Ohio’s largest city and capital is a bastion of progressive-mindedness in the Midwest. The diverse city is a bright rainbow spot on the gay map and is one of the most welcoming LGBTQ destinations in the American Midwest. In fact, its drag scene is among the largest in the United States – who knew! Locally known as the “San Francisco” of the region, Columbus’ gay cultural landscape is a vibrant one at that. Firstly, there are many gay hotels in Columbus with a warm, welcoming, and friendly staff. Secondly, the city has not one but two gayborhoods, something that not even the largest gay-friendly cities in the country can boast of. Plus, the drag scene is the best in the nation. If that wasn’t enough, the city is the second-most sexually satisfied in the country – talk about forwardness!
Even if the Midwest isn’t progressive, Columbus, Ohio is certainly an exception. Besides its thriving gay scene, Columbus has a lot more to see and do. For instance, it’s famously home to Columbus Zoo And Aquarium, one of the World’s Largest Zoos. There’s also the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens and the football-frenzy-fuelling Ohio Stadium. What’s more, Columbus is also considered a center for the cultural arts and is home to the Columbus Museum of Art. So, pack your bags and head to Columbus for a culture-driven gaycation. To that end, here are the top 11 gay friendly hotels in Columbus.
Table of contents
- Le Meridien Columbus, The Joseph
- Hilton Columbus at Easton
- Residence Inn Columbus Downtown
- Best Western Suites Columbus Ohio
- WoodSpring Suites North I-270 Columbus
- The Hotel LeVeque Autograph Collection
- Homewood Suites by Hilton Columbus Polaris
- 50 Lincoln Short North Bed & Breakfast
- Moxy Columbus Short North
- Graduate Columbus
- The Westin Great Southern Columbus
- Best Gay Neighborhoods in Columbus
- Best Gay Bars / Clubs in Columbus
- Best Gay Saunas in Columbus
- Best Gay Events/Shows/Tours in Columbus
Le Meridien Columbus, The Joseph
Le Meridien The Joseph is one of the chicest gay hotels in Columbus. LGBTQ travelers who love boutique hotels should consider this one, which lies right in the heart of the gay Short North Arts District. A sleek and futuristic glass-paneled exterior welcomes you into a gorgeous lobby. Unusual design elements such as geometric shapes grace the entrance, a design feature that continues in the bedrooms. All 135 rooms and suites boast plush beds, fluffy robes for you and your partner, and spa-style bathrooms. Floor-to-ceiling windows boast spectacular views of the city. Some of the best rooms are the higher-up ones, which boast freestanding and deep-soaking bathtubs large enough for two. Get our drift?
The hotel has a partnership with the contemporary art gallery of Pizzuti Collection, so you enjoy free admission too. Two superb onsite venues serve delicious American fare for meals as well as well-crafted drinks and cocktails.
Hilton Columbus at Easton
The Hilton Columbus at Easton is one of the grandest gay friendly hotels in Columbus. Gay couples seeking romance in the city should consider this sophisticated hotel that lies north of the Short North district. A sprawling façade with a colonial design, rows of vibrant flowers, and massive columns welcome you into the hotel. Choose from a bevy of lavish rooms that have a starting space of 400 square feet! The sleek design extends to the Italian marble bathrooms, which have glass-enclosed showers and chic vanities. Huge flatscreen TVs, coffeemakers, and fridges make up the rest of the place.
There’s a lot to do outside the room too. The indoor pool and hot tub area are amongst the finest in the city and the entire state. So much so that it’s one of the Best Hotel Pools In Columbus. Later on, sip on craft cocktails at the lobby bar and enjoy a meal at the restaurant. When the weather is nice, you can even enjoy meals on the alfresco terrace, which overlooks the lush greenery around.
Residence Inn Columbus Downtown
As the name suggests, Residence Inn Columbus Downtown lies in the heart of Downtown and is one of the best-located gay hotels in Columbus. You’re midway between the gay scenes at Short North and German Village! So, this all-suite hotel is best for gay night owls. Set in the historic Buckeye Building, the hotel boasts the most impressive 40-feet-high lobby. Within it sits a trendy bourbon bar that serves tapas, barrel-aged bourbon, and craft cocktails. It also serves a mean breakfast of American and continental favorites. In fact, the breakfast area even has the original bank vault!
Coming to the 126 suites, they all feature sprawling living areas and fully equipped kitchens. Since there are many grocery shops in the vicinity and grocery deliveries are also available, it’s a great choice for travelers who want to stay for a long time. Finally, they also have other mod-cons such as flatscreen TVs and comfy bathrooms.
Best Western Suites Columbus Ohio
For a great gay friendly stay at a great price, the Best Western Suites is one of the best hotels in Columbus. The all-suite hotel ticks all the boxes – location, convenience, and amenities. Located near Ohio State University, the 66-room hotel lies just around 10 minutes off I-70 from downtown Columbus. The indoor pool is a blessing, especially if you visit the city in colder weather and still want to wash the day off. Later on, you can work out in the fitness center or unwind in the hot tub. Begin your day with a free hot breakfast buffet that’ll keep your hunger satiated till lunch. You’ll be impressed by the clean and spacious rooms and suites too, which have soaking tubs, modern decor, fridges, and microwaves, and refrigerators. Even laundering facilities are available for a small charge.
WoodSpring Suites North I-270 Columbus
One of the best budget gay hotels in Columbus is WoodSpring Suites North I-270. Budget travelers who don’t need to be in the downtown area will love the rock-bottom rates at this budget but immaculate hotel. The place boasts clean and comfortable digs in the form of 124 apartment-style rooms. They’re all extremely spacious and feature dining tables, full-sized kitchens, and even discounted rates for extended stays. Despite being a budget, all-suite hotel, WoodSpring does have a host of amenities. This includes free parking, free Wi-Fi, and even laundry facilities. A 24-hour front desk and a vending machine complete the offerings here.
The Hotel LeVeque Autograph Collection
The Hotel LeVeque is not just one of the best gay friendly hotels in Columbus, but it’s also one of the overall Best Hotels in Columbus, Ohio. This hotel is perfect for gay travelers who’re looking for a luxurious stay in Columbus. Tucked in the heart of the business district, the hotel is a mere five-minute drive from the gay scene at Short North. So, combine your exploration of the gay scene of Columbus with a decadent and luxuriant stay at Leveque. A gorgeous lobby with modern chandeliers and red marble walls welcomes you into this historic hotel with 149 rooms and suites.
What’s more, the rooms have a minimum area of 300 square feet with sleek celestial-themed and Art-Deco décor. The expansive bathrooms are equally indulgent with plush Frette robes and rainfall showers. For some true indulgence, choose a suite with separate living and dining areas and soothing soaking tubs. Relish delicious meals, including a hearty breakfast, at the elegant French brasserie and bar.
Homewood Suites by Hilton Columbus Polaris
Homewood Suites by Hilton Columbus Polaris is yet another of the best gay hotels in Columbus. There’s a lot to love about this hotel, which has boasted consistently wonderful service ever since it threw open its doors. Nestled in a tranquil neighborhood near Polaris Mall, the hotel is just 15 minutes north of the Short North gay district. The bright-colored décor in the suites lends them a very cheerful vibe; think lime-green furnishings and hot pink walls. The separate living areas and the full kitchens only add to their appeal, which means you don’t have to worry about space or meals.
Begin your day on a great note with an included hot breakfast buffet. No matter what you’re doing during the day, make it back for weekday social hour with drinks and snacks in the early evening. However, the star of the show is undoubtedly a light-filled indoor pool area with a nice hot tub to the side. Rounding up the offerings is the basketball and the fitness center.
50 Lincoln Short North Bed & Breakfast
Not all gay travelers love huge hotels; sometimes, all you need is a charming bed and breakfast. 50 Lincoln Short North Bed & Breakfast is one of the best and most charming gay friendly hotels in Columbus. As the name suggests, the quaint B&B sits in the very heart of the gay neighborhood of Short North. So, gay travelers who want to explore Columbus’ gay scene but don’t want to stray too far. The place is set in an Italianate-style B&B and still features yesteryear touches. Think crown molding and elegant hardwood floors. They’re complemented with 21st-century amenities such as free Wi-Fi and a business center. Choose from a host of charming rooms which have plush beds, vintage wallpaper, and vintage light fixtures. Begin every day with a hearty American breakfast before you head to explore Columbus.
Moxy Columbus Short North
Moxy Columbus Short North is, without a doubt, one of the chicest gay hotels in Columbus. Just about everything about the Moxy is cool, right from the check-in process. Here, you check-in at the bar and immediately receive a token for a complimentary drink! Stylish gay travelers don’t need any convincing to stay here; after all, the hotel overflows with amenities. There’s lightning-fast, free Wi-Fi, a state-of-the-art fitness center, and a superb sixth-floor terrace. You can even play table tennis and billiards in the games room after a long day of exploring the city. The 116 rooms and suites are some of the most stylish in the city, with pillowtop beds, flatscreen plasma TVs, and designer toiletries in the bathrooms.
Yet another of the gay friendly hotels in Columbus’ Short North gayborhood is Graduate Columbus. Boasting high levels of hospitality, the hotel is decked out in the bold hues of the Buckeye. Whether it’s the lobby or the artwork in the rooms and suites, each and every nook and cranny looks gorgeous. All 171 rooms and suites are decked out in a sports-oriented and nostalgic theme developed specifically for this location. Moreover, all rooms come with comforts such as cable flatscreen TVs, coffee machines, fridges, and modern bathrooms with bespoke bath products and toiletries.
The hotel is full of references to the Ohio State Buckeyes and other interesting design details. These include meeting rooms named after Jerrie Mock and Jack Hanna and artwork inspired by a Wendy’s hamburger! Besides an a la carte breakfast, the restaurant also serves other delicious meals. A bar and a fitness center round up the facilities.
The Westin Great Southern Columbus
We end our list of the best gay hotels in Columbus with a historic and iconic one, The Westin Great Southern Columbus. The hotel, which was built way back in 1897, lived a former life as the Great Southern Hotel. Today, it pays homage to the collective dreams of this Midwestern town and is a favorite with discerning gay travelers who love themselves a wee bit o’ history. Designed in classic French Renaissance style, the hotel was originally funded by 100 USD each that 400 Columbians had invested! So, the hotel’s origins are unlike any other in the town. Even its rooms are such, with swanky mod-cons such as TVs and swish bathrooms with rainfall showers and deep-soaking tubs.
The hotel has a host of amenities, such as a fitness center and a business center. Breakfasts, lunches, and dinners can be enjoyed at the two on-site restaurants with 24-hour room service. Oh, and did we tell you that there’s an amazing bar on the property as well? Yep.
Best Gay Neighborhoods in Columbus
Columbus’ gay scene might not be as huge as gay San Francisco or New York City, but even then, it has plenty to offer gay travelers. First and foremost, Columbus has not one but two gay neighborhoods. In the Midwest, where even a single gay neighborhood is rare, having two certainly makes a city very welcoming and gay-friendly. The two gayborhoods lie north and south of downtown. They’re the Short North Arts District to the north and the charming and historic Germantown Village to the south. The Short North Arts District brims with creativity and innovation and is the epicenter of LGBT life in Columbus. The quirky neighborhood is home to some of the city’s best gay bars, clubs, restaurants, and shops. One of the establishments here worth checking out is Torso Leather & Fetish, a gay-owned fashion store.
The utterly charming German Village is one of the country’s largest privately-funded historic districts. The laidback historic neighborhood is full of 19th-century brick houses and bohemian shops and boutiques. The place does have a smattering of gay bars but is also home to many gay couples in the city. The attitudes towards LGBTQ people are still largely conservative in Ohio. However, the attitudes are changing due to a young student population and a growing gay scene.
Do you want to stay near the airport? Here are the Best Hotels Near Columbus Ohio Airport.
Best Gay Bars / Clubs in Columbus
- Axis: A Columbus staple since 1996, this is the buzziest and biggest LGBTQ club in the town. There’s not just lounge areas, but also a dance floor and even a stage set for some of the best drag entertainment in Ohio. For those looking for entertainment of the untucked variety, Friday and Sunday nights are all-male revues.
- The Cavan Irish Pub: Irish pub comes to ohio with a major LGBTQ twist – think drag and karaoke, with a splash of hunky and beautiful go-go boys. Down drinks and cheer for the performers in the company of your fellow gay revellers.
- Slammers: Often called the “last lesbian bar standing,” Slammers is an institution in Columbus. Having been around for a whopping 27 years, this drinks and pizza spot is a unique dot and a must-visit on the Columbus gay map.
Best Gay Saunas in Columbus
- Club Columbus: This flamboyant gay sauna is the top cruising spot in the city. Besides a sauna and a steam room, there’s also a gazebo, whirlpool, media lounge, private rooms, a seasonal pool, and a gym.
Best Gay Events/Shows/Tours in Columbus
- Columbus Pride: The history of the Columbus Pride Parade goes back all the way to 1981, when the first edition took place with just 200 people participating. Today, the Pride event is celebrated throughout the month and includes everything from a trans march and a street festival to a tea dance and even a Jaeger run along the river. Recently, celebrations have widened their net to include an art show, a Unity Picnic, and a 5K run/walk.