10 LGBT-Friendly Places We Are Most Excited To Visit This Year

From celebrating annual milestones to developing vibrant queer neighborhoods, these cities are a must-see for any LGBT traveler.

For those of you whose New Years resolution was to travel more, look no further. 2018 finds quite a handful of locales celebrating major milestones, while others are making big comebacks or flying quietly under the radar.

From major cultural centers to tropical beachside resorts, here are the 10 places we think LGBT travelers will really want to visit this year.

  1. Sydney, Australia

    Just last month, Australia legalized marriage equality. In fact, the country was so excited about it that they rang in the New Year with a rainbow-colored fireworks display. If that wasn’t reason enough to head Down Under this year, Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, which takes place February 16-March 4, turns the big four-oh this year.

  2. Photo by John Coletti/Getty Images

    Speaking of birthdays, the Big Easy celebrates its 300th this year. For a city already synonymous with non-stop revelry, we can only assume this means that larger-than-life annual LGBT events—such as Southern Decadence, the Saints & Sinners Literary Festival, Halloween, and the Mardi Gras Bourbon Street Awards—will be taking things to even bigger heights in 2018.

  3. Photo by Marvin E. Newman/Getty Images

    The second largest city in Mexico, Guadalajara is the birthplace of both mariachi and tequila, making it a fabulous cultural destination in its own right. It is also home to the country’s most LGBT bars and nightclubs, as well as a hugely popular Pride celebration held each June.

  4. Bangkok, Thailand

    During the weekend of April 13-15, thousands of revelers from around the country (and the world) descend upon the Thai capital for Songkran—the Thai New Year celebration—which also coincides with GCircuit, Asia’s largest LGBT party. This, of course, is in addition to a flurry of new art and design-forward venues like ChangChui, an ultra-cool, mixed-use space that includes retailers, a theater, an exotic garden, street food, and more in structures fashioned from up-cycled materials. It’s no wonder that, according to a report by Mastercard, Bangkok edged out London as the most visited city in the world.

  5. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

    Photo courtesy of CHIC Punta Cana

    We were super-excited for Caribbean Pride, an event scheduled to be held in September at CHIC Punta Cana, a resort on Uvero Alto beach in Punta Cana. However, the one-two punch of Hurricanes Irma and Maria literally rained on our parade and left us looking forward to the event’s second outing this fall.

  6. Paris, France

    As one of the chicest cities in the world, Paris is always a prime place to visit. This year, from August 4-12, the French capital plays host to the 10th edition of the Gay Games, giving us even more reason to bask in the City of Lights.

  7. Santiago, Chile

    Photo by Angela Lourenco/Getty Images

    Travelers to South America may routinely head to Argentina or Brazil, but if you seek a gem that’s still a bit under the radar, our money is on Santiago. Since the city is set between the Andes and the Pacific Ocean, visitors can expect spectacular views, plenty of nearby outdoor activities, and, of course, lots of wine tasting. The Chilean capital also offers plenty in the way of nightlife (most of which can be found in the Bellavista neighborhood), including one of South America’s largest gay venues, Club Divino.

  8. Photo by Michele Falzone/Getty Images

    Speaking of South America, Buenos Aires was recently named the first Art Basel City. To celebrate the achievement, the “Paris of South America” will host a week of public arts events this coming September. However, even if you can’t make it to BA for the festivities, there are endless things to do year-round, like visit Evita’s burial site in Recoleta Cemetary, shop and dine in the Palermo Soho and Palermo Hollywood neighborhoods, or spend an afternoon at the fabulous Isla El Descanso.

  9. Photo by Henri Georgi/Getty Images

    We have already mentioned the snow piles of fun visitors can have in Québec City during the winter. However, we didn’t mention the massive Festival d’Été de Québec, one of the world’s largest outdoor music festivals that boasts 11 days of events. Best of all, its international line-up of artists—last year’s headliners included P!nk and The Backstreet Boys—perform on 10 stages throughout the charming city for less than $8 per day.

  10. Detroit, Michigan

    Photo copyright SNWEB.ORG Photography, LLC./Getty Images

    Who doesn’t love an underdog? After a few lackluster decades, Detroit has polished itself up and transformed into an exciting metropolis. Once neglected buildings have been transformed into spaces for art, retail shops, and eateries. The recently-opened QLine streetcar now offers easy access major city attractions. Through March 11, the Cranbrook Art Museum in nearby Bloomfield Hills has exhibits on both Keith Haring and Basquiat. Also, the Motor City is home to Hotter than July, the second longest-running Black LGBT Pride event in the world.

Bryan van Gorder usually writes about the places he's been or the famous people forced to talk to him.
@bvangorder