Southern hospitality is what you’ll find in Raleigh and Durham, the two largest cities of what locals call “The Triangle.” (The third is Chapel Hill.) These are lively university towns, so you won’t be surprised find world-class museums, snappy shopping, interesting restaurants, and non-stop nightlife. There’s also a small but thumping bar scene.
A great time to visit will be when gay boys and girls celebrate North Carolina Pride on a late September Saturday, with a parade, festival, dance and weekend parties, all around the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill Triangle area. Raleigh has it's own Out Raleigh Pride Festival early each May.
Raleigh-Durham International Airport between the two cities, is served by most major airlines. Taxis and shuttle buses are the best way to get to your destination from the airport. See Triangle Transit for connections info. Amtrak trains pull into the station at 320 West Cabarrus Street in Raleigh, and in Durham at 601 W Main Street, close to the DATA bus terminal.
While it’s best to rent a car to see more of these cities, it’s possible to use buses to get around -- provided by CAT in Raleigh, and DATA in Durham.
Media & Resources
QNotes is the LGBT arts, entertainment, news and views bi-weekly magazine for the Carolinas, having merged with The Front Page in 2006. The Triangle is another LGBTQ resource, covering the Triangle area cities. GayChapelHill is a gay blog with updates on that city.
The LGBT Center of Raleigh offers daily events, programs, and community resources, including the regions largest collection of books of special interest.
For The Carolina Bears events calendar, including Bear Hunt in Myrtle Beach in April, see their website.
The NC Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, the second-largest LGBT film event in the Southeast, takes place over ten days in mid-August.
The Independent (IndyWeek) is the local alternative paper for the region, with film, food, music, arts and other listings and reviews.
For map locations and website links to the businesses below, and more, see our gay Raleigh/ Durham listings pages.
Several busy gay clubs, cafes, stores and gay-friendly guesthouses are clustered near the State House in Raleigh. In Durham things are more scattered, but the area around Duke University is gay-friendly, and it's here that the Pride Parade and Festival take place.
Bars & Clubs, Raleigh
North Carolina bars and nightclubs without food are private, requiring membership, typically $10-15 per year. Visitors may be sponsored as a guest by a member -- people in line will often oblige.
Above & Beyond (2526 Hillsborough St, 3301), gay and mixed Thursday through Sunday dance and show club near NCSU North Campus; holiday events, theme parties, Drag Brunch Sundays.
The Borough (317 W Morgan St), bar and restaurant open nightly, hip cross section of locals, hearty variety of food offerings and popular happy hour drinks, plus internet access.
Flex (2 S West), "the men's bar of the Carolinas" open every night with karaoke, drag shows, bingo, dancing, country music, goth and industrial nights, bear events, games and more.
Icon (320 E Durham Rd) - CLOSED - gay dance club in Cary, go go dancers, drag shows, underwear nights; House, R&B, Hip-Hop and Reggae music, mostly African-American crowd.
Legends (330 W Hargett St), big, popular, private 18+ dance club, video and show bar for young, handsome, mostly male crowd, open every night year-round; with patios, drag stars, live entertainment, top DJ's, games, underwear parties, and other special events.
The Bar (711 Rigsbee Ave), Warehouse District LGBTQ neighborhood “corner bar” welcomes all, sports, games, karaoke, weekend DJs, live music and events.
The Pinhook (117 Main St) 18+ live music, innovative DJ’s, "basic chilling," collaborative creative events, games, cheap drinks, patio.
Bars, Chapel Hill
Stir at The Thrill (157 E Rosemary), is a Sunday night high-energy LGBT party by the Mix & Mingle social switchboard, for dancing and socializing with a mostly young college-age crowd. They also do a third Friday of each month night called NB4R, or "No, But 4 Real" - at Underground, also at 157 E Rosemary, Chapel Hill.