Philadelphia: Exploring Vibrant Culture of LGBTQ+ Community  

 Saturday, June 3, 2023 


Philadelphia is largely regarded as one of the most LGBTQ-welcoming cities in the United States. The civil rights movement that began in Independence Hall fuelled growth and advocacy for Philadelphia’s LGBTQ+ community.

As a result, the city has a thriving community that is very visible and an important aspect of the local culture. Along with gay pride festivities, Philadelphia has a number of historically and culturally significant LGBTQ+ places.

June is International Pride Month in Philadelphia, and it is a must-see for anybody looking to experience compassion, acceptance, love, tolerance, and community support at its best.


The Gayborhood, which spans several blocks immediately east of Broad Street in downtown Philadelphia, is the heart of the city’s LGBTQ+ community, with several LGBTQ+-owned stores, restaurants, pubs, and clubs. Beyond the Bell Tours offers an LGBTQ+ walking tour of the neighbourhood and Philadelphia’s rich history of activism and pride. Take a snapshot next to one of the city’s LGBTQ+ murals, such as Mural Arts Philadelphia’s Pride and Progress by Ann Northrup.

LGBTQ+ literature

While in the Gayborhood, stop by Philly Aids Thrift @ Giovanni’s Room, the country’s first and oldest LGBTQ+-focused bookshop, and browse the wide collection of new and used books. Visit the Free Library of Philadelphia’s Independence Branch to browse the collection of Barbara Gittings, the “mother of the LGBTQ+ movement.” Gittings spent the most of her life in Philadelphia, where she edited the country’s first lesbian journal. Stop by for literary programmes, art exhibitions, and to read one of the William Way LGBTQ+ Community Center’s 14,000+ volumes. The Gay and Lesbian Community Centre of Philadelphia, founded in 1974, promotes and fights for the LGBTQ+ community.

LGBTQ+-owned restaurants, bars, or bakeries

Eat at one of the numerous LGBTQ+-owned eateries in Philadelphia, such as One Shot Cafe in Northern Liberties or Mission Taqueria and neighbouring Oyster House on Sansom Street in Centre City. Cake Life Bake Shop, a trans-owned bakery in the centre of Fishtown, can satisfy your sweet taste with a cupcake, cookie, or pastry. The proprietors have also been on (and won!) Food Network’s Cupcake Wars. Make dinner reservations at one of the restaurants along 13th Street run by restaurateurs Marcie Turney and Valerie Safran. Modern Mexican dishes, Mediterranean pizza, Spanish tapas, typical American comfort cuisine, and more are available.

Local LGBTQ+ businesses and artists

In addition to the collection of LGBTQ+-owned eateries, Philadelphia also boasts an impressive array of LGBTQ+-owned storefronts, boutiques, and other businesses in neighborhoods throughout the city. Along 13th Street in the Gayborhood, shop for quirky Philadelphia-themed gifts at Open House, or head across the street to browse home goods, apparel, jewelry, and more at Verde. Both storefronts join the mix of nearby restaurants operated by Safran Turney Hospitality. In Northern Liberties, shop art, clothing, apothecary, vintage goods and more at Trunc, a Gay-owned, female-owned, Black-owned, and Veteran-owned boutique and gift shop. Just off of South Street, browse a collection of t-shirts, pronoun pins, prints, and accessories featuring the work of over 100 Philadelphia-area creators — including many LGBTQ+ artists — at South Street Art Mart. Around the corner, Philly AIDS Thrift sells used clothing, furniture, books, home goods, and more, with proceeds benefiting local HIV/AIDS organizations.

TIP: Don’t miss Halloween, a hidden gem of a jewelry store at 13th and Pine Streets from jewelry designer Henri David. The unsuspecting shop has no signage but fills a Center City rowhome with thousands of pieces of unique, hand-made jewelry.

Pride Events

Each year, Philadelphia’s LGBTQ+ community comes together for a series of celebrations, parades, and demonstrations. In June, during International Gay Pride Month, the PrideDay Parade and Festival features live music, DJs, food, and drinks. A festive parade, the signature event, runs from the Gayborhood to Penn’s Landing. Philadelphia Pride Weekend takes place annually on the first weekend of June. Also, during Pride Month, look for special events, menus, and more from restaurants, bars, clubs, and attractions around Philadelphia. 

In October, Philadelphia hosts OutFest, the largest National Coming Out Day celebration in the world, filling multiple blocks of the Gayborhood with vendors, food, music, and other live performances, plus plenty of special events at area bars and restaurants.

Dinner. Drinks, and Shows at Gayborhood

End an evening back in the Gayborhood, where you can grab food and drinks while you enjoy local entertainment at one of the neighborhood’s clubs and bars. Tabu Sports Lounge & Bar is home to a downstairs sports bar, second-level dance floor, third-floor performance space, and rooftop, presenting drag, burlesque, variety, and comedy shows, as well as game nights on select nights each week. Along a tiny side street, Tavern on Camac is another multi-level entertainment space with an intimate restaurant in the basement, their Ascend nightclub on the top floor, and a piano bar with nightly performances on the main level. One of the neighborhood’s landmark late-night destinations is Woody’s — a bar and nightclub along 13th Street that regularly hosts local DJs, theme nights, cabaret and drag shows, and other events.

Share On:

« Back to Page

Related Posts


Subscribe to our Newsletter

I want to receive travel news and trade event update from Travel And Tour World. I have read Travel And Tour World's Privacy Notice.

Sep 26
September 26 - September 28
Sep 29
September 29 - September 30
Oct 03
Oct 04
October 4 - October 6