Everybody say, “Love!”

We’re headed around the world in pursuit of exciting cities that embrace the LGBTIQ+ community with open arms (not to mention sequins and confetti). These are the kinds of places that understand that life is meant for celebrating – whether through rowdy drag shows that thrill with sass, joyous street parties that bring out crowds of thousands or thumping dance clubs that party on till sunrise.  

Follow us to some of the most progressive, inclusive and accepting destinations around the world. Places where you can truly show your spirit of pride.

Participants carry rainbow flags with the Union Jack superimposed at the Pride march, London, England, United Kingdom
London’s Pride festivities are among the best attended in the world © Chris J. Ratcliffe / Bloomberg via Getty Images

1. London, United Kingdom

Pride 2024: The biggest Pride celebration in the UK, and one of the largest in the world, London Pride takes place this year on June 29.

Must-visit LGBTIQ+ neighborhood: Soho in London’s West End has historically been the city’s epicenter of queer life. To this day, it remains a hub of the city's LGBTIQ+ bars, shops and clubs.

London has been a most prominent center of queer culture for hundreds of years, dating all the way back to the city’s 18th-century “Molly Houses,” meeting places for LGBTIQ+ people. London remains a massively queer city and is known for a brimming underground scene that can be found at rotating parties, such as those put on by Cybil’s House.

A must-visit for any LGBTIQ+ traveler is the Admiral Duncan, a gay pub in Soho that was the site of a bombing perpetrated by a homophobic neo-Nazi in 1999. In the aftermath of the tragedy, it became a site of resistance and resilience – and remains so to this day.

Learn about London’s queer history on this walking tour

Drag queens in pink wigs walking in the annual Provincetown Carnival Parade in Provincetown, Massachusetts, USA
Whether for Pride or for any of the many themed party weeks, there’s always a reason to dress up in Provincetown © Cindy Goff / Shutterstock

2. Provincetown, Massachusetts, USA

Pride 2025: Provincetown’s 7th annual Pride celebration takes place from May 31 to June 2, with a diverse lineup of events, from the town’s famous parade to a comedy showcase, 5k race, yoga sessions and more.

Must-visit LGBTIQ+ neighborhood: The entire town! Provincetown is a flourishing place for queer life. Located at the easternmost tip of Cape Cod, P-town has been a summer escape for the LGBTIQ+ community for over 60 years. From riotous parties at A-House to (technically illegal) nude sunbathing at Herring Cove Beach, there’s no shortage of fun to be had here. Plan your visit to align with one of the town’s many queer festivals, including Bear Week, Girl Splash, TransWeek and more.

14 ways to enjoy all Provincetown has to offer

3. Auckland, New Zealand

Pride 2024: Being in the southern hemisphere, Auckland held its Pride celebration in the month February. But it’s not too early to plan a trip for 2025! 

Must-visit LGBTIQ+ neighborhood: Karangahape Road – or “K Road” to locals – is where you'll find most of Auckland’s LGBTIQ+ nightlife. Many Aucklanders make a night of it by starting at The Eagle, a local, unpretentious watering hole that welcomes all comers from the LGBTIQ+ community. Next is an inevitable stop at Family Bar, located conveniently across the street, which has more of a club vibe, complete with bustling dance floor and weekly drag shows.

New Zealand has long been known as a friendly and welcoming country, with robust anti-discrimination laws and legalized same-sex marriage since 2013. Since then, the nation as a whole, and especially its major cities like Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, have become known as some of the most LGBTIQ-friendly places anywhere in the world.

These are Auckland’s best neighborhoods

Two men stand in the surf at sunset at Conchas Chinas beach, Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico
In Puerto Vallarta, the “gayborhood” extends to the Pacific Ocean © Inspired By Maps / Shutterstock

4. Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Pride 2024: Puerto Vallarta Pride takes place from May 20–26  May, and is one of Mexico’s biggest Pride celebrations, drawing a fun mix of locals and visitors. 

Must-visit LGBTIQ+ neighborhood: Emiliano Zapata (also called Old Town) is where you’ll find the vast majority of Puerto Vallarta’s queer nightlife. But the entire city is an LGBTIQ+ vacation magnet, so it’s virtually impossible to find any section of town that isn’t welcoming.

Throughout the years, Mexico has become more and more LGBTIQ-friendly, and the oceanfront resort town of Puerto Vallarta is one of the nation’s most progressive cities. All the big-brand resorts are LGBTIQ-inclusive, and there are even LGBTIQ-exclusive hotels, like the Almar Resort. For socializing and meeting other members of the community, the options are endless. From the beachy, indoor/outdoor Mr Flamingo, to the comic book–inspired Blondies Loft + Slushbar and the sleek and trendy La Noche, there’s no shortage of places to find fun. And that’s not to mention all the fantastic beaches, with Playa de los Muertos known as PV’s “gay beach.”

Alluring day trips from Puerto Vallarta

5. Barcelona, Spain

Pride 2024: July 18–21. Barcelona Pride’s official 2024 lineup and event details are still to come.

Must-visit LGBTIQ+ neighborhood: In the heart of BarcelonaL’Eixample is one of the biggest LGBTIQ+ boroughs in all of Europe. (It’s even been lovingly given the nickname “Gaixample,”) Here, you’ll find LGBTIQ-owned beauty salons, bookshops, saunas, cafes, bars, restaurants, sex shops and everything in between.  

Spain has long been at the forefront of LGBTIQ+ rights. The nation legalized same-sex marriage back in 2005 and has since enacted numerous laws that ensure equality and protection for the queer community, including those who are nonbinary and trans. Platja de la Mar Bella is Barcelona’s premier gay beach – and it also happens to be clothing-optional, with most beachgoers baring it all. Among the numerous other LGBTIQ+ hotspots, Arena Classic is a popular lesbian bar that’s a staple to the local community, while Warhol-inspired club Candy Darling sees partygoers dance nightly until the early hours of morning, and sometimes until after the sun comes up. This is Spain, after all.

20 free things to do in Barcelona

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The Stonewall Inn and drag legend Lady Bunny: it doesn’t get more fabulous than this © Lottie Davies / Lonely Planet

6. New York City, New York, USA

Pride 2024: One of the largest Pride celebrations on the planet, NYC Pride kicks into high gear toward the end of June, culminating in the annual Pride March on June 30, which draws up to 2 million revelers. If that’s not enough, kick off the month with Queens Pride in Jackson Heights, a fabulous parade and street party that takes place in one of the most diverse neighborhoods in the world. 

Must-visit LGBTIQ+ neighborhood: No LGBTIQ+ visit to New York City would be complete without stop in the West Village. It’s here that the Stonewall uprising took place during the summer of 1969, after police raided the Stonewall Inn and began arresting patrons and bartenders. When these LGBTIQ+ folks fought back, the modern gay rights movement was born.

New York has a deep history and profound connection to the LGBTIQ+ community – both painful (this was the epicenter of the HIV/AIDS crisis) and joyous (Harlem gifted the world ball culture). No queer traveler here can fail to feel it. 

These days, LGBTIQ+ folks tend to turn up in Hell’s Kitchen, on the west side of Manhattan, whose main drags of Ninth and Tenth Aves are packed with LGBTIQ-owned restaurants, barbershops, cafes and bars (denoted by frequent rainbow flags). Go-to HK nightlife spots include the wildly popular Industry bar; and the campy, country-themed Flaming Saddles Saloon, where short-shorts-wearing bartenders frequently two-step on the bar.

Drag legend Lady Bunny has a few tips for savoring the West Village

7. Berlin, Germany

Pride 2024: The culmination of Berlin’s month of Pride festivities (which kick off on June 28) is Christopher Street Day on July 27. Germany’s largest Pride celebration, the annual festival is named in honor of the Manhattan street where the historic Stonewall Inn is located.

Must-visit LGBTIQ+ neighborhood: The heart of Berlin’s LGBTIQ+ scene is in Schöneberg, which has had gay and lesbian bars since the 1920s, making it one of the oldest gay boroughs on the planet.

Berlin has a fascinating LBGTIQ+ history. In the ’20s and ’30s, queer culture flourished in the city, before being almost completely eradicated by the Nazis during World War II. After the war, the community was forced to rbuild from the ground up, ultimately creating the buzzing and beautiful scene of today.   

Berlin is famous for being a city where people stay out clubbing until the sun rises at institutions like GMF or Berghain (good luck getting in). But Berlin has so much more than dance floors. Its Gay Hostel is a unique lodging opportunity that’s only available to LGBTIQ+ people under the age of 38, creating a safe space where you’re bound to meet some new friends. The city is also home to the Schwules Museum, one of the only museums in the entire world dedicated to researching and preserving the history of LGBTIQ+ cultures around the world.

Berlin’s new era of club culture

A drag queen and passenger on a motorcycle at Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Sydney’s Mardi Gras as as fun an LGBTIQ+ celebration as you’ll find on Earth © Roni Bintang / Getty Images

8. Sydney, Australia 

Pride 2024: Taking advantage of southern-hemisphere summer, Sydney’s annual Pride extravaganza is the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, which took place in February. Mark your calendars now: the next edition runs from February 14 to March 2, 2025. 

Must-visit LGBTIQ+ neighborhood: The heart of gay Sydney is Darlinghurst, which is conveniently located near Sydney’s central business district and is easily accessible by the city’s mass-transit system.

Australia has long been a welcoming place for the queer community, with Sydney in particular earning a global reputation for its inclusivity. Not only does the city have excellent LGBTIQ+ nightlife – such as the expansive, three-story Stonewall Hotel – but it also has a rich cultural scene that celebrates LGBTIQ+ art and history. The Darlinghurst Bookshop has been selling queer books, magazines and films since the ’80s, and the city hosts the yearly Queer Screen film festival.

Visit all of Sydney’s best beaches

9. Toronto, Canada

Pride 2024: Toronto’s Pride celebration consists of a parade, parties and a popular street fair from June 28–30, offering a more laid-back and kid-friendly Pride experience.

Must-visit LGBTIQ+ neighborhood: Queen St has been Toronto’s main LGBTIQ+ stretch for decades. (You might recognize it as the filming location of the US version of the groundbreaking drama Queer as Folk.)

Canada as a whole is known for being welcoming and is considered one of the friendliest places on the planet. Church St’s oldest LGBTIQ+ establishment, Woody’s dates to 1989, and remains one a staple of Toronto’s queer culture. For something you can only find in Toronto, visit the Buddies in Bad Times theater, a queer performance space and cabaret that transforms into a nightclub on non-show nights.

Toronto’s 5 best independent shops

People celebrate on a float boat at the Amsterdam Pride Parade, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Amsterdam Pride brings a profusion of color and life to the city’s famous and historic canals © kavalenkava / Shutterstock

10. Amsterdam, Netherlands

Pride 2024: July 27–August 4. Amsterdam Pride is one of the world’s more unique celebrations, since its parade takes place on boats floating along the city’s famous canals.

Must-visit LGBTIQ+ neighborhood: While you’ll find LGBTIQ+ venues throughout this famously progressive city, much action is centered within the Reguliersdwarsstraat neighborhood, located in the center of town.

The Netherlands was the first country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage, in 2001 and, has remained one of the most LGBTIQ-inclusive countries on the planet thanks to its numerous anti-discrimination laws and policies that protect civil rights for the queer community.

First opened by flamboyant lesbian impresario Bet van Beeran in 1927, Cafe ’t Mandje remains a staple of the city’s queer scene, with its eclectic interior and friendly crowd. If late-night adventures are more your style, check out EXIT Café, a thumping LGBTIQ+ bar that welcomes all comers and allies. Best of all, EXIT is open later than most bars in the city, making it perfect for night owls and those looking for an epic night on the town. First-time visitors should stop in at the Pink Point, a dedicated LGBTIQ+ information booth that provides travelers with tips, recommendations and information on all things queer in the city.

All you need to know before heading to Amsterdam

11. Palm Springs, California, USA

Pride 2024: Thanks to the city’s year-round warm weather, Palm Springs Pride takes place much later than most, this year from October 31 to November 3.

Must-visit LGBTIQ+ neighborhood: All of Palm Springs is an LGBTIQ-centric neighborhood. In fact, Palm Springs has such a queer presence that even adjacent towns like Cathedral City and Palm Desert have drawn growing LGBTIQ+ populations, and have holding their own, discrete Pride celebrations.

During Hollywood’s heyday, actors, actresses, directors, producers and agents escaped to Palm Springs ro relax and let their hair down. Heavily represented among these visitors, the legend has it, was a heavy contingent of LBGTIQ+ artists, in search of privacy and discretion. This vibe still exists in this desert town to this day, with numerous LGBTIQ+ resorts dotting the town, many of them clothing-optional. For a bit of the city’s famed nightlife, be sure to check out longstanding staples like Chill Bar and Hunters.

Top things to do in Palm Springs

Young people dance in the streets during the Pride celebrations in Tel Aviv, Israel
The joyous Pride celebrations in Tel Aviv defy the stereotypes of Israel being a socially conservative country © Amir Levy / Getty Images

12. Tel Aviv, Israel 

Pride 2024: Tel Aviv Pride, taking place this year on Friday June 7, is a celebration beloved by Israelis and international visitors. 

Must-visit LGBTIQ+ neighborhood: While sophisticated Tel Aviv doesn’t have a specific “gayborhood,” the entire city is LGBTIQ-friendly. In fact, in 2016 the Boston Globe reported that a full quarter of the city’s population identifies as LGBTIQ+ – making it truly one of the gayest places on Earth.

While much of Israel remains socially traditional, with gay marriage not legally recognized in the country, Tel Aviv does things differently. Look no further than Hilton Beach, a hub for the LGBTIQ+ community (you’ll see many deeply bronzed, Speedo-wearing boys on parade). One of the city’s most popular locales for queer people and their allies is Shpagat, a club that draws a great mix of locals and tourists, ensuring that you’ll always be meeting someone new.

Fabulous rooftop bars in Tel Aviv

This article was first published Oct 8, 2019 and updated May 21, 2024.

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