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8 of the Best LGBTQ-Friendly Travel Destinations to Visit in the US and Abroad

LGBTQ-Friendly Destinations
Written by Danielle Thillet

We’re living in very progressive and exciting times. Since same-sex marriage became legal in the United States. in 2015, along with several other countries around the world, acceptance of the LGBTQ community is at its highest ever. Trans folk can be seen gracing the cover of magazines and working in the White House. Unfortunately, not everywhere in the world is equally accepting, so world travel can be a daunting endeavor. To make things easier, we’ve compiled a list of some of the top LGBTQ-friendly destinations.

Copenhagen, Denmark

LGBTQ-Friendly Destinations in Copenhagen

This city has no shortage of inspiring history. If the birthplace of beloved author Hans Christian Anderson, with its endearing architecture doesn’t inspire you to take cheap flights in June – how about visiting the first country to legally recognize same-sex partners, as well as a city with one of the oldest gay bars in Europe – Centralhjørnet? Of course, there’s also the waterfront, the vibrant arts scene, Strøget (Europe’s longest pedestrian street and the city’s largest shopping area), and beautiful Tivoli Gardens!

Boulder, Colorado

Looking for outdoor, family-friendly fun in a progressive U.S. city? Boulder is a great college town with ample shopping, restaurants (with lots of great vegetarian options), and tons of sports activities. Where else can you go kayaking, snowshoeing, fishing, watch a show at the Colorado Shakespeare Festival, and drink a pint at local craft breweries? Plus, Colorado has a trans-inclusive nondiscrimination law that’s sure to make everyone feel welcomed.

Sitges, Spain

LGBTQ-Friendly Destinations in Spain

You may have heard lately that Sitges is one of the best LGBTQ-friendly destinations. For one thing, the raucous Carnaval usually takes place around Mardi Gras, while the beach parties on its gorgeous shores start promptly in spring — both great events for LGBTQ folks. Sitges also is home to Spain’s first gay disco. If you’re the less party, more arty type, head to Sitges in October for the International Film Festival.

Related: LGBT Destination Weddings: Best Places to Host Your Nuptials

San Diego

LGBTQ-Friendly Destinations in San Diego

Have a beer at one of the first gay breweries, Hillcrest Brewing Co., before exploring the rest of San Diego’s LGBTQ-friendly neighborhood. This little slice of heaven is packed with bars and pubs, so head out for a crawl and enjoy this vibrant gay community in San Diego. While you’re visiting, be sure to check out the San Diego Zoo, Balboa Park, Sunset Cliffs, and the city’s other famous attractions. California is well-known for being a progressive, open-minded state, so you’ll have no trouble meeting like-minded folks and enjoying San Diego’s shopping, dining, and entertainment options to the fullest.

London

LGBTQ-Friendly Destinations in London

London is well known as the home of the royal family, but it’s also home to a thriving LGBTQ neighborhood. The city’s SoHo district has become the center point of London’s gay community, and there’s plenty of things to see and do. Food, nightlife, and live entertainment are abundant in SoHo, and there’s no shortage of LGBT bars where you can imbibe. Elsewhere in the city, some of the best art galleries and museums are waiting for you to explore. Sightseeing along the South Bank will allow you to get a good look at Big Ben, the London Eye, Tate Modern, and more.

Toronto

LGBTQ-Friendly Destinations in Toronto

Canada is one of the most LGBT-friendly countries in the world, and you’ll find two LGBT neighborhoods in Toronto. The Gay Village in Toronto lies right in the heart of downtown near Church and Wellesley Streets. Gay-friendly shopping, bustling restaurants and cafes, and exciting nightlife can be found here. If you want to dive into the culture and experience the arts while you’re in Toronto, the Queer West gay community offers galleries galore. The citizens of Toronto are fun, cultured, and open-minded, so you can easily enjoy the best of what the city has to offer.

New Zealand

They’re not just accepting of queer travelers, they are reaching out! New Zealand was one of the first countries to adopt the term Gay/Lesbian Friendly in reference to its tourism and businesses and has been actively encouraging LGBTQ visitors since legalizing same-sex marriage in 2013. Take a hike aroundMiddle Earth and discover wildlife. Enjoy water activities like boat cruises, diving, and surfing. Learn about the fascinating Māori culture (the indigenous people of New Zealand).

New York City

LGBTQ-Friendly Destinations in New York City

The Big Apple is one of the most progressive cities, and it also boasts one of the largest LGBT populations. LGBT culture thrives in New York City. In 1969, the city saw the Stonewall Riots, one of the first gay rights movements to ever occur. New York City hosts the annual Pride March down Fifth Avenue, one of the largest LGBT celebrations in the world. No matter where you go in New York, you’ll find open-minded people, gay-friendly dining and shopping, and countless tourist attractions. New York City even has LGBT-friendly houses of worship if you wish to attend religious services while visiting.

Know of any other LGBTQ-friendly travel destinations that we didn’t mention? Tell us about them in the comments below! 

About the author

Danielle Thillet

Danielle (Danyell) Thillet is a writer, illustrator, and social media professional living in Brooklyn, NY with her spouse and an orange cat. She can be reached at danyellthillet.com

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