Last-Minute Summer Deals in the Heart of Gay D.C.

by  Justin Ocean | May 18, 2010
The Dupont Circle Hotel
The Dupont Circle Hotel / Photo courtesy of the property

With the sparkle and crack of July 4th on the horizon, there’s no better time to consider a trip to the nation’s capital. Sure, it can get swampy, but with scads of mostly free air-conditioned museums to peruse by day (Dorothy’s ruby slippers at The Smithsonian are always a treat; the Newseum is a media hound’s delight), and a revived gay nightlife that’s been getting national attention, plus legal same-sex marriages, it’s coming up hot on our list of must-visit destinations.

From now till September 6, stay in the heart of Washington’s gay district at The Dupont Hotel and save 20 percent off its best available rates ($179–$329) on all rooms, including the fifteen luxurious Level Nine studios and suites (think hotel-within-a-hotel: upgraded amenities, dedicated concierge, chef and cityscape views). A recent $52 million facelift keeps it chic throughout the cosmopolitan property with a mod, masculine design, Frette linens, floor-heated marble bathrooms, and hotel-wide free Wi-Fi. And as the only property directly on leafy, historic Dupont Circle, you’re mere steps from the good gay action. Book now at using code “SUMMER”. Offer ends midnight May 19. Blackout dates July 10-15 apply.

Although not eligible to be combined with the summer promotion, as an IGLTA member, The Dupont Hotel gives it good to the gays with two same-sex wedding packages available through December 31. Click here for details.

For summer events with a more queer bent, check out any of the highlights below.

PRIDE: Matchmaking events, lesbian jell-o wrestling, comedy shows, religious services, a wedding expo, rowing regatta and outdoor festival – plus the requisite parade – fill the calendar for the 35th Capital Pride June 4–13. Don’t miss the caveman-themed closing party, Homo Erectus: The Evolution of Pride on June 12.

SUMMER GAMES: Drag it up with locals August 15 at Saturgays in the Park, a two-year-old crazy gay Olympics slash social throwdown.

THEATER: The Source Festival (June 12–July 3) and the Capital Fringe Festival (July 8–25) highlight the newest and most cutting-edge dramatic talents with over 500 audacious and inventive performances between them. Naturally, both draw a pretty queer crowd.

NIGHTLIFE:  Known more for buttoned-up than boogie-down, the bar/club scene in D.C. has undergone an overhaul and gay and lesbian events are the hottest bets in town. Monthly, Mixtape draws an alterna-gay crowd with an eclectic electro, indie, rock, alt-pop and disco jams. Raw slips down a sleazier slope with old-school 80s, new wave and throbbing electro (plus equally throbbing go-gos and VHS video arcade) in a fog-filled fantasia. Maison fronts a francophone feel with French house music and a low-key, fashiony vibe on the rooftop of the Donovan House hotel. Theme queens will dig the rotating offerings, like a Stevie Nicks night, at Pink Sock at the Wonderland Ballroom in Columbia Heights. July 4th weekend, find yourself saying, “What the…” at WTF?, a performance art, DJs, video mash-up that takes over Town Danceboutique, D.C.’s newest and slickest venue.

HIRSHHORN AFTER HOURS: DJs, art performances and a savvy, trendy crowd party under the stars at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, part of the Smithsonian Institute right on the National Mall. A drag queen host promises to make it the museum’s gayest event yet! Buy tickets early; the quarterly event (2,000-person capacity) usually sells out.

For general trip-planning info, check out our Washington, D.C. Travel Guide.

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