Austin, Texas is the fastest growing large city in the country and a cultural and economic hub. A cluster of high-tech companies, dubbed Silicon Hills, boasts a number of software, biotech, gaming and startup companies, attracting a diverse and talented crowd from across the United States. World famous for the eclectic music found in the area, Austin has a well-deserved reputation as the live music capital of the world.
Austinites are also well-read. This is probably due to the fact that the city has the greatest number of bookstores per capita than anywhere else in the country. The University of Texas attracts students from all around, giving Austin a very young-at-heart atmosphere. With a progressive culture and people as friendly as one could find, Austin makes for a favorite travel destination of many gay men and women.
Austin Gay Scene
With a large gay and lesbian populace, Austin has the kind of vibrant and active gay scene one would find in a city twice its size. Austin doesn't have a dominant gay neighborhood because the gay scene is integrated throughout the city. However, East Austin is known as an LGBTQ hotspot in due to its proximity to the downtown area, hikes and trails, restaurants, bars and entertainment. Downtown Austin itself is full of a range of dining, nightlife and entertainment options, including plenty of gay bars and clubs.
Austin's dining scene boasts some of the best restaurants in the country with plenty of gay-friendly options.
Tucked away in one of Austin's oldest neighborhoods is one of the cutest bistros you'll find in this town. Family style dining tables, open-faced sandwiches and fresh baked pastries are just a few of the charming features of this French-style bistro. Known for their fresh, local ingredients, Blue Dahlia is a favorite among local Austinites.
Nau's Enfield Diner is Austin's only full-service drug store, soda fountain and grill. From the second you walk into the diner, you'll feel like you're in the 1950's. An iconic Austin landmark, here you'll see local Austinites taking it easy as they enjoy a classic American lunch or breakfast.
Any place that offers Southern comfort food, Motown music and Bloody Marys knows how to do brunch right. There may be a bit of a wait, but once you're walking down the six long tables of biscuits and gravy, eggs benedict, chile cheese grits and sweet potato casseroles, the time will seem well worth it.
Truluck's is the go-to place for fresh seafood, juicy steaks and delicious wines. They operate their own fleet of crabbing boats on the Isle of Capri, bringing you fresh crabs from the ocean straight to your table in under 24 hours. Each week the chef updates the menu with the freshest seafood available and prepares meals in cooking styles from around the globe.
Austin's gay nightlife is lively, carefree and bigger than you might imagine.
Austin is one of America's great hipster cities, and these folks have decided to make Cheer Up Charlies their home. Complete with vegan bar, local brew and outdoor music venue, this local gem can make anyone feel right at home.
Halcyon is the quintessential coffee bar/lounge across the street from the gay bars. Here you'll find gays and straights on dates, while everyone else is conversing with friends. It's a laid-back atmosphere with dim lights and new artwork every month. If the gay bars are not your scene, then grab a drink and sit outside as you watch the gays across the street in their natural habitat. There's never a dull moment at Halcyon.
Highland is Austin's newest, hottest Ibiza-inspired gay nightclub and lounge. With live DJs, dancers, patio bar and a killer happy hour, this is the place to be for a wild night out. Sexy theme nights like Fetish Fridays and Bingo & Drag make this one of the hottest venues for LGBTQ crowds.
Easy Tiger is one of the best-kept secrets in Austin. Its unassuming entrance leads to a tiny bakery with fresh-baked pretzels, corned beef, sausages and breads. Follow the lighted sign downstairs to discover an Oktoberfest style beer garden that will make you feel like you're at a beer tent in Germany — long, communal picnic tables, giant beers and strangers making friendships. You just need to know where to find it!
Gay-Friendly Activities & Destinations
Austin is an outdoor enthusiast's dream, an artist's retreat, and a misfit's haven. This city offers something for everyone, but the best way to discover Austin may just be to get out and walk around.
Barton Creek Greenbelt
The local favorite of Austin's greenbelts, the Barton Creek Greenbelt has gorgeous limestone bluffs, mountain biking trails and swimming holes. Find street parking, grab a couple tacos and head out for a day on the trails in Austin's nature oasis.
Hippie Hollow Park
The only legally-recognized clothing-optional park in the state of Texas, Hippie Hollow sits atop a slope above Lake Travis and has been used a nude swimming spot for decades. Austin's LGBTQ community hosts Splash Day on the first Sundays of May and September each year, drawing a surge of local and traveling gays to enjoy a day in the sun.
The Hope outdoor art gallery is a community paint park that allows street artists and community members to create large-scale outdoor art pieces. The park holds community events like breakdancing and yoga classes, summer school programs, art classes, photo shoots and more.
Local Tips, Tricks & News
Gays visiting Austin for the first time might want to reach out to the Austin Gay Community Center. Their website lists a number of queer and queer-friendly groups that meet regularly throughout Austin, providing a great way for gay singles to meet people and dive into the local scene. They are also happy to provide local gay periodicals or just advice on what is currently hot (and not).
Most of the places of interest in Austin are easily walkable, and if you don't have a car, you should have no problem getting around on foot, using public transportation or taxi services. Austin is also a great city for cyclers, with bike lanes on most major streets and bike trails.
The weather in Austin is nice throughout most of the year, but those not fond of the heat should stay away during the summer months. Because the winters in Austin are so short and mild, you can enjoy outdoor activities throughout the year. During the warmer days when it's nice out, mosey on down to Congress Street to watch the bats leave from underneath the Congress Street Bridge. A truly unique Texas experience!