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Bustling West Village of Manhattan, site of historic Gay Liberation Movement events

New York

Touring New York City’s Legendary LGBTQ Sites

By: Idoia Gkikas

Christopher Postlewaite
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  • States:
    New York

New York City’s rich history with the LGBTQ rights movement means the city is home to many significant landmarks.

Explore important sites, learn about the city’s activist history and live it up at the best gay and lesbian bars in the boroughs.

Manhattan

This central borough is a hub for LGBTQ history. Start your day with an immersive dive into the art scene. There’s no admission fee to the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art in SoHo. The first museum dedicated to LGBTQ art now holds more than 24,000 works along with art shows, talks and events. Afterward, head to Greenwich Village, where the famous Stonewall uprising took place at the Stonewall Inn on Christopher Street. Grab a drink at the Stonewall Inn’s bar, where the 1969 police raid took place, and sit on a bench at Christopher Park to reflect on George Segal’s Gay Liberation statues. President Barack Obama named this area a National Monument in 2016. Just around the corner, stop in for a drink and a dance at Julius’, where the Sip-In of 1966 challenged the common practice of refusing to serve liquor to gay patrons.

While you are in Manhattan, you’ll want to check out the Lips Drag Queen Show Palace, Restaurant & Bar, considered one of the best drag performances in the city. A variety of shows, along with stiff drinks and a great menu, are featured seven nights a week. Or, check out the male bar-top dancers – a la “Coyote Ugly” – at Flaming Saddles, a country-western saloon.

Gay Liberation Monument statues in Christopher Park in the West Village of Manhattan

Gay Liberation Monument statues in Christopher Park in the West Village of Manhattan
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Tagger Yancey IV

Brooklyn

Head across the East River via the Brooklyn Bridge for more LGBT sites. Stop by the Lesbian Herstory Archives, the world’s largest collection of materials by and about lesbians. The three-level museum, repository and community center holds everything from buttons and banners to international publications and spoken-word recordings. Hit the happy hour at Ginger’s Bar, a popular lesbian pub in Brooklyn known for tasty drinks, pool, karaoke and drag queen bingo.

Queens

If the nightlife in Manhattan is too fast-paced for your taste, Queens might be more your speed. For the LGBTQ community and its straight allies, the Q Center provides essential services, community assistance and advocacy programs for youth and adults. The Albatross Bar in Astoria features Sutton Lee Seymour, one of the most beloved drag queens around, along with karaoke and Brokeback Bingo, in a friendly, neighborhood bar ambience. Also check out the Music Box – La Caja Musical – a sports bar with Latino flair, DJs and dancers.

Jackson Heights is among the diverse, LGBTQ-friendly neighborhoods in Queens

Jackson Heights is among the diverse, LGBTQ-friendly neighborhoods in Queens
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Getting There

To reach New York City from international destinations, fly into John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in Queens or Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) in nearby Newark, New Jersey.