Top 10 LGBTQ+ Friendly Cities

Unlock our list of the most welcoming destinations across the globe.
By Lola Méndez

These are our top ten LGBTQ+ friendly cities to visit around the world. These cities don’t rainbow wash once a year during pride, but instead are supportive of the queer community year-round with progressive protective legislation and queer-owned establishments.

1. Los Cabos, Mexico

Los Cabos recently became the first destination in the world to receive the new Queer Destinations badge which is awarded to destinations that have shown commitment and distinction, and for fostering a friendly and safe travel environment for the LGBTQ+ community. According to the tourism board, 16% of the total number of visitors per year are queer. Los Cabos is located in Baja California where same-sex marriage was legalized in 2021. Throughout the year, events are organized by Codisex Los Cabos and GayCabo and there’s always fun to be had at Chandelier’s Night Club. Macca Pasta Bar frequently hosts LGBTQ+ theme dinners and local Drag Queens Valeria Drag and Kinky Pop perform at different bars.

2. Stockholm, Sweden

According to the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Intersex Association (ILGA), Sweden is known to be one of the safest countries in the world for the LGBTQ+ community. Same-sex relationships have been legal since 1944 and homosexual couples have been able to marry since 2009. In 1972, Sweden became the first country in the world to allow gender changes. Stockholm holds the largest Pride celebration in Scandinavia. The waterfront Mälarpaviljongen restaurant is always decked out with pride flags and Side Track is the place to dance. Check the QX GayMap for LGBT events in Stockholm.

3. Amsterdam, Netherlands

The Netherlands was the first country in the world to legalize same-sex in 2001. In addition to the unique boat Canal Parade, the gay street of Reguliersdwarsstraat celebrates the queer community all year. Stop by the Homomonument memorial honoring LBGTQ+ people who died during WWII. Find out what queer events are happening during your stay by stopping by the Pink Point information kiosk.

4. New York City, New York

Home to the historic Stonewall Riots that launched the modern gay rights movement, NYC is one of the top LGBTQ+ friendly cities to visit in the world. Pride events last for two weeks and same-sex marriage has been legal since 2011. The West Village is home to many gay bars including Cubbyhole and Henrietta Hudson that cater to queer women. Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen are also gayborhoods. The American LGBTQ+ Museum will be opening in 2023 in New York City with exhibits focusing on queer history and culture. Don’t forget to get a scoop at Big Gay Ice Cream.

5. San Francisco, California

San Francisco is often referred to as the ‘Gay Capital of the World’ as it’s the birthplace of the pride flag, home of Harvey Milk (the first openly gay elected official), and was the first American city to legalize gay marriage. In the Castro gayborhood there’s the GLBT Historical Society Museum, as well as queer bars including the first gay bar in the country, Twin Peaks Tavern.

6. London, England

Gay marriage has been recognized in England since 2014. 2022 marks the 50th anniversary of the first Pride celebration in London which continues to host Pride in London, the nation’s largest LGBTQ+ gathering each year. Catch a performance by the Gay Men’s Chorus and enjoy the Highlights of London: LGBTQ History that’s organized like a game.

7. Madrid, Spain

Spain was one of the first countries to legalize gay marriage in 2005. Orgullo (pride in Spanish) is a year-round occasion in Madrid’s gayborhood, Chueca, which hosts the annual MADO Madrid Orgullo events. The LGBTQ+ community started living in Chueca in the 80s and the barrio still stands for freedom, tolerance, and diversity.

8. Berlin, Germany

Hailed as one of Europe’s gayest cities, Berlin has some of the best queer nightlife in the world. Hot spots include KitKatClub and Insomnia. Visit Schwules Museum, with exhibitions of gay culture and history, and relax at the gay sauna Der Boiler. The gay community had been accepted in Berlin long before Germany legalized gay marriage in 2017.

9. Tel Aviv, Israel

Same-sex marriage still isn’t legal in Israel but that hasn’t stopped Tel Aviv from embracing the queer community. Approximately 25% of Tel Aviv’s population identifies as gay. The first Pride parade in Tel Aviv took place in 1993. The gay capital of the Middle East is a hub for the queer Israeli community. Visit Gan Meir Park which is centrally located in the gay area and go for a swim at Israel’s unofficial gay beach near the Hilton Tel Aviv. Shpagat, La Boheme, and Gagarin are the most popular gay bars.

10. Aruba

Aruba is one happy—and welcoming—island. Aruba is all about staying at a beach-front resort and relaxing on the picture-perfect white sand beach and in the turquoise sea. Many hotels in Aruba are Travel Alternative’s Group (TAG) approved as well, meaning that their staff is well-trained in accepting diversity and that these resorts employ members of the LGBT community.