Traveling has now become a fad as it is now one of the favorite pastimes of people. It has improved through the years because traveling has been accessible more than ever. And for the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) community, going on a vacation in these LGBT-friendly cities is a must! This is where you would surely enjoy the metropolitan bliss of what is in store.
As the universal acceptance of the LGBT community is still on its way into fruition, the following gay-friendly cities create a friendlier and more welcoming environment. Making it more comfortable for everyone, these cities also promote tourism for the rainbow-blooded. These cities also pave the way into inclusive tourism, regardless of one’s gender preference.
So these are the LGBT-friendly cities that should be the next to be crossed out from your travel bucket list:
10. Montevideo, Uruguay
Photo: Two Bad Tourists
You probably wouldn’t have thought that a South American country such as Uruguay would be included in this list of world’s gayest cities. As the southern continent is known to have conservative and controversial views on homosexuality, Uruguay stood out of its way as being one of the countries seeing gayness being a normal act.
Montevideo, Uruguay’s largest city has been the seat of the LGBT pride in the country, making it one-of-a-kind in South America. Although a small country, Uruguay is considered to be one of the more progressive nations in the continent.
Being the second Latin American country (Argentina being the first one) to legalize same-sex marriage, anti-homosexuality rulings have been in existence since 1934. Compared to other Latin American capital cities such as Buenos Aires and Brasilia, Montevideo provides a more relaxing and laid-back atmosphere, especially to the gay traveler.
Montevideo is home to one of the few homomonuments in the world – The Sexual Diversity Monument. Erected in 2005, this graffiti-covered monument is one of the first in South America dedicated to the upholding of rights and equality of all gender orientations. The City is also the setting of the Rambla de Montevideo, a 25-Kilometer promenade where some of the gay-friendly establishments can be found for the adventurous gay traveler. It is also where you will find the “Friendly Point,” a tourist information center exclusively for gays.
9. Toronto, Canada
Toronto’s famed “The Village” is the seat of the LGBT culture in the whole of Canada. As the main gayborhood right at the center of Toronto, LGBT members flock primarily at Church and Wellesley Streets where the entertainment begins. Same as with the other gay-friendly cities in the world, this area in Toronto is packed with gay-oriented establishments where they can enjoy the gay culture.
Gay Pride activities in Toronto are one of the liveliest and largest in the world. Their Pride celebrations are not just a day or two but it lasts for a week or so (a.k.a. The Pride Week Celebrations), together with the Pride March, and the Dyke March (for Lesbians). These celebrations turn Toronto into a huge party club with streets and parking lots turned into party grounds drawing over a million visitors from around the world yearly.
As one of the major cities in North America, Toronto is also one of the progressive cities that accept and recognize LGBT rights. Gay travelers to this diverse city would often observe Toronto’s cleanliness, as compared to London and New York. This rainbow city also hosts an annual film festival every fall, and is also home to museums and first class theatrical productions.
Notably on June of 2005, Canada became the first country outside Europe and the fourth country to legalize same-sex marriage. So if you want to experience a different kind of hospitality, why not consider visiting Toronto (and other gay cities such as Montreal, Vancouver, and capital Ottawa) and celebrate its vibrant LGBT atmosphere.
8. Paris, France
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Bonjour to this City of Lights also called the City of Love (with the gay kind included)! This world-renowned tourist destination should really not be missed in this list. As the first city in the world to elect an openly-gay mayor in the person of Bertrand Delanoë in 2001, Paris will never be Paris if not because of the LGBT species.
Marais, the city’s chic neighborhood, is one of the gayest “gayborhoods” in the world, lining it up with Toronto’s The Village, San Francisco’s Castro District, and Madrid’s Chueca. The district comprises of at least 40% LGBT-owned and operated establishments, making the atmosphere much gayer than anywhere else in Europe, and probably the world.
The gay landscape in Paris just gets bigger and gayer by the day, offering locals and tourists gay-friendly establishments complementing the whole Parisian experience. The city’s Gay Pride Parade is one of the most sought-after events in France as the streets are filled with rainbow colors for the whole celebration and attracts approximately 1 million visitors.
7. Berlin, Germany
This self-indulgent European City is just one of the places on earth where LGBT rights are very much recognized and welcomed. Described by many as “Europe’s gayest capital” contesting Amsterdam and Madrid, Berlin is not yet off the track. With its share of numerous bars and restaurants where gays and straights can peacefully jive, Berlin should not be ignored just like that.
Berlin also caught everyone’s attention as they elected an openly gay mayor in 2001. And like other gay-friendly cities, they also have The Schwules Gay Museum and a gay memorial which presents the everyday struggle of the LGBT community through exhibits. There are also several gay publications circulating the suburbs of Berlin telling the gay traveler what should be done and what place should be visited next.
With its vibrant gay life, Berlin hosts extravagant and sometimes profligate parties mainly focusing on the ‘LGBT culture.’ Here, you will find a large number of LGBT attractions (larger than those found in London, New York, and even San Francisco) giving justice to it as a premier Gay City. As a place of liberalism, too, you can even see sunbathers in the shores of Germany naked.
The city also hosts the annual Lesbian and Gay City Festival every (month) – one of the largest of its kind in Europe. Other places such as Friedrichshain, Prenzlauerberg, and Schöneberg (the place of the Pride Parade), host a number of gay venues and offers complementing every gay traveler’s experience. LGBTs in this city live liberally without the fear of discrimination or persecution as there are laws in Berlin prohibiting such.
So if you really want to enjoy what Berlin has to offer, just go to a nearest newsstand and get a copy of monthly magazines and other spreads where the fun just waits for you to dive in!
6. Amsterdam, The Netherlands
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Earning the title as the world’s most liberal city, Amsterdam is also a perfect haven for the wandering gay. You will never get lost in this City of 1.5 million people as being ‘gay’ is normal (surely, they wouldn’t mind). It also turned pages as it was the first country to legalize same-sex marriage. Gay couples can walk here hand-in-hand while enjoying the picturesque views of the Dutch capital.
As the city of many firsts, Amsterdam is also home to the world’s first “homomonument,” inaugurated in 1987. This is to remember the homosexual persecutions done in the past and it also serves as a symbol of the city’s tolerance on the rights of the LGBT community. Unlike other European cities listed here, Amsterdam deliberately assumes the title as “Europe’s Gay Capital” – thanks to centuries-old statutes decriminalizing homosexuality.
It is also only in Amsterdam where they hold their Pride Parade on the scenic canals of the city, making it one-of-a-kind. This is also the first city where homosexual couples can exercise their rights as early as year 1811 where no other place would allow such rights to flourish.
Amsterdam also has the largest number of gay-friendly attractions and establishments per square meter than anywhere else in the world. How about that! As one of the most sought-after cities by tourists and locals alike, the city perfectly combines its rich history with the picturesque views of downtown infused with the tolerance (and gayness) which they are renowned for.
Reguliersdwarsstraat a.k.a. Rue des Vaseline is considered as Amsterdam’s main gay street, with the strip featuring numerous live show clubs, gay hotels and establishment that mainly cater to the LGBT community. The city asserts it reputation and liberalism for as long as it can remember. They were not turned back down as the world hears that they are proud to share to the rest of the world that they are open-minded and free!
5. San Francisco, California, USA
Debatably one of the most LGBT friendly cities in the world alongside the Big Apple, San Francisco is considered as the “world’s original gay Mecca.”Making up 15% of the whole population of the city, the world-famous Castro District is where all gay things happen – the center of the gay world. Accented by their annual Pride Parade every June is gay-friendly establishments that contributes more to the rainbow fun.
Being one of the world’s friendliest and liberal cities, SanFo’s mayor conducted a mass wedding of over 4,000 gay couples in 2004 – putting the city on the vanguard of recognizing LGBT rights. The GLBT Historical Society, with the moniker “The Queer Smithsonian,” holds the largest collection of gay archives or mementos and queer art exhibits in the US. The City also hosts the San Francisco Gay & Lesbian Film Festival in celebration of the Pride Month every June.
As being one of the most active LGBT cities in the world, San Francisco, particularly in “The Castro” holds the Castro Street fair every October where the gay traveler would find lots of gay stuff and attractions that is worth remembering while traveling in (San Francisco’s nickname).
4. New York, New York, USA
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Considered by many as the place where Gay Pride was born, the Big Apple rose as one of the friendliest places on earth for gays as it has the most liberal views in accepting and recognizing LGBT rights.
Home to Stonewall Inn, the site of the “Stonewall riots” in the late ‘60s, New York has become the center of the LGBT liberation movement that sparked the fight for LGBT rights in the US and consequently in other parts of the world.
Most of Manhattan Island in downtown New York is one big, happy gayborhood having a large number of gay bars, shops, and clubs such as those in West Village, Chelsea, Hell’s Kitchen, and the Meatpacking District, that cater to the LGBT traveler and local alike. As it is described by many as the “Gay Capital of the World,” New York never fails to deliver. This city is the reason why Gay Pride Parades became popular all over the world.
As it holds the crown for being the birthplace and international symbol of the gay rights movement, New York is also dotted with several LGBT landmarks such as the Christopher Street (where Stonewall Inn is), the Lesbian Herstory Archive, and the Harvey Milk School.
Since 2011, when New York allowed same-sex marriages, LGBT support from everyone else in the city has grown, as evidenced by proliferation of many gay-friendly establishments. This gay Mecca in North America could not just be simply ignored in your bucket list when considering visiting gay-friendly cities in the world.
For a more enjoyable trip to New York City, try Central Park Pedicab Tours!
3. London, England, Great Britain
Known worldwide for its premier tourist spots such as The Big Ben, The London Eye, and River Thames among others, the English Capital is also known as having the largest LGBT community in Europe! Not only that, city of London is also the capital of gay art and you will never run out of gay things to do.
Home to SoHo, London’s LGBT epicenter, the district is filled with gay-friendly establishments suitable for all tastes. If you are kinda lost and don’t know where to go, there are some free flyers scattered around the district that will surely lead you to the right gay destination you wouldn’t want to miss – be it a party, a lavish dinner somewhere, or anything gay as you wish.
As London have recently approved and accepted same-sex marriages in the Union, it boosted its popularity even more as it hosts one of the biggest Gay Pride Parades in the world. The city also never runs out of culture-centered events (such as the Gay and Lesbian Film Festival) and everything uniquely gay in the establishments that are gay-friendly – talk about the best nightlife you will experience when you’re there! There is much more for the LGBT traveler when experiencing the English hospitality.
2. Madrid, Spain
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Ooh la la! Considered the “gayest place in Europe,” the chic city of Madrid is the top choice of the LGBT traveler. Having an open acceptance to the gay community and being a 24/7 haven, the sexually-diverse district of Chueca in the heart of Madrid is the place to be!
Referred by many as one of the gayest neighborhoods in the world, Chueca is also Europe’s nightlife capital – boasting numerous bars, clubs, restaurants, and hotels that mainly cater to the LGBT community. You will see that every establishment in Chueca will have a certain gay influence to it, making it friendlier for the LGBTs and straights alike. Not just that, there are also free gay publications scattered around the district to bring everyone to the right gay destination.
Plaza Chueca in Downtown Madrid is where everyone of any gender preference meets. It is the starting point of your LGBT journey in Madrid, as many would say. The city also boasts several gay nights that is being showcased almost every night of the week. How vibrant is that? You will really never run out of options when visiting Madrid, especially if it is your first time.
Gay life has influenced much of the city that it is now more than just a “gayborhood.” Being part of the LGBT community in Spain is considered a lifestyle – nothing else!
Locals in Madrid are very open in accepting the LGBT community and it adds more to the lively atmosphere in the city. Ask a local and he or she probably would point you to the coolest place in town that is guaranteed to rock your world!
The kilometer-strip of Chueca is one of the densest gay communities in the world. Hosting an estimated 500,000 local gay population and a number of tourists, Chueca is the place to beat in terms of what a gay community has to offer.
Their annual gay parade, “Fiesta del Orgullo” draws an estimate crowd of 2 million from every part of the world. Madrid is also a perfect wedding destination for gays as same-sex marriage is legal in the city. As this exciting city is the gayest of them all, they have a popular saying that “When you’re in Madrid, you’re from Madrid.”
1. Tel Aviv, Israel
Some of you might be wondering why the Holy Land of Israel is one of the gayest places on earth. I ask, why not? This thriving Mecca for the LGBT community in the Middle East is one of the biggest and first in continental Asia.
Particularly in Tel Aviv, LGBT rights are one of the most advanced in Asia, making it a favorite destination of gay travelers outside Europe. Israel, too, is the first Asian country to recognize cohabitation among same-sex couples and is the only Asian country to recognize same-sex union even though same-sex marriage is not allowed to be performed in Israeli soil.
Dubbed as the “Gay Capital of the Middle East,” Tel Aviv is also famous for their gay beaches and their annual Pride Parade. In 2014, a monument was built to remember the gay victims of the Holocaust in the ’30s and ’40s.
Israel also has a law in which discrimination of the members of the LGBT community is prohibited. Openly gays, lesbians, and bisexuals are also allowed to serve in the military. One highlight of the LGBT community in Israel is that in 1992, employment discrimination on the basis of gender orientation was prohibited. And lately in 2014, young members of the LGBT community were given protection in schools in the whole of Israel.
With its active gay community and being the “gayest city on earth,” Tel Aviv is also known for its annual Gay Pride Parade together with Jerusalem since 1998. Celebrated every June, the parade is attended by hundreds of thousands of gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgenders alike, making it the biggest Gay Pride Parade in Asia.
The city of Tel Aviv is also the first location in Israel to hold “gay events” and it is also the first city to host a Gay Pride Parade. As it is one of the tolerant cities in Asia for LGBTs, this is the perfect haven for gay tourists and locals who seek a place to hang out with others of the same interests and views.
Surpassing cities such as London, New York, and even Madrid, almost every member of the LGBT community agree that Tel Aviv is the center of LGBT culture. And it was also proclaimed as the best gay travel destination in 2011 through a worldwide survey done by GayCities.com.
As it has always been regarded as a gay-friendly place, Tel Aviv made its presence known to the LGBT community by opening its doors to everyone, regardless of race, religion, and gender orientation. Who would have thought of an Asian country to hold the title as the world’s gayest place? As Tel Aviv draws in approximately 5,000 gay tourists every month, this city holds the crown as the world’s gayest, loved by most rainbow-blooded.
Do you have any more cities to add to the list? Feel free to leave your thoughts on the comment box below!
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