Events & Festivals

9 Gay-Friendly Cities from Around the World

Most of today’s most popular gay-friendly cities, in the past, were not as friendly as they are today. Some, on the other hand, simply weren’t popular amongst gay travelers. While well-known gay travel destinations like San Francisco, Boston, and Prague are still popular, others are emerging as gay welcoming cities.

9. Indianapolis, Indiana

View of downtown Indianapolis with old and new football stadiums

Believe it or not, Indianapolis, Indiana has not always been a favorite gay travel destination. The 13th largest city in the United States has a reputation for being a political, business-oriented town. They do have a playful side, though, and the visitor’s association has been working hard to promote the area’s friendly GLBT scene. The city features a number of gay-friendly bars, bed and breakfasts, and artsy attractions everyone is sure to appreciate.

8. Nova Scotia, Canada

Approaching Nova Scotia....Viewed from Wood Islands Ferry between PEI to Nova Scotia

Alright, it’s not a city in and of itself, but Nova Scotia, one of the smallest Canadian provinces, features a wide variety of gay-friendly cities. Halifax (the capital) boasts an amazing waterfront and theater district and other cities, like Lunenburg and Peggy’s Cove, feature incredible bed and breakfast destinations. Nova Scotia is definitely one of the best areas for gay travelers to visit for a quiet, relaxing weekend away and if you book a Halifax hotel soon you’ll be able to enjoy the autumn weather before Canada is swarmed with Olympic tourists touring areas of the country outside of Vancouver before and after the games.

7. Lisbon, Portugal

portugal, lisbon, gay rights march - gay mobile and banners

The city of Lisbon is another hot gay travel destination, welcoming members of the GLBT community with a specially crafted guide for gay visitors. Lisbon is an affordable European destination featuring incredible foods, wines, and a sophisticated travel crowd. Make sure you visit Bairro Alto, the city’s most eccentric and friendly gay neighborhood.

6. Shanghai, China

Part of Pudong Skyline, Shanghai

Shanghai is another city that was, previous to today, not always gay-friendly. The local community has changed its tune, though, and there are now a wide variety of spectacular gay bars as well as a dedicated gay hotel and entertainment complex. Shanghai is quickly growing in popularity amongst members of the GLBT community.

5. Mexico City, Mexico

30th Marcha Gay DF 2008 034

With more than 20 million residents, it’s no surprise to find that Mexico City, Mexico is a gay-friendly city to begin with. The city has a bustling, chaotic atmosphere, an incredible arts scene, and spectacular restaurants. Despite all it has to offer, Mexico City is just beginning to grow as a gay travel hot spot. Travel to and from Mexico City is low cost compared to many other destinations. Book a hotel in Mexico City during the month of June so that you’re in town for the annual Gay Pride parade.

4. San Luis Obispo County, California

Coast line in San Simeon  San Luis Obispo County   Central California

San Luis Obispo County in California is a favorite gay travel destination for a number of reasons. First is the legalization of gay marriage throughout the state of California. The second is the myriad of incredible Pacific beach resorts, many gay-friendly, between Pismo Beach and Avila Beach. Visit a local winery, spend the day on the beach, tour the college town of SanLuis Obispo, and relax in an accommodating hotel in the evening. You couldn’t ask for a better trip destination.

3. Nashville, Tennessee

Nashville skyline at sunset.

Despite it’s odd location (in the middle of the proverbial Bible Belt), Nashville, Tennessee is quickly becoming a gay-friendly city. Locals have slowly begun paying more attention to politics and environmental issues and have even developed a pretty reputable art scene. The East Nashville and 12th Avenue South neighborhoods, full of GLBT-friendly coffee houses and restaurants, are favorite destinations for gay travelers and families.

2. Tasmania, Australia

Tasmania Australia: Tasman Blowhole

Tasmania, a small island off the coast of Australia, was not always a gay-friendly city. Over the past few years, locals have put aside their conservative views and have welcomed lesbian and gay residents and travelers alike. The island offers a GLBT tourist guide and features a number of incredible tourist sites, including the Freycinet Coast and Cradle Mountain, and there are dozens of attractive family-owned accommodations for you to choose from.

1. Punta del Este, Uruguay

266 4-1-06 - 4-4-06 Colonia y Punta del Este, Uruguay (Moiras Pictur 162

The resort town of Punta del Este, Uruguay has long been one of the most accommodating gay-friendly cities, making it a huge favorite amongst GLBT travelers. Gay travelers from Argentina and Brazil frequently flock towards this cozy beach town, an area still growing in popularity amongst international travelers. Make sure you visit Chihuahua, the most popular gay beach in Punta del Este, while you’re there.

Whether you’re looking for a safe and friendly gay travel destination or a gay-friendly city in which you can settle down, each of the above promise entertainment and hospitality. Enjoy your search!

19 Comments for "9 Gay-Friendly Cities from Around the World"

Eduardo Peñarroja says on November 24th, 2009 at 6:49 pm:

I think that was forgotten very importants citys as Berlin , Amsterdam, Barcelona, Sitges, Buenos Aires and Montevideo (Uruguay).

Marcus Stevenson says on January 24th, 2010 at 10:42 pm:

Umm, San Luis Obispo county? Gay friendly? When California was going through Prop 8, there were MORE people here in SLO County wanting gay marriage to be illegal than legal. I would’ve believed San Francisco but San Luis Obispo County!?

The gays that live here are very discreet because the residences won’t approve of them and will basically bash them for their lifestyle. This area is WAY to conservative! There are no gay lifestyles in SLO County ANYWHERE. Heck, we don’t even have a strip club how conservative we are!

I’m with Eduardo. There are more actual gay friendly areas that could’ve been added.

Dak says on February 15th, 2010 at 1:44 pm:

Regarding Nova Scotia, it’s “Peggy’s Cove”, not “Petty’s Cove”. And don’t worry about Olympic Tourists ruining your vacation. Nova Scotia is 6,000 kilometres from Vancouver, where the Olympics are being held. Canada is a huge country! If you come to Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island isn’t far, and it is a very gay-friendly province. Definitely worth including in your trip.

ella says on May 7th, 2010 at 9:19 pm:

She also forgotten places like Iceland, and Hawaii. To assess, i think that Hawaii should be on the list. Actually, I heard that there’s a place there where you can unwind and relax. my friend told me a retreat themed “gay travel hawaii“. They said that it was so fun and great! the experience was incomparable. I’m planning to go this next season to find out :)

Dan says on May 13th, 2010 at 5:10 pm:

SLO (San Luis Obispo)? The majority of residence are conservative, church going folks. SLO city is by far more friendly than any other cities in SLO county; but if you were to hold hands with a person of the same-sex, you’ll get the gut-feeling that people are questioning why you are the way you are. Cal Poly is what makes it a bit liberal, but the whole county and city is conservative as a whole.

Ann says on August 15th, 2010 at 11:05 pm:

SLO county is not gay friendly. A lot of people here are too conservative and judgmental. Sometimes my husband and I get dirty looks just because I’m Hispanic and he’s Caucasian so I can imagine what it’s like if you’re gay and holding hands. SLO seems like a friendly accepting town, but the majority are white christian people who don’t want to see diversity.

Spang says on December 13th, 2010 at 1:49 am:

Cape Town (South Africa). It’s probably the unlikely Gay Capital in THE WORLD. And the homosexuality isn’t race-orientated (like other African countries believe). In Cape Town, u find gay black, white, S.A. coloured, Indian, Chinese men, etc. But mostly the white men r more “noticeable”. When it comes to lesbians, same thing- all races. In general, Cape Town is just GAY. If not gay, then Bisexual. I think there r more gay and/or bi ppl there than there r straight ppl. Trust me, i go there abt twice a mnth(work stuff). And I’m black female and have noticed this. Well, i’m Bi too =)

Carla says on July 22nd, 2012 at 4:42 pm:


where are Sydney? Amsterdam? south Africa? Belgium? Spain?
the last ones were the firts countries with gay marriage..EUROPE is Gay friendly..not America

Joseph says on January 4th, 2013 at 6:25 am:

What??? Not Toronto? Montreal? Those cities belong on the list.


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