23 Fantastic LGBTQ Destinations for 2023

Pride marchers at New York City's 2019 Pride Parade. (Photo by Paul Heney.)
Paul Heney
by Paul Heney
Last updated: 4:00 PM ET, Sat December 31, 2022

The Best Places for LGBTQ Travelers in the New Year

From Aspen to Osaka and Cartagena to Cleveland, LGBTQ travelers looking to explore in 2023 have some wonderful choices. Plus, there are major events to consider, like WorldPride in Sydney, the Gay Games being jointly held in Hong Kong and Guadalajara, and EuroPride in Valletta, Malta. Here are 23 places that queer travelers should consider spending some time in during the new year.


Italy is filled with so many queer-friendly destinations, from Milan to Rome, as well as Venice, Naples, and the scenic Puglia area. Tour operators here, like Quiiky Travel, even have queer-focused itineraries that delve into history, art, and even the setting of the TV series The White Lotus or the movie Call Me By Your Name.

Providence, Rhode Island

Rhode Island's capital city is a dynamic discovery for queer travelers, from its magical illuminated nighttime annual Pride parade to its longtime FireWater art festival. There's plenty to do in the daytime hours, too, from shopping to museums and great daytrips to unique places like Newport.

Joshua Tree National Park, California

Located a bit more than an hour from the gay hotspot of Palm Springs, California, the desolate but stunning beauty of this national park is well worth a visit. From its namesake plant to its strange geology and rock formations to its incredible dark skies, there is plenty to see and experience.

Sydney, Australia

WorldPride heads to the Southern Hemsphere for the first time in 2023, with a visit to Sydney, Australia from February 17 to March 5. The event will be held in conjunction with the annual Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras and features an opening concert with Kylie Minogue, Charli XCX, Courtney Acy, Jessica Mauboy, and more.

Cleveland, Ohio

Since hosting the 2014 Gay Games, Ohio's cultural hub has seen its queer quotient steadily rise. And with the recent opening of Phase 1 of the $100 million Studio West 117 development, there's even more excitement in the air. The facility, which includes a gymnasium for youth sports and events like drag yoga, also contains a gastropub, rooftop bar, nightclub, and community garden.

Guadalajara, Mexico

Speaking of the Gay Games, the 2022 iteration of the event was originally awarded to Hong Kong, but due to COVID-19 and continuing travel issues in Asia, the games are splitting into two events that will be held in 2023. In addition to Hong Kong, the games will be co-located in Guadalajara, Mexico from November 3-11, 2023. Guadalajara has been seen as an up-and-coming queer destination, and the Games will definitely cement that status.


This dynamic and colorful island is part of the Netherland Antilles, and it has been positioning itself as one of the most queer-friendly islands in the Caribbean. Located just north of Venezuela, Curacao is out of the hurricane belt and sees warm, sunny weather all year long. The island features wonderful beaches, some incredible international cuisine, and a fascinating, welcoming culture.


Malta should be on your radar, as the progressive island nation is home to EuroPride from September 7-17, 2023 in the capital city of Valletta, with the theme of "Equality from the Heart." Malta has been at the top of the ILGA Rainbow Index for five years in a row. Events will include boat parties, concerts, a parade, and historical tours.

United Kingdom

There are plenty of reasons for LGBTQ travelers to visit the United Kingdon in 2023. London's widely hailed Queer Britain museum opened this past summer. Pride celebrations dot the summertime in the country, from July 1 in London to Brighton & Hove Pride from August 4-7 to Manchester Pride from August 25-28. And some operators are even launching James Bond 60th Anniversary itineraries this summer, in celebration of the iconic films.

Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona continues to appear near the top of many LGBTQ travelers' bucket lists, and for good reason. The very-queer Spanish (well, Catalan) city on the shores of the blue Mediterranean Sea has something for everyone: incredible cuisine, elegant hotels, dynamic architecture, and a fun nightlife scene. Plus, it has plenty of beaches, including popular Sitges, a gay beach town 30 minutes west by train.

French Polynesia

Long a dream honeymoon destination, French Polynesia-which includes such stunners as Moorea, Tahiti, Tahaa, and Bora Bora-is gaining traction with same-sex couples as a romantic destination that's welcoming. The islands each offer different dynamics, from laid back to adventure-driven, and visitors can also explore everything from pearl hatcheries to vanilla farms.

Porto, Portugal

Along with Lisbon, Porto is a popular queer destination in Portugal, thanks to its lovely climate, historic old town, narrow cobblestone streets, and welcoming air. The city is also in the midst of a major wine-producing region, and the embarkation point for many Douro River cruises. Portugal is also one of the most progressive countries in Europe for LGBTQ rights. Porto Pride is held each July.

Dawson City, Yukon, Canada

This tiny hamlet in the northern reaches of Canada's Yukon Territory is a hidden gem-and surprisingly queer bastion-located near the Arctic Circle. Popular in both the summer and winter, visitors can stay in LGBTQ-owned hotels, eat in LGBTQ-owned cafes, and experience dogsledding, flightseeing, and the incomparable Aurora Borealis.

West Palm Beach, Florida

While southern neighbors Miami and Fort Lauderdale get much of the press as queer destnations, West Palm Beach is coming into its own. The area is easily reached, either by air service or the convenient Brightline train, and boasts plenty of new hotels and excellent restaurants, as well as plenty of shopping. And the annual International Gay Polo Tournament is held in Wellington, a short drive inland. The 2022 event, held in early April, featured 16 LGBTQ polo players from seven countries.

Mexico City, Mexico

Often overlooked by North American travelers, Mexico City is one of the world's largest and most dynamic cities, with a bustling queer scene and busy nightlife. It's also a great destination for travelers looking for culture, museums, the arts, and architecture. Mexico City Gay Pride runs from June 23-25 in 2023.

Portland, Oregon

This Pacific Northwest gem is a queer hub, with a great gay scene, a multitude of nightclubs to choose from, and fun neighborhoods that all seem to be queer-ish. It also boasts award-winning cuisine (as well as everything from donuts to microbrews), dozens of dramatic bridges, Washington Park's International Rose Test Garden, and the nearby scenic Colombia River Gorge-a national treasure.

Aspen, Colorado

This stunning town, located in Colorado's scenic Rocky Mountains, is a great choice for hikers much of the year, but it really comes into its own in the winter months, with some of the country's best ski resort (including nearby Snowmass). Many queer travelers aim to visit during the popular Aspen Gay Ski Week, which is next planned for January 15-22, 2023.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

While Milwaukee brings to mind brews and German food for many, this under-appreciated Midwestern city is a much more dynamic place, with active LGBTQ, Hmong, Latino, African American communities-among others. A new, free app, "lgbt milWALKee," allows visitors to learn about the city's extensive queer history. And the city features Summerfest from June 22-July 8, 2023-a wonderful annual series of concerts.

Cartagena, Colombia

Colombia seems to be on everyone's lists, and with good reason. The country, almost twice the size of Texas, features biodiversity, culture, and some fantastic cities. Cartagena, on Colombia's gorgeous Caribbean coast, is popular for its walled Old City, with a vibe that's almost like a Latin New Orleans-cobblestone streets and endless shopping and dining. But the city, famous for its queer friendliness, also boasts the modern highrises of Bocagrande-so travelers can find the best of both worlds in one destination.

Hong Kong

Gay Games 11 will finally be held in Hong Kong from November 3-11, 2023, a year later than originally planned, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Guadalajara, Mexico will serve as co-host for travelers unable to trek to Asia.) The Games are viewed as an important marker for the city's queer community, and will include sports like swimming, sailing, dodgeball, fencing, tennis, and martial arts. This will be the first Gay Games in Asia.

Osaka, Japan

Queer travelers are discovering Osaka, a more laid back Japanese destination than frenetic Tokyo. The city, which generally celebrates its cherry blossom season in late March, has a moderate climate and eclectic gay scene, with plenty of niche clubs. Some travelers describe Osaka as the country's most LGBTQ-friendly city, due to the relaxed attitude of its citizens. Visitors will find all the modern conveniences, along with plenty of culture and history to explore.

Tucson, Arizona

Southern Arizona's Tuscon has been called the state's Austin-a city that embraces a bit of weirdness, as well as it's LGBTQ citizens. Plus, with the University of Arizona amidst its borders, the city always seems to feel young and active. Queer visitors can focus on the nightlife, or get out and hike and explore. Saguaro National Park, a local treasure, is split into two parks that sit next to Tucson, and other mountainous areas around the metro area offer unparalled hiking options for active travelers.

San Antonio, Texas

San Antonio has so much to offer LGBTQ tourists, including a bustling gay strip and The Bonham Exchange-a former German social club that has an expansive outdoor patio area, enormous ballroom area, and multiple rooms that each feels like a separate themed club. Plus, queer-owned Hopscotch, is a must-see art gallery that focuses on immersive art as well as optical illusions. There's also a great foodie scene here, with amazing restaurants like Landrace.

LGBTQ travelers looking to explore in 2023 have some wonderful choices, both domestic and abroad.

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