lgbtq santa monica

LGBTQ+ Santa Monica Hot Spots

Posted February 19, 2019

Los Angeles is one of the most inclusive places in the world and its neighboring city of Santa Monica is no exception welcoming all religions, countries of origin, sexual orientations and gender identities with LGBTQ+ friendly events, restaurants, hotels, nightlife and more, Santa Monica is a great place to visit. Here’s a guide to the best LGBTQ+ hot spots in and near this gorgeous, diverse city.

Santa Monica Pride

In 2019, SaMo PRIDE was established as a collaborative effort between the City of Santa Monica, Downtown Santa Monica, Inc., Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica Place and Santa Monica Travel and Tourism. SaMo PRIDE‘s mission is to increase visibility and understanding of the broad spectrum of gender identities and experiences within the LGBTQ+ community. The city-wide partnership aims to promote equity and inclusion by celebrating and supporting the LGBTQ+ community. 

At SaMo Pride there is plenty to do, Santa Monica Place puts on live music performance every weekend throughout the month. From Third Street Promenade to the Santa Monica Pier you will be able to find games, pride-related treats, free swag and much more. At the Santa Monica Public Library, you can find drag queen story time suited for all ages. 

SaMo celebration and messaging of promoting equity and inclusion by supporting the LGBTQ+ community continues outside of Pride month.

Gay Bars Near Santa Monica


Just south of Santa Monica and easily accessible by bike is Roosterfish. Having proudly served the Abbot Kinney area for nearly 40 years, this original gay bar calls itself a safe haven for those in the LGBTQ+ community. Roosterfish has an extensive cocktail and wine list that offers a wide range of options for any taste. With its brick walls and upbeat vibe, you will have a great time at Roosterfish.

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The Bayou

The Bayou is a popular gay bar on Santa Monica Blvd. in West Hollywood. The Bayou features a spacious dance floor and the interior has a New Orleans-inspired design with colorful murals and exposed brick walls and features a wide variety of drinks, including specialty cocktails. The Bayou is a must-visit spot for anyone looking to have a fun night out. 

LGBTQ+Arts and Culture

Highways Performance Space

If you’re in search of culture, look no further than Highways Performance Space. Just steps from the 17th Street Metro Expo Line station, this alternative cultural center “encourages radical artists from diverse communities to develop and present innovative new works.” From dramas to dance to music to spoken word, the theater presents a wide variety of performances. Most of the works hail from LGBTQ+ artists and many have such themes.

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St. Monica Church

St. Monica Church on 7th Street and California Avenue is home to GLO, St. Monica’s Gay and Lesbian Outreach Ministry. The group brings together LGBTQ+ individuals to explore their spirituality. GLO has many “meet and greets” throughout the year.

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LGBTQ+ Hotels in Santa Monica

Viceroy Santa Monica

Looking to stay at an LGBTQ+-friendly hotel? You should definitely check out Viceroy Santa Monica on Ocean Avenue. The hotel is associated with World Rainbow Hotels, a travel directory that curates hotels based on World Rainbow Hotels’ “acceptance criteria,” which includes: hotel’s location, characteristics, knowledge of local gay scene, current involvement with the LGBTQ+ community and compliance with non-discrimination policies and same sex benefits to their staff.

The Pierside Hotel Santa Monica 

The Pierside Hotel, another World Rainbow Hotel, offers convenient access to everything conveniently situated in the heart of Santa Monica. Guests can easily explore and relax in the nearby Santa Monica Pier and beach. The hotel has a relaxing environment and has over 130 non smoking rooms.

Santa Monica Proper

Santa Monica Proper offers a luxurious experience with over 260 rooms, suites, and spaces all designed to soak in natural light. The rooftop of the Santa Monica Proper include a pool deck, restaurant, and bar with some of the best views of Santa Monica’s Sunset. The hotel include a spa which focuses on eastern inspired wellness. The hotel’s central location allows guests to immerse themselves in Santa Monica and enjoy everything it has to offer. Santa Monica Proper is associated with the World Rainbow Hotels.

Added bonus: Viceroy’s poolside cabanas are perfect for a relaxing day in Southern California.

Will Rogers State Beach

Southern California is home to some of the finest beaches in the entire world and Will Rogers State Beach – immediately north of Santa Monica – is no exception. A section of the shore by lifeguard station 18 is affectionately known as “Ginger Rogers Beach” and is considered a Los Angeles LGBTQ beach. With volleyball courts and a snack bar, it’s a great spot for a fun day in the sun.

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West Hollywood

While Santa Monica offers a lot of options, West Hollywood is truly the hub of all things LGBTQ+ in Los Angeles. Luckily, it’s only a short ride away and is easily accessible through the bus line. Santa Monica Boulevard – the main pathway through West Hollywood – is always busy, and a Monday night could easily look like a Saturday. Bars like The Abbey, Fubar and Mickey’s are quintessential spots that’ll make any night a ton of fun. Want a bite to eat? Check out restaurants like Hamburger Mary’s (come here for drag queen bingo night on Wednesdays), Saint Felix (a great date night locale) and PUMP (as featured in Vanderpump Rules). Also, don’t miss West Hollywood’s annual Halloween Parade! It’s an event like you’ve never seen.

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Los Angeles LGBT Center

Also located in West Hollywood is the Los Angeles LGBT Center, which provides important programs and services like HIV tests, transgender health programs and primary care for men and women. They also have social services that help with housing, employment and legal advice. Additionally, the Los Angeles LGBT Center has two theaters where they put on a wide array of performances. The center is accepting of all and provides an authentic and friendly safe space.

Santa Monica has a ton of LGBTQ+ friendly hot spots. Learn more about what makes Santa Monica an ideal area for LGBTQ travelers.

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