When you think “gay-cation destination,” your mind is most likely to wander to places like Orlando or Fort Lauderdale. However, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to know that Tampa is just as much an LGBTQ singles hot spot as the rest of Florida.
If you’re looking for the ideal mix of solo, gay-centric activities, a stunning subtropical climate, and opportunities to meet other LGBTQ singles, this guide to gay Tampa is for you!
Where To Stay
While Tampa doesn’t have male or female-only gay resorts, it’s home to an eclectic collection of gay-owned and queer-friendly accommodations. Make sure to add these hotels to your list of options.
Just a five-minute drive away from some of Tampa’s hottest gay bars, the Epicurean Hotel is where any LGBTQ single would love to stay. Equipped with a well-stocked wine cellar and rooms with curated “artisan pantries,” this hotel has plenty to satisfy any gay foodie’s heart.
Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay
The Grand Hyatt in Tampa Bay is the epitome of gay luxury. Offering easy access to some of Tampa’s must-see destinations and every amenity you could ask for, the Grand Hyatt makes for the perfect balance between bustling nightlife and a much-needed gay-cation.
Not only is the Aloft Hotel one of the trendiest – and gayest – hotels in Tampa, but it is also the dog-friendliest! If you’re an LGBTQ single traveling with your four-legged companion, you can bunk with your dog for no added charge. Plus, you can sign them up for Wine and Whiskers and even enjoy a kitten cuddle zone.
Casa Puente Guesthouse
Gay budget travelers will love the Casa Puente Guesthouse. Owned by gay couple Martin and Eric, the Casa Puente is homey – there’s even a clothing-optional private pool that you can enjoy by yourself (or with other tenants you’ll run into).
Hotel Haya has to be one of the best-located LGBTQ-friendly hotels in Tampa. Located in the center of Ybor City, it rests opposite the well-loved Southern Nights gay club and is just a block away from Bradley’s on 7th. The hotel also makes an excellent staycation spot, equipped with a stunning outdoor pool and cocktail bar.
Where To Eat
It goes without saying that Tampa is a food-forward destination – you’ll find no shortage of five-star restaurants of all cuisines. But if you’re after something gay-owned, make sure to satisfy your palette at these LGBTQ restaurants.
Lovers of Cuban cuisine can’t miss out on what Luv Child has to offer. If you’re feeling a little spicy, you have to treat yourself to Luv Child’s iconic drag brunch, which features delicious Cubano sandwiches, frittatas, and, of course, drag queen serenades.
CerealHolic Cafe And Bar
Are you a self-proclaimed cereal-holic? If so, CerealHolic Cafe and Bar is for you. This quirky lunch destination is just as delectable as it is colorful, with menu items like Drunken Apple Jacks and a Cereal Milk Shot. Alternatively, you can build your own milkshake.
Where To Party
You haven’t experienced true, gay nightlife until you’ve partied in Tampa. For gay singles looking to mingle, you can try your luck at these famously LGBTQ-friendly bars and clubs.
Bradley’s On 7th
Most LGBTQ partiers kick the night off at Bradley’s on 7th, where you can enjoy 2-for-1 happy hour nights until 9 pm and amateur strip contests on Thursdays. Drop by on the weekend, and you might even run into renowned gay DJs, sexy dancers, and drag queens!
While not considered an exclusively gay bar in Tampa, this LGBT-friendly space is a sight to behold. Here, you and a date can enjoy steampunk nights, royal masquerades, and trance parties amidst a diverse clientele. This multi-level club has three music rooms and is especially popular with gay goths.
Southern Nights is a renowned gay club with unique themes every night of the week. Female clubbers will love Saturday’s Ladies Night, while more laid-back visitors can kick back in the video lounge or enjoy a mimosa on the club’s patio. Music lovers will be most impressed by Southern Night’s lineup of DJs and musically-inclined drag queens.
Christoph’s Gay Club And Bar
If epic dance floors, VIP rooms, stunning drag shows, and delectable drink specials are on your list of must-dos in Tampa, you’ll be pleased to know you can check off your entire list at Christoph’s Gay Club and Bar. If you love a themed party, you can attend one of the bar’s weekly events, with themes ranging from glow night to underwear parties.
What To Experience
There is always something to celebrate and experience in Tampa. Whether you’re visiting for a week or a month, these gay-forward events for singles and couples deserve to be on your to-do list.
If there is one thing we can guarantee about Tampa’s gay scene, it’s that it’s loud and proud! Tampa Pride occurs annually in the historic Ybor City, also known as the GaYBOR District. About 60,000 LGBTQ community members attend Tampa Pride every year, supporting organizations like Balance Tampa Bay, the Diversity Health Center, Watermark Magazine, and more.
TIGLFF Queer Film Festival
Queer film enthusiasts will love the Tampa Bay Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, which has been highlighting queer-produced independent flicks since the early 1990s. Now one of the most prominent LGBTQ film festivals in the country, TIGLFF spans nine days in October and hosts additional events on top of screenings.
Gasparilla Pirate Festival
Considered Florida’s LGBTQ Mardi Gras, the Gasparilla Pirate Festival is unlike any dress-up event you’ll experience. Attend the El Gancho Party at the Ritz Ybor Theater and be prepared to witness some of the skimpiest and most colorful pirate-inspired outfits ever!
You can’t say you’ve fully experienced gay Tampa without visiting one of its LGBTQ bathhouses! Rainbow Cabaret is a popular gay sauna equipped with lounges, hot tubs, and even video rooms for guests looking to get a bit more steamy than usual. If you’re single, you may not be after a couple of trips here!
Social Calendars To Check Out
For singles who are ready to mingle, you can keep up with Tampa’s hottest – and most charitable – events through these social calendars.
Balance Tampa Bay
Balance Tampa Bay is an LGBTQ volunteer organization that hosts public service events, socials, and bi-monthly activities for community members. If you’re looking for a philanthropic date idea, you can join one of Balance Tampa Bay’s three biggest activities: Party 4 Presents, Kickball for Kids, and Masquerade. Each of these socials benefits a local LGBTQ establishment.
When we talk about Tampa Pride, we aren’t just referring to the annual parade. The Tampa Pride organization also hosts some regular social events like the Grand Marshal Gala, Interfaith Service, and Pride at Night Concert, all of which benefit a few chosen LGBTQ establishments.
Metro Tampa Bay
For youth-based or family-centric LGBTQ events, consult Metro Tampa Bay’s social calendar. Enjoy popular events like the SAGE Coffee Talk for an elderly demographic or the Trans Health and Fashion Expo for LGBTQ aspiring and professional designers.
Enjoy A Gay Singles Getaway In Tampa
While you can enjoy either a laid-back or debaucherous weekend with any of the recommendations we listed above, we’ve only just brushed the tip of the iceberg of gay Florida.
Thankfully, you can get your fix of gay-centric Tampa gems with Visit Tampa Bay, your one-stop-shop for everything LGBTQ. If you want to add more to your itinerary, let us point you towards the best of what Tampa can offer.
***Disclaimer: There is a good chance that this post contains affiliate or sponsor links. If you make a purchase through them, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you (for which we are extremely grateful).
Also, while we do our best to highlight LGBTQ-friendly destinations and businesses, info provided is based solely on personal experience and recommendations by community partners. We hope that nobody experiences discrimination or homophobia while visiting Florida, but we make no guarantees. Please inform us if you experience discrimination or homophobia while visiting any destination so we can make updates to our recommendations.