Ready, set, gay
A couple takes a selfie in front of the historic Stonewall Inn (Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The Gayest 24 Hours You’ll Spend in NYC

Looking for around-the-clock LGBT fun in the big city? We've got a day-long itinerary that'll get your heart pumping, fill your head with history and satiate your need for primo eats and drinks

When most people want to have a gay old time in New York City, they immediately think bars and clubs. And sure, NYC offers a wide selection of these venues — in neighborhoods across the five boroughs. But that’s just the tip of the LGBT iceberg. The fact is, there are tons of gay and lesbian activities to be enjoyed at all hours almost any day of the week. Come out, come out and see for yourself …

 

Gay Men's Boot Camp in Battery Park (Photo: Courtesy of Gay Men's Boot Camp)

Gay Men’s Boot Camp in Battery Park (Photo: Courtesy of Gay Men’s Boot Camp) 

6am: Work out at the Gay Men’s Boot Camp
Hit the ground running: This testosterone-filled class takes place on the gorgeously refurbished Christopher Street Pier in the West Village, offering amazing river views and a super-tough workout just for gay men. An hour-long, three-day-a-week class that’s offered in month-long blocks, Gay Men’s Boot Camp is designed to get you in shape alongside guys like you. But if you’re not ready to commit to a long-term relationship, you can drop into any class for $33. The company also offers women’s-only workouts. Pier 45 at W. 10th and West sts., 646-454-0777, gaymensbootcamp.com

 

The Dish (Photo: Courtesy of The Dish)

The dining room at The Dish (Photo: Courtesy of The Dish)

8am: Breakfast at The Dish in Chelsea
After you’ve worked up a solid appetite, stroll several blocks north to Chelsea, one of the city’s two biggest gay neighborhoods (more on the other one later in the day). Along bustling Eighth Avenue, you’ll find this two-story, upscale diner that’s often packed to the rafters (a fan on Foursquare wrote, “It’s like the gay Cheers!”) You’ve got a big gay day ahead, so fill up on a healthy egg-white omelet or splurge on peanut butter banana pancakes. 201 Eighth Ave., 212-352-9800, thedishchelsea.com

 

A stop on the Infotrue LGBT Walking Tour: George Segal's sculpture, 'Gay Liberation' in Christopher Park (Photo: Ted Eytan/Flickr CC)

George Segal’s sculpture ‘Gay Liberation’ in Christopher Park, a stop on the Infotrue LGBT Walking Tour (Photo: Ted Eytan/Flickr CC)

9am: Take a LGBT walking tour
Want the inside story? Grab a few friends and hire licensed tour guide Rick Landman to walk you through the West Village and tell you all about its politically charged history, as the gay equality movement took root. You’ll hear about seminal moments from the period after World War II through the Stonewall Riots in 1969, see the sites where it all happened (Stonewall Bar, Christopher Street, etc.) and hear personal recollections from someone who has been part of the scene since the 1970s. Offered at $300 and lasting one-and-a-half hours, this by appointment tour is one with rare insight. Christopher Park between Grove and W. Fourth sts., 212-233-7867, infotrue.com/tourgay.html

 

The selection at Jeffrey is bold and beautiful (Photo: Courtesy of Jeffrey)

The selection at Jeffrey is bold and beautiful (Photo: Courtesy of Jeffrey)

11am: Go shopping at Jeffrey
Located in the fashionable Meatpacking District (where gal-pal Carrie Bradshaw famously wandered the cobblestone streets in her Manolo Blahniks), this swanky store offers smart clothing, shoes and accessories for both men and women, along with a fun, friendly shopping experience. The idea: You’ll feel like the salesperson is your personal shopper — and your new best friend. Jeffrey’s combination of style and hospitality has made this retail therapy venue a big hit with the gay and lesbian community. In a word: fabulous. 449 W. 14th St., 212-206-1272, jeffreynewyork.com

 

Inside Elmo (Photo: Courtesy of Elmo)

Inside Elmo (Photo: Courtesy of Elmo)

12pm: Lunch at Elmo
By now, your stomach’s probably rumbling, so head to this longtime Chelsea hot spot for some delicious eats and fun people watching. Offering everything from the signature Elmo Burger (on a brioche bun) to yummy entrees (like chicken tacos salsa verde), this always-hopping restaurant also has a festive vibe, tropical decor and ample sidewalk seating, all of which have helped make it a gay fave. The creative cocktail menu might also have something to do with that. 156 Seventh Ave., 212-337-8000, elmorestaurant.com

 

Lesbian Herstory Archives in Park Slope (Photo: Alex Gaylon/Flickr CC)

Lesbian Herstory Archives in Park Slope (Photo: Alex Gaylon/Flickr CC)

1:30pm: Browse the Lesbian Herstory Archives
Located in Brooklyn’s picturesque Park Slope neighborhood, these impressive archives are the world’s largest collection of materials by and about lesbians, with books, videos, photographs and more. Walking through the two floors situated in the basement of a historic brownstone, you’ll see a pair of boots worn by a marshal in the NYC Dyke March, banners, political buttons, even a board-game collection. It’s open most afternoons during the week (see the schedule), and you can visit by appointment. Whether you’re just browsing or want to dig deeper into lesbian history and activism, this vital trove of information is well worth a stop. 484 14th St., Brooklyn, 718-768-3953, lesbianherstoryarchives.org

 

Women celebrate marriage equality in the Stonewall Inn (Photo: Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

Women celebrate marriage equality in the Stonewall Inn (Photo: Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

3pm: Stonewall Inn
Early in the morning on June 28, 1969, police raided a small West Village bar called the Stonewall Inn. And while raids of gay establishments were common during that time, this one erupted into a revolt and several nights of rioting — and ignited what became the modern-day gay rights movement. Though the original Stonewall closed in 1969, it was re-opened in half of the original space in 1990 and named a National Historic Landmark in 2000. The current bar offers wallet-friendly happy hours most days starting at 2pm. Stop by, grab a beer and pay your respects. 53 Christopher St., 212-488-2705, thestonewallinnnyc.com

 

A room at The Out (Photo: Courtesy of The Out)

A room at The Out (Photo: Courtesy of The Out)

4pm: Check in to The Out NYC
If you’re visiting from out of town, it’s time to get settled into your hotel room. And while New York has long been home to gay B&Bs, it is now has a mega-chic, four-star hotel that caters chiefly to gay and lesbian visitors — but bills itself as “straight friendly.” Located in Hell’s Kitchen (Manhattan’s other hot gay neighborhood), The Out NYC features 101 high-glam, oasis-like rooms. Plus, it offers fine dining, a luxurious spa, an ever-changing art collection and a stunning glass atrium with year-round cabanas. Oh, and you’re steps from the wonders of midtown. Urban heaven? Pretty much. 510 W. 42nd St., 212-947-2999, theoutnyc.com

 

A Flaming Saddles bartender gives a customer a show (Photo: Courtesy of Flaming Saddles)

A Flaming Saddles bartender gives a customer a show (Photo: Courtesy of Flaming Saddles)

5:30pm: Soak up the Wild West Vibe at Flaming Saddles Saloon
Forget everything you know about gay bars. This one has a very Coyote Ugly vibe. A recent addition to the gay nightlife scene and owned by a straight couple who wanted to mix things up in Hell’s Kitchen, Flaming Saddles Saloon has a well-stocked, country-music jukebox, loads of libations and suds, a laid-back and welcoming mood, not to mention bartenders who occasionally hop up on the bar for some boot-scootin’ action. The atmosphere’s chill, the price is right during happy hour and you’ve just got to take a selfie at this joint. 793 Ninth Ave., 212-713-0481, flamingsaddles.com

 

Eatery's sidewalk cafe on a warm night is the place to be (Photo: Courtesy of Eatery)

Eatery’s sidewalk cafe on a warm night is the place to be (Photo: Courtesy of Eatery)

6:30pm: A theater-district, pre-show dinner at Eatery
Cool, sleek and always busy, Eatery is a cheerful Hell’s Kitchen restaurant that serves up contemporary American fare and inventive cocktails with panache. As a fun, mostly gay crowd chatters in the main room, and at the inviting bar, you can tuck into a varied menu that covers everything from Mahi-Mahi soft tacos to ricotta meatloaf. This one’s popular, so make a reservation just in case. And you might want to try and snag a premium sidewalk table, for a front-row seat at the neighborhood eye-candy. 798 Ninth Ave., 212-765-7080, eaterynyc.com

 

Billy Porter stars in 'Kinky Boots' (Photo: Matthew Murphy)

Billy Porter stars in ‘Kinky Boots’ (Photo: Matthew Murphy)

8pm: Take in a Broadway Show
Speaking of shows: Please, you’re not gonna see a Broadway musical? There are two very gay-friendly hits right now. Hedwig and the Angry Inch is causing quite the stir, with Tony winner Neil Patrick Harris in an unexpectedly new incarnation as a bitter German drag queen who’s belting out power rock ballads and showing some seriously toned abs at the Belasco Theatre. Then there’s Kinky Boots, where sass reigns supreme, and all is well after taking home the big Tony trophy for Best Musical in 2013.

 

Dance into the wee hours at Ritz Bar and Lounge (Photo: SkywritingMedia)

Dance into the wee hours at Ritz Bar and Lounge (Photo: SkywritingMedia)

1am: Go dancing at the Ritz Bar and Lounge
Surprisingly, there aren’t a ton of gay dance-club options in Midtown right now. But if you’re looking to get your groove on, you can always find late-night fun at the Ritz. It’s got a first-class lounge, but, more importantly, it has a dance floor, where boogie nights boom. There’s also a wicked-good DJ and several floors of friendly mingling, including a backyard patio in the warmer months. Open until 4am daily, the Ritz keeps the party going well into the early hours. 368 W. 46thSt., 212-333-4177, ritzbarandlounge.com

 

Market Diner can satisfy all your late-night cravings (Photo: Adrian Scottow/Flickr CC)

Market Diner can satisfy all your late-night cravings (Photo: Adrian Scottow/Flickr CC)

4:30am: Disco fries at Market Diner
It’s been a long day. And French fries covered in melted cheese and brown gravy are just the thing, especially at this all-night, old-school, free-standing diner dating from the 60s, which delivers character to spare in west Midtown. Trek on over, stretch into a booth and reflect on the day you’ve just had. And pour on extra ketchup. You deserve it. 572 11th Ave., 212-244-2888, marketdinertogo.com

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