What to do if LGBTQ in Des Moines?

There’s queer people in Des Moines?! I know that is exactly what you were thinking. When you think of thriving LGBTQ communities you don’t often think of the Midwest. Des Moines is a city rich in history for the LGBTQ rights movement and has some of the best LGBTQ performers in the country. If you are looking for gay bars in Des Moines or Des Moines Pride information – this is the guide for you!

Gay Bars in Des Moines

There is a history of LGBTQ bars that have popped up in Des Moines for several decades. While there are only two that are specifically LGBTQ right now, there are plenty of other locales that are inclusive, fun, and hire LGBTQ entertainers.

  • The Blazing Saddle: This establishment is a world class dive bar. Their slogan is “always a double, never a cover.” And this motto has been true since it was founded by a man named Mongo. The Saddle has many themed nights whether it is trivia, Latin Night, or open stage – it is a must stop place in the East Village.
  • The Garden: Recently moving to their new location in the East Village (and closer to the Saddle so easy to hit up both hot spots), The Garden is your must go place for drag performers, a cocktail, and hooking up. This is a must if you are looking for cruising locations in Des Moines. Don’t forget to take care of your booty before heading down!

Des Moines Pride

Pride in Des Moines is called Capital City Pride. This organization has grown tremendously over the last several years and hosts a world class Pride. With past performers ranging from Todrick Hall, Big Freedia, Michelle Visage, & Tiffany – this is a great place to hit up. Traditionally held in the beginning of June, we recommend you get their full schedule on their website and enjoy. The street party is a great place to find that Pride hook up.

Queer Events

There are tons of queer events happening in Des Moines outside of Pride. There are the typical charity events if you are looking for that sit down gala or silent auction affair. There are also great educational programs held by the Des Moines Pride Center, and community organizations such as the Des Moines Library.  Check out all these places if you are in Des Moines! The Des Moines Performing Arts Center is nationally recognized for bringing in world class acts including LGBTQ performers and must see musicals.

Hook Up Hot Spots

Don’t tell, but the park behind the Des Moines Art Center is a must go place if looking for that cruising location. Always be safe when cruising and we do not condone any illegal activity or trespassing. There are other places around Grays Lake if you are looking for that hottie with a body.

The Bottom Line

Des Moines has a thriving LGBTQ community and you need to check it out. Whether you are passing through, seeing family, or looking for a destination spot – Des Moines is where it is at! Don’t forget if you are heading out to taste great with our Sweet Holes or reduce those blemishes on that peach of yours with our Butt Scrub or Polish. Stay foxy!


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