The Hornet Guide to Gay Vancouver
With a handsome and progressive prime minister in charge, Canada opens its door and border for everyone to visit. Vancouver, one of the country’s major metropolises, in many ways reminds us of San Francisco and Seattle, and has been a go-to of ours for years. It has the charm of a metropolitan city and the natural beauty of a small town. This picturesque West Coast seaport in British Columbia is also among Canada’s densest and most ethnically diverse cities.
As a culture hub, Vancouver has thriving arts, theater and music scenes. For the foodies, this town has great dining options, ranging from fresh seafood to mouth-watering taco trucks. On a beautiful day, you can take a long walk around Stanley Park, one of the city’s national historic sites, or hit up different wineries for an afternoon of boozy fun.
Gay Vancouver also has an excellent nightlife scene. Locals and visitors enjoy a variety of social scenes around Davies Street, which marks the city’s LGBTQ neighborhood. Bars close around 3 a.m. and are usually packed come the weekend.
Surrounded by mountains and the ocean, Vancouver is a paradise for nature-lovers. For outdoor adventures, Stanley Park is a great outdoor spot for hiking. As one of the greatest urban parks in the world, it offers long paths for walking and biking. Its picturesque seawall, one of Stanley Park’s main attractions, draws thousands of visitors and locals on a daily basis. Equally stunning are the park’s gardens and Beaver Lake, both local favorites.
Whistler is about 90 minutes north of Vancouver. A world-class ski resort, it was the location for the 2010 Winter Olympics’ ski events. The snow brings visitors to ski and luxuriate in a snow-covered village, while spring and summer see people hiking and biking in nature. Whistler also hosts one of the best gay ski week events in the world, attracting LGBT skiers from all over for a weeklong celebration.
If you’re looking to spend a day at the beach, West End Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Vancouver for locals. About a 30-minute walk from Vancouver’s downtown hotels, you can find people rollerblading, casually strolling and having picnics at this urban waterfront environment.
Believe it or not, British Columbia is home to wineries that rival California’s Napa Valley. The region’s different microclimates provide an excellent area for grape-growing and a variety of wines. If you love wine tasting, here are a few wineries in B.C. that are worth checking out.
Lulu Island Winery, about 30 minutes south of Vancouver, is a local spot known for producing red, white and its award-winning Canadian Icewines. Guests can mingle around the winery’s four tasting rooms and enjoy complimentary tastings. It is also the perfect place to socialize and meet new people.
Vancouver Island is home to several vineyards as well. The vineyards here specialize in Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Ortega grapes. The general public can take tours of these vineyards and book private tastings.
Most Vancouver Island wineries are located on the Saanich Peninsula or in the Cowichan Valley. A unique way to embark on a wine-tasting experience across the Strait of Georgia is by taking a float plane to Victoria.
Okanagan Valley is British Columbia’s premier wine country, but it takes about five hours of driving to get there. Once you get there, though, it’s worthy of your time. Many renowned wineries call this region home, like Liquidity in Okanagan Falls, where you can sip a variety of wines while taking in a stunning view of Vaseux Lake.
The Bars of Gay Vancouver
Vancouver is a gay-friendly city with a diverse nightlife scene. Davies Street is the gayborhood where you can always experience a fun night out.
1181, one of Vancouver’s chic lounge bars, is a hip place to hang with friends or check out the handsome crowd. The bar attracts hipsters for special events like Gossips, a weekly dance party that is a night of hip-hop and house music. 1181 is also a great place to meet up with hip young professionals for happy hour.
Pumpjack Pub is a local leather bar where you’ll mingle with leather men and sports fans in the same room. On a beautiful Sunday afternoon, you and your buddies can watch the game while cheering on your favorite team. Go-Go Gent, a favorite Fright night event, has sexy go-go dancers dancing in shower stalls for the crowd.
Across from Pumpjack Pub is another fun neighborhood bar, Numbers. Numbers has multiple levels and dance floors to entertain you on the weekend. On a quiet evening, you can play a game of pool and drink cheap cocktails. The bar serves up different genres of music and hosts different theme nights with local DJs spinning your favorite tunes.
Celebrities is a well-known venue in Vancouver for huge parties. Promoters host various parties here, featuring renowned DJs for one-of-a-kind events. Every first Thursday is the fun Super Thursday Gay Party, which brings out a young and diverse crowd of partygoers.
Fountainhead Pub, a local eatery on Davies Street, is a fun spot to hang out and people-watch. At this cozy place, you can order up comfort food, like sliders and wings. Stop in after work and Fountainhead Pub offers 15 different beers for happy hour. There’s also a great patio, perfect for chilling during the summer, and with a fireplace to warm up in the winter.
Finally, Steamworks Vancouver is a welcoming space for guys looking for action. Offering a full gym with state-of-the-art equipment, it also has hot tubs, a dry sauna and a eucalyptus steam room. If you’re feeling frisky, you can also explore Steamworks’ glory holes, slings and dark areas for a real gay Vancouver adventure.
Special Events in Gay Vancouver
Vancouver Pride is one of the city’s most popular LGBTQ events. Since 1978, the community and its allies celebrate in grandiose ways. Typically happening around late July, Vancouver Pride attracts thousands of spectators annually. Sunday’s parade is the highlight of Pride, with floats, dancers and marchers all entertaining the crowd. The celebration continues at Sunset Beach during a festival where people can browse vendors and dance to live music.
The Vancouver Queer Film Festival is another huge LGBTQ event, celebrating the best of indie queer cinema. VQFF is the city’s second largest film festival, attracting hundreds of people every August. More than just film, the festival also hosts performances, workshops, panel discussions, parties and more.