In the 1960s, Main Beach in Laguna Beach was not only a major tourist destination, but also known as the epicenter of the city's gay culture, which was home to two beachfront gay bars, Dante's and Barefoot. Scroll down the page to find a list of local gay events in Laguna Beach, including the 9th Annual OC Pride LGBTQ Parade and Festival.
The City eventually made Main Beach a public park, also known as the ‘window to the sea.' The gay culture naturally moved to the 1400 block of South Coast Highway, which was home to The Coast Inn, Boom Boom Room and a gay dinner house, which has changed hands several times over the years. Bob Gentry was the first openly gay elected official in Orange County when he became mayor of Laguna Beach in 1982, further welcoming the gay community to town. Although there's currently only one gay nightclub in town, Main Street Bar & Cabaret, crowds still flock to West Street, the unofficial gay beach.
On May 9, 2017, the City of Laguna Beach presented the LGBT Heritage and Culture Committee with a proclamation recognizing the month of June as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Heritage and Culture Month in Laguna Beach. Be sure to celebrate Gay Pride month with us this June. The 9th annual OC Pride LGBTQ Parade and Festival will be held in downtown Santa Ana on Saturday, June 24, 2017, with the closing festivities taking place right here in Laguna Beach on Sunday, June 25th. Starting with the West Street Beach Party, for fun in the sun, followed by dancing at the historic Boom Boom Room, and an after party at Main Street Bar & Cabaret. Make it a weekend full of celebration with Laguna Beach as your home base and book a room at a special rate package.
While the town has settled down some in recent years from its heyday in the 60s, Laguna Beach remains to be a vibrant draw for the LGBTQ community and their families. Its array of events, art galleries, hotels, boutiques and restaurants surround two of California’s most vibrant and iconic gay institutions: Main Street Bar & Cabaret and West Street Beach.
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Laguna Beach has a host of excellent breakfast options to begin your day, and The Koffee Klatch has long been a meeting place for Laguna’s arts community. Grab a coffee and a scone, and then head down the street a half of a block to browse the extensive collection of vintage and original film, theater, and music posters dating all the way back to the mid-19th century, at Vintage Poster.
After breakfast, head a block down Pacific Coast Highway to Vertigo. This brainchild of Chris Oswalt and Martin Ulrich has become a common destination for uncommon gifts and high-design furniture, lighting and eyewear.
Looking for an afternoon cocktail *and* a killer rooftop bar? Visit La Casa del Camino and enjoy a mojito and the unparalleled views on their rooftop bar aptly named 'The Rooftop Lounge.' Then class it up with a multi-course dinner and beverage pairing at K'ya Bistro downstairs.
Located in the heart of Laguna’s LGBTQ scene is West Street Beach: secluded, rustic, and serene. It’s a fantastic place to relax, mingle, skimboard, view the tide pools and play volleyball. West Street Beach is a wide cove just south of Aliso Beach Park and is known as one of Orange County’s most popular gay beaches. There aren’t any shops or cafes around, so bring all the food, water, sunscreen and beverages you need for your visit. If it’s 4th of July weekend, West Street Beach plays host to one of the biggest unofficial 4th of July gatherings for the LGBTQ community in Southern California.
Though Laguna is best known for its pristine beaches, its hills are threaded with a network of fantastic trails with sweeping, breathtaking views. For a quick hike with perhaps the best view in the city, head up Valido Trail to the top of Aliso Peak. It’s not a long hike, but be sure to take some sunscreen and water. The view of Aliso Creek Beach out to Catalina is worth the preparation.
Head into downtown to stroll some of Laguna's botiques. The Vault sister stores offer the latest in men's and women's fashion as well as workout and leisure wear. North Menswear is a perfectly curated men's shop for the active man in your life. Pop over to Hobie Surf Shop for everything from beach towels and swimsuits to flip flops and hats for your day out in the sun.
With the closing of The Boom Boom Room in 2007, the heart of Laguna’s LGBTQ nightlife moved to Main Street Bar & Cabaret. From karaoke to drag bingo featuring The Femmes Fatale, this is a great home base for any evening in Laguna Beach.