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The Ultimate Gay Provincetown Travel Guide

Shutterstock / Vadim 777

The picturesque beach town of Provincetown in Cape Cod is one of the most popular destinations for a fun gay-cation. Famous in the 1960s as a colony for free spirits and artists, “P-town” is home to a vibrant LGBTQ community with many fun events, clubs, and other attractions for LGBTQ vacationers.

This guide will tell you everything you need to know to help you plan an incredible gay Provincetown vacation. Check out our tips on where to stay, which dining hotspots to visit, and which LGBTQ Provincetown bars to go to for an unforgettable trip!

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Is Provincetown LGBTQ-Friendly?

Provincetown is a popular summer vacation destination because of the warm weather, bustling carnival crowds, and lovely beaches. However, it’s best known as the oldest gay resort town in America and a safe place to be out and proud. After Massachusetts became the first U.S. state to recognize same-sex marriage in 2004, Provincetown offered to issue marriage licenses to out-of-state gay couples.

Though the town only has around 3,000 residents, it has the highest concentration of same-sex households in the U.S. It also has the most lesbian-owned businesses per capita. The gay neighborhoods of Provincetown are full of gay bars and gay-owned businesses, with over a dozen LGBTQ events held every year.

Boats and a decorated house in the Provincetown Marina.

Shutterstock / Micha Weber

LGBTQ Events In Provincetown

The Provincetown gay scene is always buzzing with new events for the LGBTQ community. Check which ones are being held during your visit. Though summer is considered gay Provincetown’s peak season, there’s a lot of exciting activities happening year-round in P-town.

When Is Gay Pride Week In Provincetown?

Provincetown typically holds its Gay Pride Week every first weekend of June. Its first Pride celebration was held in 2018, and this colorful annual celebration is marked with special activities like drag nights, Pride cruises, and dance parties. The Provincetown Gay Pride Week also typically holds a Pride Rally followed by the annual tea dance, where the community can sashay their cares away and celebrate their identities.

Provincetown Carnival

August visitors should join the fabulous, party-ready crowds at the week-long Provincetown Carnival. It’s the town’s biggest LGBTQ event, attracting tens of thousands of tourists from all over the world. Admire the parade floats, come dressed in your craziest costume, and check out what performances and activities are scheduled this year.

Fantasia Fair

Also known as FanFair, this event is a week dedicated to uplifting the transgender and gender-questioning communities. Past fairs have held workshops on fashion, relationships, and self-care through writing. The Closing Party is not to be missed, featuring a buffet and incredible live entertainment.

This is a photo of The Brass Key Guesthouse, a popular LGBTQ+ hotel in Provincetown

The Brass Key Guesthouse

Where To Stay In Provincetown: Gay-Friendly Hotels & Inns

Because of how warm and LGBTQ-friendly this Massachusetts town is, you’d be hard-pressed not to find a great gay hotel in Provincetown. Here are some of the best places to stay during your gay Provincetown vacation.

Brass Key Guesthouse

67 Bradford St.

The Brass Key Guesthouse is a boutique hotel best known for its cozy jacuzzi tubs, gorgeous infinity pool, and secluded garden areas. The rooms are luxuriously appointed, its staff are warm and friendly, and it’s right in the heart of Provincetown, so all the main clubs and restaurants are walking distance.

8 Dyer Hotel

8 Dyer St.

This adults-only boutique hotel has only 7 rooms for a private, personalized experience. The nearest beach is just a minute’s walk away, but we highly recommend that you take full advantage of 8 Dyer’s excellent resort amenities. With an outdoor pool, spa tub, and complimentary breakfast, it’s one of the most luxurious B&Bs in town.

Pilgrim House Inn

336 Commercial St.

Found just off P-Town’s busy Commercial Street, the pet-friendly Pilgrim House Inn offers comfortable Victorian-style rooms and hearty dinners at its restaurant, The Landing. People-watch at the front bar after shopping at the nearby stores, or enjoy the excellent in-house entertainment with live singing and dancing.

Land’s End Inn

22 Commercial St.

Land’s End Inn is a small but cozy and stylish hilltop B&B. Its 18 unique rooms offer incredible views of the ocean, and Provincetown’s hotspots are just a short walk away. Mornings here start with a fresh continental breakfast on the veranda or the garden. We highly suggest joining the daily wine reception to mingle with other guests over a quality selection of wines, beers, and snacks.

The Canteen: A Provincetown institution rooted in the traditions of old Cape Cod.

The Canteen

Where To Eat In Provincetown

Exploring Provincetown’s gay scene can work up an appetite. When your tummy’s rumbling, stop by these incredible local spots for unforgettable eats.

Provincetown Portuguese Bakery

299 Commercial St.

Many visitors smell this Provincetown favorite before they even see the sign, thanks to the tasty Portuguese bread and pastries made fresh here every day. The puffy, cinnamon-coated malasadas and custardy pasteis de nata (a.k.a. egg tarts) from Provincetown Portuguese Bakery are irresistible!

The Canteen

225 Commercial St.

The Canteen is a beach-themed casual eatery that serves Cape Cod favorites from scratch. Fresh seafood is the star here, with the lobster rolls, clam chowder, and shrimp cocktail earning high praise from locals and tourists alike. Hot tip: pair your orders with the frozen rose wine, a light tipple that complements the flavors of the local catch.

Spiritus Pizza

190 Commercial St.

Looking for late-night bites? Spiritus Pizza serves incredible thin-crust pizza made with USDA-certified organic flour. Big groups can share the generously-topped Spiritus Special pie to soak up a night’s worth of drinking. But if you only need a couple of slices, the fresh Greek slice with its white pizza base, spinach, and olives will hit the spot.

Liz’s Café, Anybody’s Bar

31 Bradford St.

There’s always a long brunchtime queue here for a reason! Liz’s Cafe is a quaint restaurant that serves heavenly lobster eggs benedict, hearty omelets, and sugary flippers for dessert. The staff are friendly and they offer complimentary coffee refills — there’s no better breakfast spot in P-town!

The Shipwreck Lounge: Welcoming neighborhood lounge located in the heart of Provincetown, MA.

The Shipwreck Lounge

Where To Party In Provincetown: Gay Bars & Clubs

There are nearly a dozen gay bars in Provincetown, and we’ve selected five of the most popular ones to check out during your trip. Each one has a different vibe, but all are welcoming to the LGBTQ community and straight visitors alike.

Atlantic House

6 Masonic Pl.

Also known as A-House, Atlantic House has been open for over two centuries and is the oldest gay bar in the country. This historic drinking establishment is popular with the Provincetown gay community thanks to its massive dancefloor, eclectic crowd, and fun dance tunes.

Boatslip Beach Club

161 Commercial St.

The Boatslip Beach Club is a seasonal, adults-only LGBTQ Provincetown resort. While it’s a great place to stay,  the main draw here is the daily Tea Dance held from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. The lounge chairs get swapped out for portable bars and the resident DJ Maryalice spins lively sets well worth the entrance fee. The usual crowd is a friendly mix of first-timers and regulars, so don’t be afraid to mingle!

Shipwreck Lounge

67 Bradford St.

Located at the Brass Key Guesthouse, the Shipwreck Lounge has a cozy, intimate vibe and great ambiance. This is a quieter spot that’s ideal for catching up with old friends or starting conversations with new ones. Enjoy the handcrafted cocktails by the fireplace or at an outside patio table. If you’re not sure what to order, ask one of the in-house mixologists to custom-make a drink for you.

The Paramount Club

247 Commercial St.

The Paramount Club is P-Town’s largest waterfront nightclub, located in the sprawling entertainment complex, Crown & Anchor. It’s popular with the Provincetown gay community because of its cabaret shows, great DJs, and poolside dance parties.

The Vault

247 Commercial St.

Those looking for a spicier night out can swing next door from Paramount to The Vault in the Crown & Anchor. This dark leather-themed gay bar is where people come to cruise, drink, and meet new faces. Hot tip: The Vault has regular drink specials and no cover charge, but it can get packed there during Bear Week in August, P-Town’s annual bear gathering.

Other Fun Things To Do In Provincetown

Provincetown is most popular in the summer. However, tourists flock here year-round because of its fun activities, quaint boutiques, and sweeping beaches. Here are some must-dos to add to the itinerary of your Provincetown gay vacation.

Swim And Chill At Herring Cove Beach

Province Lands Road

No trip to Provincetown is complete without a leisurely day at one of the nearby beaches. Herring Cove Beach is a popular, gay-friendly beach with a clothing-optional area. Go for a dip in the calm waters or watch the sunset with your friends. If you can, snag one of the limited permits for a beach campfire – perfect for making s’mores and warming up after a swim.

Shop At Commercial Street

There are plenty of gay-owned and gay-friendly stores, art galleries, and restaurants on bustling Commercial Street. Drop by these places and grab some souvenirs while you’re there.

  • The Penney Patch (281 Commercial St.): Sweet-toothed tourists should swing by this store, which has sold small-batch fudge, saltwater taffy, and other sugary treats in Provincetown since 1956.
  • Cock & Bull Leather (259 Commercial St.): This is a great spot for high-quality leather goods in a variety of styles, especially jackets and belts. Take your time browsing, as some rare finds are discounted up to 50% off.
  • Toys of Eros (200 Commercial St.): If you’re looking for something to sizzle up your bedroom, Toys of Eros sells high-quality sex toys, lubricants, and other naughty goodies. Part of the profits are donated to Queer Nation Provincetown.
  • Mad As A Hatter (360 Commercial St.): This store has been selling hats in every style and color for nearly 50 years. From simple boaters to snazzy fedoras, you’re bound to find a unique piece to complement your outfit.
Explore Cape Cod Provincelands Trail

Shutterstock

Explore Cape Cod Provincelands Trail

Cape Cod Provincelands Trail is a scenic bike trail that takes you through sandy beach dunes, beach forests, and hills. While it has three other access points, we recommend that first-timers start on the trail through Province Lands Visitor Center. It’s the most practical place to park.

Bring plenty of water, as this trail stretches 5.25 miles and has some sharp turns that can be tricky to navigate. The effort is well worth it, as you’ll get incredible views of the Atlantic Ocean and the Plymouth Highlands while cycling.

Visit The Provincetown Art Association And Museum

460 Commercial St.

Established in 1914, the Provincetown Art Association And Museum (PAAM) combines the inspiration of Cape Cod’s natural beauty with the creative energy of one of America’s oldest art colonies. It’s Cape Cod’s most-visited art museum. The museum features 3,000 artworks in its permanent collection and two to three exhibits running at any given time. Check the PAAM site to find out which educational workshops and gallery conversations will be held during your visit.

The Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a fun destination for gay travel, Provincetown has plenty of exciting attractions for the ultimate getaway. Whether you want to check out the bustling gay bars or simply want to enjoy the natural beauty of the sunny beaches, you’re free to be yourself while exploring Provincetown!

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The Ultimate Gay Provincetown Travel Guide
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