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Pride Month is celebrated annually in June each year in honor of the 1969 Stonewall riots. As a result, many pride events are held throughout the month in recognition of the impact LGBTQ people have had in the world. But regardless of whether or not you’re looking to travel to a destination that hosts a pride event, this summer you might want to consider a retreat to a place where Love is Love no matter the gender or type of relationship, monogamous or polyamorous. Now is the perfect time to take that last-minute trip or book an escape anytime this summer where you’ll be welcomed with open arms.
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Denver is a city that’s well-known as one of the most accepting cities in the nation for all, when it comes to everything from neighborhoods and hotels to nightlife. It also hosts numerous annual LGBTQ events that draw huge crowds, including the country’s third-largest pride festival. It takes place over the last weekend in June, typically drawing more than 100,000 who line 14 blocks of Colfax Avenue from Cheesman Park to Civic Center. There will be more than 250 vendors, a parade, rally, three stages, and a 5K race. If you can’t be here in June, the Colorado Gay Rodeo is held here in July.
Canada is one of the world’s most progressive countries and Vancouver not only has a thriving LGTBQ community with a wide range of friendly-to-all restaurants, coffee shops, bars, and clubs but some of the most incredible scenery. It’s surrounded by towering mountains and sparkling water, bringing a long list of things to do indoors and out. It also hosts the Vancouver Pride Festival in late July – July 31st in 2022, complete with a colorful pride parade.
Internationally known as a gay mecca, Key West celebrates pride and openness, with a very accepting, welcoming attitude. Hang out on Duval Street downtown, the very place the Village People sang about in the hit song, “Key West,” with lyrics that sing: “take a walk down Duval Street, you never know who you’ll meet.” From legendary bars that include everything from Rick’s Cafe and Sloppy Joe’s to the Green Parrot, a landmark institution here since 1890, a good time is guaranteed. Of course, a sunset sail with a glass in hand is always a must too.
Mykonos is an island that’s been known for its glamour, attracting plenty of celebrities and other VIPs ever since Jackie O. arrived in the 1970s. Discover nearly an endless number of luxury resorts, trendy beach bars, and fine dining restaurants with stunning ocean views to complement the Cycladic character with a charming maze of cobblestone alleyways, centuries-old windmills, and traditional whitewashed homes. The island is also famous for its party lifestyle in the clubs and on the sand with beaches renowned for attracting gay visitors from across the globe like Super Paradise. In fact, the island has even carved a niche for itself as one of the most sought-after LGBTQ tourist destinations.
Located at the tip of Cape Cod, Provincetown has long been known for its diversity with LGBTQ+ awareness and empowerment. In the 1920s and ‘30s, gays and lesbians, along with plenty of socialists, radicals, artists, writers, playwrights, and poets, were drawn here for freedom of exploration, the chance to let loose without fear of judgment while enjoying the unique scenic beauty of the area. The fun, open-minded attitude has remained, making for lively streets and plenty of colorful excitement, not to mention the gorgeous beaches, tasty seafood, art galleries, and opportunities for whale watching. There’s no shortage of fun to be had here.
Iceland is one of the world’s most progressive countries – it was the first to have a female president and it’s long-been welcoming to LGBTQ+ travelers. Here, people are truly treated as equals in a place that’s all about love across the spectrum of genders. A rainbow paradise, it’s also stunningly beautiful. Visitors of all types can explore ice caves, glistening glaciers, cascading waterfalls, black sand beaches, and much more. Of course, it’s also famous for the Blue Lagoon and many natural geothermal springs for unforgettable soaks surrounded by volcanic beauty.
Aruba is often named among the Caribbean’s most LGBT-friendly islands and with summer the off-season there’s no better time to enjoy it. And, as one of the ABC islands, there’s little need to worry about severe storms as its location is outside of the hurricane belt. Here visitors can enjoy pristine beaches with crystal-clear blue waters for snorkeling, close encounters with the island’s famous flamingos, and glorious tangerine-colored sunsets, all at a budget-friendly price. After dark, it’s a party on the beach, with bars and nightclubs hopping until the wee hours of the morning. In Oranjestad, you’ll find a number of gay bars and clubs too.
Sweden has long had a reputation for being one of the world’s most welcoming countries as a place where inclusion and diversity are part of the culture. There are pride festivals held throughout the country, including Stockholm Pride, the largest in Scandinavia, Malmo Pride, and West Pride Gothenburg. Gothenburg is a beautiful city, the gateway to the archipelago with a strong LGBTQ+ community and one of the greatest densities of Michelin-starred restaurants by population, making it especially ideal for LGBTQ+ foodies. But no matter where you go you’re sure to feel welcomed here.
Many surveys rank the Golden Gate City as the No. 1 gay-friendly destination in the U.S. with countless gay-friendly bars, clubs, hotels, and other venues. It’s the home of the country’s first openly gay elected official, the birthplace of the rainbow flag, and America’s first city to legalize gay marriage. It also happens to host one of the best pride parades you’ll find anywhere. Taking place over the last weekend of June, in 2022 it celebrates its 52nd year. Of course, you’ll find plenty of other things to do from strolling across the Golden Gate Bridge to enjoying the many attractions in Golden Gate Park and sunset cruises on the bay.
The Netherlands was the world’s very first country to legalize same-sex marriage in 2001. It’s remained one of the most LGBTQ+ inclusive destinations on the planet with numerous anti-discrimination laws and policies that protect civil rights for the community. While the entire nation is open-minded when it comes to just about everything, Amsterdam is an especially appealing destination with many LGBTIQ+ venues throughout, but much is centered in the Reguliersdwarsstraat neighborhood, which sits at the center of town. Plus, there are the usual delights like cruising the 17th-century canals and visiting the many world-class museums and attractions, including the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gough Museum, Rembrandt House, and the Anne Frank House. In 2022, Amsterdam Pride takes place from July 30 through August 7, a unique celebration with a parade on boats floating along the canals.
Berlin knows how to have fun in every way and Germany is very progressive when it comes to LGBTQ+ rights, particularly in the major cities. There’s been a queer culture here for decades, with it flourishing back in the 1920s and ’30s before being nearly eradicated by the Nazis during the Second World War. After that, it had to rebuild from the ground up but today same-sex marriage is not only legal, Berlin hosts the annual Christoper Street Day, the largest pride celebration in the country with 2022’s event taking place on July 23. The most popular neighborhood hangout here is Schöneberg, one of the world’s oldest gay boroughs.
While you’re here, don’t miss the Brandenburg Gate, the only surviving city gate and an important symbol of the city, symbolizing reunification after dividing East and West Berlin for decades. The Berlin Wall, once a symbol of division, now serves as a huge open-air gallery with over 100 murals created by artists from around the world.
New York City boasts one of the biggest queer scenes on the planet with vibrant gay nightlife and a very liberal population. Some say it’s unrivaled, with Greenwich Village, Hell’s Kitchen, and Chelsea some of the top spots to explore – you’ll see rainbow flags flying everywhere. NYC Pride takes place throughout most of the second half of June, with the main festivities like the music festival and parade taking place over three days, June 24 through June 26. It’s a place where there’s probably no need to list all the attractions with iconic spots like Central Park, Times Square, and The Met.