Strut your stuff and wave those rainbow flags as you venture out into these cities that have embraced the LGBTQ community and lifestyle. Travel with pride in these gay-friendly cities across the world and be welcomed with open arms.
Tel Aviv, Israel
Move over New York, this city that lies at the heart of the Middle East has just become the most gay-friendly city in the entire world. Vibrant yet intriguing, tense yet enduring, Tel Aviv is one of the most liberal cities in the world. The government has set up funding for Pride celebration; a gay parents support group, a queer theater group in cooperation with the Tel Aviv Municipal LGBT Community Center. Tel Aviv's Pride Parade happens annually in June and is one of the biggest and most colorful Gay Pride celebrations in the world along with other activities such as the Gay Culture Fair, LGBT Film Festival, and LGBT Theater Festival. Add in sunny weather all year round, gorgeous white-sand beaches and a booming nightlife scene, Tel Aviv is definitely a hotspot for all pink unicorns out there.
When you hear the word Berlin, crazy comes to mind --- raves, non-stop parties, hedonism, fetishes of all shapes and sizes. It is eclectic, diverse and thought provoking. It holds the throne of being the gay capital of Europe. Even as early as the 1920s, Berlin was already advanced in the gay culture in the continent. The district of Schöneberg has become home to Gay Pride and the venue for the Lesbian and Gay City Festival held every June and is the largest street party of its kind in Europe. In Berlin, norms are relaxed, diversity is embraced and sensualities are celebrated. In every corner are underground clubs, concept cafes, darkrooms, spas and saunas, and restaurants where only one rule is allowed --- be you.
San Francisco, USA
No list of gay-friendly cities will be complete without the City by the Bay, the gay capital of North America. It holds one of, if not the largest LGBT communities in the world. California has allowed same-sex marriage. The global spotlight is on San Francisco for anything related to gay culture, rights, and lifestyle. Castro, one of the earliest gay neighborhoods in the USA, will definitely make you feel that you are indeed in the gay centre of the world with a vibrant transsexual community as well. Gay bars and gay-friendly restaurants are literally everywhere in San Francisco and demographic reports say more than 15% of the entire population of San Francisco is gay.
Hosting huge Gay Pride Parades and having some of the best gay bars, Toronto is becoming a gay hotspot in North America. It is considered to be the most progressive nation in the Americas for the LGBT community with a vibrant gay community scene centred on the arts and culture. The Village, located in Church-Wellesley is the main cultural centre of the city dotted with queer-friendly bars and restaurants, thriving art galleries and home to the world’s first gay-focused athletic centre.
The country that blazed a trail in marriage equality as it was the first to allow same-sex marriage in 2001, Netherlands is also home to the world’s most culturally liberal city - Amsterdam. As early as the 1800s, gays went to Amsterdam to exercise their freedom. Now, it is widely known for its long list of LGBT-friendly accommodations alongside bathhouses, gay bars and a centre for LGBT information and souvenirs called the Pink Point. In 1987, the Homomonument was completed and was the first memorial in the world commemorating the gays and lesbians who were persecuted and killed by the Nazis.