Chicago is the nation’s third largest city and it serves as a hub for LGBT life in the Midwest. Even though the Cubs haven’t won a World Series since 1908, you won’t strike out when it comes to hooking up with a Windy City hottie.
Most queer life happens in two neighborhoods: Lakeview (a.k.a. Boystown) and Andersonville, but like most modern metro cities, LGBT-friendly places are popping up in other neighborhoods as well. Boystown, as the name suggests is where you’ll find Chicago’s eligible bachelors. Sidetrack
is one of the busiest gay clubs in Chicago. They claim that they sell the most vodka in the country, and their rooftop beer garden is always packed in the summer. Roscoe’s
is Chi-Town’s other gay bar heavyweight. Roscoe’s has a more youthful scene (*cough* twinks), but their drag shows are some of the best in the city hands down. If you have some energy to burn after bar hopping on Halsted and you’re willing to brave the cold by standing in a long line, Hydrate
is an after hours dance club where House music and remixes blare through pounding speakers until 4 am.
is a lesbian hangout in Boystown that stays open after hours (Until 5 am on Saturdays!). It’s laid back and the bartenders act like they’ve known you for years even if you just stumbled upon the place a minute ago. The girl scene in Chicago is a lot like LA and New York, because pop up parties for queer women and non-binary folks are a big thing. One of the larger pop up events is Formerly Known As
(FKA to locals); a trans* inclusive queer party on the second Friday of the month in Uptown at Big Chicks, which is predominantly a Bear bar.
is one of those places where you can let your freak flag fly. Established in the ‘80s, Berlin still has that new wave industrial feel to it. Probably because the crowd is a mixture of goths and gays (or gay goths), but it really is a bar that welcomes everyone who is a little off-kilter and enjoys listening to music that you can’t hear at a Top 40 Remix club.
Chicago’s Pride festival
has been going strong for almost 50 years! The festival happens on the third weekend in June and the huge parade strolls through the streets a week later. Last year, over 850,000 people flooded the streets during just the parade and 200 individual groups marched. In July, Chicago hosts Windy City Black Pride
to celebrate LGBT people of color.
Chicago is a city with blistering wind most of the year, but the LGBT scene in Chicago is hot enough to keep you warm even in the dead of winter.