From iconic headliners like Bette and Cher to dedicated hotel Web sites, homoerotic production shows, commitment ceremonies, and fabulous shopping, Sin City's doing more and more to court gay and lesbian travelers. Below you'll find some helpful tips for planning your GLBT Vegas getaway; for a brutally honest, completely un-PC take on where to go and, perhaps even more important, where not to go when you touch down, check out Gay Vegas, the only gay guide to this city you'll ever need.ACCOMMODATIONS:
"Queer is stamped on pretty much every corner of Steve Wynn's newest $2.7 billion property," observes author Steve Friess, but there are plenty of other gay-friendly options at less exalted prices. Here are some suggestions:
- The non-gaming Alexis Park (375 W. Harmon Ave., 702/796-3300) is laid out with a Palm Springs sensibility and it's an easy walk from here to the Fruit Loop cluster of gay bars and businesses (although it's not really within walking distance of the Strip). The staff and ownership are extremely gay friendly and it's across the street from the Hard Rock, if you feel the desire to gamble or want something better to eat than the mediocre restaurant here.
- Blue Moon Resort (2651 Westwood Dri., 702/361-9099) is Las Vegas only dedicated gay (men only) accommodation. It features complimentary continental breakfast, pool, steam room, sun deck, 10-man jacuzzi tub, Internet lounge, and free weekly Sunday BBQ.
- Both Paris and the Luxor have added dedicated sections to their Web sites offering travel deals and entertainment packages for gay travelers.
Other particularly gay-friendly hotels include Caesars Palace, Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand, and the Orleans.ENTERTAINMENT & NIGHTLIFE:
There's no shortage of gay-friendly entertainment for all tastes, from headliners like Bette Midler, Elton John, and Cher in rotation at Caesars Palace to production shows including Mamma Mia! (Mandalay Bay), Le Rêve (Wynn), Jubilee! (Bally's), An Evening at La Cage with Frank Marino at the Riviera, A Musical Tribute to Liberace with Wes Winters (Miracle Mile Shops), Lucky Cheng's Drag Cabaret (Krave), and Zumanity (New York-New York), not to mention all the other Cirque du Soleil shows around town.
You can buy tickets to all of them in our Book a Show section.
Bar and club-wise, The Fruit Loop (so-named by gay developers for the strange circuitous traffic pattern of the area) is found along Paradise Rd. about a quarter-mile south of Harmon Ave and one mile east of the Strip and boasts a number of gay bars/clubs including The Buffalo, Gipsy, 8 ½, and Free Zone.
For our full listings of all gay and lesbian nightpots around town, click here.SERVICES & AMENITIES:
- Commercial Center: A large shopping center laid out as a square on Sahara Ave., about a mile east of the Strip. The key entities include the GLBT community center, the Spotlight Lounge, and two bathhouses. ( www.thecenterlv.com/)
- Hawks Gym (953 E. Sahara Ave. 702/731-4295: Features: wet and dry saunas, lockers, shower facilities, smoking and non-smoking video lounges, exercise room, game rooms, and a full dungeon. Daily memberships are $7 and 3-month memberships are available for $15. (http://hawksgymlv.com/ )
- Entourage Las Vegas Spa (953 E. Sahara Ave., Suite A-19 702/650-9191) A gay men-only facility with exercise room, sauna, Jacuzzi, 65 private rooms, lockers, indoor pool, steam room, community and private showers, massage therapy, Internet cafÃ©, and themed nights. Annual membership $15. ( http://www.entouragevegas.com/index.html)
- Media: Q Vegas magazine (www.qvegas.com), Las Vegas Night Beat ( www.lvnightbeat.com), and Envy Man (www.envyman.com).
- The Center (953 E. Sahara Ave., 702/733-9800) A full-service GLBT community hub. With information on support groups, HIV/Aids testing, upcoming events, and much more (www.thecenterlv.com).
- Las Vegas Gay Yellow Pages: www.vegasgayyellowpages.com/
- Gay Switchboard: A gay hotline for free travel and local services information on 702/733-9990
Same-sex unions are not legally recognized in Nevada, but there are plenty of venues offering commitment ceremonies. Among the casino wedding chapels are Bally's, Bellagio, Caesars Palace, Excalibur, Flamingo, Four Seasons, Luxor, Mandalay Bay, Mirage, MGM Grand, Monte Carlo, New York-New York, Paris, Planet Hollywood, Rio, Ritz Carlton, Rivera, Stratosphere, TI, and Wynn. In addition, the Viva Las Vegas Wedding Chapel (1205 S. Las Vegas Blvd., 702/384-0771) is gay-owned and operated and A Royal Wedding Chapel (702/236-8728) and Mon Bel Ami (702/388-4445) will also perform commitment ceremonies. For more information visit our Wedding Guide.SHOPPING:
In addition to all the high-end casino malls and designer discount outlets, details for which you can find in our Shopping section, here are some specialist stores.
- Get Booked (4640 Paradise Rd. #15, 702/737-7780): Gay book store open Mon-Thurs, 10 a.m.-midnight,; Fri-Sun, 10 a.m.-2 a.m. ( http://www.getbooked.com/shop/index.php)
- The Male Bag Vegas (610 E. Sahara Ave., 702/474-6253): Young men's clothing & accessories store open Mon-Sat, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sun, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. ( http://www.chris-n-thad.com/TMB/IndesMB.html)
- The Rack (953 E. Sahara Ave., 702/732-7225) Features fetish wear, club clothes, sex toys, etc. Sun-Thurs, 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; Fri & Sat, 10 a.m.-midnight. The Onyx Theater is in the back (see Entertainment & Nightlife).