These nine vibrant cities and beach destinations in the U.S. attract travelers from across the globe, and are particularly popular among the LGBTQ community.
Often considered the country’s — if not the world’s — “gay capital,” San Francisco is a historical center for the LGBTQ community. All areas of the city, which has the highest percentage of people who identify as LGBT anywhere in the country, are extremely gay-friendly, but the Castro neighborhood is the epicenter of activity with bars, restaurants and shops catering specifically to the community.
2. Castro neighborhood
Hawaii is a breathtakingly beautiful island destination for any traveler, but all of the islands are also extremely gay-friendly and a great place to get married since the passage of the Hawaii Marriage Equality Act in 2013. The Puna District, one of the nine districts on the Big Island, is just one key spot to hit, both for the amazing scenery (it’s home to the famous Kilauea volcano) and for accommodations that cater specifically to the LGBTQ community.
Texas isn’t often considered a top destination for LGBT travelers, but its liberal, fun-loving, university town capital city is a different story. Though it doesn’t have a specific gay neighborhood, downtown Austin is the place to be for food, drinks, and, especially, live music. Travelers can pay a visit to the local Gay Community Center for recommendations of where to go and what to see.
Home to what has often been called the best gay resort in the world, Island House, Key West is a top destination for gay men. While Island House, which is clothing optional and men-only, might be for more adventurous travelers, almost every hotel, B&B, restaurant and bar in Key West is either designed for or frequented by members of the LGBTQ community.
Provincetown, on the extreme tip of Cape Cod, has been known for decades of as the LGBT vacation destination on the east coast, with one of the highest population rates of gay couples in the country. Visit for the beaches, lighthouses, and friendly company.
The desert oasis, a few hours outside of Los Angeles, is famous for its sun, pools, and being a favored destination of the Rat Pack. Now, the city, which is also full of galleries and design centers for when you need to escape the sometimes unbearable heat, is also a top destination for LGBTQ folks.
Sometimes cheekily called “Santa Gay,” this bustling New Mexico town is famous for its beautiful landscape and impressive arts scene. Though there’s no gay neighborhood or area of town, the whole city is welcoming to the LGBT community — the current mayor is the city’s first to be openly gay.
While most travelers flock to this southern city in February for Mardi Gras, the LGBTQ community often goes six months later, over Labor Day weekend for Southern Decadence — often called the gay Mardi Gras festival. If you like costumes, parades, and lots of parties, this is the destination for you. Don’t forget to ride a streetcar and indulge in a beignet at Cafe Du Mode while you’re there.
The cosmopolitan center of the U.S. (and also the home of Broadway plays and musicals), New York has long been known as a center for LGBTQ life. Though traditionally Chelsea was the gay center of the city, and it still has a large gay population, the entire city is extremely LGBT-friendly.
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This article was written by Isabella Sayyah.