Islands like Mykonos and Lesbos have long been top gay destinations for some fun in the sun among gays and lesbians. But gay travellers no longer have to escape to island paradises to have a gay old time. Cities are now the favourite places to go, with so many of them having predominantly gay neighbourhoods offering urban pleasures, gay hotels and nightlife, all profi- ting from “pink money.”These are the ten gayest of them all, where you can find rainbow flags flying high.
1 | NEWYORK
The Big Apple is the birthplace of gay life and of the gay pride movement. It’s the home of Stonewall, which led to all of the gay pride events around the world, and most of Manhattan is one giant gaybourhood. From Green- wich Village to Chelsea, having gays heading down to the multitude of gay bars, clubs, and shops at any time of the day.
2 | SAN FRANCISCO
It’s the world’s original gay Mecca. It’s in San Francisco’s Castro District that you still feel like you’re at the centre of the gay world.There are gay events and attractions happening throughout the year, complementing the offer of gay and gay-friendly bars and restaurants.
3 | BERLIN
Most people don’t realize it but Berlin may actually be Europe’s gayest capital. It seems to have the gayest attractions in the world, including a gay museum and a gay memorial.This hedonistic city is so open-minded it’s elected an openly gay mayor, and gay bars are also straight bars.
4 | AMSTERDAM
Its legendary open-mindedness goes back to the early 1800s when homo- sexuality was decriminalized and when the Netherlands became the first country to allow same-sex marriage. On the waterfront you’ll find the first gay monument in the world, inaugurated in 1987.
In addition to a vibrant cosmopolitan life, the city is an attractive mix of gay and straight, and has some of Europe’s best nightlife and restaurants. In fact, it was the gay community and gay travellers that largely contributed to Barcelona becoming such a trendy place, even in winter when the beaches are no longer the main attraction.
6 | MADRID
Chueca just may be the gayest neighbourhood in the world, so in addition to being Europe’s nightlife capital, Madrid is also one big gay city. Gay life has influenced the city’s trendiest shops, restaurants, and hotels.
7 | LONDON
Europe’s largest gay and lesbian community lives in the British capital. Its Gay Pride event is therefore one of the world’s largest, but the thousands of gay visitors also contribute to the fun.This is also the capital of theatre and gay art.
8 | PARIS
Not every city is open-minded enough to elect an openly gay mayor, but Paris has done that (the first to do so), and it was the gay community that turned Marais into the city’s trendiest neighbourhood.
9 | LOS ANGELES
Some people say West Hollywood is now an autonomous gay city within L.A., and the cliché that most of Hollywood is gay often seems quite true. But this city of dreams (and nightmares) is also home to gay-friendly bea- ches and outdoor activities thanks to its pleasant year-round weather.
10 | MIAMI
Miami has long been a favourite destination among gay travellers for the same reason that it attracts everyone else -- the hot weather, the hot bo- dies, and the hot nightlife.