1. Alice Austen House Museum, 2. The Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art's Prince Street Project Space, 3. Julius, 4. Cubbyhole, 5. Marie's Crisis Cafe, 6. New York City AIDS Memorial, 7. LGBT Memorial, 8. The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Community Center, 9. Jacob Riis Park, 10. 3 Dollar Bill. While some cities might have one or two gay landmarks, New York holds numerous museums, statues, meeting places and dwellings of important LGBTQ+ figures. You can walk in the footsteps of trailblazers like Edie Windsor, Marsha P. Johnson, James Baldwin and Alice Austen—New Yorkers who helped mold the NYC queer experience. Here are the top ten LGBTQ+ spots to visit right now in NYC.
- Alice Austen House Museum
- The Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art’s Prince Street Project Space
- Marie’s Crisis Cafe
- New York City AIDS Memorial
- LGBT Memorial
- The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Community Center
- Jacob Riis Park
- 3 Dollar Bill
Alice Austen House Museum
A gay bar and nightclub called Industry Bar, or simply Industry, is located in Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen district in New York City. It is a sister business to the restaurant Elmo and the gay bar Barracuda, both of which are owned by Bob Pontarelli. Industry opened in 2010 and primarily serves tourists and a crowd of young gay men. Its live entertainment consists of a number of weekly drag shows, many of which are hosted by well-known drag queens from around the world. Its musical selection is primarily pop. Journalists covering New York City’s nightlife frequently mention Industry as one of the best gay bars in Manhattan.
A long concrete bar, a stage for drag and music performances, and a sizable dance floor are all featured in the expansive, high-ceilinged Industry. The bartenders are hot and frequently shirtless, of course. There are many quiet nooks and cozy couches for those looking for a more private setting. This is definitely one of the best LGBTQ+ spots to visit right now in NYC.
- Location: 355 W 52nd St, New York, NY 10019
- Website: https://aliceausten.org/
- Phone: +1 718-816-4506
The Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art’s Prince Street Project Space
The Leslie-Lohman Museum, the only art museum in the world devoted to the gathering and preservation of LGBTQ history, is home to a collection of more than 30,000 works of art. For artists, activists, and allies, this cultural center is a must-visit; admission is always free (with a suggested donation of $10).
Leslie and Lohman started displaying works at their SoHo loft in 1969 after realizing the need to celebrate gay-themed art at a time when doing so was frowned upon. On Broome Street, they eventually opened a gallery that remained open until 1981.
Up until 2006, when it moved to a new location at 26 Wooster Street, the Leslie-Lohman Gallery on Prince Street, which hosted numerous exhibitions of gay and lesbian artists, served as the organization’s primary location. The Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art is still located here; it received accreditation as a museum in 2016. The museum is “the only dedicated LGBTQ+ art museum in the world with a mission to exhibit and preserve LGBTQ+ art and foster the artists who create it,” according to its website.
- Location: 26 Wooster St, New York, NY 10013
- Website: https://www.nyclgbtsites.org/site/leslie-lohman-gallery/
- Phone: +1 212-431-2609
The oldest gay bar in New York City is Julius’ Bar, which is located on the corner of West 10th and Waverly Place. The landmarked Greenwich Village building was built in the middle of the 19th century and was initially a grocery store before changing to a bar. Aside from being one of the city’s oldest continuously running bars, Julius’ is renowned for its historic “Sip-In” on April 26, 1966, when members of the Mattachine Society—one of the first LGBT rights organizations in the nation—opposed a state law that forbade bars from serving “suspected gay men or lesbians.”
This is the oldest gay bar still in operation in New York, having opened in 1862. The venue has served as the backdrop for movies like Can You Ever Forgive Me, and you can feel the strong sense of history and community that exists here. Older customers sip their draft beers at the long wooden bar as younger groups tend to congregate at tables in the back and fill the well-stocked jukebox; this is due to the establishment’s recent resurgence in popularity (as they chomp down on grilled cheeses and other cheap eats from the in-house grill).
The hip and jam-packed party Mattachine—run by John Cameron Mitchell, Amber Martin and Angela Di Carlo, and named in honor of the Mattachine Society, which held a 1966 “sip-in” protest at the bar—happens once a month on Thursdays.
- Location: 159 W 10th St, New York, NY 10014
- Website: https://www.juliusbarny.com/
- Phone: +1 212-243-1928
This is the most popular lesbian bar in NYC. Someone will unavoidably take you to this tiny, cash-only, sort of divey place in the West Village if you’re new to the city or just passing through if you’re visiting, where the ceiling is always completely covered in festive decorations for the current season. When it’s busy on the weekends, it’s pretty quiet during the week. However, you can expect a line, as well as straight couples looking for “friends” and groups of non-queer individuals visiting a lesbian bar “just for fun.” Every day from 3 to 7 p.m., Cubbyhole offers Happy Hour, which includes free pizza and half-off all drinks.
Hanging from the ceiling are bejeweled chandeliers, tissue-paper fish, holiday decorations, and Chinese paper lanterns. Bar stools have shiny vinyl upholstery that features Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and Porky Pig graphics. True to its name, Cubbyhole is a cozy haven that has welcomed a close-knit mix of locals and visitors for more than three decades, both inside and out in their “cubby shack.” Show your support by going to one of the three remaining lesbian bars in New York City.
- Location: 281 W 12th St, New York, NY 10014
- Website: https://cubbyholebar.com/
- Phone: +1 212-243-9041
Marie’s Crisis Cafe
In New York city, it’s uncommon to start singing out of the blue without being judged. Marie’s is one of these locations. Since the late 1800s, Marie’s Crisis Cafe has been a mainstay of New York City’s West Village. In addition to being the site of Thomas Paine’s death, who wrote the crisis papers that sparked the American Revolution, the area was originally owned by Marie Dumont. A pianist will be playing show tunes nonstop on any given night at this tiny, divey piano bar in the West Village. Feel free to sing along unless someone is performing an obvious solo (like a waitress, for example). After seeing the regulars here, you’ll want to learn as many songs by heart as they do.
Marie’s has always taken pride in providing a safe haven for all people, but especially the gay community long before they were accepted as members of society. The appeal of this well-known West Village institution is not the drinks—cheap beer, vodka highballs—but rather the ambience of an old-fashioned piano bar. The bar’s patrons join in on a chorus of a Broadway song as skilled pianists keep the show tunes playing.
- Location: 59 Grove St, New York, NY 10014
- Website: https://www.mariescrisiscafe.com/
- Phone: +1 646-470-6040
New York City AIDS Memorial
A stalworth structure of steel and granite fountain, The New York City AIDS Memorial sits on the triangular traffic island formed by 12th Street, Greenwich Avenue and Seventh Avenue in Greenwich Village. This memorial and open space, which was inaugurated in 2016, pays tribute to the more than 100,000 New Yorkers who have passed away from AIDS since the early 1980s as well as the activists and frontline workers who fought against prejudice, provided care for the sick, and pushed for medical research.
This outdoor memorial was created by Studio a+ and is situated on a triangular section of Manhattan in the West Village that was once a part of the St. Vincent’s Hospital, where many AIDS patients sought care early in the epidemic. It has an 18-foot white triangular steel structure that protects fountains and benches. This sacred area offers a somber place for reflection and serves as a reminder of those who died and that the search for a cure is still ongoing.
- Location: 76 Greenwich Ave, New York, NY 10011
- Website: https://www.nycaidsmemorial.org/
- Phone: +1 212-639-9675
The official monument in New York dedicated to the LGBT community pays tribute to all those who have died as a result of hatred, intolerance, and violence, including those who perished in the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting at Pulse. The first official memorial honoring the LGBTQ community in New York City, this monument provides a respite along the Hudson River. Anthony Goicolea, a Brooklyn-based artist, created this waterfront green space with nine enormous boulders, six of which are split in half and joined together with glass.
The site-specific design promotes thought and reflection while also enticing people to come together in a communal setting. It harmonizes with the existing features of Hudson River Park. It features nine modified boulders, some of which are bisected with a clear, laminated, borosilicate-glass with refractory components that act as a prism to create subtle rainbow patterns on the surrounding lawn and nearby objects.
- Location: New York, NY 10014
- Website: https://hudsonriverpark.org/activities/lgbt-memorial/
- Phone: N/A
The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Community Center
The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center (commonly referred to as “The Center”), one of the best LGBTQ+ spots to visit right now in NYC, has served the queer community in NYC as a safe haven and a central location for resources ever since they first opened their doors in 1983. This space aims to better the lives of everyone who enters by providing assistance with basic daily tasks like insurance enrollment or job applications, as well as with locating LGBTQIA+ -friendly small businesses, events, and hotels while traveling and connecting visitors with recovery, wellness, family, and youth organizations (in addition to the multitude of resources available off-site and online).
Open seven days a week from 10 am to 10 pm, there is always a jam-packed events calendar (full list here) to browse. These include fundraisers, musical performances, comedy shows, reading groups, bike races, and motivational/life talks.
- Location: 208 W 13th St, New York, NY 10011
- Website: https://gaycenter.org/
- Phone: +1 212-620-7310
Jacob Riis Park
Jacob Riis Park, named after the social reformer and photojournalist from the turn of the 20th century, is situated on a mile-long section of the Rockaway Peninsula in Queens. The LGBT community has traditionally used the beaches in New York City as a hub for social gatherings and claimed specific areas as their own.
Robert Moses, the commissioner of parks for New York City, oversaw the redesign of the beach in the 1930s. Moses hoped that Jones Beach would be a more democratic version of the park when it reopened in 1937 because of how easily it could be reached by both cars and public transportation. By the 1940s, mostly white gay men had made the most eastern end of the beach their preferred location for cruises and sunbathing. By the 1950s, lesbian women had also taken over a portion of the nearby beach. By the 1960s, this neighborhood had a growing LGBT community that included African Americans and Latino/a men and women.
Due to the presence of gay people, this section of the beach changed to clothing-optional status in the 1960s and earned the nickname “Screech Beach.” Pictures of the beach from this time period can be found in the LGBT Community Center National History Archive.
- Location: 157 Rockaway Beach Blvd, Rockaway Park, NY 11694
- Website: N/A
- Phone: +1 718-318-4310
3 Dollar Bill
East Williamsburg’s 3 Dollar Bill is a friendly LGBT hangout run by Irish people. It’s a place to be among your own people while looking for friends, love, or even a life partner — as well as, you know, a little joy.
But it goes beyond that; it’s the outcome of Breathnach’s lifelong dedication to creating a space for Irish queer experience in the local community’s larger life, and the favor is already being returned.
Drinks in the charming Americana bar 3 Dollar Bill, which hosts performances and events like Sunday BBQ parties, are recommended. Then go to the stunning warehouse space Sutherland in the back of the venue for thumping dance parties every night that are accompanied by sound systems that were once found in places like the Roseland Ballroom. Get in early and become a part of the community as some of the best drag performers and DJs in the city start to take over the new venue.
- Location: 260 Meserole St, Brooklyn, NY 11206
- Website: https://www.3dollarbillbk.com/
- Phone: +1 718-366-3031