Palm Springs is a true desert oasis, located 2 hours east of Los Angeles, California, in the Coachella Valley. Unbelievable but true, 50% of Palm Springs’ resident population is LGBTQ+. Also notable, as of 2018, all of the elected officials serving on City Hall, including Mayor Robert Moon, are members of the community. A haven for many retirees, the city is also a top destination for its many festivals that attract gays from all over the West. The climate is desert-like, with summer temperatures of up to 40 degrees Celsius, and rarely falling below 15/20 °C in winter.
This makes Palm Springs the city in the United States (and probably the world) with the highest proportion of its population being part of the LGBTQ+ community. The city has a population of just over 50,000 and this number increases sharply with tourists. It’s a destination to visit in winter, spring or autumn, as the temperatures are scorching during summer. In fact, most festivals take place during the warmer periods. There is no gay district because the whole city can be considered gay! Its neighbor Cathedral City is also very gay-friendly. In fact, we also list LGBTQ+ establishments below.
More than just gay-friendly, the city of Palm Springs is a pretty unique case in the world and in the US, with so much of its population being LGBTQ+. A true haven of peace for its inhabitants, the city is also a reference for tolerance and open-mindedness.
Palm Springs is an example of tolerance, as is San Francisco, in the state of California. California has allowed same-sex marriage since June 2013. Before that, the state had already authorized it judicially, but the decision was constitutionally prohibited in 2008. As of June 2015, gay marriage is finally recognized throughout the United States.
The currency used in Palm Springs is the US dollar. 10 EUR will give you approximately 12USD. For travellers from Canada, 10CAD will give you about 7.80USD.
To enter the United States, a biometric or electronic passport is required, regardless of your country of origin (even for Canadians and Mexicans). Check if the small chip symbol is present under the name “Passport”.
Citizens of the European Union, Switzerland and the United Kingdom must then make sure to complete an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) application online. The cost is $14USD, which you can pay online. Be sure to apply on the official US government website. Here is the link: ESTA. The electronic authorization will be linked to your passport number for 2 years.
Canadian citizens (not valid for permanent residents) do not need an ESTA to travel to the United States. Only Canadians with a NEXUS card can use it instead of a passport.
Palm Springs Gay Bars
Hunters Palm Springs (302 E Arenas Road). Large, popular gay bar/club in Palm Springs with a great atmosphere in its different areas, excellent DJs, catering area and regular shows.
Streetbar (224 E Arenas Road). Bar with a rather relaxing atmosphere where you can easily chat while drinking an excellent cocktail.
Stacy’s Palm Springs (220 E Arenas Road). Chic and relaxing gay piano bar with a great team at the helm.
Blackbook(315 E Arenas Road). Restaurant bar in Palm Springs, ideal if you’re hungry and looking for a nice daytime spot with reasonable prices.
Eagle 501 (301 E Arenas Road). Bar opened to everyone with a rather bear clientele where there is a very nice atmosphere with friendly people.
Chill Bar Palm Springs (217 E Arenas Road). Popular gay bar in Palm Springs with large spaces. Quiet and relaxed during the day, the bar turns into a small club after dark.
Quadz Palm Springs(200 S Indian Canyon Dr). Bar with many drag nights, karaoke, in a nice atmosphere.
Oscar’s Downtown Palm Springs (125 E Tahquitz Canyon Way #108). Great restaurant bar known for its beautiful interior terrace, its shows from the balconies and its choice of cocktails.
RetroRoom Lounge (125 E Tahquitz Canyon Way #102). Lounge bar with an excellent reputation, unpretentious atmosphere and very pleasant staff.
Toucans Tiki Lounge (2100 N Palm Canyon Dr). Beautiful gay bar with a tropical atmosphere, Hawaiian decor and excellent drag shows.
Copa Nightclub (244 E Amado Road). Gay-friendly nightclub with a bar area, dance floor and shows to match. Excellent sound.
Tool Shed (600 E Sunny Dunes Road). Small gay bar in a friendly neighbourhood with a regular clientele and a muscle, bear and leather clientele.
Gay Bars in Cathedral City, California. South of Palm Springs (10 minutes drive).
Studio One Eleven(67555 E Palm Canyon Dr, A103). Modern gay-friendly lounge bar with a beautiful covered patio, piano and stage for various shows.
Bart Lounge (67555 E Palm Canyon Dr, 124). Gay-friendly lounge bar with a dance floor, pool table and a stage where local bands perform.
Barracks Bar (67625 E Palm Canyon Dr). Bear, muscle and fetish bar with a large outdoor area and theme nights.
Trunks Bar(36737 Cathedral Canyon Dr). Gay bar with its famous diva nights, country and other drag shows.
Roost Bar Lounge(68718 E Palm Canyon Dr, 203). Lounge bar with a large indoor room around the bar, and a nice atmosphere with its regular customers.
AMP Sports Lounge (68-718 E Palm Canyon Dr, 201). Gay-friendly sports bar (located behind the restaurant), ideal if you want to follow your favorite sporting event.
From November 1 to 7, 2021.
Dates for the 2021 Palm Springs Gay Pride have been confirmed by Palm Springs Pride and Greater Palm Springs. Pride Festival will be held on Friday, November 5, starting at 2:00 pm in downtown Palm Springs. The parade will take place on Sunday, November 7, starting at 1:00 pm.
Other LGBTQ+ events in Palm Springs include Cinema Diverse (LGBTQ+ film festival), Palm Springs Leather Pride 2021, White Party Palm Springs 2021, The Dinah (huge, world-famous lesbian event) or Cathedral City LGBT Days.
The Coachella festival is not an LGBTQ+ event itself. Most importantly, the festival is funded by openly anti-LGBTQ+ conservative funds. However, it is frequented by a large number of the gay community and is known worldwide. For 2021, the event was supposed to take place from April 9 to 18, 2021. However, and in light of the evolving Covid-19 pandemic, these dates have been cancelled by Riverside County, and new dates have not been announced yet.
Grindr, Scruff, Growlr and Manhunt are the most used gay dating apps in California.
Video source: you tube – Palm Springs Pride Official – October 4, 2019. Photo credit 1 (main): licensed by Shutterstock.com / photographer: Jeff White. Photo credit 2 (man in the pool): licensed by Shutterstock.com / photographer: Flystock.