Just because June Pride Month is technically over does not mean the fun is ending in San Diego. There are so many iconic gay-friendly tourist spots in San Diego to visit and not enough time to get it all in. We’re here to help you plan your visit so your vacation can be rainbow-filled and full of fun.
What better than a sun-kissed, beachy and passionate city like San Diego for a Big Gay Vacation? With great weather, plenty of attractions, and an enormous LGBTQ+ community, you’re sure to create enchanting and everlasting memories.
Once known as a conservative military town, today San Diego is referred to as a blossoming epicenter for anything gay-related. The gayborhoods of Hillcrest and North Park rival the best of the best and shine with the world’s first and only gay brewery. Even better, amid all the rainbow flags and short shorts, you will find an incredibly welcoming community of love-is-love supporting straights, hipsters, athletes, families and more. When I first moved here, it wasn’t nearly the accepting city it is today. I mean, even our Mayor is gay!
10 Best Gay-Friendly Tourist Spots in San Diego
Take your time as you explore the fabulous bars, classy restaurants, and trendy boutique stores offered in Hillcrest and North Park. Just don’t forget to explore the rest of San Diego — noted to be friendly and diverse across the board.
Without further ado, here are the top 10 best gay-friendly tourist spots in San Diego, California, this summer. Happy pride and explore the mesmerizing world!
1. Little Italy
Little Italy is filled with trendy restaurant and bar choices that are delicious and filled with friendly energy. Whether you’re looking to go on a date with your boo or have a girls’ night out, you’ll find what you’re looking for here. This little neighborhood has a real authentic feel and truly captures the essence of Italian culture. There is even a farmers market on Saturday mornings that has amazing food, fresh produce and tons of eye candy if you know what I mean. Plus Little Italy is welcoming to every budget range, but make sure you’re hungry!
Source: San Diego Explorer
2. San Diego Zoo
Why visit a zoo when there’s probably one less than an hour away from your home? Well, you’ve probably never been to a zoo that’s known all across the world! Located in Balboa Park, the World Famous San Diego Zoo is a non-profit wildlife sanctuary that’s home to 3,500 rare and endangered species and a collection of over 70,000 unique botanical plants. The friendly staff genuinely loves the animals they care for. Best of all, your admission ticket goes towards a great cause!
Source: Fox 5 San Diego
3. La Jolla Cove
Pictures of La Jolla don’t give it justice! Enjoy a feel-good environment as you explore San Diego’s most desirable spot for swimming, diving, or snorkeling. Equally as fun, just sit and enjoy the breathtaking view of the beaches and wildlife. Children’s Pool is home to hundreds of sea lions and their babies, and the breakwater here makes for a nice romantic walk. Take hundreds of pictures of the wildlife and pose for that social media-worthy sunset selfie. Tight on a budget? Entry to La Jolla is free of charge.
4. San Diego Museum of Art
Art lovers are consistently surprised by the tremendous collection at the San Diego Museum of Art. Walkthrough the intimate museum as you feel the passion of artists and artisans from across the world. From Spanish masters to South Asian collections, you’ll find a plethora of bewitching displays at the San Diego Museum of Art. If you find yourself here in the Spring, take in the SDMA’s Art Alive festival, where floral interpretations of the museum’s signature art pieces make the museum come alive in color, scent and festivity.
Source: San Diego Museum of Art
5. Gaslamp Quarter
The most radiant nightlife in San Diego can be found at the Gaslamp Quarter. This area is marked by flawlessly restored 19th-century Victorian architecture that now houses ample fun and opportunities. Enjoy a variety of shops, art galleries, restaurants, and more while marveling at the sophisticated building designs. Like any nightlife hotspot, show off your dance moves at the local bars and clubs.
Source: Everett Potter
6. Pendry San Diego
Set in the historic Gaslamp Quarter, Pendry San Diego is an upscale hotel that’s minutes away from both endless day and nighttime fun! With excellent 24/7 service, 6 bar and restaurant options, a rooftop pool, a fitness center — what else could you possibly want? Oh yes, a spa! The spa here is off the hook. Even in the middle of downtown, the accommodating staff at The Pendry work to create a tranquil and charming atmosphere. The style quotient here is off the charts, so make sure you bring an extra suitcase so you can dress the part. Definitely where the pretty people stay.
7. Balboa Park
Known as the Jewel of San Diego, Balboa Park is vast – bigger than NYC’s Central Park and SF’s Golden Gate Park. It’s home to most of the major arts and cultural institutions in the city and the San Diego Zoo is located here too. On any given day, visitors to Balboa Park can enjoy beautiful gardens, beautiful art, beautiful music and beautiful people. Cyclists, joggers, fitness buffs and plenty of our LGBTQ+ community members are spread throughout the park. Within short walking distance of Hillcrest, the park is also festival grounds for the San Diego Pride Festival every July.
I love a good drag show as much as any gay, and Lips offers some of the best drag queens in the world. Laughs are guaranteed at Lips as you chow down on great entertainment and equally great food. Enjoy genuinely bottomless mimosas or head in for gospel brunch — or both at the same time! There’s never a dull moment at this dinner theatre and you’ll always want to come back for more.
Source: Hidden San Diego
9. Hillcrest Brewing Company
It would be silly to not include the first and only gay brewery in the entire world. Hillcrest Brewing Company is an adored local hangout that offers a wonderful atmosphere, handcrafted beers and smiling staff. The pizza here will literally flip your wig, as customers are claiming this local hotspot has the best pizza in all of SoCal. Visitors love the laid-back vibe and ease of meeting new friends at this neighborhood fav. Equally fun if you are traveling alone or with your besties.
Source: Hillcrest Brewing Company
10. Urban MO’s
Last but not least, a local hangout spot that’s sure to slay your night. Enjoy heaps of fun and entertainment without sacrificing great burgers and strong drinks. There’s a great ambiance, a wonderful staff, awesome music, and lots and lots of dancing, drag . Come here with your friends or even by yourself — either way you will leave with a smile on your face.
Source: Urban MO’s