Bet you didn’t know that back in the ‘50s, Atlantic City, NJ was a major destination for gay and lesbian visitors even before such gay-popular spots such as Key West and Provincetown. Long before the Stonewall riots and the first Gay Pride marches in the late 1960s, there was a prominent LGBT (lesbian, gay, transgender and bisexual) presence here. In fact it’s thanks to the crowds of gay fans that the campy, fun Miss America "Show Us Your Shoes" Parade began decades ago — still one of the most popular annual parades along AC’s historic Boardwalk. By the late ‘70s though, AC’s gay popularity waned. But the rainbow tide is turning!
Atlantic City’s casinos resorts and other local businesses, from hotels and spas to restaurants and nightclubs are increasingly extending a warm invitation to LGBT visitors. Borgata Hotel, Casino & Spa offers "Out at Borgata," a specials and events for LGBT visitors. Resorts Casino Hotel proudly flies the rainbow flag all year round. Just look up as you arrive into the main entrance. Caesars Atlantic City has a perfect 100% gay-friendly rating on HRC's Corporate Equality Index. And Atlantic City’s current mayor, Don Guardian, is gay.
There are also plenty of long-time and new events on AC’s annual calendar. Here’s a sample of major LGBT-popular events coming up this year. For the complete listings visit the Events page.
- The amazingly fun Miss’d America competition being held at the Hard Rock Atlantic City September 21!
- You'll also find LGBT-popular entertainers and musical acts all year long from Ricky Martin and Madonna to Wanda Sykes and Kathy Griffin.
Atlantic City is perfectly suited for a fun weekend visit with a few friends or your partner during one of these events or anytime the mood suits you to escape to AC. Atlantic City's entire beautiful beach is free and there’s even an official section of gay beach at Park Place and Boardwalk. The famed Atlantic City Boardwalk runs over 4 miles, making it the longest in the world. Take a stroll and enjoy the vendors and sights along the way. Pop into the Rainbow Room, Atlantic City's full-time, year-round LGBT nightspot. This being AC, weekday hours are till 3AM and on weekends the complex is open till 5AM so pop by just about anytime to get a drink and hobnob with tourists and locals alike.
GET MARRIED (OR HAVE A CIVIL UNION)
Atlantic City is also a great place to tie the knot! Here’s some information if you want to get married: New Jersey Marriage Information and License; or enter into a Civil Union. Just be sure to look into Atlantic City’s excellent restaurants and luxurious accommodations to plan your ceremony and party, and perhaps most fun, your bachelor(ette) party with your gay & lesbian BFFs.
Atlantic City is also convenient to major gay hubs: It’s is 60 miles from Philadelphia, 125 miles from New York, 155 miles from Baltimore, and 175 from Washington, D.C.
MORE GAY AC
Other LGBT-related organizations