Plan your escape to the most gay-friendly places on earth in honour of Pride Day on June 28.
Lucky for us, New Zealand is an inclusive and progressive society that welcomes the LBGTQ+ community with open arms. And because we believe being yourself is never the wrong thing to do, we’ve made it our mission to track down some of the greatest gay-friendly places around the world. So, grab your friends or partner and start making your post-covid travel bucket list. Excitingly, more countries are granting equal rights to same-sex couples, so eventually this list will expand. For now, here is our top 10 gay-friendly places to visit globally. These are in no particular order by the way. Happy Pride!
1. Tel Aviv, Israel
Tel Aviv is the gay capital of the Middle East and plays host to some of the largest Pride events on earth. With an array of gay-friendly bars, hotels, beaches and gyms, gay tourists can expect to have magical moments here. Before covid-19, Pride saw the city filled with rainbow flags and the City Hall decorated in rainbow stripes to show support. Meanwhile, the Tel Aviv Pride Parade attracted thousands of people and threw a wild beach party to celebrate Pride freedom. Let’s hope these events return in 2022. Although, gay marriage isn’t legal yet, Tel Aviv is a complete safe haven for the LGBTQ+ folk in surrounding conflicted countries, which stands for something.
2. Toronto, Canada
Another accepting destination on our list where you will be treated with respect and equality regardless of your sexuality. With plenty of gay-friendly hangouts, from exciting nightclubs and bars to impressive galleries and theatres to the famous Gay Village, and much more…you will feel comfortable being yourself in Toronto. Even Pride events are embraced by both heterosexual celebrities and the Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, who became the country’s first head of government to march in a Pride parade.
3. São Paulo, Brazil
Expect OTT displays of gay support, and the largest Gay Pride Parade according to the Guinness Book Of World Records. In recent years, as Brazil becomes more accepting of homosexuality, the carnival-inspired Pride Parade events have attracted more than four million people a year. Likewise, if you like a rowdy party, prepare for some brilliant festivals and marvellous nightlife because this spot has a strong love for the gay scene. From exclusive gay clubs to gay malls to low-key gay hotels, there is diversity in selection, so it is the ultimate destination for queer travellers.
4. Berlin, Germany
Berlin was home to the world’s first gay neighbourhood in the twentieth century where homosexuality was tolerated and cross-dressing was approved. Though, the war ruined any further progression for years to come. Nowadays, Berlin makes a fantastic city gaycation because of its open and accepting attitude, active gay community and a thriving scene of gay culture, arts and music. If you’re a party person, you’ll love the 72 hour music event hosted by Berghain, while CSD Berlin, takes place every July, and is a huge street festival demonstrating equal rights for the LGBTQ+ folk.
5. San Francisco, USA
The LGBTQ+ culture is dominant in San Francisco with the world’s largest gay community based here. It is estimated around 15% of the population is gay, yet, gay relations first came to light in the 1800s when an influx of male workers, and a lack of jobs, made cross-dressing possible. Following a turbulent history and plenty of movements, the city has become a strong gay haven, especially, the vibrant Castro neighbourhood. Here, you’ll find a drag queen around every corner, while soaking up a gay-friendly atmosphere and taking part in one of the hundreds of events such as Pride in June, Folsom Street Fair, just to name a few. Be sure to visit famous activist Harvey Milk’s old camera store.
6. Sydney, Australia
Another one of the world’s greatest rainbow cities known for its epic Mardi Gras celebrations each year. During Mardi Gras, Oxford Street is smothered in rainbow flags and decorations to embrace Pride. Most locals are open-minded and there are plenty of queer-friendly spots which makes it the perfect place for a gaycation. Likewise, gay travellers can feel safe because discrimination based on gender identity, expression or sexual orientation is forbidden. For some fun in the sun and a thrilling gay culture, you must pop Sydney on your list. Additionally, Melbourne is another extremely accepting gay mecca.
7. New Zealand
Yep, your motherland is one of the greatest on earth. You’ll find plenty of great staycations for gay travellers all across the country, while you probably already know of the amazing nightlife in places like Auckland and Wellington. Various same-sex couples have said that they feel comfortable and secure living in New Zealand. In fact, did you know New Zealand came up with the term ‘Gay/Lesbian Friendly‘ in 1998, which is now used across the globe. Indeed, New Zealand makes a great escape for queer foreign folk so you should count yourself lucky you live in such an open society.
8. Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Another progressive European city boasting a diverse gay scene. The Netherlands became the first country worldwide to legalise same-sex marriage in 2001. Therefore, most Dutch people are exceedingly accepting of queer relationships. Fall in love with Amsterdam while feeling at ease walking hand-in-hand with your bae and experiencing one of the best cultures, nightlife and cuisine in Europe. We recommend going during the summer when there is incredible Pride events such as the International Queer Film Festival.
9. Madrid, Spain
Since the fall of the Franco regime, in the 1970s, Spain and especially, it’s capital Madrid, have become very accepting of gay relationships and rights. You’ll see plenty of same-sex couples displaying lots of PDA, and freely walking hand-in-hand on the streets of Madrid, without fear or judgement. Additionally, if you’re single, you’ll find no shortage of hot and queer Spanish people looking for the one. With various unique and diverse neighbourhoods, we recommend visiting Chueca which has an epic gay scene, and arguably hosts some of the best gay parties in Europe. Barcelona has a similar attitude, so you’ll want to pop these gay-friendly Spanish cities on your travel bucket list.
10. New York, USA
In 1969, the famous Stonewall riots led the way for the first-ever Gay Pride March in June 1970 and the gay rights movement across America. Likewise, Gay marriage became legal in 2011. With a rich history, you can be whoever you want to be in this central hub for creativity, acceptance and openness. Feel right at home as you experience culture, nightlife, fashion and scrumptious food in some of the best gay-friendly areas like Greenwich Village and Chelsea. Every June, the Empire State Building is lit up with rainbow colours making it the perfect sight to see. Of course, a small number of anti-gay hate crimes do occur in dangerous areas, so just be a little cautious.