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Pride Journeys: Fun Facts You Need to Know

Photo Above: Stockholm, Sweden - Once Upon A Journey / Stockholm LGBT

So, you thought you knew everything about a certain destination? Think again. Here are some random facts that will make you want to visit one more time! From Birmingham, Alabama to Stockholm, Sweden, let's check out some of the best LGBTQ destinations in the world!

Akron, Ohio - Akron’s influence on the world music scene by Akron natives, include Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders (Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee); DEVO members Mark & Bob Mothersbaugh, Gerald & Bob Casale, & Alan Myers; Grammy Award winner, James Ingram; & Grammy Award winners, Patrick Carney & Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys.

Birmingham, Alabama - The first official burial ground, Oak Hill Cemetery, is the final resting place of most of the city’s founding fathers and their families. A piece of Birmingham’s early history is told here by ornate as well as simple grave markers scattered across a hill just north of downtown. Most of the burials were prior to 1930.

Bora Bora - The United States chose “Bora Bora” during World War II, as a supply base in response to the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941. The nearly 7,000 soldiers installed defenses along the coast to protect the island against a possible surprise attack by Japan, which never happened. U.S. military also built the first airport on Motu Mute, the current airport.

Chapel Hill, North Carolina - Home to University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, this liberal college town area is one of the most welcoming sections of the state. FYI: Singer and songwriter James Taylor grew up in Chapel Hill. While in Europe recording with the Beatles, Taylor penned "Carolina on My Mind," reflecting how homesick he was for Chapel Hill.

Columbus, Ohio – Home to Slammers, one of only 15 lesbian bars left in the entire United States. One of the oldest LGBTQ establishments in Ohio's capital city, it also sits right next door to the city's newest drag bar - District West!

Daddy Cruises - Our cruises aren’t just for couples: they have lots of singles! Don’t worry about sitting next to an empty chair at dinner or paying full fare for a double-occupancy cabin. The company offers a wonderful Roommate Match Program.

Denver, Colorado - Red Rocks Amphitheatre, a geological phenomenon – the only naturally-occurring, acoustically perfect amphitheatre in the world...celebrating its 80th anniversary in 2021.

Detroit, Michigan - Did you know Detroit has the country’s second biggest theater district after New York? The city has 30,000 theater seats and nearly three dozen theaters, the most famous of which is the deeply historic Fox Theatre. Whether you want to see a Broadway show or a WWE wrestling match you can do it.

Durham, North Carolina - OUTSOUTH Queer Film Festival, formerly The North Carolina Gay and Lesbian Film Festival (NCGLFF), has consistently been ranked among the largest Queer film festivals in the United States, attracting thousands of patrons yearly. Since its beginning in 1995, the festival has featured a diverse array of shorts, documentaries, and feature films.

Dutchess County, New York - Eleanor Roosevelt co-authored The Universal Declaration of Human Rights at the United Nations. Learn more about her life at the Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site in Hyde Park, NY. It’s the only National Historic Site dedicated to a First Lady.

Helsinki, Finland - The Helsinki city area includes around 300 islands, many of which can be reached via ferries. Helsinki's island restaurants offer an array of delicacies that range from traditional archipelago dishes, to pizzas and even a la carte food options. In many of the islands you can even sleep overnight in camping areas and enjoy sauna and swimming. You can spot rare butterflies, admire passing ships and if you're lucky, even spot a seal. So pack a picnic lunch, bathing suit, towel and binoculars and head out to discover seaside Helsinki.

Hot Springs, Arkansas – Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas is bursting with unique facts. They have a vibrant gambling history, Major League Baseball Spring Training began there, and of course the 4,000-year-old thermal spring water where they get their name. While all of those are incredible facts that make Hot Springs unique, the most unique fact you might not know is that the park is older than Yellowstone! In 1832 President Andrew Jackson set aside the Hot Springs land as the first Federal Reserve, 40 years before Yellowstone was deemed a National Park. 89 years later in 1921, Hot Springs became a National Park making it the 18th National Park in the service.

Indianapolis, Indiana - Indianapolis devotes more acreage than any other U.S. city to honoring our nation’s fallen, and is second only to Washington, DC, in the number of war memorials.

Iowa City, Iowa – The city was named a UNESCO City of Literature in 2008; the third city in the world with the designation and the first in the United States. A literary walk highlighting the authors who have studied and/or taught in Iowa City decorates the streetscape throughout Downtown Iowa City.

Kalamazoo, Michigan - The United States Tennis Association (USTA) has held national championships for Boys' 18 since 1916, and a championship for Boys' 15 (changed to Boys' 16 in 1963). Since 1943, the USTA has hosted these events in Kalamazoo, MI where 500 of the best Junior players in the United States compete each year. Former American tennis greats including Andre Agassi, Arthur Ashe, Michael Chang, Jimmy Connors, Jim Courier, John McEnroe, Andy Roddick, Pete Sampras, Stan Smith, and many others have all played at the USTA Boys' Nationals in Kalamazoo, MI. The events are back this year, August 6-15, 2021.

Key West, Florida - In 2003 a 1.25-mile-long rainbow flag was unfurled along the length of Duval Street from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean during Key West's 2003 Pride celebration. The banner was constructed on the island by Gilbert Baker, who created the original rainbow flag, to mark its 25th anniversary. Sections of the Key West flag have been displayed at Pride events worldwide.

Las Vegas, Nevada - Las Vegas is home to nearly 150,000 hotel rooms—it would take someone over 410 years to stay in each hotel room.

Marquette, Michigan - The town is renowned for its 77 waterfalls, perfect for exploring this season. But did you know that some of these falls make for great dog-friendly activities. Yellow Dog Falls is a great option for your four legged friends, where the falls are as scenic as they are accessible! Plus they are featured along one of the wildest streams east of the Mississippi, where native brook trout — Michigan’s State Fish — swim lazily in rocky pools and multiple waterfalls can be seen in just a two-mile section of river.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin - Each summer the shores of Lake Michigan spring to life with a variety of festivals, fairs, and events, earning Milwaukee it's nickname as the, “City of Festivals.” Among them are the world’s largest music festival, Summerfest, and the state’s largest pride festival, PrideFest. Check out Milwaukee’s LGBTQ+ community, PrideFest, and more at

Minneapolis, Minnesota - Minneapolis boasts the largest Somali population in the country and is home to over 25,000 Somali residents, about a quarter of all Somalis currently living in the United States. Many Somalis migrated to our state in the early 1990s, fleeing the country’s civil war. The Cedar-Riverside area, also known as the West Bank (of the Mississippi River,) has been dubbed “Little Mogadishu,” the Somali capital of the United States. Dozens of Somali businesses dot the area, but examples of the surprisingly familiar, comforting cuisine can be found throughout the Twin Cities.

Mobile, Alabama - It is mystical, colorful, filled with royalty, steeped in tradition and yes … it happened here first. With celebrations dating back to 1703, Mobile is the proud home of America’s original Mardi Gras; it’s simply a way of life in Mobile. Our trees have beads hanging from them year-round and Mobilians are ninjas when it comes to catching Moon Pies. Masked mystic societies, soulful marching bands and larger-than-life floats provide the ultimate street party where everyone is invited and welcomed!

Natchitoches, Louisiana – The area is the filming site of the movie Steel Magnolias. The film, based on a true story of a family from Natchitoches, used houses, buildings, parks and more to tell the story of Shelby, M'Lynn, Truvy, Annelle, Clairee and Ousier. Today, you can take a self-guided film location tour, stay in M'Lynn and Drum's house - now a bed and breakfast, and walk through the American Cemetery, where the famous "Here, hit Ouiser!" scene was filmed.

Palestine, Texas - Jump in on the challenge to savor the unique flavors of Palestine, Texas. Each location will suggest a food item that we expect will blow your mind! Simply download the Visit Palestine, TX app on your phone and let the taste testing begin!

The Palm Beaches, Florida - Cities in The Palm Beaches have started commissioning artists to paint crosswalks with the colors of both the traditional and progress Pride flags. The first street mural in West Palm Beach’s Northwood Village premiered last year, and more crosswalks were recently unveiled in Delray Beach and Boynton Beach. Stop by for a photo and to explore the vibrant neighborhoods surrounding the new art pieces next time you’re in The Palm Beaches.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania - Do you know why Pittsburgh is nicknamed the City of Bridges? Surrounded by three rivers and an unforgettable skyline, Pittsburgh has 446 bridges including the only trio of identical bridges in the U.S. (and the city’s most recognizable bridges), the Three Sister Bridges! Each bridge was named in honor of an influential Pittsburgh resident, including the iconic pop artist Andy Warhol (7th Street Bridge).

Portland, Maine - Did you know one end of Portland, Maine's peninsula to the other is only about three and a half miles? That means you don't have to go far to unearth world-class restaurants, public art exhibits, or expansive views of Casco Bay.

Princess Cruises: One in four guests is celebrating a special occasion with Princess Cruises, and 50th birthday celebrations are the most popular.

Puerto Vallarta - Puerto Vallarta is home to Mexico's biggest gayborhood: Zona Romantica or Romantic Zone. It is also the only one that is a beach destination. Puerto Vallarta is an established destination for LGBTQ+ travelers and the Romantic Zone, which is located on the beachfront, offers a broad range of LGBTQ+ bars and nightclubs, LGBTQ+-owned restaurants, hotels, stores, services, and entertainment that is welcoming to everyone. Please see an image attached. Also, Puerto Vallarta has six TAG approved resorts.

Quad Cities, Iowa - The Mississippi River flows east to west in the Quad Cities for roughly 10 miles between River Miles 490 to 480. In those 10 miles, you'll see Lock & Dam 15 between Davenport and Rock Island and it's the largest Roller Dam in the world. Locks & Dam 15 was the first lock completed on the Upper Mississippi River as part of the 9-foot navigation system. Construction at Locks & Dam 15 finished in 1934. Also, at the Lock & Dam 15 site, the first railroad bridge built across the Mississippi River connected Davenport and Rock Island in 1856. It burned down 15 days later. Then-attorney Abraham Lincoln defended the railroad against the steamboat interests at the U. S. Circuit Court in Chicago so the bridge could remain. The current Government Bridge, which connects Rock Island Arsenal to Davenport, Iowa, was built in 1896. Its swing span can rotate 360 degrees for river traffic-a rare engineering accomplishment.

Santa Fe, New Mexico: Santa Fe is home to the Santa Fe Margarita Trail, a network of more than 40 locations offering signature versions of this beloved tequila cocktail. But why does Santa Fe lay claim to being the capital of the margarita? Yes, this lime-kissed cocktail pairs perfectly with our New Mexico red and green chile; but we claim the Margarita and honor it with a trail, because Santa Fe can boast that it was the first city in the new world to import tequila from Mexico. And you can't make a margarita without tequila!

São Paulo – Opened in 1940, downtown São Paulo has the oldest gay bar in Brazil. Known as their "Stonewall Inn".

Saugatuck, Michigan - Have you heard of Michigan’s version of Pompeii? During the mid-1800s, the village of Singapore was a bustling lumber and shipbuilding town. Now, nearly two centuries later, it lies buried beneath the sandy dunes of Saugatuck.

Savannah, Georgia - In Savannah, you don’t have to finish your drink at the bar. Savannah’s ordinance allows you to take a to-go cup with you within the confines of the historic district boundaries. Ask for a to-go cup and take it along with you while you explore!

Spokane, Washington - Washington's second-largest city, Spokane, has 260 days a year of blue skies and sunshine, so it makes sense Spokane means "Children of the Sun" in the Salish language. Spokane is an easy drive to five national parks and it's home to the largest urban waterfall in the U.S.

Stockholm, Sweden - While 1969 is a big year across the world when we celebrate LGBTQIA+ liberation because of Stonewall; in Stockholm we’ve been celebrating our LGBTQ+ liberation since 1944. Yes, being gay was decriminalized in Sweden 77 years ago, 25 years before the Stonewall Riots. But the fight didn’t end there and there are a set of fabulous, proud dates for the LGBTQ+ residents of Stockholm to celebrate. In 1979, to protest homosexuality still being classified as a mental illness, Swedes across the country called in sick to work, saying “they felt gay,” causing the classification to be overturned immediately. Civil partnerships started as early as 1995, then in 2009, Sweden approved equal marriage, back unanimously by the leaders of the country’s church. And in 2020, during the pandemic, the Swedish Crown Princess, became the first ever high-profile, European royal to vocally support LGBTQ+ rights and open a Pride celebration.

Tampa Bay, Florida - Visitors of Tampa Bay can now make a trip to Cuba without their passport. Historic Ybor City is home to Jose Marti Park, a dedicated memorial to Jose Marti who led the revolution against the Spanish rule in Cuba from the 1880s and 1890s. The quarter-acre park was gifted to the people of Cuba and remains Cuban territory to this day.

Topeka, Kansas - "Born and raised in Topeka, Jane Heap, was one of the most important, yet under recognized, female publishers who was significant in the 'transmission of modernism between America and Europe during the early twentieth century.'" - (Baggett, Holly. Dear Tiny Heart : The Letters of Jane Heap & Florence Reynolds. New York, NY, USA: New York University Press, 1999. p 2.). Her relationships throughout life lead her to Elspath Champcommunal, the founding editor of British Vogue. ("Florence Heap collection related to Jane Reynolds and The Little Review". University of Delaware. Retrieved 17 August 2014.)"

Tulsa, Oklahoma – This city in Oklahoma is home to one of the finest and largest collections of art deco architecture in the United States. These art deco masterpieces include works by Bruce Goff, mentee of Frank Lloyd Wright, who was behind buildings like the Tulsa Club Hotel and Boston Avenue United Methodist Church. While you're in Tulsa, be sure to catch one of the several walking tours operating in downtown to learn about the city's rich architectural history.

Washington, D.C. – Our nation’s Capital is a very international city, home to more than 175 embassies and international cultural centers. Fifteen percent of DC residents speak a language other than English. There’s a bathtub in the basement of the U.S. Capitol. Four marble tubs were installed in 1859 when most senators lived in boarding houses on Capitol Hill that had no running water, so they washed at work. One of these baths can still be seen today.

Wilmington, Delaware – The city was a main stop along the Underground Railroad. The Tubman-Garret Park along Wilmington's Riverfront, honors two of Delaware’s most dedicated agents of the Underground Railroad, Harriet Tubman, and Thomas Garrett. Born a Quaker in Pennsylvania in 1789, Garrett helped an estimated 2,700 enslaved people escape to freedom over four decades. By the time Harriet Tubman escaped slavery in 1849, Garrett had been exposed as an Underground Railroad agent when he was caught helping the Hawkins family escape in 1845.


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