Washington, D.C.

The countdown is on. Summer is around the corner and so is the 40th Capital Pride. Pride is always a fun and festive time in the nation’s capital, and is often rated as one of the country’s top celebrations of the LGBT community –  you can imagine the city’s anticipation for this year’s event from June 3–14, 2015. We can’t wait to welcome Pride guests to Loews Madison.

Regardless of the time of year, Washington, D.C. is one of the most LGBT-friendly places in America. In fact, last year D.C. was named #1 in The Advocate’s annual ranking of gayest cities, based on LGBT-elected officials, nightlife and other criteria.

We talked with R. Scott Wallis, a D.C. resident for 20+ years and former Pride committee member, for tips on D.C. LGBT itineraries.

Dupont Circle Washington, DC

1.  Daytime To-Dos

Just a half-mile from Loews Madison Hotel is the Dupont Circle neighborhood, long known as a hub of gay life in D.C. and composed of a mix of restaurants, bars, shops and museums. It’s also home to the popular 17th Street area, between P to T Streets, which radiates off the circle. This is the area Scott chose for his new clothing store, Avenue Jack, which will offer a wide array of casual men’s clothing. So if shopping is a priority, be sure to stop by (and congratulate Scott on the new store)!  And don’t miss 14th Street’s Universal Gear, which is great for club wear, designer clothes, accessories and more.

Level One Brunch DC

Scott recommends you prioritize brunch, a perennial D.C. favorite, and he loves the casual vibe and bottomless Bloody Marys and mimosas at Level One (R and 17th Streets). Walk off brunch by strolling to the great parks and museums. The Smithsonian American History Museum and Air and Space Museum top Scott’s list. And for a tour? “I think the Duck Tour is the coolest thing. Seeing D.C. and the monuments from the Potomac is a great experience – driving and water, what could be better than that?”

2.  D.C. Nightlife 

Town DanceBoutique

Image from Town Dance Boutique on Facebook.

JR’s Bar & Grill is the quintessential gay bar and a “definite must” for D.C. visitors Scott says. It’s a storied place, with nothing too fancy about it, but you will meet the friendliest people from all walks of life. When you’re ready to switch gears for a high-energy night, follow Scott’s lead and head to Town Danceboutique. It’s a multi-level dance club with Friday and Saturday evening drag shows, and dancing ‘til dawn. This year, Town opened a brand new, very extensive patio, which opens at 5 PM weekdays and 2 PM weekends, so it’s a wonderful outdoor option. For a great gay sports bar, head to Nellie’s on U Street.

3.  Capital Pride 

Capital Pride Parade

Image from Capital Pride on Facebook. 

Having been part of Pride events for two decades, Scott has watched it grow like crazy. Featuring dozens of diverse educational and entertainment events, from concerts to a rally and a 5K, it’ll be a non-stop week for participants. Scott is a big fan of the dance party hosted by Bright Young Things in recent years — an “immense, multi-room party that always takes over a very unique venue.” But the highlight of all the events? “It’s the Parade.” To enjoy the 3-hour Saturday parade like a pro (or maybe more like a seasoned D.C. resident), here’s Scott’s tip:

“Go out at least two hours ahead of the parade, and find a bar or restaurant with a patio on the parade route. These are coveted spots and a great way to take it in with friends. The parade route is long so there are several options – New Hampshire Avenue is a good spot where it’s not too crowded.”

Scott Wallis at Capital Pride

Scott Wallis pictured. 

For more information about Capital Pride, June 3–14, 2015, visit www.capitalpride.org.

Loews Madison is excited for you to visit and see what makes D.C. such a welcoming, diverse and cool city!

Loews Hotels & Co.

Pride flag at Loews Madison Hotel