In most parts of the world, being gay is punishable by death. Or at least it feels that way if you're an LGBTQ traveler who has forgotten to pack your rainbow flag. To help ensure you stay safe while having a blast, we've rounded up our top 10 LGBTQ travel destinations. We chose these cities because they have large LGBTQ communities, are known for their inclusivity and safety, or have some other special quality that makes them perfect for any traveler who wants to make sure they have a good time without fearing for their life. So pull out your passport and dust off your dancing shoes—it's time to turn up!
San Francisco, California
San Francisco, California:
One of the most socially progressive cities in the world, San Francisco is a mecca for LGBTQ travel. It’s home to some of America’s first gay and lesbian bars and a vibrant community that embraces all things queer. The city’s annual Pride celebration attracts over 1 million people every year, making it one of the largest in the world!
Along with being a hub for LGBTQ-focused events, there are also many gay-friendly businesses here—including hotels like Hotel Kabuki (where you can stay at same-sex rates) and restaurants like Chiado Restaurant & Bar ($10 off if you mention us).
Toronto is one of the most LGBTQ friendly cities in the world. Known for its gay bars, clubs, and Pride Parade, it has a large gay population. The Gay Village is located in downtown Toronto where you can find many shops and restaurants catering to the LGBT community. It's also home to a large number of gay organizations that organize activities for this group of people.
In addition to being an inclusive city with lots of things to do for members of the LGBTQ community (like Pride), Toronto is also known for being multicultural—it's home to people from diverse backgrounds with different cultures, religions, languages and ethnicities who all contribute something unique to our city!
New York City, New York
New York City is the most populous city in the United States, with almost 8 million residents. It’s also home to one of the nation's largest LGBTQ populations, who enjoy a flourishing gay scene that includes bars and clubs, restaurants and cafes—and yes, even a few TV shows!
New York hosts one of the country's largest annual pride festivals: Pride March NYC attracts more than 200,000 people each year (including plenty from outside New York). The event begins at Greenwich Village and ends with a party at Christopher Street Pier on Hudson River Park grounds during which attendees can watch fireworks light up New York Harbor.
New York’s famous Gay Men's Chorus has been performing since 1987 but only recently gained recognition when they performed “The Music Man” in 2012 at Carnegie Hall.
Manchester is England's second most populous city and home to some of the country's most famous football teams, including Manchester United and Manchester City. This former industrial town is a major center for the arts, commerce, and industry. It has been dubbed the "Heart of England" because of its location at the meeting point between Lancashire and Cheshire; as such it has become an unofficial capital to many residents living in northwest England.
Manchester's economy was once driven by cotton mills but today it thrives on digital media, biotechnology and financial services instead. If you want to experience some traditional English culture then there are plenty of museums and galleries located around this city including The Whitworth Art Gallery which houses over 16000 objects including paintings by Monet & Van Gogh
Berlin is probably the most LGBTQ friendly city in Europe. The capital of Germany has a very vibrant gay scene, it's a cosmopolitan city that attracts people from all over the world and it's become known as an international center for art and culture.
If you're looking for some fun after dark, Berlin has something to offer everyone - whether you want to dance at one of its many clubs or just have some drinks at happy hour with friends. If your tastes lean more towards the artsy side, then you'll love visiting this city’s famous museums such as the Pergamon Museum or Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister (Old Master paintings) where you can see works by Rembrandt van Rijn, Rubens and Dürer among others.
Tel Aviv, Israel
Israel is often overlooked as a travel destination for LGBTQ travelers, but it's one of the most welcoming countries on Earth. Tel Aviv is home to over 20 gay bars and clubs, an annual Pride parade that attracts hundreds of thousands of people every year, and an extremely active LGBTQ community. The city has its own annual Gay Pride week in June with plenty of parties and events throughout the week.
Auckland, New Zealand
Auckland is the largest city in New Zealand and the most populous city in Polynesia. It's also the most populous city in the Pacific Islands, and therefore Oceania as a whole. The word Auckland translates to "the place of many bays," which is fitting considering that there are over 100 beaches within a 20-minute drive of downtown Auckland. While there isn't any specific LGBTQ history to be found here (though their pride parade is one of the biggest celebrations), it's still an extremely queer-friendly destination that has been ranked among Lonely Planet's top 10 places to visit this year.
Medellin is the second largest city in Colombia, but it's a lot more than just a big metropolis. It's located in the Aburra Valley, which has some of the most stunning views you'll find anywhere on earth. The city also offers colonial architecture and an excellent nightlife scene—not to mention that it's one of the most LGBTQ friendly cities in Latin America!
Reykjavik is the capital and largest city of Iceland, with a population of around 121,000 people. The city is located in southwestern Iceland, on the southern shore of Faxaflói Bay. It has a relatively mild climate for its latitude owing to the Gulf Stream. The area around Reykjavik was settled in 930 AD as part of the original settlement that grew into modern-day Reykjavik called Bessastaðir. Reykjavík bests Oslo as Europe’s most gay-friendly destination with its long LGBT history dating back to at least 1852 when it became home to an out lesbian community thanks in part to its geothermal baths (which are open all year round).
Cape Town, South Africa
The Cape is a very safe city and a great place to visit in winter. You will be able to see the southern hemisphere's only penguins at Boulders Beach, go horseback riding on Table Mountain and hike in Muizenberg.
You can also enjoy fine dining at restaurants like Steer's or The Test Kitchen by Heston Blumenthal, which was named one of the world’s 50 best restaurants by Restaurant Magazine in 2016 (the only South African restaurant on this list). It has an incredible view of False Bay from its outdoor terrace, where you can watch whales swimming by as you sip your wine.
Amsterdam is one of the most gay-friendly cities in Europe, and it's a great place to visit no matter who you are. Its diverse culture and tolerant population make this city a perfect destination for LGBTQ travelers looking to explore their options without feeling judged or unsafe. Plus, Amsterdam has tons of things to do that appeal to everyone's interests—whether you're into art, history or partying! If you're looking for an affordable trip that'll also keep your wallet happy, then consider flying on United Airlines (they're known as being very LGBTQ friendly).
If you're looking for LGBTQ travel destinations, you really can't go wrong with any of these options. We hope this list has given you some ideas for places to visit, and we'd love to hear from you about your own favorite places around the world. Happy travels Navy Gang!