The Advocate magazine named Grand Rapids one of the Gayest Cities in America more than a decade ago, in a feature exploring the “peer capita queerness of some less expected locales.”

Grand Rapids has become even gayer in the years since. The city has been recognized as one of the safest in the U.S for LGBTQ singles and we earned a perfect score in the 2023 Municipal Equality Index, which examines how inclusive cities are of LGBTQ+ people.

New community gathering spaces like LGBTQIA+ bar General Wood Shop and sober-minded Lotus Brew Coffee/Dry Bar have joined such iconic destinations as the Apartment Lounge, Michigan’s oldest LGBTQ bar, and Rumors Night Club, serving a diverse clientele since 2003. Other locally owned and operated LGBTQ+ businesses have also flourished.

World-class art, food, beer and craft beverage scenes are attracting discerning LGBTQIA+ travelers to the region, while abundant outdoor recreation opportunities appeal to an active crowd. Visits often start in downtown Grand Rapids, where 200+ restaurants, breweries, museums and entertainment venues are located within a 10-minute walk (or free bus ride) of a dozen or so excellent hotels.


LGBTQ+ Weekend Getaway in Grand Rapids

  • by Courtney Vondran photo by Alyssa Zuiderveen Artwork: Massimals by Scroggin Studio
  • GR text Must
  • 6 min story

Ranked as one of the “Gayest Cities in America,” Grand Rapids is a must-visit for…

LGBTQIA+ on the Lake

Grand Rapids is just 30-40 minutes away from 20+ gorgeous Lake Michigan beaches and the cities of Saugatuck/Douglas, sometimes referred to as the “Provincetown of the Midwest.” In addition to a plethora of LGBTQIA+-friendly art galleries, shops and restaurants, this charming lakeshore community is home to two of the USA’s top LGBTQ+ resorts, Campit and The Dunes Resort.

Grand Rapids is a perfect home base for exploring Saugatuck/Douglas and other Lake Michigan beach towns.

LGBTQIA+ Itineraries

Check out these ideas for an LGBTQ+ weekend in Grand Rapids and this video of 10 gay things to do in GR:

Community Organization

Annual Events

  • Since debuting in 1988, the Grand Rapids Pride Festival (June) has become one of the city’s largest single-day events each year.
  • Nearby cities Holland, Grand Haven, Lowell, Middleville, Muskegon and Saugatuck/Douglas also hold Pride Festivals in June.
  • The Apartment Lounge throws a Pride Block street party in downtown Grand Rapids each June.
  • The West Michigan Whitecaps baseball team, a Detroit Tigers affiliate, hosts a Pride Night at LMCU Ballpark every year in June.
  • ArtPrize, the world’s most attended art event, introduced a Prism Award for Contemporary Queer Artists as part of its $500,000 prize money in 2023. Hundreds of artists from around the world compete in ArtPrize every September. 
  • World of Winter, America’s largest winter festival, traditionally includes a drag performance as part of its two month-long schedule of outdoor entertainment, activities and art installations.

Points of Interest