It’s hard to believe that 2018 is just around the corner. Now is a great time to start planning your next gay getaway. Southwest Airlines has already been offering some great deals. You can probably find some discounted fares on JetBlue and Virgin America as well.
I always like to travel to destinations that aren’t the most popular. Exploring new cities and towns is always more fun for me than traveling to an obvious LGBT hot spot like San Francisco or New York. Nothing against those cities, as they do have lots to offer in the LGBT culture department, but let’s think outside the box a bit and discover some up and coming places. The first two destinations are places I’ve either been to or lived in. These are followed by three cities on my 2018 bucket list.
One of my absolute favorite cities to visit is Indy. Home to numerous arts and cultural institutions, music venues and LGBT-friendly restaurants, Indianapolis is quickly emerging as the go-to city in the Mid-West for travelers looking for something a bit smaller than Chicago but equally as friendly. While in Indy, swing by the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art. The museum has hosted countless LGBT exhibitions and is a very good friend of the community there. It's not too from Mass. Ave., the ‘gayborhood’ of the city. It’s not actually a gayborhood, but numerous LGBT bars and friendly restaurants (some LGBT-owned) line the street, which has become the epicenter of nightlife in the city.
Orlando is so much more than Disney World and Universal Studios. As a former resident, I can count on one hand how many times locals actually visited the theme parks, aka tourist hell. There are many towns and villages outside Orlando that are worth focusing your attention on including Winter Park, lined with its cobblestone streets and outdoor cafes. This is also where the area's 'old money' live. Another must-see if you have transportation is Mount Dora. About 30 minutes north of Orlando, the town is known for its quaint antique district and scenic vistas. Also not too far from the city is Lakeridge Winery. It’s no Napa Valley, but a great way to spend a quiet afternoon while enjoying a nice glass of wine.
I’ve heard so much about Portland and although it’s been high on my list, I never had the opportunity to visit. I am most excited about its bustling food scene. Travel Portland, the city’s convention and visitors bureau is actively embracing LGBT tourism and has even produced a video highlighting the best Portland has to offer. Check it out: https://www.travelportland.com/plan-your-trip/lgbt-portland/
Yes, I’m aware Maine is not a city, but what I had in mind here was more of a coastal road trip to discover multiple towns in the state. Flying into Portland and taking a leisurely drive up the coast along US 1, stopping at seaside villages along the way sounds like the perfect way to spend a vacation. And of course savoring a lobster or two or three wouldn't be bad either.
Salt Lake City
Probably one of the most under-the-radar LGBT destinations in the country, Salt Lake City is emerging as the regions epicenter of the community. The city offers numerous resources including the Utah Pride Center, Equality Utah and for you political types, Stonewall Democrats and Log Cabin Republican chapters. This is in addition to about a dozen LGBT bars and clubs. The Marmalade/Capitol Hill area is commonly referred to as the gayborhood and has become a top neighborhood for LGBT families within the city.
If you know of any other places you think I should visit next year, please shoot me an email: email@example.com