New York City is known for offering a variety of things to do, and as one of the world’s most welcoming LGBTQ+ destinations, it is no surprise that NYC’s queer scene is full of options. From arts and entertainment to history, nightlife, and more, there is something for everyone. Narrowing down the list of things to do is not easy, but here are 5 under the radar queer things to do in NYC during your next visit:

Gay Secrets of the Met – The Metropolitan Museum of Art is one of the top tourist destinations in NYC; yet, not everyone knows everything it has to offer. An LGBTQ+ themed tour of the MET, for instance, is one not to be missed. From the first out gay leader of ancient Rome, to Greek and Roman statues, you will be introduced to the “Gay Secrets of the Met,” learning just how much LGBTQ+ people influenced history. You’ll also receive insights about homosexuality in other cultures, from same-sex initiation rites in New Guinea to portraits created by LGBTQ+ New Yorkers in the 40s. The MET itself is also a beautiful museum to spend a day in.  A few local tour companies offer gay tours of the MET so make sure you check them out for tour schedules. 

5 Under the Radar Queer Things to do in NYC

Image by Mike Steele Flickr CC BY

NO BAR – This relatively new queer bar is located in a mainstream hotel—The Standard, East Village—and is the perfect place to meet locals and tourists alike. No Bar offers amazing cocktails, dance parties, drag shows, and more. The East Village doesn’t seem to be explored as much as other areas of the city when it comes to LGBTQ+ bars, and people are obviously missing out. Aside from No Bar, also check out The Boiler Room, Nowhere, and The Cock. That is, if you really want a NYC dive bar experience.

All Things Drag – NYC has a long history of gay ball culture, which has led the way to mainstream drag, making NYC the home to some of the best drag events!  Here are a few to get you started…

DragCon NYC – Are you a fan of RuPaul’s Drag Race? If so, you have to check out DragCon and meet your favourite queen! What can be more entertaining than a convention center full of queens, with runway and performances taking place throughout the day? DragCon takes place each fall at the Javits Convention Center, celebrating art, pop culture, and all things drag.  Also, feel free to dress up in as much or as little drag as you are comfortable with. 

“So You Think You Can Drag?”—NYC’s very own drag competition hosted by Paige Turner.  You can attend this live drag reality show featuring local amateur drag queens facing an often ruthless panel of judges.  Check out their facebook page to find out when the next season starts!

Finally, we have Lips NYC Drag Show, which includes celebrity impersonators, and more. Make sure you also check out their Sunday drag brunch!

Queer Comic Fair – From comics to graphic novels, illustrated stories, and photo comics, the NYC Queer Comic Fair is the only one geared toward queer artTaking place during spring, Queer Comics is hosted by The Bureau of General Services Queer Division (BGSQD). Stop by to support and celebrate the work of amazing artists.

LGBTQ+ Sunbathing in NYC – Sheep Meadow, in Central Park, is a popular area for sunbathing while enjoying a little quiet time, and a lot of eye candy. This is also the perfect spot for picnics, or just hanging out with friends. This area has WiFi for those who may want to Instagram while sunbathing. There are informal LGBTQ+ gatherings throughout the summer but there are also formally organized gatherings, so make sure you look up the schedule when you are in town.  Another popular spot where locals go to get some sun is Pier 45 (Christopher Street Pier), better known as “Queer Pier.” This pier has a rich queer history. It was once a place for cruising gay men and then became a safe haven for homeless youth of colour to be themselves. Today, it is a beautiful park and LGBTQ+ oasis for New Yorker and visitors alike. 

Getaway in a New York Minute

Image by KGSImaging Flickr CC BY

This article was written by Barry Joy (aka asianmapleleaf), ambassador of all things travel. Barry was born and raised in Toronto and currently lives in New York City. Follow his adventures on or on Instagram @asianmapleleaf.

Featured image by DVSROSS CC BY