No one needs to tell you that traveling is one of the most exciting things you can do. But in a world as scary as ours, going out and exploring for the first time can be truly daunting. Especially if you have no idea where to go.
Yet something being scary is no reason not to jump right in and see what this big ridiculous world has in store for you. Whether you want to club around the world, see its natural wonders, or immerse yourself in culture, this beginner’s LGBTI travel bucket list is the best place to start.
1 A pilgrimage to The Stonewall Inn | New York City, US
Queer history can sometimes be just a long list of all the terrible things that have happened to us. And while that is, sadly, true, places like this are beacons of hope. The Stonewall Inn was the catalyst to the Stonewall Riots, which truly ignited the battle for LGBTI rights in the US and across the West. Every queer traveler, young and old and of any gender, has to take a pilgrimage to this holy site.
It also really helps that it can be found in New York City, one of the most spectacular cities in the entire world.
2 March in Asia’s biggest Pride | Taipei Pride, Taiwan
The biggest LGBTI pride festival in Asia is a sight every queer traveler should see. The parade, held on the last Saturday in October, really showcases why Taipei is probably the best city in Asia for LGBTI rights. Fun, welcoming, and downright gorgeous, it centers around the main parade, with performances from local celebrities and activists reminding you why you’re really there. A testament to how good a pride can be.
3 Discover America’s homegrown LGBTI hot spot | Boystown, Chicago, USA
The Windy City is host to the US’s best gay district, making it one of those places all gay people should visit. Boystown is known across the world for standing firm against the erosion of explicitly queer areas. There are dozens of bars – from Progress to Sidetrack – allowing you to unleash your gay side with the strength that only Americans can provide. The restaurants are great, too, so check out Wood and Home Bistro for Michelin-nodded eateries.
4 Australian Pride, but not like you’ve ever experienced | Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, Australia
Sydney Mardi Gras is like an atomic bomb of queer energy. Set over twelve nights, queer artists and revelers descend on the city, bringing everything from burlesque, drag queens, talks, art, and one hell of a party. It might be a bit overwhelming, but once that parade starts, you’ll truly understand why Australians have a reputation for parties.
5 Go to your first gay beach | Playa los Muertos gay beach, Mexico
Going to a gay beach has to be on your gay travel bucket list, so you might as well go for one of the best. You can head out into the sand and swim in those sapphire seas if you want, but a lot of people come here to party. Head to areas like the Sapphire Beach Club to get cocktails served by hunky waiters, while other places will have the music turned up. No matter what, the scenery is going to be pretty intense.
6 Unleash your wild side with queer women at The Dinah | Palm Springs, USA
The biggest festival for gay and bisexual women is everything you could have hoped for. Every April thousands of women descend onto this paradise for a weekend of mayhem. Think pool parties, think spectacular talent on stage, think amazing DJs, and think of it all under the beautiful Palm Springs sun.
7 Enjoy a gay clubbing masterclass | Gran Canaria
There’s no other clubbing scene in Europe quite like Gran Canaria, making it the ultimate travel bucket list destination for partying souls. The sheer breadth of gay bars is pretty fantastic, and all of it is a little bit silly. But with the glorious resorts, amazing beaches, and general accessibility, it also makes it one of the easier clubbing destinations to go to.
8 Cycle across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco | USA
San Francisco is one of the world’s gay holy cities, featuring a spectacular scene and a colorful history. But among the clubs and restaurants and the LGBTI community, they also have one of the States’ best landmarks: the Golden Gate Bridge. The best way to experience it is by bike. So put your helmet on and absorb the views and engineering wonderment in this wonderful city.
9 Strip off at Haulover Gay Nude Beach | Florida, USA
Stripping completely naked in front of strangers can be nerve-wracking for anyone – which is why people normally go to dark rooms, not underneath-the-burning-hot-sun rooms. But Haulover in Miami is the only naturist beach in the State… and it also happens to be one of the friendliest you can go to. There are mixed areas, so have to travel north on this busy beach to find the gay area. And you never know, you might just find it truly freeing.