LA gay life ranges from super camp to earthy laid back
While West Hollywood may be the gay epicenter of greater Los Angeles, other L.A. neighborhoods such as Venice, Silver Lake, Long Beach, Santa Monica, and Downtown can be of equal interest to gay travelers that are looking for a less hectic scene.
The first thing you need to do when you arrive in L.A. is to rent a car. Don’t even think about using the public transit system as it is practically nonexistent. You can spend about thirty dollars a day renting a regular car, or you can splash out with $1,500 a day for renting a Ferrari from Beverly Hills Rental Car. The choice is yours:)
Then, of course, you need a place to stay. If you want to, you can easily spend thousands of dollars on a hotel room in a posh neighborhood. But you could also settle for a bit less ritzy place, and neighborhood, and rather spend your money on one of the world-class restaurants in the area, or on a shopping spree on the famous Rodeo Drive.
Related: 72 Hours in San Francisco
West Hollywood is where you are most likely to see what people generally think of as the “typical” L.A. clientele. Popular gay or gay friendly hotels in the area are San Vicente Inn, Le Parc Suites Hotel, Le Montrose Suite Hotel and Chamberlain West Hollywood. There are plenty of gay bars and coffeehouses with hot guys flashing their bodies and perfect tans. Still some argues that WeHo’s gay edge is dulling and to many long-time WeHo residents the strong push to include everyone in the WeHo community is starting to look like straightification. This is a a no-no to those who were drawn to the city just because of it’s pro-LGBT agenda.
For many, gay L.A.’s eastern outpost Silver Lake (or Silverlake) is the new gay Mecca. Silver Lake has a large Latino population and a number of leather bars, and most clientele in these bars are generally more laid back and have a very down-to-earth attitude.
Especially young gays are flocking to Silver Lake and other low-key Eastside neighborhoods where the fringe culture offer a place where pretensions are easily shed. In between you have all the other L.A. neighborhoods which generally all have a pretty relaxed attitude toward different lifestyles. Doubletree by Hilton Los Angeles Downtown is as the name suggests technically located downtown but is just a short walk from the Silver Lake district.
Santa Monica and Venice
For those wanting a more relaxed Los Angeles vacation, Santa Monica and Venice are welcoming and liberal communities with many high-end restaurants and designer hotels. Since gay marriage was legalized in California, the area has become very popular as a gay wedding and honeymoon destination.
L.A.’s downtown has made major improvements in recent years and is home to many of L.A.’s ethnic neighborhoods, such as Little Tokyo, Chinatown, and the Olvera Street Latin community. Most LGBT parties have one-off nights in venues throughout downtown, often called DTLA.
There are a lot of nice places to stay in the area, including The Doubletree which was mentioned in the Silver Lake chapter earlier. You also have the posh and minimalistic The Standard, as well as the Residence Inn by Marriott Los Angeles.
Just a short drive south of downtown L.A. you will find the coastal community of Long Beach. It has its own distinct gay scene consisting mostly of small neighborhood bars, restaurants and shops. Here you will find a more laid-back Southern Californian experience quite different than that of the rest of L.A.
If you want an experience totally out of the ordinary, why not spend a night on The Queen Mary, the legendary ocean liner which is permanently docked in Long Beach? But if you prefer solid ground under your feet, Westin Long Beach and Hyatt Regency Long Beach are both fabulous properties.