A crowd of people at a party.
Photograph: Erik KommerSlo 'Mo.

The 14 best queer parties in Chicago

Get your dance on at these fabulous events for Chicago's LGBTQ community.

Lindsay Eanet
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Pride Month may be jam-packed with parties, concerts, events, drag performances and a host of other events for LGBTQ+ Chicagoans, but the city's creative queer party scene has something for everyone all year round. Here are just a few of our favorite recurring parties for the local LGBTQ+ community. This list only scratches the surface—Chicago is also blessed with a variety of queer event and community-building collectives, like Party Noire, which is committed to creating spaces for Black queer and trans joy, smallWORLD Collective, which uplifts Black queer culture, and Butch Social. And if there’s still somehow space on your calendar, there’s of course plenty of drag brunches, LGBTQ+ bars and neighborhoods to explore.

Best queer parties in Chicago

Boots

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Since its debut in 2022, this beloved collab of Abhijeet and DJ Kirk has gained a following for its exuberant club spirit and hot, sweaty beats, and wild speculation around how the team will possibly top its buzzy past parties that have included a dim sum restaurant takeover and a live balloon artist. Not sure if Boots is right for you? Take a listen to the thumping pregame EP the duo made called Boots Bitch, featuring cameos from local drag luminaries Bambi Banks-Coulée and JForPay. And who could forget that essential party track, “Gay Guys Drink Vodka Sodas, But Girls Do Poppers”? 

Dates and locations vary; follow Boots on Instagram for upcoming events.

Bump.

The brainchild of queens Helvetikah Blak, Bambi Banks-Coulée and Chanel Mercedes Benz, this look party at a cool, colorful Lincoln Park mezcal den has become a destination since launching last fall. Come for appearances from local drag legends alongside touring RuPaul’s Drag Race alumni like Luxx Noir London and Willow Pill; stay for the incredible, elaborate looks on themes from rodeo to jungle to a holiday “Hoe Hoe Hoe” party. Just remember if you put this in your plans, be prepared to turn a look. 

Second Saturday of the month from 11pm-5am at Never Have I Ever, 2247 N. Lincoln Ave; tickets start at $13.39 and can be found here.

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Dilly Dally

Parallel Play is a collective creating fun, joyous and accessible events for LGBTQ+ Chicagoans and allies who are COVID-cautious and want to connect with community IRL. In addition to masks and air purifiers at these quarterly happenings, you’ll find a variety of activities to encourage people to connect, including karaoke, a clothing swap, speed-friending, a dance party and even an upcoming Halloween costume party and variety show. Tickets do sell out, so if you’re thinking about it, don’t, uh, dilly dally. 

Quarterly at Raygun, 5207 N. Clark St; pay-what-you-can sliding scale admission; masks required; follow Parallel Play on Instagram for upcoming events.

Dyke Nite

Photographer and event planner MK Joss and a host of collaborators have made the beginning of the work week more bearable by turning Monday nights into Dyke Nite. What makes Dyke Nite such a draw, aside from the growing enthusiastic community around it, is that no two events are ever the same and the organizers keep outdoing themselves with new themes and activities, including a queer concert series for Pride Month, a beer pong tournament, a pajama dance party, a Jersey Shore-themed night and a live advice show. 

Dates and locations vary; follow Dyke Nite on Instagram for upcoming events.

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Eden

The creation of Sonido Asesine and DJ Jenny Fox, Eden is a decadent, cinematic, pleasure-focused sapphic dance party for “friends, lovers and crushes.” Sometimes, the evening is elaborately themed (from an iconic blood-and-leather Halloween party to a recent night honoring Taurus Season), but no matter the subject, it’s the beats and the crowd that make it unmissable.

Dates and locations vary; follow Sonido Asesine on Instagram for upcoming events.

In Bed By Ten

Want the thumping, sweaty vibes of a warehouse dance party but without the hangover or bleary-eyed late night? In Bed By Ten, a collaboration between Quality Time Company and Lez Get Together, offers a full bar of nonalcoholic beers, CBD seltzers and juices, which guests can sip on while grooving to DJ sets celebrating Chicago house, jungle, indie dance and more. 

Times and locations vary; follow Lez Get Together and Quality Time Company on Instagram for details.

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Lovers and Friends

Who says you have to stop partying when you get older? Cofounded by Yoly Rojas (The Ultimatum: Queer Love), Lovers & Friends is a roving party for lesbians, queers and allies over 30. Nostalgia rules with DJs playing '90s hip hop alongside R&B, reggaeton and Afrobeats, leading to a dance floor that’s always full. A recently-launched companion party, Puro Perreo, starts with salsa, cumbia and bachata lessons before everyone shows off their moves.

Dates and locations vary; follow Lovers and Friends on Instagram for upcoming events.

Playland

Want the feeling of a festival like Electric Daisy Carnival but too strapped for a ticket to Vegas? Jackhammer’s got you, with bright lights, pounding trance beats and a call to release your stress and inhibitions.

Fridays from 10pm-4am at Jackhammer, 6406 N. Clark St; $5 cover.

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Queen!

Chicago is the home of house music, and this long-running party hosted by local drag titans Lucy Stoole and Nico and helmed by Derrick Carter and Michael Serafini—both in their fourth decade on the decks—showcases the best underground house and disco to get you into the groove. If you prefer a more open-air dance party, QUEEN! also now has an annual evening at the Ravinia Festival.

Sundays at 10pm at Smartbar, 3730 N. Clark St; $15 advance/$20 at the door.

Queer Sober Social

If you’re seeking to mingle with other LGBTQ+ Chicagoans in an intentionally sober space, this chill monthly meetup, often held at Andersonville tea shop Eli Tea Bar, is a great place to start. Grab a boba tea from the counter, choose from one of the many games available, and invite someone new to play. 

Monthly, typically at Eli Tea Bar, 5507 N. Clark St; follow Queer Sober Social on Instagram for more details.

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Slo 'Mo

For more than a decade, groovy, community-oriented Slo ’Mo has been a destination for Chicago queers to dance along to disco, R&B and house from some of the city’s best DJs and performers. More recently, Slo ’Mo has evolved its event roster, including a family-friendly Pride festival and a party at Millennium Park. If you prefer your partying earlier in the day, it also hosts Old Gold, an all-vinyl day party for queers over 30. 

Monthly, Saturdays at 9pm at Sleeping Village, 3734 W. Belmont Ave; $10-$20 sliding scale admission, tickets available here.

Strapped

Formerly a fixture at the now-defunct Berlin, sapphic party Strapped, hosted by Irregular Girl and Siichele, has found new life at a new venue, with high-energy drag performances and lots of dancing. If you want to belt “Red Wine Supernova” in a crowded room with immaculately dressed, sweaty strangers who are about to become your best friends, this is the one. Tickets always sell out quickly, so act fast.

First Friday of the month from 9pm-2am at The Empty Bottle, 1035 N Western Ave; follow Strapped on Instagram for more info.

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Swappin' Boots

Queer country musicians and fans go back much further than Lil Nas X or Orville Peck, but queer country is unquestionably thriving nationally and locally with artists like #QueerCountry Bandwagon and Iris Marlowe. Swappin’ Boots, The Queer Social Club’s two-step night, has a strong, loyal following of fringe-and-bolo-tie-wearing, country lovin’ queers ready to dance the night away. New to two-stepping? Don’t worry—there’s an optional lesson before the show starts.

Dates vary, typically at Judson & Moore Distillery, 3057 N. Rockwell St; follow The Queer Social Club on Instagram for upcoming events. 

Very That!

She’s baaack! After a hiatus with the closure of D.S. Tequila last fall, this monthly themed tea dance experience returned in April, held a glamorous rooftop party in Wrigleyville in May, and we can’t wait to see what it does next. Party with some of Chicago’s best drag performers and DJs and make sure you put together an on-theme look that will make the crowd say, “Very that!” 

Sundays once a month; follow the Very That! Instagram for details.

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