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Queer-friendly destinations in America


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The following cities are considered gay-friendly destinations. Many host public gay events, have gay venues, and/or have active LGBT organizations. They're also considered to be hassle-free for gay travelers who are not seeking out specifically queer events/activities:

North America

North America is a mixed bag when it comes to LGBT rights. While Canada and the more liberal parts of the Untied States are among the most LGBT-friendly destinations in the world, many of the Caribbean island nations can be hotbeds of homophobia.

Canada

Few countries are more tolerant and gay-friendly than Canada, both in legislation and attitude, including legal same-sex marriage. Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation has been illegal since 1996, while discrimination of transgender people has been illegal since 2017. That said, not everyone has followed suit, particularly in rural and remote areas.

  • Toronto — see LGBT Toronto
  • Montreal — North American city with a European flavour, very tolerant and multicultural. The large Gay Village is a place where everybody goes out to have a good time. There is an annual Pride parade in August.
  • Vancouver — third largest gay community on the west coast. The Davie Village in the West End is the centre of the gay community. The annual Pride Parade takes place on the first weekend in August.
  • Ottawa — One of the five largest Canadian metropolitan areas, yet Ottawa-Hull historically had a small-town mentality compared to its larger neighbour Montréal (200km away), primarily as a result of its civil service heritage. No clearly-defined "gay ghetto", but there is an annual Capital Pride march (mid-August), various bars and an easily-recognisable cluster of gay-owned businesses in the "Old Ottawa South" section of Bank Street.
  • Edmonton — A gay-friendly city with its own Pride Festival.
  • St. John's — has a small gay population but is one of the most tolerant cities in Canada and a great place to vacation also holds gay pride events during the peak tourist times.
  • Moncton — Moncton features New Brunswick's largest LGBT Pride Parade and Festival every summer. Downtown Moncton has one nightclub specifically for the LGBT community and the downtown area is incredibly tolerant and accepting of the LGBT community.
  • Halifax — the gay-friendly capital of Nova Scotia and largest city in Atlantic Canada has many gay-friendly and gay-themed events throughout the year such as OUTeast Film Festival, Guerilla GayFare and Halifax Pride Parade. Halifax Pride is active in the community and hosts many events throughout the year.

Mexico

A largely Catholic country, Mexico is getting more gay-friendly all the time. Medium-sized and big cities as well as coastal resorts have gay bars and sometimes gay discos.

  • Mexico City – This huge city offers a vast array of gay bars and clubs, from stylish and slick to unassuming and friendly, in the elegant Zona Rosa and elsewhere. Also the first city in Latin America to legalize same-sex marriage.
  • Acapulco – Apart from the natural beauty of the Quebrada divers, this party place has hectic night clubs, strip joints and friendly bars. Most of your fellow travellers are Mexican.
  • Puerto Vallarta – Commonly considered the most gay-friendly destination in Mexico. The area known as the South Side or Zona Romántica in the southern part of the old city is the epicentre of gay nightlife and the popular gay beach, which consists largely of the Blue and Green chair restaurant/bar areas with their many palapas along Playa Los Muertos beach.

United States

By and large the USA is tolerant-to-accepting of LGBT travellers, especially in the larger cities, college towns, the Northeast, the West Coast and Hawaii. However, due to strong evangelical influences in some areas, as a whole, the USA is not as gay-friendly as Western Europe, Australia, New Zealand or Canada. Acceptance of homosexuality varies greatly from region to region, and in areas where tourists are most likely to visit, acceptance is at least as good as in Western Europe. On the other hand, locals may not be as accepting of homosexuality in some more rural inland areas away from the tourist trail, where the majority of people continue to be deeply religious. Legally speaking, homosexual relationships are equivalent to heterosexual relationships, and same-sex marriage has been legal nationwide since June 26, 2015 as a result of a Supreme Court decision. Laws preventing businesses from discriminating against LGBT people are however absent in states where acceptance is low.

Major destinations include:

West
  • Palm Springs – a small desert resort two hours east of Los Angeles, it has among the highest proportion of Gays and Lesbians in its population of any American city – also home to the annual White Party at Easter.
  • San Diego-Hillcrest – near downtown, Hillcrest is a vibrant community with the same no-attitude, relaxed atmosphere that defines San Diego
  • San Francisco – largely seen as the "gay mecca" of the USA; the Castro is one of the world's most famous gay neighborhoods.
  • Seattle – with a large and well-integrated gay population, welcomes LGBT vacationers who like the perks of the great outdoors during the day and great restaurants and nightlife in the evening.
  • West Hollywood – in the heart of the Los Angeles metropolitan area.
  • Portland - widespread acceptance throughout the city.
Northeast
  • Boston – the South End is the largest gay neighborhood, within reach of touristy attractions in the Back Bay and on the waterfront. Annual pride parade in June is the city's second largest festival after the Fourth of July.
  • Fire Island Pines and Cherry Grove – Two of the seventeen villages located on the Fire Island National Seashore (70 mi (110 km) from New York City) that are predominantly gay
  • Philadelphia – the "City of Brotherly Love" and the first destination in the world to create and air a television commercial specifically geared towards LGBT tourism, with a slogan "Get your history straight and your nightlife gay." Many gay bars and other businesses can be found in Washington Square West.
  • New HopePennsylvania – just outside Philadelphia; popular weekend getaway with a decidedly gay focus
  • New York City – Greenwich Village is the birthplace of the American gay rights movement; Chelsea is a centre of gay social life.
  • Northampton, Massachusetts – a lesbian mecca in Western Massachusetts, known for its art scene and surrounded by farms and mountains.
  • Ocean GroveNew Jersey – known as God's Square Mile, the Methodist resort is now a vacation resort and home to a diverse group of people.
  • OgunquitMaine on the Atlantic seacoast with cute bed & breakfasts
  • Provincetown – at the tip of Cape Cod, "P-Town" has long been famous as a queer getaway; now that same-sex marriage is legal, it's a popular place to tie the knot
  • Rehoboth Beach – a small beach town on the Delaware coast with a large and active LGBT community
  • Washington, D.C. – Dupont Circle and nearby Logan Circle are gay central in a very gay-friendly town, where you can subvert the national political culture, dancing the night away with gay Republican politicians and their staffers!
Midwest
  • Chicago – has an annual Pride Parade in the Boystown neighbourhood, which includes some of the city's best clubs and bars
  • Saugatuck, Michigan – small resort town with lots of LGBT friendly B&Bs, galleries, restaurants and shops next to Lake Michigan and popular with weekending Chicagoans
  • Minneapolis – Hosts the Twin Cities Pride festival every summer, and has many gay bars.
  • Pine City – small resort town hosts East Central Minnesota Pride every June, and has a quaint downtown shopping district.
  • Columbus - Capital of Ohio, most LGBT friendly city in Ohio with an annual pride festival.
South
  • Asheville – a city in western North Carolina with significant feminist and lesbian/gay communities.
  • Atlanta – with lots of gay venues, this metropolis has grown rapidly by attracting people from across the South; gays included.
  • Austin – very accepting, liberal city in Texas with lots of gay venues in the downtown area
  • Ft. Lauderdale – a "Gay HotSpot" in South Florida. The area has a large gay population, gay districts, and tons of gay bars, shops, and restaurants, especially in the City of Wilton Manors.
  • Galveston – a small island city just out side of Houston Texas that has some "Gay Only" hotels and some beaches that are generally queer only
  • Key West – the southernmost point of the US is also a famously liberal vacation spot with many options for LGBT travelers
  • Miami Beach – a glitzy and very queer-friendly beach resort that is also home to the annual White Party
  • New Orleans – With a very queer ambiance and a long history of gay life, this French Creole/African/American city hosts Southern Decadence every Labor Day Weekend and has many gay bars in the historic French Quarter. There is even a gay krewe at Mardi Gras.

Puerto Rico

  • San Juan – the 500-year-old island capital of Puerto Rico and “Gay Capital of the Caribbean”. San Juan is a definitively Latin American city and Spanish is predominant throughout the island. Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory with border-free access from the mainland and direct air links to Canada and Europe. With gay guest houses, restaurants, beaches and nightlife in the Condado and Santurce areas, San Juan offers the Caribbean's best gay scene.

Costa Rica

  • San José (Costa Rica) This is the country's capital and where most of the population in Costa Rica lives. This place is filled with bars and discos for gay people.
  • Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica's favourite gay vacation spot for locals and tourists. One of the nicest beaches on the Pacific Ocean, declared National Park for its amazing beauty. Many gay-owned, friendly hotels and commerce. Great nightlife.

South America

Argentina

  • Buenos Aires – The Argentine capital is one of the most popular gay travel destinations in South America. The city passed same-sex civil union legislation in 2002 and the country legalized same-sex marriage in 2010.

Brazil

  • Rio de Janeiro – Latin America's main gay destination, it was chosen as the sexiest gay destination in 2010 by TripOut Gay Travel Awards. In 2009 it was elected as the best lesbigay global destination. There is a famous gay beach. Acceptance of gay behaviour dates back to the 18th century. During colonial times the first gay ball of the Americas took place in Rio in 1757. Despite all this, many people in Rio are not tolerant of all aspects of LGBT behaviour outside the traditional venues of Ipanema and parts of Copacabana; same-sex displays of affection are likely to attract mocking whistles.
  • São Paulo – Home to the largest LGBT pride festival in the world, with some 3 million participants annually.

Chile

  • Santiago – Santiago is by far Chile's least conservative city, the only one where the 'Gay parade' and similar events are held. But beware that gay people in Chile should keep a low profile: Same-sex couples kissing in the street or holding hands (especially men) are going to attract stares, and, though homophobic physical attacks are somewhat unusual, there has been some unprovoked violence against gay couples.

Uruguay

Overall, the country is accepting of LGBT people. Harassment is rare and same-sex marriage was legalized in 2013.

  • Montevideo – The Uruguayan capital had a sexual diversity monument installed in 2005.

wikivoyage.org

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