Follow US!

Get a break from the summer heat with the majesty and history of Quebec
By Mike Fleming

Just because we love Atlanta doesn’t mean that we love it in August quite as much, or that we don’t at least deserve to get away from it long enough to regroup and reenergize with Arctic summer breezes. Say salut to Quebec.

The mostly French-speaking Canadian province is home to places like Montreal, of course, but its capitol Quebec City may be even more inviting for gay travelers looking to beat the heat. The friendly locals speak predominantly French, but in tourist areas, gay bars and restaurants, you’ll manage fine with English.

Nestled on the St. Lawrence River, its rich in urban history as old or older than any other city in North America. You can fly directly into Jean Lesage International Airport about 12 miles northwest of downtown, drive in from Montreal in about three hours, or take regulary scheduled trains or buses.

With its narrow cobblestone streets, old city walls, a friendly gay scene, and high-mercury temperatures hovering around 75º in summer, Quebec City has everything you need to recharge while the rest of gay Atlanta steeps in temps at or near the century mark.

Your own two feet and a pair of good walking shoes are all you really need to see sites in Old Quebec, the city’s historic central district surrounding the Vieux-Québec and Place Royale, where you can have a martini on the plaza and watch the people.

Don’t-miss tourist attractions include the singular experiences of the Notre Dame de Victoires Eglise, the oldest continually operating church on the continent, and The Citadel, a still-active military base with centuries of history. You might want to spend a whole day or rainy afternoon at the Musee de la Civilisation, with collections showcasing the region’s indigenous First Nations people.

While in Old Town, don’t miss at least a snack and cocktail at the Hotel Frontenac. Its 1608 Wine and Cheese Bar – so-named to match the founding of the city – includes local selections of the titular wine and cheese.

While you’re fine on foot while in Old Quebec, it’s fun and practical to ride the Old Quebec Funicular to get to other attractions between the upper and lower city. The railway offers breathtaking views as you scoot between fine dining on Rue Saint Louis, shops in the lower town on Rue du Petit Champlain – named after the city’s founder – and in the upper town on Rue Saint Jean.

Once you’ve explored the upper and lower parts of town, a few side trips are absolute musts. A St. Lawrence River Boat Trip down the city’s lifeblood waterway takes about two hours, and you’ll never forget it. On the outskirts of town, Montmorency Falls is a spectacular of the regions gorgeous natural waterfalls.

After days like these, you’ll be tempted to crash, but save room for some night moves at a plethora of gay and mixed bars. We recommend Le Drague Cabaret for dancing, entertainment and just plain terrace-sitting, Bar St. Matthews for a neighborhood pub feel. Adventurous types may like ForHom, a gay men’s social club and bar next to the gay Sauna Bloc.

Gay and gay-inclusive accommodations like Le 253 Bed and Breakfast, Coureur Des Bois, and La Maison du Cocher are definitely available, but we highly recommend getting an Airbnb in one of Quebec City’s many centuries old lofts.

The Canadian dollar translates well to American one, so it’s a great time to travel. In fact, a Quebec City getaway couldn’t be better timed right now, because the gay Fête Arc-en-ciel, aka Rainbow Festival, takes place in September. Think Pride, with a Canadian twist.

Visit the local guidesgq.com, gay travel guides frommers.com, gaycities.com, or your favorite gay Atlanta travel agent.

NYC Pride rolls out new entertainment options to up the wow factor on its June celebration
By Buck C. Cooke

The traditional Pride weekend at the end of June is just around the corner, so now is the time to make travel plans to hit up one of the destination Prides around the world. Naturally, New York City should be on your list, but this year NYC Pride makes an even more serious play for your gay travel dollars.

Come to the Big Apple for the three-day Pride Island on June 23-25, 2017, and experience the expansion of what was a one-day party on Pride Sunday into elevated and supersized musical and event offerings to reflect the diversity of the community.

“We really wanted to create this inclusive environment,” says Eboni Munn, NYC Pride Communications Manager. “Our 2017 theme, ‘We Are Proud,’ recognizes our diverse community, and particularly Pride Island, we’ve reimagined Pier 26 as a more inclusive space that people from all backgrounds can truly enjoy.”

On Friday, June 23, Pride Island, kicks off at Hudson River Park on Pier 26. It serves up soul legend Patti Labelle, gay dance favorite Deborah Cox, and DJ Lina. Saturday brings an even bigger lineup, featuring lesbian twins Tegan and Sara, British pop trio Years and Years with gay front man Olly Alexander, Roisin Murphy, Gallant, Dimitri From Paris, and Occupy the Disco.

Sunday brings DJs Scott Martin, Cindel and Chus + Ceballos, as well as a to-be-announced big-name headliner. Cher, Janet Jackson, Whitney Houston, Jennifer Lopez, Fergie, and Ariana Grande have all anchored the event in the past, so expect a huge announcement in the coming weeks.

NYC Pride also offers enough parties to keep you occupied all hours of the day and night. On Friday, Fantasy: Men at Work offers a costume party calling for your favorite construction or uniform look with DJs Ralphi Rosario and Eddie Martinez at the Highline Ballroom. There are two parties on Saturday, including the 7th annual VIP Rooftop Party at Hudson Terrace, with DJs Alex Acosta, GSP, and Hannah. That same night, Masterbeat: Game Show hits the Hammerstein Ballroom with DJs Ivan Gomez and Micky Friedmann.

But nightlife is just the beginning in the Big Apple during Pride Weekend. Sunday, June 25, contains two iconic LGBT events. PrideFest, a free street festival, takes place on Hudson Street between Abingdon Square and West 14th Street. Gay Atlanta will be familiar with the format of entertainers, vendors and sponsors welcoming visitors from all over the world.

The March, perhaps the largest Pride event in the U.S., steps off at 12 noon on Sunday from 36th Street and Fifth Avenue and concludes at the intersection of Christopher and Greenwich Streets. Over 30,000 people participated in 2016, and an estimated 2.5 million spectators watched the celebration of LGBT achievement and calls for equality.

Given the uncertainties and concerns over LGBT rights in the U.S. and across the world, this year’s March is expected to be just as large, if not bigger.

Since Atlanta Pride is in October, plan an exciting getaway to New York for NYC Pride, but act quickly, as tickets are going fast for the events.

Want to go?
NYC Pride
nycpride.org

Friday, June 23
7-10 p.m. Pride Island
11 p.m.-5 a.m. Fantasy: Men at Work

Saturday, June 24
2-10 p.m. Pride Island
2-10 p.m. VIP Rooftop Party
10 p.m.-9 a.m. Masterbeat: Game Show

Sunday, June 25
11 a.m.-6:00 p.m. PrideFest
12 noon The March steps off
2 -10 p.m. Pride Island

CMI_Survey_Digital_Male_300x250Our annual travel guide to exotic places by way of the guys you might meet once you get there. 
By Mike Fleming

Your global boyfriends await at each of our 2017 travel pit stops, from sultry St. Maarten to crisp, clean Vancouver and Geneva, and from the Australian Outback to lively Buenos Aries and Tokyo.

Pack your bags, gentlemen, and meet our fantasy tour guides as we go around the world in datable gays.

BuenosBuenos Aires, Argentina

Your Porteno, as Buenos Aires residents call themselves, can be self-assured but insecure at the same time, eager to please you with his mix of European and South American roots in the city, the wine and the people.

The gorgeous architecture is similarly diverse in gay neighborhoods like Recoleta, Palermo, and San Telmo. One minute, it’s like a contemporary American scene, the next you’re in Old Paris. Then you notice that signature Portenos behavior – insane driving, the passionate way he moves his hands when he speaks, and the obsession he has with close family and friends.

Gay life has been part of the fabric of the city since the formation of its first openly gay group in 1969. It’s likely the most liberal and pro-gay city in Latin America. Since 1996, anti-gay discrimination is illegal, but follow your man’s lead on behaviors in certain areas. Marriage equality is the law of the land as of 2010.

Porteños men kiss on the cheek to greet each other, both gay and straight. Enjoy that, and ask to visit Glam Club for dancing, Sitges for drag, Flux for happy hour, and Pride Café or Parilla Miranda for dinner and drinks.

 

MaartenSt. Maarten, Virgin Islands

The guy you meet here, like his home, is split between his Dutch and French sensibilities. Pack your passport to get on this island, and then let him take you on a whirlwind romance of dramatic cliffs, winding roads and hilly sunsets.

Closed in by cliffs, the gay Cupecoy Beach on the Dutch side of the island is clothing optional. It’s in a super fancy area with a thriving condo market, the world-class Blue Mall luxury shopping center and the Christian Dior Spa.

On the French side, do dinner and drag at L’Escargot with amazing French cuisine in a dive-tastic Creole cottage that includes a cabaret seven nights a week.

The Gay & Lesbian Travel Association has checked out and approved accommodations at Sonesta and Westin Dawn Beach on the Dutch side, but most gay tourists go French at La Samanna. It regularly hosts famous faces like Anderson Cooper and Donatella Versace. That’s where you and your local lad can enjoy tennis, spa, a full gym and VIP cabanas.

Ask him to take a daytrip to Saba, the sister island vying for gayest of the region with an openly gay commissioner, director of tourism, and member of the island council, all of whom are pushing for marriage equality.

VancouverVancouver, British Columbia

One of the most gay-welcoming cities in the world introduces you to an urbane, educated, most-likely well-off man who knows the ins and outs of his ocean-wrapped, snow-capped city.

Start in one of two distinctly different gayborhoods. The West End and Commercial Drive are both home to gay residents and a number of gay restaurants, boutiques, pubs and coffee shops. The West End is on the downtown peninsula with tree-lined streets, beaches and funky stores. “The Drive” is more multi-cultural and bohemian. It’s a little more lesbian-centric and holds its own Pride festival each year.

Weddings are always in season, with unforgettable views and venues like the Teahouse in Stanley Park or Windows on the Bay.

There are more than 30 “TAG Approved” gay-friendly hotels in Vancouver, the most of any city in Canada. Some of the more popular and more unique offerings include the trendy 2400 Motel, the out of this world views of Coast Coal Harbor, the ocean-side Pinnacle Hotel at the Pier, and the quaint intimacy of The Burrard.

For something different, dine out at eateries like The Parker for vegetarian fare, The Observatory Restaurant for mountain views, and Dinner at the Birdcage or Vancouver Fan Club for drag dining.

What’s your idea of the perfect day date? Your Vancouver man is ready with a scenic trip on a floatplane, an epic road trip up into the mountains, or a relaxing ferry ride through stunning vistas like Victoria Island on the Strait of Georgia.

TokyoTokyo, Japan

Like the urban jungle he lives in, your date in Tokyo is a mass of contradictions and dichotomies. It’s the reality of this emerging modern culture in a strictly conservative country that he’s likely buttoned up and closeted at a desk by day and letting it all hang out in the city’s vibrant bar culture by night.

In a blink, he can take you from the chaos of crowds, skyscrapers and neon billboards to the serenity of tree-lined streets, sakura blossoms and secluded udon shops for noodles. And though many westerners don’t realize it, there is amazing skiing on the peaks of Mount Takeo, only 30 miles away. You’ll want to soak up all of it.

Two neighborhoods play host to the gay scene. Shinjuku is the better known and most crowded, and Ni-Chome is known for having the highest concentration of small, densely packed gay bars in the world. Eat at the Aiiro Café, which has locations in both neighborhoods. Other restaurants in the gay districts include Ippudo for ramen, Yuian for Isakaya, and Cocolo for Japanese-Western fusion.

Most gay Japanese men are still limited to express their sexual orientation within the confines of these few small blocks. They love visitors, and many of the bars have eager bartenders who speak fluent English. Ask to visit clubs including Dragon Men, Arty Farty, GB and Kinsmen.

Ni-Chome is also great for boutiques and shops, and Shinjuku hosts stores for major men’s fashion brands like Comme des Garcons, which is now based there.

GenevaGeneva, Switzerland

The natural beauty, the Old World charm, the liberal sophistication. Oh, and the city too. The boyfriend you find in Geneva is everything that this city has to offer in one perfect package.

One of the most live-and-let-live places on the planet, prepare to fall in love. Oh, and the guys too. Geneva is nestled between the majestic Alps and the Jura Mountains. Considered the most “French” of the Swiss destinations, it’s smaller than its sister Zurich but more multicultural.

You’ll stroll hand-in-hand through the International Quarter near the main train station, set to whisk you away to day trips and other European destinations. Once there, you and your handsome tour guide can easily walk to most places within the city, rent bicycles, or book boat and ferry tours of the area.

The Pont du Mont Blanc has been a gay meeting place for generations. There’s a pebbly beach, pedestrian and café-lined streets, and a cruisy park at the land’s end point. Eat at Buvette des Bains des Paquis, a gay restaurant with waterside seating.

Gay clubs are plentiful. Favorites include L’Aiglon, which is a café by day and bar by night, La Garconniere for drag, Le Declic for lounging, and La Bretelle for the artsy crowd. Geneva also has a reputation for a large number of gay spas, saunas and baths. Shopping includes the superstore Manor and Substation, a gay adult store.

AustraliaAustralian Walkabout

You’ve heard that it’s the journey, not the destination. Well, in South Australia, it’s both. Like the planes, trains and automobiles you’ll take to get here, your gay guide has to know the big city, but also be rugged enough to know his way around the Outback as well. Win-win.

Start in Melbourne, which may be smaller than Sydney but is the country’s cultural capital. Your guy here knows his way around cafes, art galleries and a welcoming, multicultural atmosphere. Gay neighborhoods here are Fitzroy, St. Kilda and Carlton, and you’ll want to see them all.

Drink at Sircuit Bar, Chasers and The Peel. Eat at Chin Chin or the Flower Drum for Asian flair, and Ten Lost Tribes for tapas and coffee. Stay at The Laird or 169 Drummond exclusively for gay clientele, and visit the gay Sandridge Beach.

Once you’ve soaked up all the gay you can handle, the real adventure begins. While it’s not gay per se, the Australian Outback with your cute-accented man will be the adventure of a lifetime. Travel from Melbourne to the port town of Adelaide, then catch a ride to the even more remote Alice Springs, where guided walkabouts are the local industry of choice.

Enjoy the sights and tastes of the Amalfi Coast

By Buck C. Cooke

When looking for the filming location for Wonder Woman’s home of Themyscira, Warner Brothers settled on the Amalfi Coast. It’s easy to see why it’s the perfect place for the fictional, super hero-worthy Paradise Island.

While visiting there with my husband, I lost count of the times I was overwhelmed by spectacular scenery. In addition to gorgeous sights, this part of south-western Italy is packed with plenty to do and explore, as well as plenty of places for outstanding cuisine.

We landed in Naples with plans for sightseeing, but we were assaulted by how noisy, crowded and grungy the city is. The streets are congested, tiny – even by European standards! – and teeming with cars, pedestrians and motorbikes zigging and zagging everywhere.

We headed straight, so to speak, for the Catacombs of San Gennaro and enjoyed the underground cemetery that houses the neck-down remains of its namesake. (His head rests in the city’s duomo. No lie.) Our cute guide was witty and well-versed in the history of the site and the city, so we learned a great deal while enjoying the creepy ambiance of the burial niches, wide walkways through the crypts, as well as ancient frescos and religious artwork.

We then grabbed a delicious lunch at Pizzeria Gino Sorbillo, one of the most popular restaurants in town. The amazing pizza is matched only by the people-watching, and even the English-free menu was charming.

From there we drove through Sorrento towards Positano. My husband drove the nearly two hours winding through twists and turns of the cliff-infested coastline, each vista more beautiful and breath-taking than the last. When we arrived at the gay-friendly La Fenice bed and breakfast, I wasn’t prepared for the lovely view. We were surrounded on every side by citrus trees and flowering plants that exploded with colorful blossoms.

The family who have run the place for decades was beyond friendly, attentive and helpful with suggestions of places to visit and restaurants to try. My husband lost his wedding ring while we were there, and the mother, father and one of the sons helped us turn the rooms upside down until it was found.

On the B&B family’s advice, we took a boat trip down the coast to Amalfi. It’s a trip I’ll never forget. Being on the water and seeing the houses and businesses stacked on top of each other up steep terrain is incredible. We took that a step further and kayaked into the gulf from the B&B’s private beach. Even with my fear of becoming “Jaws” food, I loved the view and the feeling of paddling through the crystal clear water.

Positano stands in stark contrast to the insanity of Naples. You’ll walk at the city’s leisurely pace past galleries, bars, restaurants, gelato stands, and shops. Of several meals on scenic terraces over the bay, my favorite was at Ristorante Max. We also enjoyed a day at the beach in Positano. I, of course, was slathered in SPF 70 and relaxed in the shade of a huge umbrella, while Mark soaked up the sun in his Speedo, and it was as lovely way to spend the day.

If history is your bag, do not miss Pompeii and Vesuvius. The whole day is filled with pretty tough hikes, but the bay glittering in the sunlight, the view from the crater, and your own “Oh mighty Isis!” moment are worth the sweat and straining muscles. Use the restroom before you go, because there are no toilets. No, honey, not even at the visitor center.

If you’re like us, the end of the journey will have you ready to plan your next visit. For the region to satisfy two very different travellers as my husband and I is an accomplishment. Maybe it’s the perfect destination for you and the special people in your life to find your own paradise.

Rustic charm, great food, gay-friendly destinations, and postcard-perfect fall leaves make this winding trip the perfect autumn giveaway
By James Parker Sheffield

Maine wasn’t originally on my list of must-visit gay getaways. When a work trip promised me Portland in October, my initial response was, “Oh, that Portland.” Fortunately, it turns out Maine is one of the most LGBT-friendly destinations on the map, and beyond picturesque in fall.

Maine offers a unique rocky coastline, world-renowned parks, quaint storefronts, and fantastic locally sourced food. The spectacular fall foliage peaks around mid-October, and Maine is a premier location to enjoy the colors. If you’re itching for a new adventure, or just need Mother Nature’s Xanax during a tumultuous election year, Maine is just what the doctor ordered.

You can get a well-rounded view of the foliage and waterways with just three-to-four days at your disposal. Delta offers daily, nonstop flights to Portland, and car rental agencies are available at its small airport. You’ll want to drive to make the most of your time and the scenery.

Now all you need is a route. That’s what this Portland – Bar Harbor – Rockland – Portland itinerary is all about. Thank us later.

Portland is Maine’s most populated city. It also features the state’s largest Pride celebration, held each year over the third weekend in June. With vast offerings for tourists, you can do anything from kayaking excursions to shopping to ghost and vampire tours.

For craft beer enthusiasts, Portland is home to more than a dozen local breweries. As a specialty for the fall, Shipyard offers perfectly spiced pumpkin ale on tap that’s not to be missed. The gay nightlife scene includes Styxx and Blackstone’s, which is as close to a leather bar as you can get while standing in a Norman Rockwell painting.

If you’re looking to outfit yourself appropriately – and who isn’t? – the L. L. Bean flagship store is 20 minutes from Portland’s city center. Stock up on life-lasting flannel-lined khakis, cableknits and outerwear.

When you’re ready, hit the road for a three-hour drive north on I-95. You might be tempted to take Route 1, but don’t! It would double your drive time to Bar Harbor.

Once there, the jaw-dropping natural wonders include Mount Desert Island and Acadia National Park. There’s no shortage of hiking, biking or rock climbing in the area, and the views are breathtaking. If you prefer a bit of structure, tours are offered via bus, boat and plane, and if you’re after a special experience with nature, whale-watching trips and lobster boat excursions are available daily.

In addition to the parks in the area, Bar Harbor offers great waterfront shopping and dining. Cruise ships and other large vessels regularly port here, so you might even get lucky and meet an attractive sailor or two.

After getting your fill, head south to Rockland via Route 1. This two-hour drive travels along a gorgeous rocky coastline. Once there, Rockland offers ample options for exploration of the area’s natural surroundings and history.

By this point, if you haven’t been on a boat, it’s time. There are few things to make you feel more grown up or important than hanging out on a sailboat in New England. Rockland is known for its amazing sunrises, but if you miss that in favor of an evening sail featuring champagne and Maine lobster, like Captain Jack’s Lobster Boat, absolutely no one will blame you.

Be sure to check out the Maine Lighthouse Museum and the Maine Center for Contemporary Art. “Interesting” souvenirs include the gift shops’ gummy lighthouse candies. Funny thing about those: they don’t look like lighthouses. I won’t ruin the surprise, but trust me, your gays will love them.

Route 1 reconnects to the interstate, and the drive back to Portland is about an hour and a half. Make the trip next month, and you’ll hit the airport relaxed, well fed, and ready to deal with the realities of Election Day.

From the 404 to the 303, one local native left for higher ground and now reports back that there’s so much more to doing gay Denver than the recent legalization of marijuana.

By Berlin Sylvestre

As a homegrown Georgian and Atlanta ex-pat living in Colorado, I know that Midtown has its charms. Our queens slay hard enough to get on Drag Race. We’ve got the most raucous patio seshes. We eat dinner alongside A-list celebs, and we enjoy an amazing diversity of gay life.

But for some, it gets better.

Denver is filled with the fittest, chillest, most liberal-minded queer people, and when they hear a Southern accent, they home in like a heat-seeking missile for an ear-tickling that only a sexy Southerner can provide.

Apart from our Southern charm, the natives here take great interest when we talk about our cultural differences. For one, they find the idea of a concentrated area for gays to party charming and convenient.

In Denver, the clubs are spread across Downtown in ways that Uber drivers pay their bills on. Imagine if Burkhart’s and Oscar’s were three miles apart, and Joe’s and Einstein’s were on different interstate off-ramps. That’s how it is to party with the gays in Denver. Make sure you have a DD or Uber/Lyft account on lock.

As to the clubs themselves, I’ll make it easy by way of the Atlanta clubs we all know and love.

Tracks is like Jungle on Halloween, only every weekend. You’ll find a crowd and a fresh face on the entire establishment nearly every time you walk in. They spend jillions on changing the theme every week. Boyztown is basically BJ Roosters, but with way more grinding. There are more than a dozen other bars, too, but let’s talk about the Denver experience itself.

Yes, you can step into a shop and buy herb. The edibles even come in crazy candies, drinks, gummies, suckers, you name it. It’s like Willy Wonka’s Weed Factory.

The scenery isn’t nearly as green, but it is beautiful. A giant, open skyline doesn’t include as many trees as Georgia, but with the hug of mountains, there’s a gorgeous view just about anywhere you go.

Even with all the draws of the city and its laid-back culture, make time to see the mountains up close. They look nearby, but you’ll drive about an hour to get there. Once you do, you won’t know when to put the camera down. Find kayaking on Clear Creek, windsurfing at Aurora Reservoir, hiking by Maxwell Falls, and biking Bear Creek, just to offer a taste. Aspen Gay Ski Week is a favorite; get there to see hotties who just stepped off a Gucci ad and into a hot tub.

Expect to be invited to a brewery, or make those plans to do so on your own. This place has more per capita than anywhere. Denver Beer, Strange Craft Beer Company and Great Divide Brewing are among the favorites. Locals might also ask if you want to ride along to catch a show at Red Rocks Amphitheatre.

Denver’s public transportation is killer – whether by bus, rail or light-rail. Plus, they drive really slow here compared to the ATL, so taking those options or letting someone else like Uber drive will relieve some of your “Go, dammit!” stress.

Plane tickets are cheap, and so is Airbnb. Gay-popular accommodations include the Hotel Monaco, as well as the quirky-kitschy Curtis Hotel. If you do partake in the plant the state is suddenly most famous for, you might even spring for a stay in a “Bud & Breakfast.”

Denver is a hot travel destination right now. Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus just made a splash there during the national Gay And Lesbian Association of Choruses festival. So make plans to bring your Southern self out West to see if you can wrangle a few bucks of your own.

 

Grand vacations are great, but our gay neighbors across the region are ready and able to help daytrippers and weekenders relax, refresh and recharge.
By Jason O’Neal

Bigger trips to far-flung destinations may be in your longer-term plans, but the arrival of hot weather here at home means it’s officially time to mark your calendars for regional road trips.

Nothing will get you in the summer spirit better than flying your colors with our gay neighbors across the Southeast. Here’s our quick guide to the hottest destinations for gay daytrippers and weekenders that we know you’ll want to visit.

You don’t have to go far to feel like you’re a world away. So schedule a few days off work, and gas up your cars for road trips to some of the season’s best gay happenings in Georgia, Florida and South Carolina.

Memorial Day Weekend
Pensacola, Florida
May 26 – May 30

Normally a sleepy little city at the tip of Florida’s panhandle, Pensacola comes to life when some 200,000 swimsuited gay people – a sizeable contingent of them from Atlanta – flock to its pristine white beaches to completely take over Memorial Day Weekend. Five days of decadent fun in the sun include beach time with guys from around the country, of course, but there’s more. Expect sexy parties all day and delicious men dancing poolside by night.

Nightlife events include spontaneous hotel and house parties, as well as sponsored affairs by The Portofino Island Resort (portofinoisland.com), and discos set up on the sand with DJs spinning your favorite tracks. Also, don’t forget to check out the local bars such as Emerald City (emeraldcitypensacola.com), The Roundup, and the Cabaret.

One Magical Weekend/ Gay Days at Disney
Orlando, Florida
June 3 – June 5

Just a week after Pensacola, Disney goes officially gay for one of the most exciting weekends of any year. In addition to daily “Therapy” pool parties featuring speedo clad men at the B Resort & Spa, which also hosts the GayBiz expo inside, there’s nightly “Cadabra” Afterparties at Mango’s Orlando.

Some come early to sprinkle their fairy dust over awesome rides, but everyone is there when the time comes to hit the street party and get moving with throngs of men dancing to thundering beats. Riptide at Typhoon Lagoon features DJs Alexander and Eddie Martinez on Friday, and Saturday’s main event at Disney’s Hollywood Studios features DJs Dee Martello and Nina Flowers.

The “Magical” weekend wraps with DEEP at Epcot World Showplace. Expect DJ duo Rosabel, an award winning fireworks display, light show, lasers, video walls, amazing costumes and sexy go-go dancers as Epcot turns into the hottest nightclub around. Weekend passes start at $267 and can now be paid in monthly installments. Visit onemagicalweekend.com.

Prides of the Southeast
Augusta, Charleston, Savannah

Augusta Pride takes place June 24-25. For the 7th year on the traditionally recognized Stonewall Weekend, the Beats on Broad dance party kicks things off Friday night. The parade down Broad Street takes place Saturday, followed immediately by the festival, which includes performances by Lazaro Arbos from American Idol Season 12, David Hernandez, and the legendary CeCe Peniston. Offsite parties at gay bars are also on the agenda. Visit prideaugusta.org.

Charleston Pride takes place August 6 – 14. The city is working to change its religiously conservative image and embracing diversity at its 6th annual Pride celebration. The parade and Pride Rally are set for Saturday, August 13, and parties all week long include events at local gay bars, a beach party, the Drag Brunch, and more. Visit charlestonpride.org.

Savannah Pride is set for October 22. Once held earlier in the year, Savannah takes a cue from Atlanta this year and moves to a season of cooler temps. The city’s breathtaking views along the coast with its old-town feel and Spanish Moss-covered oaks are the backdrop for Pride. In addition to the festival, which offers VIP perks for sale this year, expect the Savannah Pride White Party, as well as multiple tea dances and pool parties. Visit savannahpride.com

Meet a man in every port of our gay globetrotter’s guide to six dreamy destinations.
By Mike Fleming

Having a boyfriend at every stop on a world tour might sound far-fetched, but what else would take a gay trek around the world from fun to fab? Gallant gay guides, of course. That’s why this tour comes via the guys you could meet on each sensational stop.

Dream big with these guys ready to show you a good time wherever you hang your hat.

Your Boyfriend in Cape Town

The guy you meet in Cape Town, South Africa, is most likely as worldly as the city he calls home. Some of most immaculate beaches on the planet, including exclusively gay beaches at Clifton, as well as shopping and dining on Camps Bay, are five-to-ten minutes from this internationally savvy city. Make sure your guy takes you to the Atlantic side of the cape, affectionately nicknamed the South African Riviera, and set aside an afternoon to drive down the coast for breathtaking views.

Back in town, the quaint inner-city village of De Waterkant is Cape Town’s gay central. Gay bars include Bar Code, Beaulah, Crew and Amsterdam Action Bar. You might decide to sleep in the waterfront burgh of Green Point at hotels like DysArt. And the right Cape Town guy won’t let you leave without checking into the Winelands for shopping, wining and dining.

CologneYour Boyfriend in Cologne

Other guys in bigger German cities get a lot of love from gay tourists, but your boyfriend in Cologne, like his home town, is considered the most laid back and approachable in West Germany. He loves wiling away the hours in outdoor cafes in Rudolfplatz and pubs in Old Town.

Cologne is the Atlanta of Germany. No wonder you get along so well. As Atlanta is mecca of the gay South, Cologne stands apart as the real gay capital of West Germany for its friendly people and easy-going atmosphere. It’s about the same size as metro Atlanta in population, and was also nearly destroyed by war, so its mix of old and new is rich with history like the Cologne Cathedral. Make plans with this guy for Bear Days, May 5-8, or during Cologne Gay Pride July 1-3. Visit patroc.com/cologne

 

 

 

RioYour Boyfriend in Rio de Janeiro

After the world turns away from the Summer Games, book your next visit with your Brazilian beau. When the temperatures moderate and the tourism season wanes, this party boy will still have plenty of warm beaches, hot social hours and scorching nightlife to share.

Like the syncopated rhythms of the Samba-style dance he’s named after, your “Carioca” – what natives of Rio call themselves – has the inside scoop on gay life in one of South America’s most gay-friendly cities. From the laid-back vibe on gay beaches like Ipanema Farme de Amoedo, Copacabana and Arpoador, to cosmopolitan dining at gay-owned Confiteria Colombo and shopping in gayborhoods like Lebion and Leme, there’s something for every mood that strikes here. When the sun goes down, enjoy two-dozen gay clubs including The Week, Le Boy and Zero Zero. Visit rio.gaycities.com.

 

 

 

MontrealYour Boyfriend in Montreal

Say “oui” to your favorite French Canadian in the City of Saints and the Village of Gays. Yes, really. The gayborhood here is called Le Village Gai. Nestled in the Ville-Marie, it’s home to thousands of LGBT residents including your personal out-and-proud host. The Village is the perfect jumping off point to the rest of the city from the centrally located Beaudry Metro Station.

Your issue-oriented guy is proud of his rich history in one of world’s most gay-friendly cities, and with good reason. The oldest recorded gay establishment in North America, Montrealer Moise Tellier’s cake shop, opened here in 1869, a century before Stonewall. Gay bars run the gamut from drag bar Cabaret Mado, to quirky dive bar Notre-Dame des Quilles, to the expansive Appollon nightclub.

Ask your guy if you can stay the week of August 8 for Montreal Pride. Visit tourisme-montreal.org.

 

 

VeniceYour Boyfriend in Venice

There’s no question which of your international boyfriends is most cultured and charming, so you may lose yourself in his watery blues that match the city’s famous waterways cultivated when the city sank into the Adriatic centuries ago.

Ask your gay guide for a romantic ride on one of the signature gondolas. You’ll float lazily between the city’s distinct island burroughs including Murano, the only place in the world where authentic Murano glass is made, and the least expensive place to buy it.

Unlike its big-city Italian brethren, the gayest thing about perfectly sleepy Venice – besides you and the man you’re here to see – is the Metro Venezia, a bathhouse. Gay-friendly hotels include Antico Panada in San Marco, Haven Hosel San Toma in San Polo, and the Venice Ai Carmini in Dorsoduro. Luxuriate in the outdoor cafes in tucked-away corners or wide-open squares like Plazza San Marco. Be sure to visit the Guggenheim Museum, named for the American socialite who founded its New York sister venue and lived among her collected modern works here. Visit travelgayeurope.com.

 

SingaporeYour Boyfriend in Singapore

Asia is known for its accommodating gentlemen and business-minded men. Your gay guide is a little of both, just like the way his exotic city-state island combines Southeast Asia’s old worlds and new. Let him guide you through sprawling urban areas and tiny villages within just a few miles of each other.

As this cosmopolitan guy lets you into his world via native culture and urban excursions, make sure he shows you around Chinatown – yes, even this former Chinese province has a Chinatown – where Tantric Bar and May Wong’s Café cater to gay customers. It’s also where you’ll find the Cruise Club sauna, which you can expect to live up to its name, and the Shuang Spa, where the region’s famous happy-ending massages come to life with a gay twist.

 

 

 

Additional sources: Spartacus Gay Guide, spartacusworld.com

From boom to bust to boom, Miami’s South Beach is heating up again.

By Tray Butler

Miami Beach is the place where neon goes to die. So said the late comedian Lenny Bruce — allegedly. The oft-repeated quote becomes questionable knowing that Bruce met his own untimely demise in 1966, long before the then-crumbling Art Deco District became “God’s Waiting Room” full of blue-collar retirees.

In the half century since then, South Beach has tried on more outfits than a “RuPaul’s Drag Race” finalist, going from ghetto to gayborhood to playground for the one percent. The neon lights along Ocean Drive may have flickered over the years, but they definitely haven’t died.

Cycles of boom and bust come with the territory in Miami, a Teflon Babylon that’s survived and even thrived despite hurricanes, cocaine and crime waves. These days, the city is on another upswing thanks to a burst of development and international investment. The downtown restaurant scene has nearly doubled since 2010. Miami boasts the most popular spring break in the nation and the busiest cruise ship port in the world. Last year, it came in sixth on Knight Frank’s list of the world’s top 10 cities for the super rich.

6 Days, 13,000 Partiers, 1 Sun

“South Florida is booming,” says Justin Bell, chair of the 23rd annual Winter Party Festival, which returns to South Beach this month. Raising funds for the National LGBTQ Task Force and various local LGBTQ nonprofits, the festival has evolved in recent years beyond its circuit roots.

It’s now a sprawling six-day celebration, featuring a juried art exhibition, silent auction, VIP receptions, film screenings, shopping events, and — of course — the much-loved dance parties.

“We’re seeing more and more events move to unique neighborhoods in Miami, including Wynwood and downtown,” Bell says. The expansion strategy seems to have paid off. Attendance topped 13,000 last year and fundraising hit $1 million for the first time ever.

This year, the venerable daytime events largely stick to a formula that’s worked for the past two decades. Under One Sun, the Saturday pool party, promises 2,000 bikini- and boxcut-clad revelers swarming the Shelborne Wyndham Grand South Beach, the festival’s host hotel. The next day, the crowd triples at Winter Party’s signature Beach Party, a sandy extravaganza like no other in the world. New for 2016, the Sunday event goes from 1-8 p.m., adding twilight hours to the beachfront bacchanal.

Bell acknowledges that South Florida’s persuasive weather and unique venues help explain the festival’s popularity. He believes the real secret, though, may be the (lack of) attitude.

“Our guests have come to realize that Winter Party Festival is the friendliest party on the planet,” he says. “We pride ourselves on ensuring everyone feels welcome.”

More Sights of Miami

In 2013, the city’s reputation as a mecca for contemporary art got a boost with the unveiling of the $220 Million Pérez Art Museum Miami (1103 Biscayne Blvd., pamm.org). Culture vultures might also want to experience the Wynwood Arts District and Miami Design Districts, two downtown stomping grounds for aesthetes.

If the back-to-back DJ sets of Winter Party Festival leave you somehow jonesing for more EDM, get those earplugs ready for Miami Music Week (miamimusicweek.com) March 15-20, which includes Ultra Music Festival. Hordes (as in hundreds of thousands) of ravers from every nation flock to South Florida for one of the world’s hottest electronic dance music spectacles.

Even if it can’t exactly compare to New York or San Francisco, Miami Beach Pride (April 8-10, miamibeachgaypride.com) scores points for spunk — and for hosting what may be the earliest Pride observance on the calendar. The animated parade takes over the Art Deco District on Ocean Drive on April 10.

A walking tour on Winter Party weekend? More like a stumbling tour, maybe. Take a stroll down memory lane and learn about the rich history of queer South Beach at the Miami Design Preservation League’s Gay Walking Tour (March 5, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m., www.mdpl.org/tours/gay-and-lesbian-walking-tour). The $26 outing starts at the Art Deco Welcome Center, 1001 Ocean Dr.

 

When love calls you to London, you answer.
By Buck Cooke

As one of the most glamorous and thriving of the world capitals, London has much to offer. Yes, there are tourist traps and big-ticket items like Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, and Westminster Abbey. But there are also plenty of other things to do and see that carry only a small price tag or are completely free, including most of the museums.

When love calls you to London, you answer. I did, anyway, with the thick-accented man of my dreams. But while I still feel like I’m living in a dream as I settle into life as a wannabe gay Londoner, here are some of the less touted attractions that continually catch my fancy that you should be sure to check out while you’re here.

Greenwich and the River Thames

One of my favorite things to do with visiting friends is to hop on a Clipper and cruise east to Greenwich. When I was dating my husband, he took me on this trip, and the sights were electrifying. For history buffs, the Cutty Sark – one of the last tea clipper ships ever built – is near the Thames, and the Royal Observatory is in Greenwich Park, where you can stand on the Prime Meridian at the home of Greenwich Mean Time.

The Sky Garden

Book a free appointment online to visit atop 20 Fenchurch Street, one of London’s most iconic skyscrapers known to locals as “the Walkie Talkie.” Treat yourself to incredible panoramic views. There is a café/bar and two restaurants on the roof as well, but I think they’re overrated and overpriced.

Tower Bridge

An iconic sight, most Americans think it’s called “London Bridge,” which is a different bridge on the Thames that’s much less fabulous. The views of the skyline and river nearby are amazing, and if you can snag a romantic marriage proposal on the river bank like I did from my now-husband, I highly recommend it. Inside, explore the history and inner-workings between the pylons almost 140 feet in the air with breathtaking views and a glass floor.

St. Dunstan in the East

A true find in the middle of central London, this park was once a church. Destroyed by the Great Fire of London in 1666, rebuilt, then destroyed by the Nazi Blitzkrieg during World War II, the building’s remains were turned into a striking public garden in the ’60s. This hidden beauty is worth the hunt, and is just a short walk from Tower Bridge, the Tower of London, and Sky Garden.

Gay It Up

Everything in London feels a little gay, to be honest, but if you’re looking for nightlife, the Soho and Clapham neighborhoods are crawling with our people. Find the club XXL with amazing music by two DJs spinning in unique settings under railway arches, and keep your eyes peeled for La Voix, a vocalist, emcee and drag artist who performs all over town. London is also home to the world’s oldest gay rugby team, the Kings Cross Steelers, who just celebrated their 20th anniversary. If you visit in April, catch their annual performance that packs out Heaven’s G-A-Y night to a sold out crowd. Gayer? You can see many of the site listed here via londongaytours.com.

Some attractions offer discounts or priority admittance online, so do your research. And don’t forget about the pound versus the dollar. Exchange rates are not your friend here, but the city always satisfies, and you can’t put a price on that. Cheers!

After living in Atlanta for 15 years, former Atlanta Pride executive director Buck Cooke followed his heart and his man to London, where he hopes to educate all of Europe on the use of the word “y’all” and finally meet Kylie Minogue.

By Guest Writer Chiffon Dior
So you’ve been inspired to take a holiday trip to New York City by all the great Christmas films that take place there: Miracle on 34th Street, Elf, or Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. Bravo! You’ve made an excellent choice. There is no better time to see the Big Apple than during the holiday season.
The tidings of joy make even the most stone-hearted New Yorker … well, slightly less surly, but once you’ve seen the tree, ice skated in Rockefeller Plaza, and had some sketchy street meat from a vendor of indeterminate origin, just what else is there for you to do in “The City That Never Sleeps”? Good question, and one I am here to answer.
If you want to go the touristy route, there is no shortage of shows to see, particularly the famous Radio City Christmas Spectacular featuring the Rockettes; or you can catch one of the hot shows on Broadway such as the 2015 Tony Award-winning Best Musical Fun Home, or other favorites – Kinky Boots, Wicked, or Chicago. For my money, I would go check out the wonderful new show, Dames At Sea, at the Helen Hayes Theatre. 
If you’re looking to still have a fun night of live entertainment without having to pay Broadway prices, the Laurie Beechman Theatre at the West Bank Cafe on West 42nd Street offers fabulous shows in a more intimate setting. To really get into the holiday spirit, don’t miss the amazing Paige Turner’s Christmas show, Hurry Down My Chimney!, on Dec. 4 and 5; or Holly Dae’s wonderful ensemble holiday show, Distorted Kristmess on the Dec. 15.
Of course, you know there are almost limitless dining options in New York, at least so I hear. As a drag queen, I haven’t had solid food since the Clinton Administration.
I will say though – for the love of Cher, I beg of you – PLEASE don’t be one of those tourists who eat in chain restaurants! You can get some jalapeno poppers from TGI Fridays back home.
For starters, let me suggest a trip to celebrity chef Mario Batali’s Eataly on Fifth Avenue, which features several restaurants and market shopping with an Italian flare all under one colossal roof. Just bring along a large appetite!
In order to walk off those calories you’ll pick up while there, I would highly recommend taking a trip down to Big Gay Ice Cream Shop with locations on East Seventh Street and on Grove Street to indulge in a “Salty Pimp” or a “Bea Arthur.” Your love handles may regret it, but you definitely won’t.

If you want to inflict some shopping damage on your bank account AND see some amazing holiday decorations, head on over to the Macy’s Herald Square flagship store. Then check out some other big, fabulously decorated department stores like Barney’s New York and Bloomingdales. If that’s too commercial for you, head on over to Bryant Park and check out over a hundred open air holiday artisan and craft shops, as well as some seasonal treats.

Of course, the nightlife in New York City is without peer, featuring a host of different gay bars catering to all different tastes. You’ll definitely want to visit the legendary Stonewall Inn, the birthplace of the gay rights movement. If you’re in the mood for a party with an incredible view, Penthaus Fridays in Hell’s Kitchen is the only gay rooftop event in the city.

But if you’re looking for something a little more sophisticated and laid back, you can’t go wrong with a trip to The Townhouse Bar of New York to enjoy some cocktails in New York’s premiere gay piano lounge.

Whatever you ultimately decide you do and see in New York, you can’t go wrong. The holiday season truly is the most wonderful time of the year in the Big Apple, and you’re certain to have an amazing time here in our city. Bon voyage and happy holidays everybody!

Chiffon Dior is the Head Diva in Charge of WERRRK.com, a website focusing on the best in drag, nightlife, entertainment and pop culture. She was recently nominated for Best Nightlife Writer/Blogger at the 17th Annual Glam Awards. Follow her on Twitter (@chiffondior) and let her know about your Big Apple getaway!

By J. Hancock

This is not your stereotypical let’s-go-to-the-Biltmore-and-hiking Asheville travel piece.  By now, if you are a gay man living in the Southeast and have never at least heard of The Biltmore, you might need to get your gay card recalibrated. Yes, it’s a great place to visit. A must-see.  However, Asheville is a great place for today’s modern gay man for many other reasons.

Often referred to as “Ashvegas,” Asheville, North Carolina is a very gay-friendly city. Frequently landing on lists of most gay or gay-friendly cities, it’s about a 3 and ½ hour drive from Atlanta. Just head up 85 North into South Carolina, hang a left in Greenville, and follow the signs.  This time of year, the beautiful fall foliage provides relaxing, spectacular scenery.

In addition to the famous Biltmore House and Gardens, Asheville’s other main attractions are its folk music scene and food culture. From street performers to some of the best food ever to festivals to great breweries, there is so much to see and do, probably too much to accomplish in one weekend.  Downtown and the surrounding areas are very gay friendly.

When it comes to restaurants, you won’t be short of choices.  Asheville is full of great restaurants and chefs. You might want to try Edna’s of Asheville. Its owners, Tom Cash and Mike Zukoski, claim to be Asheville’s only “out” owners. Oh, and it’s dog friendly, in case you want to bring along your four-legged furry friends. You should also try Tupelo Honey Café. It has amazing cuisine, and you should definitely try the custard.

 If you’re into celeb-spotting, and if you’re lucky, you might bump into Zach Galifianakis, James Franco, or Woody Harrelson, all of whom are spotted in Asheville from time to time.  You might also see a Vanderbilt or two. According to many Ashevillians, the Vanderbilts basically built the city. Even the Obamas love Asheville. President Barack Obama is said to have fallen in love with Asheville while he was preparing for a debate against then-opponent John McCain at The Grove Park Inn. 

The best place to see nature is definitely The Parkway. Stop at various mileposts along the way to tour historic mansions, enjoy lunch with your beau, take a romantic hayride, put your Instagram skills to work, or walk, hike or bike beautiful trails. Go to www.romanticasheville.com for a great listing of mileposts to explore all throughout Asheville.

If you’re looking for the bar scene, Scandals is the best-known gay club in Asheville.  Located at 11 Grove Street, Scandals is part of the Grove House Entertainment Complex – three bars in one. The other two bars in the complex are Club Eleven and Boiler Room. With a combination of dancing, live music, and fabulous drag shows, this is a great spot for gay men of all ages.

If you’re into art, one place in Asheville you’ll definitely want to check out is the River Arts District. There you’ll find more than 180 functioning art studios. Many of the studios have showrooms and galleries, and they are open every day, all year round. The artists work in paint, pencil, pottery, metal, fiber, glass, wax, paper and more.  In the River Arts District you’ll also find a great variety of stores, art galleries, and a brewery that also makes fantastic cider.

Ready to go yet? Before packing the car, you may also want to check out www.gayashevillenc.com for more information about the many gay-friendly places to stay, Asheville’s fall and holiday festivals, and other gay/gay-friendly businesses.

 

Like Us On Facebook