6 Gay-Friendly Cities to Visit

Hey, straight cis people aren’t the only ones who need a vacation! Of course they generally don’t have to wonder if they might get beaten or killed on vacation just for holding hands with their partner or wearing clothes closest to their own gender identity. Still, LGBT tourism has becoming a thriving new business advent with cities around the world hoping to capitalize on wealthy queers looking for a fun getaway. In fact, many tourism websites of major cities now feature small blurbs about things for the LGBT traveler to enjoy. So whether you’re looking for international drag scenes, gay history, museums, nightclubs, or all of the above, here are six of the best gay cities to visit.

Prague, Czech Republic

While not quite as flashy or expensive as some other European tourist destinations, Prague is still a popular city for tourism due to its long history and breathtaking architecture. However, despite the breadth of history on display, Prague is still a remarkably progressive city within a country that has been generally progressive since the fall of communism, especially when compared to some of its close neighbors. Registered partnerships for gay couples were first introduced in the Czech Republic way back in 2006, and Prague held its first Pride Parade in 2011. Not to mention, the Czech Republic has been home to the huge annual multi-city queer film festival, the Mezipatra Queer Film Festival, for the last 17 years.

Philadelphia, USA

Philadelphia has had a thriving gay scene that dates back to the 1930s and ’40s, beginning with a few discrete bars and coffeehouses before emerging into a full-on “Gayborhood”, as it is affectionately known, with nightclubs, performance centres, bars, restraunts, and shops. In 2004 the city of Brotherly Love put out one of the first ever tourism ads directed toward LGBT folks, featuring the tagline “Get Your History Straight, and Your Nightlife Gay.”

Berlin, Germany

Prior to the Nazis, Berlin actually had a vibrant LGBT scene, with famous cabarets and a cosmopolitan flair for the diverse, not to mention the Institute for the Science of Sexuality (whose papers of groundbreaking research on gender and sexuality were all burned in 1933). It was a hub for gay European expats and artists such as the famous English writer Christopher Isherwood. Today, Berlin has revived this spirit with museums, arts institutions, clubs, and many queer bookstores.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Rio has always been a popular tourist spot in general, especially for LGBT folks. In fact, it’s been estimated that around a million LGBT people visit Rio de Janeiro every year, and it’s not hard to see why. With its incredible beaches, rich nightlife with clubs and bars, many shops, luxury hotels, and historical neighborhoods, Rio de Janeiro has earned its well-deserved spot on many lists as one of the most gay-friendly cities in the world. Rio also has one of the biggest Pride Parades in the world and even gay-specific activities during the famous Rio Carnival.

Cape Town, South Africa

South Africa is frequently cited as being one of the most LGBT-friendly countries in Africa. Indeed, the post-apartheid constitution, written in 1994, outlawed discrimination based on sexual orientation and in 1998 the Constitutional Court of South Africa ruled that a law prohibiting consensual gay sex was unconstitutional, and South Africa has had marriage equality since 2005. Within Cape Town you can find beaches, nightclubs, and other fun attractions. Additionally, since 1994 Cape Town has hosted the Mother City Queer Project, a yearly costume festival meant to celebrate the multiple and diverse queer communities in Cape Town.

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

You might think that the much larger tourist attractions of cities like Guadalajara and Acapulco would be on this list, but in recent years Puerto Vallarta has become a beacon of LGBT tourism in Mexico, attracting both international visitors as well as domestic tourists. Sitting right on the western coast of Mexico, Puerto Vallarta boasts beautiful beaches, pride celebrations since 2013, nightclubs, bars, and restaurants.

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Going For Gold: Olympic Uniforms 2016

Photo: Hudson's Bay
Photo: Hudson’s Bay

The Rio Olympics have quickly snuck up on us, with the Opening Ceremony happening tonight for us in Toronto. While this year’s Olympics has been surrounded by different issues, the one thing we can always rely on is the fun of the Olympic uniforms. Who will look the coolest coming out the gate and into the stadium? Who will look the most ridiculous? And, most importantly, how will Canada compare to the rest?

CANADA

This year, Canada charged our favourite design twins Dsquared2 with the task of dressing our elite athletes. And quite honestly, they ROCKED the job. Check out these equestrian blazer-style jackets!

Photo: Hudson's Bay
Photo: Hudson’s Bay

They have athletic coat tails!!

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Photo: Lucas Oleniuk via Getty Images

The rest of the collection features relaxed t-shirts, quarter zips, hoodies, and classic sweatpants (these clothes are for athletes, remember). The decision to keep to classic colours and symbols, something that worked brilliantly for the Vancouver 2012 uniforms, is a great one.

GREAT BRITAIN

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Photo: Vogue UK

Team G.B. chose Stella McCartney to carry her collaborative design efforts with Adidas over to their Olympic uniforms. Tom Daley, not only talented as a diver or at wearing teeny Speedos, helped McCartney through the design process. The result is very cool. Streamlined halters, thick bands, and bomber jackets give Great Britain’s athletes an edge.

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Photo: Vogue UK

AUSTRALIA

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Photo: Matt King via Getty Images

Bless these kitschy little outfits! Harkening back to the Los Angeles games, these uniforms are quite frankly so adorable, but not necessarily intimidatingly cool. They look like they should be on the cover of True Prep. Each jacket has the name of every Australian medalist in history inscribed on the inside.

FRANCE

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Photo: Dominique Maitre

Um, how do you describe these uniforms, designed by heritage brand Lacoste, as anything other than so French? Tennis whites, polo shirts, and silk scarves. Wow.

SWEDEN

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Photo: H&M

Proudly, and maybe obviously, wearing H&M-designed looks, Swedish athletes will be hard to miss walking around the Athletes Village.

SOUTH KOREA

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Photo: Chung Sung-Jun via Getty Images

South Korea went for practicality this year as they apparently made their uniforms mosquito repellent due to Zika virus concerns. Hard to tell how those fedoras are going to do the job, but stay safe!

GERMANY

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Photo: Dennis Gromekowski via Getty Images

I think it’s the shades, but I just don’t really know what to say about this Adidas look.

As you can see, with no bias at all, Dsquared2 TAKES THE GOLD for Olympic uniforms.

GO CANADA GO!