The Biggest Baddest Lesser Known Gay Cities
The following is a guest post by UK-based blogger Ryan C. Haynes.
If you're going to travel gay, then you need to make sure you make a splash and dive deep in the big rainbow ocean of travel. You can choose the obvious and head for the large global cosmopolitan cities; head for the big gay pride parties and dance til dawn, or discover some of the more unknown gay neighbourhoods.
As a keen traveller, and one to discover the gayborhoods in every destination to which I set-foot, this post aims to give you some ideas for your next gay escape.
Straddling the southern coast of England, Brighton has become renowned as the gay home of the UK. Other than a busy gay scene that sits just beyond the stony beach; it has become the Mecca for British gay families and hosts the most diverse and liberal gay pride in August every year.
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Santa Clara, Cuba
It may sit in a communist country that continues to cut itself off from the rest of the world, but inside this state is developing in its own way. Hopping across the country by bus, and heading out for a night in Santa Clara (which is a university town in the middle of the country) I discovered a wreck of a building blasting colourful dance music, just off the town's main square. Beside it, a huge queue formed, largely a mix of men and transgender. Friendly and welcoming it didn't take long before we were ushered in and locals queued to talk to us and order drinks. By day Santa Clara may is a quiet run-down town, by night the students know how to make the most of life.
Quiet and tranquil in winter, by May Sitges has become the party town of Spain. Only in 2011 did the town launch its first gay pride event; but for decades this small quintessential Spanish town drew gay tourists from all across the world. It's single main street is decked out in rainbow flags with a mix of bars, clubs and restaurants and its own gay beach. In Sitges you'll be lucky to get any sleep.
Gran Canaria, The Canary Islands
Gran Canaria sits just off the North-West of Africa offering all year round sun for perfect summer and winter escapes. The Yumbo Centre in Playa Del Ingles is the gay party capital; this concrete outdoor shopping centre turns into an array of gay bars and clubs by 9pm – it's much like a gay theme park catering to all interests - continuing until dawn.
It's been pushing hard to be recognised as a gay destination, and it's no wonder why. The Swedes are so liberal and comfortable with their sexuality that it is often hard to decipher who is – and who isn't. Yet most bars and clubs have a gay streak and even the specific gay bars are popular with non-gay people. The best is the bar/club Hamburger Bors. The gay pride has been growing every year, and the parade now lasts over 2-hours.
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Wilton Manors – a few miles from the main stretch of golden beaches – was formally a run down area of town until the first gay bar popped up. Fort Lauderdale offers excellent beaches, sun and crystal clear seas; draped with gods and goddesses that then fill the quirky nightlife of gay sports bars and chic clubs.
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In the middle of the country, this university town offers a real authentic Argentine experience. By night, if you discover Beep then you are in for one of the best nights of your life. A vibrant atmosphere fueled by pure latin pop it's accompanied by welcoming locals and drag shows who struggled to keep their modesty, as (clearly modified) breasts jumped from under the Kylie Minogue-style cat suit. The bar only serves 1-litre drinks – so be careful with the cocktails.
Ryan C Haynes travels, writes about travel, documents travel by video, follows travel and provides updates on travel. He writes travel reports, analyses the hotel industry, looks out for new technology, new booking offers, and challenges how hotels sell to travelers. His specialist interest is in gay travel and seeks to uncover the best gay nightlife and that off the beaten track. Visit his blog, ryanchaynes.blogspot.com and YouTube channel or connect with him on Facebook and Twitter.