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.
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).
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 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
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:
KW Institute for Contemporary Art:
Do You Read Me:
Photography: Adam Groffman
Out of the Closet:
Dude Sweet Chocolate:
Nasher Sculpture Garden:
Mansion on Turtle Creek:
Dallas Museum of Art:
Stockholm visitstockholm.com Tourism:
Stockholm Palace / The Royal Palace:
Royal Swedish Opera: