As the title says, this text is all about iconic gay travel destinations. I have gathered together places that are the most gay-friendly and have a lot to offer to gay and lesbian tourists. Cities with the best gay nightclubs, bars, restaurants and bathhouses. Locations where it is safe to openly display your affections on the streets and the beaches. I’m also mentioning one city that at the moment due to political issues isn’t as safe as it used to be, but still can attract LGBT tourists. If you’re planning your vacation, this text will help you decide where to go on your next “Big Hot Gay Travel”.
Denmark is the first country in history to legalize same sex partnerships in 1989. Since 2012 it also approves of same sex marriages. That’s how open the Danish people are. Copenhagen has one of the best developed queer tourist information in the world. There is a special website, a guide and an app. Really close to the city hall there is the Centralhjørnet – one of the oldest gay cafés in the city. But there are also a lot of clubs and pubs to choose from, so that you can party and socialize away.
Another european capital – Berlin is also known for its openness towards homosexuals. The fact that city mayor is openly gay is reason enough to say that it’s good to be gay in Berlin. There are over 125 gay nightclubs, bars, cafés, saunas and hotels spread all over the city, so you will most definitely not be bored. The oldest gay district – Schöneberg is the best known gay venue in the town and it’s history dates back to 1920’s.
Copenhagen was the first to legalize gay partnerships, but it were the Dutchmen, who took it one step further by legalizing gay marriages in 2001. The first place you should go to after landing in Amsterdam is the Pink Point, which is a LGBT information point for tourists. There you can ask for all current events you can attend to and collect your free gay tourist bag full of maps, magazines and discount coupons for the best gay venues in the city. And the kiosk is located right next to Homomonument, which is one of the first monuments in the world to commemorate all the homosexuals, who have ever been oppressed because of their sexuality. 100% worth seeing.
4. RIO DE JANEIRO
There is heat in Rio! And I don’t only mean the weather. The gay capital of South America has a pretty spectacular scene, with it’s clubs, and open air parties taking place during hot, brazilian nights. But actually the one place you cannot miss is Ipanema beach, where everyone enjoys the sun and crystal clear water. There are a lot of small shops and boutiques as well as restaurants and cafés. No wonder it always places high in rankings of the most popular travel destinations in the world.
5. SAN FRANCISCO
Now, this is the city that needs no introductions in LGBT community, as it is believed to be the gay capital of the United States. People of San Francisco are warm and open to diversity. And according to recent surveys as much as 15% of them are openly gay! The most important part of gay scene is the Castro neighbourhood with number of good places and Castro Theatre, that features gay movies and sing-a-long musical evenings. If you want to go there, try planning the visit in the last Sunday of June, when a famous Pride takes place, attracting visitors from all over the world.
6. NEW YORK
Gay or straight, you will find ways to enjoy yourself New York. For one, there’s Broadway – the most famous theatre street in the world. Not to mention Times Square, a number of art galleries and museums, etc. Exclusively for LGBT New York has arguably the best nightlife to offer, especially in West Side Manhattan, the Chelsea neighbourhood. You can also visit the Stonewall Inn, where in 1969 a group of gay man stood up against the police raid. This event is considered the beginning of the struggle for gay equality in the U.S. so the place might attract your attention.
The biggest city of Australia is also one of the favourite LGBT destinations, and it’s not hard to guess why. Sydney’s Oxford street is the epicenter of queer nightlife, with it’s multitude of bars and clubs. There is also the Sydney Mardi Gras – one of the most recognisable LGBT Pride Parades worldwide. And the beaches! The one that will definitely grab your interest is called Bondi Beach, where all the people from the business come to relax and enjoy the sun, the Pacific and each others company.
8. TEL AVIV
If cities had a sexuality, Tel Aviv would be a declared gay. It’s openness is what defines it and stands it out from all the other countries of the region. Most of the venues worth visiting are located on the Rothschild Boulevard. Well, maybe with the exception of the beaches. Warm, Mediterranean climate and clean seaside is what tourists appreciate the most in this place. When it comes to events, TLV Festival in June is worth seeing, as one of the biggest LGBT themed film festivals in the world.
Surprising as it may sound, Tokyo is also one of the best places for gay tourism. However, in order to go there, you must understand the Japanese mentality – they are really concerned with tradition. This is why gay men usually get married and start a family and they only act on their gay nature occasionally. In Tokyo there are gay bars and clubs, but a lot of them target locals. They usually allow foreigners in, but without knowing the language it could prove pretty difficult for you to even order a drink. On the other hand, there are also places, where locals come especially to hang out with foreigners. So why not Tokyo?
While I’m writing this text, in France there is a discussion about legalizing same sex marriages. And this, unfortunately, is the reason why Paris is so unsafe to LGBT tourists these days. There have been reports on displays of homophobia and attacks on homosexulas both in Paris and in other cities in France. I hope this is just temporary, because Paris as all the cities listed above has so much to offer to gay tourists. The most important Parisian LGBT district is “Le Marais” – gay scene focus is here. Plenty of clubs, bars, restaurants, bathhouses and fashion shops for gays and lesbians. And if the neighbourhood is too expensive for you, you can alway have some good time in other places all over the city.
This is it. Nine perfect gay travel destinations and one that isn’t safe at the moment (but hopefully not for long now). They all have a lot in common – they are all places where citizens don’t feel threatened by people who are different. Those citizens are full of acceptance and tolerance and this is what makes their cities ideal for LGBT tourists. If you need some more help organizing your trip, you can find some advice on gay traveling in one of my previous posts.
OK, now is the time to stop hesitating on where to go for vacation. Just pick a number from 1 to 9! Any choice will be good for you.