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LGBTQ+ in Grand Rapids

The Advocate honored Grand Rapids as one of the “Gayest Cities in America.” Expedia ranked it among “the cream of the crop of cool cities to visit in the U.S.” Thrillist hailed it as offering “much of the art, food and music trappings you’d find in Chicago or Detroit, only at half the price.”

In short, Grand Rapids is a perfect destination for LGTBQ+ travelers – inclusive, hip and just plain (affordable) fun.

You’ll find welcoming destinations all over the city. Downtown is home to the Apartment Lounge, Michigan’s oldest gay bar, and Rumors Night Club, a dance bar with DJs, karaoke and drag shows. Both are within a 10-minute walk of 200+ restaurants, breweries, museums, shops and live-music venues.

Head to Uptown for the trendiest shopping, the West Side for the hottest urban renewal scene and Southtown for the most diverse dining choices. Visit 40+ craft breweries on the Beer City Ale Trail and 50+ local-food purveyors on the Grand Rapids Food Trail. Attend ballet, opera, symphony and touring Broadway productions. Get your exercise in on lakes, golf courses, and biking and hiking trails as close as five minutes from the city center.

Grand Rapids is also the perfect home base to explore the Lake Michigan shore – including Saugatuck/Douglas, one of America’s premier LGBTQ+ resorts. Spend a day on Saugatuck’s Oval Beach and the night on the town in Grand Rapids!

Community Highlights

The Grand Rapids Pride Center is the epicenter of LGBTQ+ support. It hosts the city’s annual Pride Festival – featuring 100+ vendors, local LGBTQ+ artists and national performers – each June.

The West Michigan Gay Men’s Chorus presents a regular schedule of concerts around town.

Michigan’s Original Drag Bunch features live dance performances, fabulous outfits, and delicious food and cocktails at different local restaurants each Sunday.

Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, Grand Rapids Art Museum and Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts appeal to a wide range of aesthetic sensibilities – as do ArtPrize and Project 1 by ArtPrize, two massive outdoor art events held in alternating years.

LGBT-owned Outside Coffee Co. is located in the community garden at Woosah Outfitters and is open all year long – check out the heated “igloos” in winter.

The Dunes Resort in Saugatuck/Douglas, a 40-minute drive from downtown Grand Rapids, is an LGBTQ+ hotel and bar set on 20 wooded acres.

Grand Rapids outlaws discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression in both housing and employment. Local companies Herman Miller, Steelcase and Meijer consistently score between 90-100% in the “Best Places to Work for LGBTQ Equality” index by the Human Rights Campaign.