Gay Destinations on the Rise
Amazing as it may sound today, famously gay-popular places like
Austin, Mykonos, Rehoboth, and Prague haven't always had much of a
following with the GLBT community. Cities and resort communities change
over the years, some becoming more fashionable with gay travelers, and
others falling out of favor. In fact, there are big cities, alluring
towns, and beautiful resorts all over the world that, while scarcely known
to gay travelers at the moment, have the potential to develop into
tomorrow's next queer hot spots. Here's a look at a dozen potential
"family-friendly" destinations to watch, from formerly conservative cities
like Nashville and Indianapolis, which are becoming increasingly
progressive, to picturesque vacation spots like Tasmania and Mauritius
that have only lately begun capturing the attention of the gay jet set.
America's 13th-largest city, Indianapolis has been far less popular as a
GLBT destination than most other major metropolises over the years, in
part owing to its comparatively right-of-center political demeanor and
bland reputation as more business-oriented than leisure-driven.
Nevertheless, local gay business leaders and the city's Indianapolis
Convention and Visitors Association are currently working hard to change
perceptions and promote the increasingly visible GLBT scene and publicize
Indy's playful side. You'll find quite a few lively gay and lesbian bars
here, along with a handful of historic gay-friendly B&Bs and some
wonderfully appealing, artsy neighborhoods with an engaging mix of
attractions and shopping.
Relatively affordable compared with many other European nations, and a
darling of food and wine connoisseurs, Portugal been generating plenty of
buzz of late among sophisticated travelers, and its capital city, Lisbon,
is steadily emerging from its somewhat conservative shell as a leading gay
and lesbian getaway. The city now produces a guide for gay visitors, and
the GLBT community has been credited with helping turn around the once
grim Bairro Alto neighborhood, transforming it into one of Europe's most
charming gay villages.
Neighboring Croatia gets more attention with gay travelers, at least among
the nations that make up the former Yugoslavia, but romantic, beautifully
preserved Slovenia and its capital city of Ljubljana (pronounced
lyoo-blyah'-nah) are fast developing a pink fan base. Ljubljana looks and
feels much the way Prague did before the latter became inundated with
tourists and excessive commercialism. With its medieval castle, narrow
streets, and ornate bridges, it's a fine city for a strolling. You'll also
find a handful of gay bars and cafes, and, to the delight of cinema buffs,
Ljubljana hosts an increasingly prestigious gay and lesbian film festival,
which will celebrate its 25th anniversary in 2009.
Mauritius and Reunion Island
These small islands off the coast of Africa, about 500 miles east of
Madagascar, have lately become favorites with Euro jet-setters. Some say
Mauritius has the potential to become another Ibiza or Mykonos, with
pulsing gay discos beginning to spring up here and there.
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