Top 3 LGBT-Friendly Travel Des­ti­na­tions This Sea­son

Spring is in the air, and it’s a great time of the year to ex­plore LGBT-friendly cities that you might have not yet dis­cov­ered.

LuxeGetaways - - Contents - BY ADAM GROFF­MAN

Sum­mer­time might be the pre­dictably “gay” travel sea­son with LGBT Pride Month in June (and more LGBT pride fes­ti­vals, pa­rades and par­ties than you can shake your fist at dur­ing the sum­mer), but there is no rea­son that the fun can­not start a bit early. Spring­time is a great sea­son to travel – partly be­cause you will beat the sum­mer­time rush; and you can also score great deals dur­ing this bridge be­tween win­ter when we are all bun­dled up by the fire at home, and sum­mer when we find our­selves tan­ning on the beach. Here are our picks for some great LGBT-friendly des­ti­na­tions to visit this spring (or any­time you can plan your next get­away).

Berlin

Spring­time in Berlin is that spe­cial “mo­ment in time” when the cold starts to dis­si­pate, but be­fore the city be­comes over­crowded with tourists. There is no ques­tion that the best month in Berlin is al­ways May — start­ing with the first of May when May Day fes­ti­vals fill the city with ac­tivists and en­ter­tain­ers. This is most notable in Kreuzberg dur­ing the techno-grunge-rock MyFest, which is a cel­e­bra­tion for free­dom and equal­ity. As the weather con­tin­ues to warm and the flow­ers blos­som, the city’s vi­brant sum­mer­time en­ergy emerges in a grand way — as ev­i­dent by the peo­ple be­gin­ning to eat and drink out­side on the ter­races, and of course, the be­gin­ning of count­less out­door “open-air” fes­ti­vals.

Dur­ing this time, make your way to Berlin’s best parks. The cen­tral Tier­garten is a great spot for bik­ing or walk­ing, and is home to the Berlin Zoo (Har­den­berg­platz 8, 10787 Berlin) and a cozy beer gar­den, Café am Neuen See (Licht­en­steinallee 2, 10787 Berlin). Just make sure to also visit some of the lesser-known sights within the park, such as the Me­mo­rial to the Mur­dered LGBT Vic­tims of the Holo­caust, and the se­ries of stat­ues cel­e­brat­ing Ger­man artists and po­ets like Chaucer and Goethe. Most vis­i­tors to Berlin know about the city’s leg­endary nightlife, such as the hot techno clubs that never seem to go out of style. Berghain (Am Wriezener Bahn­hof, 10243 Berlin) and Tre­sor (Köpenicker Straße 70, 10179 Berlin) will al­ways draw a mix of tourists and lo­cals, but at this time of the year, also look out for the al­ter­na­tive par­ties that are mak­ing waves among Berlin’s party-go­ing lo­cals. Cock­tail d’Amore is a monthly party that takes place in Griess­mühle (Son­nenallee 221, 12059 Berlin), which was launched by Ital­ian-Berlin duo Dis­co­dromo, and is an event where you can ex­pect a lot of heavy beats in a highly sex­u­al­ized and sen­sual environment – both in­doors at the club, and in the gar­den.

Dur­ing the day, make sure to visit the art gal­leries and mu­se­ums in Berlin’s city cen­ter. Take a stroll down Au­gust­straße in Mitte for a taste of Berlin’s best gal­leries, shops and din­ing. The KW In­sti­tute for Con­tem­po­rary Art (Au­gust­straße 69, 10117 Berlin) runs reg­u­lar ex­hi­bi­tions of in­ter­na­tional artists. Across the street, the small Do You Read Me? (Au­gust­straße 28, 10117 Berlin) shop cu­rates mag­a­zines and art books in a beau­ti­fully dis­played set­ting. At the end of Au­gust­straße, the con­tem­po­rary Jewish deli Mogg (Au­gust­straße 11-13, 10117 Berlin) serves ex­cel­lent lunches and din­ners, but is prob­a­bly most fa­mous for their pas­trami sand­wich ap­pro­pri­ately called “The Pas­trami,” which is served with coleslaw and a pickle. Not far from these Berlin Mitte hotspots, Gorki Apart­ments (Wein­bergsweg 25, 10119 Berlin) is a great place to sleep in a set­ting just like many of the Berlin lo­cals. These lux­ury rooms are fur­nished from flea mar­kets and each has their own in­di­vid­ual style (and named af­ter fic­tional res­i­dents) – it is truly a unique Berlin ex­pe­ri­ence.

Dal­las, Texas

Dal­las has grown to be­come a cos­mopoli­tan city — one even with a bit of an edge — a far cry from its most fa­mous pop cul­ture ref­er­ence, the out­dated Dal­las tele­vi­sion se­ries. With a world-class art scene and a ris­ing culi­nary and cock­tail rep­u­ta­tion, Dal­las is back on the map. And as a gay des­ti­na­tion, Dal­las has a bit of some­thing for ev­ery­one. The gay neigh­bor­hood of Oak Lawn is the his­tor­i­cally gay area. Oak Lawn’s Cedar Springs Road is packed all week­end with LGBT rev­el­ers, whether to visit the LGBT thrift shop, Out of the Closet (3920 Cedar Springs Road – Dal­las, TX 75219), for its vin­tage fur­ni­ture; or to stop-in at Cedar Grove (4123 Cedar Springs Road – Dal­las, TX 75219) for the monthly Drag Brunch.

At night, Oak Lawn comes alive with gay nightlife at places like the Round-Up Saloon (3912 Cedar Springs Road – Dal­las, TX 75219), a gay cow­boy bar where you can catch a honky-tonk, or learn how to square-dance (on week­ends af­ter mid­night, how­ever, it is just like ev­ery other gay club with a playlist of pop hits). Nearby, The 5-star ho­tel Man­sion on Tur­tle Creek (2821 Tur­tle Creek Boule­vard – Dal­las, TX 75219) is a per­fect get­away for a se­cluded and ro­man­tic holiday. The ho­tel is only steps away from the pic­turesque and pleas­ant Tur­tle Creek with its rolling green hills — a nice con­trast from the per­fectly- peach col­ored ho­tel. Out­side of Oak Lawn, Dal­las has a grow­ing num­ber of ar­eas worth vis­it­ing. Start in the Arts District where you can en­joy an af­ter­noon at the Nasher Sculp­ture Gar­den (2001 Flora Street – Dal­las, TX 75201), which has a great mu­seum shop too; and the Dal­las Mu­seum of Art (1717 N. Har­wood Street – Dal­las, TX 75201) is an­other great op­tion (and is free to en­ter). Fin­ish the day with din­ner at the fine din­ing Pyra­mid Restau­rant (1717 N. Akard Street – Dal­las, TX 75201), where I strongly sug­gest that you try the pan-seared sal­mon. De­li­cious! Make sure to visit the Bishop Arts District where you can dis­cover small art gal­leries and life­style shops like Ephiphany (412 N. Bishop Av­enue – Dal­las, TX 75208), which has sep­a­rate shops for both men and women on op­po­site sides of the street. Pop into my fa­vorite lo­cal choco­late shop, Dude Sweet Choco­late (408 W. Eighth Street – Dal­las, TX 75208) for some fun choco­late mixes – my fa­vorite is the Di­wali Tof­fee. Any visitor to Oak Lawn has to visit sev­eral of the fa­vorite hotspots that have main­tained their pop­u­lar­ity for a num­ber of years now. Sta­tion 4 (3911 Cedar Springs Road – Dal­las, TX 75219) is al­ways the cen­ter of at­ten­tion; JR’s (3923 Cedar Springs Road – Dal­las, TX 75219) is an ab­so­lute icon in Dal­las; and Sue El­lens (3014 Throck­mor­ton Street – Dal­las, TX 75219) is the fa­vorite les­bian night­club in the area.

As a gay des­ti­na­tion, Dal­las has a bit of some­thing for

ev­ery­one

Stock­holm

As one of the world's most gay-friendly cities, and one with a rep­u­ta­tion of sim­ply be­ing "cool," there is much more to Swe­den than just meat­balls. From some of the world's best fash­ion to trendy restau­rants and stores with un­der­ground se­cret bar­ber­shops, Stock­holm is al­ways full of sur­prises. While the city turns un­bear­ably dark in the win­ter, Stock­holm sheds its win­ter look in the spring­time. Most notable is Kungsträdgår­den, the city’s cen­tral park, where a row of blooming cherry blos­som trees can be seen in all their glory. Nearby, the Opera House (Gus­tav Adolfs torg 2, 103 22 Stock­holm) and Royal Palace pro­vide the per­fect back­drop for those In­sta­gram snaps.

Stock­holm’s best at­trac­tion is sim­ply the Swedish way of life. There is the im­por­tant cul­tural af­fair of af­ter­noon cof­fee, the Swedish fika, where peo­ple gather for cozy and com­fort­ing con­ver­sa­tion. Look for cafés in the trendy Sö­der­malm area to visit, specif­i­cally in SoFo — a bo­hemian hub with great cafes, restau­rants and shops, in­clud­ing Sivletto (Malmgårdsvä­gen 16-18, 116 38 Stock­holm), which triples as a vin­tage cloth­ing shop, bar­ber­shop and café. Grab a meal (or at least a drink) at the nearby Ur­ban Deli (Hes­sel­mans Torg, 131 54 Nacka), which is the place to be seen in Stock­holm (so dress ap­pro­pri­ately!).

Also in spring­time, the warmweather only Malarpaviljon­gen (Norr Mälarstrand 64, 112 35 Stock­holm) opens for the sea­son be­gin­ning April 1, which sits atop a float­ing col­lec­tion of boats with a lovely gazebo. Try the rose wines, or grab a clas­sic Swedish meal and en­joy the sky­line views. The own­ers em­ploy LGBT im­mi­grants and donate reg­u­larly to their own Rain­bow Fund to sup­port lo­cal LGBT ini­tia­tives. In the evenings, take your­self to the Berns Ho­tel (Näck­ströms­gatan 8, 111 47 Stock­holm) — a lux­u­ri­ous de­sign ho­tel that also houses sev­eral must-visit great night­clubs and restau­rants. As the un­of­fi­cial gay ho­tel of the city, Berns reg­u­larly hosts mu­si­cians and celebri­ties, plus they spon­sor many of Stock­holm’s hottest events like Fash­ion Week.

One of the world's most gay-friendly cities

Pho­tog­ra­phy: Adam Groff­man

Pho­tog­ra­phy: Gorki Apart­ments

Berlin MyFest: vis­it­ber­lin.de Tourism:

Berlin myfest36.de zoo-berlin.deZoo:

Café cafeam­neuensee.deam Neuen See:

Berghain:

berghain.de

Tre­sor:

tre­sor­ber­lin.com

Griess­mühle:

griess­muehle.de

KW In­sti­tute for Con­tem­po­rary Art:

kw-berlin.de

Do You Read Me:

doy­oureadme.de

Mogg:

mog­gmogg.com

Gorki Apart­ments:

gorki­a­part­ments.com

Pho­tog­ra­phy: Adam Groff­man

Dal­las Tourism:

vis­it­dal­las.com

Out of the Closet:

out­ofthe­closet.org

Epiphany:

epiphany­s­tores.com

Dude Sweet Choco­late:

dudesweetchoco­late.com

Nasher Sculp­ture Gar­den:

nash­er­sculp­ture­cen­ter.org

Sue El­lens:

sueel­lens­dal­las.com

JR’s:

jrs­dal­las.com

Man­sion on Tur­tle Creek:

lux­eget­aways.info/tur­tle

Round-Up Saloon:

roundup­sa­loon.com

Dal­las Mu­seum of Art:

dma.org

Pyra­mid Restau­rant:

pyra­midrestau­rant.com

Sta­tion 4:

sta­tion4­dal­las.com

Cedar Grove:

cedar­grove-dal­las.com

Stock­holm vis­it­stock­holm.com Tourism:

Kungsträdgår­den:

stock­holm.se/kungstradgar­den

Stock­holm Palace / The Royal Palace:

kun­gahuset.se/kung­li­gaslot­tet

Malarpaviljon­gen:

malarpaviljon­gen.se

Royal Swedish Opera:

op­eran.se

Berns Ho­tel:

berns.se

Sivletto:

sivletto.com

Ur­ban Deli:

ur­ban­deli.org

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