Whether it’s rainbow flags hanging outside homes, “LGBTQ+-owned business” stickers on storefront windows, or pronoun pins worn by the barista handing you a cup of coffee, it’s apparent that Seattle is a city that values all people. This atmosphere of acceptance, inclusion, and love is seen and felt in a multitude of ways.
One shining example of this was in December 2012, when same-sex marriage was first legally recognized in Washington state. Over 100 couples rushed to city hall to be married, with then-mayor Mike McGinn and his staff organizing decorations and coordinating volunteers to keep up with the demand and make the day special. As newlyweds walked outside for the first time as spouses, crowds of locals cheered them on and wished them well.
Today this whole-hearted embracing of all people can be found throughout the city. In the Capitol Hill neighborhood, often considered the heart of the LGBTQ+ community, crosswalks are painted with rainbow stripes, and many queer-owned bars, restaurants, stores, and nightclubs fill the walkable business center.
Julia’s on Broadway has hosted the city’s longest-running drag cabaret show for over two decades. Don’t miss the weekend throwback brunches starring celebrity impersonations and a full menu featuring everything from benedicts to pancakes. Wildrose is one of the oldest remaining lesbian bars on America’s West Coast and holds karaoke nights every Wednesday. Other popular spots are Madison Pub, a laid-back gay sports bar; Neighbours, a two-story dance club that caters to the LGBTQ+ crowd and allies; and attitude-forward Queer/Bar, where a changing lineup of DJs and calendar of events keeps things fun. In all, there are around 40 LGBTQ+-owned business in Capitol Hill, and over 200 in the Seattle area, according to the Intentionalist.
Outside of Capitol Hill, Seattle businesses reinforce the freedom to be who you want and love who you want with gender-neutral clothing (Doll Parts Collective), gender-affirming haircuts (Rudy’s Barbershop), and confetti cupcakes adorned with edible rainbows (Cupcake Royale).
During June, which is Pride Month, the entire city turns out for celebrations and festivities. Seattle PrideFest and Seattle Pride are two of the most popular event organizers, and you can join thousands of people for parades and festivals featuring live music, food vendors, and a joyous community. In Seattle, it’s all just love.
Travel Info: Capitol Hill is a 15-minute walk from downtown and is accessible via the King County Metro 2 and 12 bus routes.