Things to Do

LGBTQ+ Guide to Charlotte

Known for its warm and welcoming spirit, Charlotte is filled with LGBTQ-friendly ways to experience the city. From nosh to nightlife, here are our best bets for seeing the most of the Queen City.

Known for its warm and welcoming spirit, Charlotte is filled with LGBTQ-friendly ways to experience the city. From nosh to nightlife, here are our best bets for seeing the most of the Queen City.

Charlotte Pride Parade 2018

Nightlife

#CharlottesGotALot

Drag and Dancing

The Scorpio

Whatever your zodiac sign, the stars are sure to align as you sit and sip on the patio at The Scorpio, Charlotte’s longest-running LGBTQ nightclub. Founded in 1968, The Scorpio is the perfect place to catch a drag show and spend the night busting moves and toasting cocktails on the dance floor.

Bar Argon

Located next to Sidelines Sports Bar and Billiards, Bar Argon invites thirsty patrons to mix and mingle in the Video Lounge, make moves on the dance floor, or scoot up to the bar for beer, wine and cocktails. On select nights, you can catch VJs and DJs spinning, and you can always catch your favorite throwback and record-topping music videos on the large screen TVs inside.
Note: Bar Argon is currently open with limited capacity split between 50% inside and 50% outside. Grab a drink indoors on a rainy day and hit the patio on warm evenings for a night of fun!

The Bar at 316

Located in the historic Dilworth neighborhood in a two-story home that was converted into a restaurant and bar in the 1980s, The Bar at 316 is one of Charlotte’s oldest gay-friendly establishments. The beautiful second-floor patio is the perfect place to sip a drink, feel the breeze and chat with friends.

Sidelines Sports Bar and Billiards

Sidelines is the go-to spot for LGBTQ sports fans and aficionados. Grab a seat at the bar and watch your favorite basketball, baseball, soccer or football team. Or play your own game of pool, foosball, darts or giant Jenga®. The bar is an ideal spot to relax with a pint of beer while cheering on your favorite team.

The Woodshed Lounge

Walking into The Woodshed is like walking into a home away from home. Owner Greg Brafford, a longtime philanthropist for HIV and LGBTQ causes, treats all guests like family. The spot features affordable drinks, pool tables, an outdoor patio and more.

Culture

#CharlottesGotALot

Performance Groups

Experience a spectacular show by one of Charlotte’s many LGBTQ-focused performance groups, including the Queen City Theatre Company, Charlotte Pride Band, the One Voice Chorus and the Gay Men’s Chorus of Charlotte.

Art

A local favorite, the NoDa Gallery Crawl is a hot spot for culture fans, drawing hundreds of people each first Friday of the month to NoDa. Revelers peruse the works in galleries and shops around the area, walking from one open door to the next and enjoying a glass of free wine or two along the way. A great way to get a feel for local talent, the South End Gallery Crawl runs on the first Friday of the month in South End, showcasing more art and fascinating designs.

Pampering

The Ballantyne Hotel Pool - Photography by Jamey Price

Salons

Honor the man in the mirror with a trip to Emerson Joseph, Uptown Charlotte’s premiere grooming lounge for men. This is no ordinary barbershop. Luxury experiences, like hot facial towels, mini-manicures, massages, facials, waxing and even shoe shines, are all available at this posh outpost. Everyone can enjoy a chic, new cut and color, blowout, mani-pedi or waxing treatment at Shine Salon on East 7th Street.

Staycations and Spas

Guests and non-guests can book a rejuvenating spa service at The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte’s two-level penthouse Spa & Wellness Center. The eco-friendly, LEED-certified hotel offers guests a stay or afternoon/evening of play in the lap of luxury. Work on your swing along manicured greens and top-notch tennis courts at The Ballantyne Hotel & Lodge. Tack on a tranquil treatment in the full-service salon and spa or take a dip in the outdoor pool.

Sports

#CharlottesGotALot

Rugby

Catch Charlotte’s gay rugby team in action both on the field and out in the community. Founded in 2004, the Charlotte Royals support an inclusive environment, where people can learn about and play rugby while also working with local charities. The club welcomes members of all orientations. Check the team’s schedule to attend matches. Think you’ve got what it takes to compete? Look into joining the team.

Tennis

The Queen City Tennis Club is Charlotte’s only LGBTQ-focused tennis club. In addition to various social events for participants, the club offers organized play on park courts around the city, like Park Road and Veterans parks. Visit the website to view the schedule.

Running/Walking

The Charlotte Front Runners are dedicated to promoting physical fitness and community ties between LGBTQ participants and straight allies. Runners and walkers of all speed levels are invited to join walks or runs of varying distance each week, and they’re often followed by social gatherings, like lunch or dinner. Visit the website to view the schedule.

Amateur Sports

Founded in fall 2014, Stonewall Sports Charlotte is an LGBTQ and ally sports league that caters to both natural athletes and newbies. The league offers sports such as bowling, dodgeball, kickball, softball and volleyball, as well as a run club and community fundraising and outreach events. With chapters across the country, the nonprofit organization welcomes all players regardless of ability and is inclusive of the LGBTQ and straight ally communities.

Dining

300 East - Photography by Kate Magee

300 East

This LGBTQ-friendly neighborhood eatery is located in a converted old home in Dilworth and features eclectic American cuisine with Southern flair and seasonal style. Be sure to check out the popular Sunday brunch and mimosa specials. Known for its locally sourced ingredients, 300 East has been featured on Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.”

Artisan's Palate

This NoDa restaurant and art gallery offers craft cocktails, locally roasted coffee, craft beer, unique wines and small plates. Settle in and enjoy the live music on Friday and Saturday evenings. If brunch is more your speed, RSVP for their frequent drag brunches hosted by local drag queens. Brunch items and beverages like $5 mimosas and Bloody Marys will be available throughout the show.

Soul Gastrolounge

Enjoy innovative sushi, global tapas and handcrafted cocktails at this casual yet sophisticated lounge, complete with a side patio that overlooks the neighborhood.

The Common Market - Plaza Midwood

The Common Market combines community vibes with everyday convenience store goods, a deli, and a great selection of brews and cocktails. You’ll find patronage as diverse as the selection of specialty items. In fact, the friendly establishment describes itself as “A hodgepodge of people with stories to tell.”

Amélie’s French Bakery

Experience the award-winning sweets at Amélie’s French Bakery in NoDa. This eclectic coffee shop and bakery offers an inviting and comfortable atmosphere. The shop’s famous sweets were even featured in the first installment of “The Hunger Games.” The candy-colored macarons and sinfully good salted caramel brownies are must-tries.

Shop

The Rat's Nest - Photography by Jamey Price

Fashion

Find your favorite chain and department stores offering steal-like deals at Charlotte Premium Outlets and Concord Mills and look for luxury labels and exclusive retailers, like Chanel and Louis Vuitton, at SouthPark Mall. The Queen City thrives on locally owned businesses, and its unique boutique scene takes the spotlight. You’ll also find different boutiques in each neighborhood. Pick up hip and quirky finds at Boris+Natasha and vintage wonders at The Rat’s Nest in NoDa. Look for haute couture at Capitol in South Park and Tabor in Myers Park. And stock up on stylish accessories at Revolution Clothiers & Co. in Dilworth.

Paper Skyscraper - Photography by Kate Magee

Gifts and Accessories

Make a stop at White Rabbit, which is known as “North Carolina’s gay-and-lesbian-everything store.” Located in the trendy Plaza Midwood neighborhood, this LGBTQ novelty and bookstore features art, clothing, literature and more. Nestled in Dilworth, Paper Skyscraper is the go-to shop for unique presents, books, funky collectibles and gorgeous gift wrap.

Home Furnishings

Some of the city’s best furniture shops share the same South End ZIP code. The neighborhood, which has deep textile and manufacturing roots, has become a haven for home décor. Explore High Cotton Home Company which is owned by LGBTQ entrepreneur and design extraordinaire Rodney Hines. Alexander Scott Home, which moved from its original outpost in South End to its current location in Myers Park back in 2014, is also worth a look. The marketplace-style spot, which carries everything from the rustic to the classic, is owned by David Newcombe and Rusty Griffith, who are both involved in community activism

This article was updated in April 2021.