unite-travel-guide

ATLANTA

Rooted in diversity and hospitality, Atlanta garners recognition each year for being a top gay travel destination, including landing a coveted spot on The Advocate’s 2015 list of “Queerest Cities in America.” Atlanta’s diverse population of five million residents is decidedly youthful and creative. Its vibrant neighborhoods offer endless opportunities for award-winning dining, boutique shopping and exciting nightlife for LGBT visitors each year.  However, the best part of Atlanta lies not in its concrete and steel, but in its people. Visitors should come prepared to be welcomed with a healthy dose of “How y’all doing?” hospitality.

COLUMBUS

Called “the most underrated gay city in America,” Columbus is a young, dynamic and diverse city with one of the country’s most open, progressive and widely embraced gay communities. That makes for an ideal getaway filled with discovery. Ohio’s capital — and its largest city — is known for its wildly creative local food scene and richly diverse arts and cultural scene, which are made approachable by incredibly friendly and welcoming locals, both gay and straight alike. Pulsating nightlife features everything from world-class drag shows to world beat dance clubs, kick-back sports bars and neighborhood haunts and vintage-inspired brew pubs and speakeasys. The stunning new Le Méridien Hotel, The Joseph, receives rave reviews for its exquisite art collection, elegant service and first-rate amenities.

INDIANAPOLIS

Home to one of the largest PRIDE festivals in the Midwest, bringing in over 100,000 people this past June, and honing the motto “Indy Welcomes All,” Indianapolis is a destination with a thriving LGBT scene. Watch a drag show or take to the dance floor at the upscale and lively Talbot Street cocktail lounge,  explore the art galleries, shops and eateries of Mass Ave – a happening cultural and Indy LGBT district – or stop in for a drink at one of the many popular gay-friendly bars, including Tini, 501 Eagle and Metro. The LGBT community is an integral and central part of Indy’s community, contributing much to the cultural and economic success of the city. View the Visit Indy events calendar for upcoming shows and performances, and connect with a Visit Indy partner, the Indy Rainbow Chamber, which serves as the voice of the LGBT community in the city.

JACKSONVILLE

Jacksonville, perfectly located in Northeast Florida next to the sparkling Atlantic Ocean is home to Florida’s largest LGBT population, and the perfect mix of Florida Flair and Southern Hospitality to make any getaway and unforgettable one! Whether you are looking to discover the undiscovered, ignite romance, reconnect with family or be inspired by the city’s cultural offerings, unique cuisine or vivid sunrises, anything is possible in Jacksonville.  The “River City by the Sea”, boasts 22 miles of wide and relaxing beaches, close to 40 miles of the tranquil Intracoastal Waterway canal and the longest stretch of the beautiful St. Johns River making Jacksonville a boater’s dream come true. Back on land, Jacksonville is a city of parks with the largest urban-park system in the nation including 400 city parks, seven state parks and two national parks. And that’s not all! Jacksonville has a thriving cuisine and craft-beer scene and a vibrant, major cultural centers and a cosmopolitan nightlife that stretches from the beautiful Beaches all the way to our historic neighborhoods.

KNOXVILLE

Honored to have been chosen “Top Ten Greatest Gay Cities in America in 2012”, Knoxville continues to produce a robust gay scene filled with arts, culture, history, musical events, outdoor adventure, shopping and culinary experiences that will impress you. Knoxville is a city that embraces diversity and respects the values of all of its citizens. Visitors can experience a diverse nightlife or a daytime filled with adventure. The LGBT community invites you to visit our ever expanding downtown, including Gay Street (listed as one of the most desirable streets by the American Planning Association in 2012), Market Square (the central hub of downtown life and several LGBT friendly restaurants), the Old City (pub, clubs and eateries), Happy Holler (a newly gentrified area and home to gay bar XYZ ), Bearden (home of Kristopher’s, many local restaurants and shopping) and West Knoxville (home of The Edge and great shopping). Knoxville continues to be a trendsetter in LGBT functions with a PRIDE event that hosts over 20,000 people and proudly supports the Gay Men’s Chorus.

LAS VEGAS

As a world-renowned travel destination, Las Vegas prides itself on having some of the best offerings in nightlife, culinary, entertainment, luxury accommodations and more. The destination openly embraces adult freedom, transformation, and the option to be whoever, whenever, which truly creates the ultimate vacation for LGBT travelers. Soak up the sun with LGBT pool parties by day and wander the Strip with the glow of neon lights at night. Go to bed as the sun rises after an evening spent at one of the many LGBT nightclubs. Embrace the glitz and glam with a show by Britney Spears, Mariah Carey or any number of spectacular performers. Let shows like Cirque du Soleil and Steve Wynn’s ShowStoppers dazzle and wow audiences. Indulge in some of the finest dishes and experience decadent cuisine from around the world. Celebrate with special events such as PRIDE in September, featuring the annual Gay Days Las Vegas, PRIDE Night Parade, Pride Festival in addition to Shedonism in October. From the world-class culinary outposts, to the showgirls, to the pools and wedding chapels, Las Vegas welcomes the LGBT community with arms open wide.

LOS ANGELES

L.A.’s trademark creative industries have been magnets for gay and lesbian trendsetters for more than a century. Their sheer numbers and substantial influence have left a permanent, positive and gay-friendly legacy on L.A.’s culture, political climate and sense of community. LGBT life in this city of more than 15 million people continues to be as diverse and dynamic as the city itself. There is not just one gay neighborhood in this glittering metropolis: They dot the region. You could spend an entire week just exploring gay and lesbian enclaves throughout the city—from Silver Lake to West Hollywood, from Downtown to Studio City, to name just a few.

MINNEAPOLIS

Minneapolis is a great LGBT destination because it’s been a welcoming, open environment for the LGBT community for many years, being recognized many times in the past for being a top city for LGBT by publications and groups. Our Twin Cities Pride festival is one of the largest in the country and is highly attended by LGBT and non-LGBT community members. Minnesota legalized same-sex marriage in 2013 and that fall, Meet Minneapolis, welcomed LGBT couples from the market surrounding the city to marry in the “I want to marry you in Minneapolis” campaign where the city gained media coverage nationally for the effort, and subsequently won a PR News Award. The city has numerous amenities that are sought after including LGBT bars, publications and organizations, but is also a destination for arts and culture, nature, sports, shopping, and dining.

RICHMOND

In 2014, Richmond came out of the closet with OutRVA, a campaign designed to show people Richmond’s strong LGBT community and highlight the area as a travel destination for LGBT travelers. Through coming out letters to destinations and celebrities, Richmond shared its true colors, the full rainbow. At RichmondisOut.com, travelers can learn more about the area from “Richmond Insiders,” LGBT Richmonders who have shared what they love about the area. Richmond Insiders are available to contact through the website so visitors can connect directly with a local and ask for recommendations when planning a trip. RichmondisOut.com also serves an outlet to celebrate Richmond’s LGBT community. Visitors are encouraged to share their own coming out stories on the site. To boost awareness for visitors, “Out” stickers can be seen throughout Richmond on storefronts, cars, food trucks and more.

SACRAMENTO

Sacramento’s gay and lesbian community has grown to make the city, and in particular, Midtown, a popular destination for visitors of all interests. Midtown is home to Lavender Heights where various gay-owned restaurants, cafes, bars, clubs, retail and other service-oriented businesses cater not just to the LGBT community, but to the community at large. Many are involved in the city’s gay and lesbian community events. Most importantly, Sacramento welcomes all families to come and enjoy our world-class museums, attractions, events and hotels. LGBT families and our residents are making Sacramento a destination to be enjoyed by all. The vibrant city welcomes everyone to visit, eat and smile.

SAN FRANCISCO

Equality for all. Respect and tolerance. Those words say a lot about San Francisco. Historically and culturally, the city has been waving the flag (albeit not the rainbow version created here in 1978) for 150 years. Today San Francisco has one of the highest per capita gay populations in the world. The largest flagpole in the city flies a rainbow banner above Harvey Milk Plaza, which begins above ground at Castro and Market streets and descends a wide curving stairway to the Muni Metro station entrance. A brass plaque describes Milk’s life, work and death, and concludes with a pithy comment from the first openly gay supervisor in San Francisco on his role in the gay community: “I am all of us!” A block away is where the world-renowned AIDS memorial quilt got its start in 1987. It now has 46,000 panels. Be sure to stop in the 40,000-square-foot San Francisco LGBT Community Center. About 20 organizations have offices in the building, offering legal, health, social, educational and cultural workshops, events and counseling.

SONOMA

Just 30 miles from San Francisco, the gayest city in the world, Sonoma County features laid-back wine tasting, stunning beaches, river adventures, fine dining, charming towns, and a wide variety of nightlife. Gay and gay-friendly accommodations abound, and Sonoma Country’s reputation as an open place means gay travelers can explore the wonders of Wine Country and be welcomed.