For a sizable amount of people under the LGBT+ umbrella, it’s important to know which domestic and international destinations will embrace or at least tolerate them prior to travel. Some cities are known to be very welcoming of LGBT+ people; San Francisco, New York and Amsterdam consistently receive high marks for welcoming members of the community. Within these cities, though, there are specific districts or neighborhoods which attract a large gay following.

Some of the districts listed here make their pro-gay stances very obvious, between the rainbow flags and multi-colored crosswalks. How many of these have you visited and which would you like to visit?

1. Chueca, Madrid


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This district in Madrid is attractive without being pretentious. You can get there via the metro.

The official tourism site of Spain described Chueca as, “the epicenter of gay Madrid and a symbol of modernity, avant-garde and open-minded tolerance.”

The vibrant gay pride parade runs between late June into July. Expect colorful floats, dancing in the street and drag performers. If you’re not a fan of crowds, avoid Chueca during those months.


2. Lower Manhattan, New York

Districts in lower Manhattan, such as Chelsea, Tribeca, Greenwich Village and Hell’s Kitchen are teeming with gay-friendly establishments and gay residents.

Chelsea and Tribeca have boutiques, art galleries and adult shops. Play some vintage arcade games at Barcade. Check out The Eagle, a leather bar with a rooftop and a pool. Go dancing at Rebar, originally called G Lounge.

Greenwich Village is home to The Stonewall Inn, where the Gay Rights Movement began in 1969. It doesn’t try to be flashy and hip like other bars; after all, they wouldn’t exist without their “grandfather.”

Just across the street from Stonewall is The Big Gay Ice Cream Shop.

Finally, there’s Hell’s Kitchen, consisting of blocks and blocks of restaurants from American fare to Uzbek food.




3. Midtown, Atlanta


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According to Discover Atlanta, the city has several areas which attract a gay following. But Midtown is “the original gayborhood, and is the core of LGBTQ life in Atlanta.”

Atlanta Gay Pride, which is the largest of its kind in the southeast, typically lasts two days and takes places in beautiful Piedmont Park.

There is a rainbow crosswalk in front of The Flying Biscuit, a great spot for brunch.

For nightlife, check out My Sister’s Room (a lesbian bar), Bulldogs and Blake’s On The Park.


4. The Castro, San Francisco


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The Castro consists of refurbished Victorian homes, novelty shops, eateries and Hot Cookie, known for its selection of naughty treats.

There’s also The Castro Theater, featuring independent and classic films, though it will be closed for renovations until 2023.

The Castro has a political history, particularly relating to Harvey Milk, one of the earliest, openly gay activists. Now, the vibe is more laid-back and fun, offering a place for gay singles, couples and families.

Halloween and parties connected to the pride parade light up The Castro, and are worth checking out if you’re in town.



5. The Marais, Paris


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The Marais in Paris is the hub for LGBT+ travelers. It’s spread across the 3rd and the 4th arrondissements, and being so close to the center of the city, it’s an expensive area to live.

Generally, the nightclubs don’t start to really turn up until late, but the Metro isn’t 24 hours. So make sure you have another means to get back to your hotel.



6. Zeedijk and Warmoesstraat, Amsterdam


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When it comes to progressive cities, it’s hard to top Amsterdam.

According to I Amsterdam, “Zeedijk is located on the edge of The Red Light District, and it’s home to the first gay bar in The Netherlands, Café ‘t Mandje. It opened in 1927, closed in the 80s and resurfaced around 2007.

Warmoesstraat is home to Leather Pride Amsterdam, which is held in November. The leather community will find plenty to keep them occupied outside of the parade here; namely, the shops and the bars.

Amsterdam is also known for its canals, so if you’re in town in August, the Canal Parade is a treat to watch.








7. Church-Wellesley, Toronto


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Toronto is a gay-friendly city in an extremely gay-friendly country.

As noted by The Guardian, Canada was the third nation in the world to legalize same-sex marriage in 2005.

The Church-Wellesley area is great for retail therapy and dining.

Hit up Woody’s, one of the oldest gay bars in the city or catch a drag show at Crews & Tangos.

The Pride Parade is set to run as usual in June 2022.