Top USA destinations for LGBT travellers

The most progressive cities in the USA are not only open and LGBT-friendly, they actually know how to celebrate LGBT life and they do it in style!


Epicentre of the LGBT South, Georgia's capital is home to a vibrant gay community and a top destination for LGBT visitors. Atlanta Pride, this year October 12-14 2018, traces its roots back to the summer of 1970, one year after the historic Stonewall Riots in New York. Since that time Atlanta Pride, pictured right and bottom, has grown both as an event and organisation. Gay-friendly venues, events and attractions welcome visitors throughout the city and include Mary’s bar in East Atlanta, recently voted ‘Best Gay Bar’ by Out Magazine. 


Named one of OUT Magazine's top USA destinations for LGBT travellers, the historic city of Alexandria, just minutes from Washington, D.C. is hugely welcoming to LGBTQ couples, families and friends. Local business are all geared up for LGBTQ traveller, from bars and clubs, to hotels offering LGBTQ packages including The Trevor Project Package at Kimpton Lorien Hotel & Spa in Old Town, or the Out and About Package at the Old Colony Inn. Pride month – June – is a great month for LGBTQ visitors, with more than 20 events organised through the town, from Priday Night at Port City Brewing Company and LGBTQ-inspired book readings, art and theatre programming, to Rainbow Doggy Yappy Hour at Jackson 20 and more at the city's Torpedo Factory Art Center.     


This year’s Baltimore Pride Festival will be held between 7-17 June 2018. Mount Vernon is Baltimore’s cultural epicentre dotted with brownstones, museums, galleries, shops and restaurants that were once the grand mansions of Baltimore's 19th-century industrialists. It is also the city’s ‘gayborhood’, home to festivals, theatres, museums, and architectural gems along with some of the city’s popular LGBTI bars and businesses.



The LGBTQ-friendly state of Illinois has just launched its 'Amazing for All' initiative ahead of the summer season, with locals sharing their tips to encourage travellers to take a holiday from the ordinary, explore the state and hashtag their experience with #AmazingforAll. The season kicks off with Chicago celebrate the 40th anniversary of International Mr Leather (24-28 May), followed by Midsommarfest (8-10) June, Chicago Pridefest (16-17 June) and Pride in Chicago (24 June).



Given how important apres-ski is to the majority of skiers, and how hard LGBT travellers can party, it’s no surprise that so many resorts have latched on to the themed Gay Ski Week in recent years. Elevation Mammoth, held each March, in one of the most beautiful settings in the country, is one of the best, hosting huge dance parties with nationally known DJs, plus some of the best spring skiing and snowboarding fun anywhere with one of the highest average snowfalls in the USA.  

Palm Springs

Palm Springs Pride is taking place in the desert oasis of Greater Palm Springs from 3-4 November 2018. Visitors can expect the Downtown area to come alive from 10am and continue into the night as rainbows, dancing parades, pictured left, and glitter fill the streets. As the largest LGBT gathering in the Coachella Valley, Palm Springs Pride celebrates the diversity and unity of the Greater Palm Springs community. Visitors can expect a diverse mix of artists and entertainers, DJ stages, exhibitors and music throughout the event.


New York City

New York City has been chosen as the host city for WorldPride 2019, marking the first time that the global event will be held in the USA. With a theme of ‘Millions of Moments of Pride’, WorldPride 2019 will feature two months of programs and events alongside NYC Pride’s march and PrideFest in June 2019. This global celebration will coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in NYC, the birthplace of the modern gay rights movement.

Los Angeles

More than 40 per cent of West Hollywood’s population identifies as LGBTI and subsequently has one of the world’s most thriving gay nightlife scenes, plus sleek designer hotels and beautiful sunny weather. Every June, the LA Pride Parade and Festival is held in West Hollywood. This year’s festival, held between 4-10 June, includes the LA Pride Music Festival on Saturday and Sunday at West Hollywood Park and the LA Gay Pride Parade which takes place on Sunday on Santa Monica Boulevard.  


Pittsburgh Pride, pictured right, will be held this year from 1-10 June and events include the Pittsburgh PrideFest, a two-day free event that takes place on Liberty Avenue in downtown Pittsburgh with vendors, food booths, family-friendly games and inflatable attractions, plus a dance party and other entertainment. The Pittsburgh Equality March takes place on 10th June with floats and marching contingents. 

San Diego

San Diego's LGBT Hub is located in the uptown neighbourhood of Hillcrest but the welcoming vibe is felt throughout the region. From hot nightclubs and popular wine bars to LGBT-focused theatre productions and clothing-optional Black's Beach, it's no wonder San Diego ranks among the top LGBT destinations in the world. The community enjoys strong support from numerous local politicians, several of them openly gay and lesbian, plus a large variety of businesses and civic organisations. In addition, the San Diego Padres publicly acknowledges its LGBT fans to Petco Park stadium during 'Out at the Park,' organised every spring by San Diego LGBT Pride.


San Francisco

Known for its welcoming liberal, alternative community, San Francisco is one of the most popular destinations in the world for LGBT travellers. The Castro district was one of the first LGBT neighbourhoods in the USA, featuring brightly-coloured lampposts and pedestrian crossings throughout. This year, San Francisco Pride – the largest gathering of the LGBT community in the country will be held 23-24 June. Celebrations include two days of community engagement and entertainment from inspirational speakers and performers, exhibitors of art and food and drink stalls. The colourful Sunday morning parade, pictured left, takes place in downtown San Francisco from Beale Street along Market Street to end at Market and 8th Street.


Richmond ‘came out’ as being gay and welcoming in 2014 and since then has been recognised as a Top 10 LGBTI destination. Visitors to the Virginian city are greeted by Out stickers that businesses display with pride and a dedicated LGBT website offers information about gay and Pride events, with advice from local insiders and details of the best LGBTQ+ friendly hotels and restaurants.


Washington DC

There’s truly something for everyone at this year’s Capital Pride in Washington DC. This year’s event, from 7-10 June, has the theme ‘Elements of Us’ and begins with a rooftop rally and an opening party before moving on to a block party, the parade and festival, and a concert and dance party.


Key West

Expect contests to select Mr., Miss and Ms. Key West Pride, pool parties, late-night dance shenanigans and a parade featuring a section of Key West’s iconic 1.25-mile-long sea-to-shore rainbow flag at this year’s Key West Pride from 6-10 June. Another highlight of the event in Florida’s famously LGBT-friendly tropical island is the 2018 Stoli Key West Cocktail Classic challenge, where regional winners from LGBT bars in 14 North American cities will compete to create an original Key West cocktail - a contest believed to be North America’s largest annual LGBT bartending competition.


Posted on: 10/05/2018

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