America’s Best Drag Shows

By Rachel Puryear

Across the USA, from the progressive coasts to the Bible Belt and everywhere in between, are some amazing shows – that are fun and beautiful.

I’m talking about drag shows. If you haven’t been to one yet, you’re in for a real treat. If you have, it’s a treat worth coming back for.

Prudish, rightwing politicians don’t want you to see these shows. No, they’d rather see you get shot, or live in poverty with crushing debt, or see our world damaged by climate change.

I could tell you to see a drag show to piss off the fundies. And while that’s also a good reason to see one, the fact is, they’re also worth seeing in their own right.

I encourage you to check out one near you – and if you’re traveling the country, to check out ones local to places you’re visiting.

Dragqueen with lush makeup, jewelry and pink tulle outfit.

Miami, Florida

The tropical weather isn’t the only thing that’s hot and sweat-inducing in the Magic City. It’s also home to the Palace Bar, a top LGBTQ+ bar – which hosts several drag brunches and lunches each week.

Great entertainment, beautiful people, and delicious food. What more could you want?

Palm trees and road in Miami Beach, Florida

Key West, Florida

In the Florida keys, there’s a place called Aquaplex Key West – voted the best gay bar in south Florida, and presenting awesome drag shows in these tiny islands.

New Orleans, Louisiana

The Big Easy offers delicious food, live music, and lots of drag shows in its French Quarter neighborhood. A local favorite is the AllWays Lounge & Cabaret, featuring regular burlesque performances and other LGBTQ+ oriented shows.

Bourbon street French Quarter, New Orleans digital manipulation

Houston, Texas

The stars at night are big and bright, and so are the drag shows at Papi’s nightclub. They offer dancing, drag, and games shows the whole week long.

Austin, Texas

The City of the Violet Crown is world famous for live music, friendly people, and progressive vibes atypical of most of the rest of Texas. Here, you’ll also find Diva Royale, featuring drag dining shows.

Austin, TX glowing with city lights.

Scottsdale, Arizona

In a state known for its heat and stunning beauty, the Female Impersonation Shows at Elements After Dark is a show you won’t forget. They specifically encourage photographing – and, of course, tipping, the performers.

Sunset in the Sonoran Desert near Phoenix, Arizona.

Chicago, Illinois

The Windy City is famous for its array of food, the beauty of its Lake Michigan beaches, and it’s also got spectacular burlesque performances at its Baton Show Lounge. This establishment dates back to the 1960s, and has hosted world class performers over the past several decades.

Aerial photo of a downtown skyline along the lake.

Seattle, Washington

Known for its natural beauty, and frequently soaked by rain, the Emerald City is also home to Sunday drag brunch. What better way to enjoy a Sunday morning than with great food, cocktails, and great entertainment?

A veiw of Mount Rainier from Seward Park in Seattle, Washington.

Cincinnati, Ohio

Known for beer, comfort food, and architecture, the Midwest’s Queen City also features Tillie’s Lounge, which hosts RuPaul’s Drag Races weekly – as well as drag queens from all over Ohio.

Twilight transitions to dawn over Cincinnati from Devou Park.

Denver, Colorado

The Rocky Mountains’ Mile High City is known for its outdoor spaces, its love of sports, and striking vistas. It’s also home to Hamburger Mary’s – where you can eat, drink, and be Mary! And watch drag queen entertainment.

Road trip photos from traveling through the Rocky Mountains in Colorado at sunrise in early October.

New York City, New York

It should come as no surprise that the Big Apple, the city that never sleeps, features awesome drag entertainment. One local favorite is Dinner With the Divas. Eat and drink with drag queens there several nights a week.

New York City skyline with Statue of Liberty.

Las Vegas, Nevada

Sin City is known for its casinos, nightlife, and as a popular wedding and pre-wedding fun destination – and plenty of other things not nearly as wholesome as a good, fun drag show. So head over to the Phoenix Bar & Lounge, a beloved local LGBTQ+ bar, and enjoy the monthly burlesque shows – plus lots of other great entertainment.

Vegas Strip in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Atlanta, Georgia

The Big Peach is famous for food and music, lush outdoors, and its history and role in civil rights activism. It’s also home to Lips Restaurant, featuring drag dining and shows.

Sunset in Piedmont Park – Atlanta .

Los Angeles, California

Home to plenty of Hollywood celebrities, Disneyland, a blend of worldwide cultures, and major business centers; the City of Angels also features lots of LGBTQ+ culture and nightlife. There are plenty of options here, but I suggest checking out Wigs and Waffles, and enjoying their weekly drag brunches.

Los Angeles at Sunset.

Anchorage, Alaska

The state that stretches into the Arctic circle is known for its vast stretches of remote, pristine beauty and wildlife – including areas where you can glimpse the northern lights. Its largest city is also home to one of America’s favorite drag shows – Friday Night Divas, at Mad Myrna’s.

Beautiful green aurora borealis in Alaska.

Waikiki, Hawaii

In the lush tropics of the Hawaiian islands, get lei’d at Hula’s Bar and Lei Stand – and catch their monthly Mimosas and Marys daytime drag shows, plus plenty of other LGBTQ+ entertainment events.

Na Pali Coast with ship in Hawaii.

Portland, Oregon

The City of Roses is known for amazing urban parks, arts, beer, and taking pride in weirdness. Here, you’ll also find Darcelle XV, featuring beloved local drag shows.

Panoramic view of Portland city downtown.

Washington, D.C.

The capital of the USA is also home to drag brunch at Dupont Italian kitchen.

Washington, DC during spring.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The City of Brotherly Love has fascinating history, art, and cheesesteaks. While you’re there, also check out drag brunches, and drag bingo, at Philly Drag Mafia.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Kansas City, Missouri

The City of Fountains is famous for jazz, barbecue, art and history, and breweries. Here, you’ll also find weekly drag shows and events at Missie B’s.

Skyline in Kansas City, MO.

San Francisco, California

Of course, you saw this one coming. I saved the nation’s longstanding LGBTQ+ Mecca city for last. Drag shows and all kinds of other LGBTQ+ oriented events are abundant here, so there are plenty of choices. Check out shows and nightclub dancing at Oasis, drag brunches and events for lesbians at Jolene’s, dining and drag brunch at Lookout, and drinks and events at Midnight Sun; for a great sampling of what this beloved city has to offer.

Golden Gate bridge with fog over San Francisco.

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Thank you, dear readers, for reading, following, and sharing. Here’s to drag queens, to supporting their shows, and to keeping them open and legal.

Check out my other blog, too – World Class Hugs, at It’s about celebrating empathic people, balanced relationships, spirituality with a curious mind and open heart, and visiting gorgeous natural places.

Got a question you want answered through this blog? Submit your question to me here – and if you don’t already, please request to subscribe to the Free Range Life newsletter while you’re there!

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