5 LGBTQ-Friendly U.S. Travel Destinations

Traveling as a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or other non-conforming person is not an easy thing. Even within the United States, it's no secret that some parts of the country are not particularly friendly to LGBTQ people. But there's more good news than bad news here: Despite the intolerance that exists in some parts of the country, if you're looking for some fun, there are plenty of LGBTQ-friendly travel destinations in the U.S. to put on your bucket list with a welcoming community , and (most importantly) safety.

So, what makes a place “LGBTQ friendly”? Different people have different definitions, but to me, an LGBTQ-friendly place has a few different components: LGBTQ-friendly businesses, community outreach, LGBTQ people on city council or offices, low-level ( Or LGBTQ people that ideally don’t exist). Hate crimes, a relatively high percentage of LGBTQ residents, and spaces around the city specifically designated for LGBTQ people to meet each other, hang out, and feel safe.

Some areas of the United States are known for being LGBTQ-friendly, such as San Francisco and New York City; however, they are far from the only LGBTQ-friendly travel destinations. For example, many coastal cities and states bordering Canada are great LGBTQ-accepting and safe places for tourists and locals alike. So next time you start planning your adventure, head to these five LGBTQ-friendly places to have a good old time!

1. Los Angeles, California

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If you're a queer woman and you've seen "The L Word," your image of Los Angeles is probably of streets, cafes, art galleries, and bars filled with sexy queer women throwing flirtatious looks at you. stare, and offer to buy you a drink - depending on what area of ​​Los Angeles you're in, that's actually not far from the truth. Many queer events take place in West Hollywood; it's dotted with LGBTQ-friendly clubs, such as The Abbey, one of the most famous clubs in the country, and Fubar, which mainly attracts a gay male crowd. In addition to nightlife, WeHo is home to a number of cafes and restaurants that cater to LGBTQ patrons; including Urth Caffê, which is basically the "planet" from The L Word. If you drive down Santa Monica Boulevard in WeHo, you'll find many LGBTQ-friendly sex toy stores, party stores, and clothing boutiques. Oh, and for all you cute queer beach beauties, head to Will Rodgers State Beach between Santa Monica and Malibu.

2. Seattle, Washington.

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I'm proud to say that my hometown loves gay people. Whether you're in the city center or near the suburbs, you want to find fun, LGBTQ-friendly places that are completely free of harassment based on your sexual orientation or gender identity. According to Vocativ's Queer Index, Seattle has one of the largest gay adult populations in the country; among the city's many gay neighborhoods, notable ones are Capitol Hill, where you can catch a drag show at Julia's, or Dance the night away at Neighbors on Broadway; while West Seattle is home to many LGBTQ couples and the fantastic Meander's Kitchen.

3. Washington, D.C.

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The U.S. Capitol is home to the largest population of gay and lesbian adults in the country, accounting for 10% of the population; it also houses the Washington Blade, an LGBTQ newspaper that documents local, national and international LGBTQ news. DC was named one of the top 10 places for LGBTQ singles, which means if you're looking to get snapped up, this might be the place for you. You might ask, where might this poaching occur? You can head to Nellie's Sports Bar on U Street (mostly gay) or Phase 1, a lesbian bar with dancing, billiards, jelly wrestling, and drag king performances.

4. Providence, Rhode Island

If you prefer New England beaches to the warm sands of Cali or the rocky shores of Seattle, head to Providence, Rhode Island, which has many openly LGBTQ politicians and excellent LGBTQ adoption laws. Head to an event hosted by the Rhode Island School of Design to meet some artistic queers, and in the evening, head to Dark Lady, voted the best gay bar in Providence.

5. Chicago, Illinois.

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This major Midwestern metropolitan area has one of the highest numbers of LGBTQ-friendly businesses in the country and ranks No. 1 for the largest number of gay media outlets. If you're a queer woman of color, check out Doll House's QWOC hangout space (where they sometimes offer one-dollar Jell-O drinks); if you're looking for a general space to find queer culture and good people, check out The aptly named “Boys Town,” a mecca primarily for gay men, and “Andersonville,” home to more queer female culture. Many cute, quirky cafes, thrift shops, bars and sporting events are hosted in these areas.

For more LGBTQA+ stories, watch Bustle on YouTube.

Image: tiffany98101, tburling/Flickr