Columbus – One of America’s Top Gay-Friendly Cities

Aug 14, 2018 | Fashion, Food Blog, Lifestyle Blog, Travel Blog

Are you tired of the same old crowds and parties in San Francisco, Provincetown and New York? If you answered yes, and you’re looking for something different and refreshing, you got to check out Columbus! Did you know Columbus is the home to one of the largest Pride parades in the Midwest, attracting more than 500,000 people? Columbus is also rising as a fashion mecca and has become fashion’s best-kept secret, with many large clothing brands headquartered there.

I had the pleasure of visiting Columbus this summer and was surprised by how much I enjoyed it! Columbus has one of the highest gay populations in the US and has all the makings of a great gay city to both visit and live. Not only does it have wonderful restaurants, galleries, and clubs, but it also has a rich LGBTQ history. We felt right at home and were super comfortable being ourselves in Columbus!



The Innovators of German Village walking tour is offered by the German Village Society to highlight some of the city’s fascinating LGBTQ history. During the tour, you will hear about the gay pioneers, including Fred and Howard, who were at the forefront of the German Village LGBTQ history and dedicated themselves to fostering a sense of community. Because of their contribution, German Village is now home to many gay couples and is still home to one of the city’s oldest gay bars, the Tremont Lounge.

Columbus German village

Columbus gay history and German village



The Short North Art District is a trendy LGBTQ friendly neighbourhood with the city’s most well known gay nightlife.

Union Café is a bustling bar/restaurant where you can go for a great weekend brunch and is the perfect spot to start off your night.

Axis Nightclub is Columbus’ largest dance club, cabaret, and drag show venue.

There’s Boscoe’s just south of German Village, where you can enjoy the shows, lights, and music; and there is also AWOL in the historic Olde Town East neighbourhood, where you can enjoy karaoke, craft beer, and more.

All this to say there is a popping gay nightlife scene in Columbus! The clubs are huge in comparison to NYC!

Tip: Take the free CBUS circulator up and down High Street to visit most of these and other hot spots.


Art and Shopping

Columbus has the third highest concentration of fashion designers in America, behind only New York and Los Angeles.

Many neighbourhoods like the Short North Art District, offer chic boutiques and unique one-of-a-kind shops. Easton is an indoor/outdoor shopping center with higher-end stores such as Tiffany & Co., Nordstrom, and Louis Vuitton.

Also, every first Saturday of each month there is the Gallery Hop in the Short North Art District, where you can celebrate art and enjoy the local galleries and street performers.

Short North Art Columbus


Gay-friendly Restaurants

The food scene in Columbus is great, with many options to choose from. I went to a few places during my time there but there are many more to check out.

Basi Italia is a cute casual Italian restaurant nestled in the Victorian Village. It is kinda hidden in a back alley so make sure you look out for it.

Basi Italia _ Columbus

Service Bar in the Short North area, boosts its own distillery and serves up excellent food.

Service Bar Columbus Service Bar Columbus

You can also check out the food at Union cafe since that’s the place to be for an evening drink. The food options at North Market are also great. Upstairs is the famous Hot Chicken Takeover,  a casual restaurant serving up juicy, perfectly-fried Nashville Hot Chicken rubbed with a cayenne-infused paste.

Columbus north market



To cap it all off, the city hosts one of the country’s biggest and most incredible pride celebrations. Stonewall Columbus Pride happens every June in Bicentennial and Genoa Park located in the heart of Columbus!

I definitely recommend experiencing Columbus and giving the city a chance to show you what it has to offer.




  1. Superdave

    I am not gay, but I am from Columbus and stumbled across this article. I love how our city is known as a friendly place for people to be themselves. From an outsider’s perspective you may have missed the super gay hay day of Columbus past. There seems to be way less gay bars/clubs in town, probably because anywhere you go it is just accepted as normal here. Having said that…….Stay away because our rent is rising way too much! Just kidding.

    • asianmapleleaf

      Thank you so much for your comment! We love Columbus and def had a great time there! I was surprised by how friendly everyone was and the gay bars were huge lol. Also, being from nyc I am sure the rent is still a steal haha.


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