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Sure, "Brokeback Mountain" made a neighboring state famous, but the laid-back, welcoming nature of the locals and a vibrant nightlife makes Denver the true gay and lesbian center of the West, with many hotels and restaurants catering to LGBTQ visitors. As the largest city in a 600-mile radius, Denver attracts members of the LGBTQ community comes from all over the West and the world, resulting in a well-established gay nightlife, welcoming gay neighborhoods, gay-friendly hotels, and numerous annual events that draw huge crowds.

For shopping and nightlife, check out the Cherry Creek, Capitol Hill and RiNo neighborhoods. In fact, RiNo (River North) Art District was selected as one of the Top 5 Emerging Gay Neighborhoods in America by Passport Magazine

You may also want to plan your trip during the nation's largest PrideFests or the Colorado Gay Rodeo. For more resources, go to the websites of the Colorado LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce and The Center on Colfax.

In the last few years, Denver has jumped in popularity as a travel destination for LGBTQ visitors. For more on LGBTQ life in Colorado, see Out Front

Download the VISIT DENVER LGBT Visitor Brochure

LGBTQ EVENTS 

Produced by The Center on Colfax, Denver PrideFest is recognized as one of the top 10 Pride events in the country and features world-class performers, a Pride 5K and, of course, a colorful parade.

Colorado Rides With Pride! The annual Rocky Mountain Regional Gay Rodeo packs in cowboys from around the world.

CinemaQ Film Festival is the leading Colorado brand in LGBTQ film and cultivates the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community through the exhibition of the best in recent and important LGBTQ film. 

Learn more about what Denver's gay scene has to offer. Check out a detailed itinerary for the perfect LGBTQ weekend, written by gay travel expert Andrew Collins.

A LOOK AT DENVER LGBTQ HISTORY

Denver has long been a gathering place for people of all cultures. First were the high plains American Indians who followed the buffalo herds and lived throughout the Front Range. When prospectors discovered gold in 1858, thousands of men and women crossed the Great Plains and settled in and around Denver. By the 1980s, Denver was dubbed the gay oasis of the west. Today, Denver is a city of many colors and cultures, a rich tapestry of diverse and fascinating people. 

Here are some moments of notice in LGBTQ history in Denver:

1973: Gay Coalition of Denver works with Denver's City Council to abolish anti-gay laws.

1974: Denver's first Pride celebration, a picnic, is held in Cheesman Park. 

1975: Denver's holds its first official Pride Parade. 

1982: The Colorado Gay Rodeo Association is formed. Soon after, Denver hosted its first gay rodeo. 

1983: Denver's gay and lesbian community mobilizes to elect Federico Peña, Denver's first Latino mayor and executive ally to the community. 

1990: Denver becomes one of the first municipalities in the nation to adopt an anti-discrimination policy including gay and lesbians. 

1991: Denver voters supported the anti-discrimination policy despite opponents trying to overturn it at the ballot. 

1994: The Gill Foundation is organized to advance LGBTQ rights through charity and education. 

2010: The Center on Colfax, the producer of PrideFest, adds a second day of festivities.  

2013: Colorado adopts the Colorado Civil Union Act establishing relationship recognition for same-sex couples.

2014: Colorado legalizes same-sex marriage on October 7.

2015: U.S. Supreme Court rules in favor of same-sex marriage.

2018: Colorado elects Jared Polis, the first openly gay man to be a U.S. governor.  


Audio Walking Tour of Denver LGBTQ History by AARP 

Take a self-guided audio tour right on your smartphone to learn about Denver's LGBTQ history. Developed by AARP Colorado, and the GLBT Community Center, the GPS-led app will guide you through Denver’s LGBT landmarks in the Capitol Hill neighborhood and along Colfax Avenue. The 10 point- tour includes Cheesman Park; Charlie’s, home of the Colorado Gay Rodeo Association; and Smiley’s Laundromat, a community landmark which generated intense debate about historic preservation and community identity. To access the tour, download the free Geotourist app on the Apple iTunes and Google Play app stores.