Off Wednesday strip to underwear for cheaper drinks, Thursday video show + sexy go-gos and dancing, Friday/ Saturday cabaret shows and dancing; lively, young, diverse, mostly guys/ women welcome.
Re-Bar (1114 Howell), mixed easy-going queer and friendly young crowd; theater and dance performances, burlesque, poetry slams, live music, found-video oddities, guest DJ sets, Flammable wicked House music Sunday dance nights - still going strong since 1990!
Seattle Eagle (314 E Pike), leather guys in tight space, prime nightly cruising, DJs, raunchy patio action, pool table, busy underwear and jockstrap nights, Testosterone men's events, and Bearracuda bear parties.
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.
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 (818 Stewart St, Downtown), cafe and shop, teas, coffees, gourmet chocolates, cakes and pastries, soups and sandwiches.
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.
Le Faux | Julia's on Broadway (300 Broadway E, Capitol Hill) dinner theatre and cabaret shows, lunch/ brunch, dinner burgers, steaks, pasta, chicken, salmon; fabulous street seating.
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), 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.
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: Bleu Grotto (1801 E Olive Way); 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 (312 Broadway E), 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, with physical and meditative workshops, blending Kripalu, Ashtanga, and Viniyoga styles including yoga postures, breath work, and meditation techniques; clothed/ naked yoga classes - closed 12th Ave location in late 2017 - see Table and Thai massage at different site.
CLOSED: The Crypt (1516 11th Ave), leather garb, accessories, bondage/ fetish gear, toys, DVDs, magazines.