Gay New Orleans | The Essential LGBT Travel Guide!

Here music, art, history, food, and people of different ethnicities, nationalities, and sexual orientations all commix and coalesce into creating something unique. A city that doesn’t sleep thanks to fabled French Quarter, which never closes, New Orleans also boasts a laid-back attitude to sex and voluptuary parties every night regardless of whether it’s Mardi Gras, Jazz Fest, Halloween or a regular Tuesday.

Queers and straights share the infamous Bourbon Street, although the LGBT crowd gravitates toward the northern end, with a host of bars and clubs serving up something for everyone. You’re also free to take your cocktail with you as you wander the streets, as long as it’s in a plastic container – so bar-hopping is not only popular but actively encouraged.

When it comes to queer festivals, the gay community here also knows how to party with Southern Decadence, Gay Easter, and Halloween, all being wildly popular.

New Orleans wants everyone to know whether your a leather daddy, twink drag queen, butch lesbian or trans; you can come, enjoy, and be accepted as you are. And come us queers have, in droves for the nightlife, the food, the posh hotels, and warm Southern climate. With a long history of embracing diversity and is committed supports of the queer community, is it any wonder New Orleans has been home to some of the brightest LGBT literary minds, artists, musicians, and activists.

Slow and balmy, musically inspired, and tastefully delicious, the city’s charms set the stage for fireworks of every kind. No matter where your interests lie, you can be sure Gay New Orleans will draw you in and beg you never to leave. 

Are you relocating? This guide will help travelers discover the queerer side of the city. However, if you are lucky enough to be considering a move here, we recommend getting in touch with a local gay realtor. They can happily give you no-obligation advice and all the information you’ll ever need to know about your new city. And if you then want their help to find your dream home, you are guaranteed fair, equal, and honest representation. No surprises or awkward conversations necessary!

The Definitive Guide to New Orleans Gay Bars

One of the world’s great party destinations, it’s not exactly shocking that New Orleans with its liberal attitudes about everything from sexuality to cocktails is a top destination for gay and lesbian clubbing and bar-hopping. Many of the city’s top LGBTQ+ hangouts are right in the tourist-centric French Quarter, with smaller neighborhood hangouts mostly downriver a short distance in the Faubourg Marigny and Bywater neighborhoods.

If you’re visiting during Mardi Gras, you can expect all of the bars to be hosting special events for the holiday, but that’s hardly the only time of year with extra-special festivities. Even though Mardi Gras is very gay-friendly, there’s an entirely separate event during Labor Day weekend called Southern Decadence, often referred to as „Gay Mardi Gras.“ And then of course there’s the Pride festival in June.

Several of the gay bars around New Orleans have had their doors open to the LGBTQ+ community for decades and were at the forefront of fighting for equal rights in the city and the state of Louisiana. Even though today they’re considered mainstream and frequented by visitors queer and not queer, it was in the not-so-distant past that these same bars were considered transgressive and breaking barriers.

The Definitive Guide to New Orleans Gay Bars

New Orleans Gay District: The French Quarter

Gay New Orleans is simply bursting at the seams with fantastic LGBTQ places to go out. While this vibrant city of the USA may be best known for its iconic jazz scene, the gay area of New Orleans…

Gay New Orleans is simply bursting at the seams with fantastic LGBTQ places to go out. While this vibrant city of the USA may be best known for its iconic jazz scene, the gay area of New Orleans also continues to turn heads thanks to its mix of bars, restaurants, and heaving late-night venues. Most gay life is centered around New Orleans’ über-charming French Quarter, with the main activity happening at the crossroads of Bourbon and St. Anne Streets, affectionately known as the ‘pink strip’.    

If you are looking for some of the top gay bars in New Orleans, Cafe Lafitte in Exile is a good place to start. This is one of the oldest dedicated gay bars in the USA, and was regularly frequented by Truman Capote and Tennessee Williams. The bar is open 24/7, and welcomes a mixed and friendly crowd each night. Alternatively, if you want to turn the heat up, head to Phoenix Bar. This place is exclusively for gay men, and is particularly popular with the bear and leather crowd. The bar is split over two floors, and offers dim lighting to send you into just the right mood. 

Once you’ve sipped your way through enough cocktails to make you feel more than confident to let loose on the dance floor, a visit to famous Bourbon Street Pub and Parade should be your next port of call. As far as gay clubs in New Orleans go, this place is legendary. Housed in a typical New Orleans-style building, complete with a wrap-around balcony, Bourbon Street Pub and Parade offers plenty of space to welcome a mixed LGBTQ crowd. Go-go dancers are a regular feature, along with karaoke and lots of dancing. 

New Orleans is one place that knows how to throw a big party, and as far as annual LGBTQ events go, the city is host to two major ones. Gay Pride New Orleans takes place in early June, where the French Quarter comes alive with colorful festivities for three days. At the end of August each year, over Labor Day weekend in the States, Southern Decadence festival takes place. This iconic party welcomes top-notch DJs, and includes a momentous parade.

New Orleans Gay District: The French Quarter

Best Gay Clubs in New Orleans

Calling New Orleans gay-friendly is like saying red beans and rice is a good idea for Monday supper. The city has long been a landing spot for people of all stripes and polka dots – the artistic, expressive and the type that dances to their own drummer.  Although Decadence, aka gay Mardi Gras is ground zero for off-the-charts partying, there are gay and inclusive bars and clubs that cater to the queer set year-round. Cis-genders welcome too.

Picking the bar/club largely depends on your mood. There are low key Cheers-ish bars where doggies are welcome and sometimes even command their own stool, dance clubs that attract the young and good looking, bar/cafes for drag shows and brunches, and party spots along the „pink“ stretch of lower Bourbon closer to the Marigny than the CBD. If it’s leather lords you seek, The Phoenix on Elysian Fields is the premier destination for the gay, bear, pup and leather communities.

Best Gay Clubs in New Orleans

10 LGBTQ Bars to Check Out in New Orleans, the Most ‚Anything Goes‘ City in America

Every year, tourists swarming the Crescent City for Mardi Gras know to expect a raucous party, over-the-top costumes, and a whooole bunch of beads. What they may not know, is how Mardi Gras historically served as a critical outlet for self-expression — and political resistance — for the city’s LGBTQ community.

Mardi Gras was the one day out of the year when cross-dressing in public was tolerated by police. During Carnival season, lavish parades and balls thrown by social organizations known as “krewes” provided the perfect excuse for the queer community to get together and dance, at a time when doing so was still very much illegal. Still, tensions with law officials ran high. The first gay krewe, Yuga, was formed in 1958; four years later, police raided the Yuga ball, arresting 96 krewe members for lewd conduct and disturbing the peace.

But that didn’t stop the party. New gay krewes (Petronius, Amon-Ra, Armeinius) formed in Yuga’s wake, creating glittering spectacles and secret societies that defied harsh anti-gay laws. These Carnival krewes undoubtedly sowed seeds for the LGBTQ rights movement years before Stonewall; above all, they helped establish this town’s enduring reputation as a haven for creative expression and open-mindedness.

Every year on Labor Day weekend, New Orleans celebrates all things gay with Southern Decadence, a six-day, rainbow-drenched festival in the French Quarter. But even between festival season, there’s no shortage of spots to celebrate the queer culture that makes New Orleans the anything-goes city it is today. While every bar in New Orleans is a welcoming one, a handful of beloved dives and dance clubs specifically cater to LGBTQ patrons of all stripes.

10 LGBTQ Bars to Check Out in New Orleans, the Most 'Anything Goes' City in America

Paulie’s Pub & Restaurant

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Bourbon Pub and Parade

The definitive New Orleans gay nightclub, Bourbon Pub and Parade has been pulsing and thumping since 1974 at the most famous intersection in the city for gay revelers, Bourbon Street and St. Ann Street. This is really the must-see of Big Easy gay clubs and it’s open seven days a week. Downstairs is the Bourbon Pub with the main bar and a place to hang out, while Parade is the name for the dance club upstairs with balconies overlooking the street below.

Despite being the most renowned place in the city for LGBTQ+ visitors, it’s by no means the biggest. As with most of the historical buildings in the French Quarter, the bar itself is actually quite small, which also helps it to never feel overwhelming with people. There are drag shows every weekend night to look forward to and which always attract big crowds, so be sure to arrive early or even make a reservation if you plan to see a show.

Oz

Right across the street from Bourbon Pub is its biggest competition for most popular LGBTQ+ in the Big Easy, Oz. The reality, however, is that most patrons meander back and forth between the two bars and both of them are happening places to be practically every night of the week. There is something special going on every single night at Oz, whether it’s drag performances and drink specials or burlesque shows and striptease competitions.

Between the two neighboring bars, the intersection of Bourbon and St. Ann streets is basically one big queer block party. If you can snag a spot on the balcony of Oz, it’s one of the best locations on the street with views of all the debauchery below and frequent socializing with the customers on the balcony of Bourbon Pub.

Cafe Lafitte in Exile

Named for the swashbuckling Gulf Coast pirate of yore, Cafe Lafitte in Exile has an appropriately rich and raffish history. It claims to be the oldest continuous gay bar in the country, and it’s been a favorite haunt of all sorts of LBGTQ+ icons from Tennessee Williams to Truman Capote. It’s a fixture along the „pink“ stretch of Bourbon Street, just a block beyond Oz and Bourbon Pub, and right across from the saucy and sassy diner, Clover Grill. Like some of the other favorites in the neighborhood, it’s a two-story space in a historic building, with a lovely wraparound balcony around the exterior of the upper level.

Cafe Lafitte is so famous that even though it’s unquestionably a gay bar, plenty of non-LGBTQ+ visitors also add it to their Bourbon Street pub crawl list simply to partake in the bar’s rich history. On the ground floor at Cafe Lafitte, the bar has some great wallet-busting happy hour drink specials, and there are videos playing, a small dance floor, karaoke on Wednesdays, retro music on Thursdays, and movie night on Mondays. Upstairs, you can shoot pool, play pinball, or grab a breath of fresh air out on the balcony.

Corner Pocket

Corner Pocket caters to the gay male crowd and is definitely on the raunchier side of LGBTQ+ bars in New Orleans, with their frequent „wet underwear“ contests and amateur strip competitions, which are more for fun and laughs between patrons than attending an actual striptease show. The bar Corner Pocket has been in New Orleans since the 1980s and its longevity attests to its place in the community. Every Thursday you can step back in time to the opening days for Retro Night, and Fridays and Saturdays are when you can find the more risqué competitions.

The Country Club

For those late mornings—or afternoons—after a night of partying, the Country Club is the perfect place to briefly escape the craziness of Bourbon Street while you nurse that lingering hangover over a delicious brunch. Being New Orleans, the restaurant isn’t just a place to eat, since it also has a heated pool, hot tub, sauna, and cabana bar on the back patio. The vibe is very gay-friendly although everyone is welcome, and the weekend drag brunch is particularly popular on sunny weekends.

The bar is located outside of the French Quarter in the neighborhood of Bywater, so you can really get away for a few hours and explore another part of the city.

Crossing

The locale at 439 Dauphine Street has been a bar under many different names over the years, but the family of the original owner of the first bar back in 1945 still owns the building today. It’s been a gay bar since at least 1980, hosting drag shows long before they were in vogue. In 2018, it was rebranded once again as Crossing after nearly three decades of being The Double Play, along with a major remodel transforming from a gay dive bar into a chic New Orleans lounge.

Despite the name change, Crossing still caters to the LGBTQ+ crowd and, since the remodel, it’s now described as a „gay steampunk bar.“ It has a full kitchen and the ambiance is more of a restaurant-with-a-bar atmosphere than a nightclub, so it’s the perfect place to start the evening before heading off to other nearby locations.

GrrlSpot

The monthly pop-up lesbian and queer bar, GrrlSpot, has the benefit of drawing a different crowd and experience with every venue it sets up in. The monthly party moves around to different bars around the city and always takes place on the third Saturday of the month, plus extra-special events like the GrrlGras Mardi Gras party, Southern „Dykeadence,“ and a Pride celebration. While New Orleans no longer has a dedicated lesbian bar, GrrlSpot offers a vibrant solution from neighborhood bars to swanky venues and dance clubs to burlesque shows.

Good Friends Bar & Queens Head Pub

Just a block from the wild all-night partying of the Bourbon Pub and Oz gay clubs, Good Friends Bar has been a landmark LGBTQ+ hangout in the French Quarter for decades. This friendly corner space with a cozy upstairs section known as Queens Head Pub is a relatively calm alternative to the clubs nearby—a good place to catch your breath, shoot a game of pool, listen to music, watch music videos (or sporting events), and chat with locals before you go dancing down the block.

The bar itself, cut from dark mahogany, is beautiful, giving this space an inviting vibe. It’s popular with patrons of all ages and it also draws a relatively mixed crowd of gay women and men. Queen’s Head is a great spot for listening to classic vinyl records and enjoying the views as it opens to a balcony that looks over neighboring historic buildings.

Golden Lantern

As the only LGBTQ+ bar along Royal Street, the Golden Lantern has been serving drinks to the community since 1964 and is the original home of the citywide queer party Southern Decadence. Because of its central location, this easygoing and friendly bar pulls in a large number of out-of-towners and all ends of the sexuality spectrum. They’re also open 24 hours a day and seven days a week, so you can join in on the party no matter what time you’re out. Golden Lantern is especially known for its morning Bloody Mary cocktails, along with a packed calendar of drag shows and other events throughout the year.

Rawhide 2010

The ambiance at Rawhide 2010, or just Rawhide as the locals call it, varies based on when you visit. In the afternoon and early evening, it feels like a typical neighborhood gay bar with flowing drinks, pool tables, and even video games. But in the late night and early mornings—it’s open until 5 a.m. most nights and doesn’t close on weekends—the lights are turned down and the cruising scene emerges, so make sure you know what you’re getting into before heading over. Regardless of the vibe you’re looking for, Rawhide is unpretentious and down-to-earth at all times of day, securing its place as a favorite for locals and visitors.

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Gays-Cruising

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Louisiana (United States) cruising map with gay areas and spots where to practice cruising and to have casual NSA encounters

Louisiana (United States) cruising map with gay areas and spots where to practice cruising and to have casual NSA encounters

If you are gay and you want to practise cruising and to have casual NSA encounters in public places in Louisiana in an anonymous way, here you can find spots such as beaches, parks, forests and other spaces next to urban areas, as well as every kind of public toilets and rest areas of highways where you can practise cruising in Louisiana, United States.

Below we show a Louisiana cruising map with all cruising areas and spots that shared our gay community. Click on the map markers for details of each spot.

In the tab for each zone you will find a location map with directions to the place: driving, walking, public transport or bike. You can vote the area and leave a comment for the rest of the community guys know your opinion, and if you want people to know you’re in the area, do not hesitate to check in.

Gay New Orleans

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DON’T CROSS AN OCEAN TO FIND A GREAT RIVER

River cruising has taken Europe by storm and now you can sail the rivers of America with VACAYA. Come find out for yourself why river cruising has become passionate adventurers’ new “favorite way to travel!” Book your 2021 U.S. cruise today!

Your journey starts with an overnight at the Hilton Riverside, just steps from all the excitement, music, and culinary adventures of The Big Easy’s famed French Quarter and Warehouse District. American Duchess will dock at the Riverwalk Shopping Center at the foot of Canal Street – mere feet from our hotel.

American Duchess will be our home for 7 luxurious nights. Together, we’ll journey back in time to uncover the treasures, charm, and history of the Deep South as you indulge in iconic cuisine spiced with the cultural flavors of the region’s past.

Your journey starts with an overnight at the Hilton Riverside, just steps from all the excitement, music, and culinary adventures of The Big Easy’s famed French Quarter and Warehouse District. American Duchess will dock at the Riverwalk Shopping Center at the foot of Canal Street – mere feet from our hotel.

American Duchess will be our home for 7 luxurious nights. Together, we’ll journey back in time to uncover the treasures, charm, and history of the Deep South as you indulge in iconic cuisine spiced with the cultural flavors of the region’s past.

Your journey starts with an overnight at the Hilton Riverside, just steps from all the excitement, music, and culinary adventures of The Big Easy’s famed French Quarter and Warehouse District. American Duchess will dock at the Riverwalk Shopping Center at the foot of Canal Street – mere feet from our hotel.

American Duchess will be our home for 7 luxurious nights. Together, we’ll journey back in time to uncover the treasures, charm, and history of the Deep South as you indulge in iconic cuisine spiced with the cultural flavors of the region’s past.

Your journey starts with an overnight at the Hilton Riverside, just steps from all the excitement, music, and culinary adventures of The Big Easy’s famed French Quarter and Warehouse District. American Duchess will dock at the Riverwalk Shopping Center at the foot of Canal Street – mere feet from our hotel.

American Duchess will be our home for 7 luxurious nights. Together, we’ll journey back in time to uncover the treasures, charm, and history of the Deep South as you indulge in iconic cuisine spiced with the cultural flavors of the region’s past.

Your journey starts with an overnight at the Hilton Riverside, just steps from all the excitement, music, and culinary adventures of The Big Easy’s famed French Quarter and Warehouse District. American Duchess will dock at the Riverwalk Shopping Center at the foot of Canal Street – mere feet from our hotel.

American Duchess will be our home for 7 luxurious nights. Together, we’ll journey back in time to uncover the treasures, charm, and history of the Deep South as you indulge in iconic cuisine spiced with the cultural flavors of the region’s past.

Day 1 | SUN, NOV 14 | NEW ORLEANS | Check In 3pmDay 2 | MON, NOV 15 | NEW ORLEANS | Boarding 1pm | Depart 5pmDay 3 | TUE, NOV 16 | RIVER CRUISINGDay 4 | WED, NOV 17 | ST. FRANCISVILLE | Arrive 8am | Depart 1pmDay 5 | THU, NOV 18 | NATCHEZ | Arrive 8am | Depart 5pm

Day 6 | FRI, NOV 19 | VICKSBURG | Arrive 8am | Depart 5pmDay 7 | SAT, NOV 20 | BATON ROUGE | Arrive 12pm | Depart 5pmDay 8 | SUN, NOV 21 | NOTTOWAY | Arrive 8am | Depart 6pmDay 9 | MON, NOV 22 | NEW ORLEANS | Disembark 9am

Let VACAYA co-founder Randle Roper show you his hometown favorites! After a little solo exploration and dinner on your own, meet up with Randle and the team to hit some of the city’s most famous gay bars along Bourbon Street. Head back at your leisure to enjoy your included stay at Hilton New Orleans Riverside. Our Hospitality Desk at the hotel can assist with everything from general questions about your upcoming voyage to reserving premium experiences. VACAYA, American Queen Steamboat Company, and local representatives will all be readily available to provide you with dining, entertainment, and sightseeing options to maximize your time here.

Enjoy an easy morning with your included breakfast at the hotel or use our amazingly central location as the jumping off point for exploring The Crescent City. New Orleans’s Creole, Cajun, and other diverse residents blended to develop art, cuisine, music, and general culture unlike any other in the United States. Uncover the treasures of the city as you explore the unique sites and attractions lining New Orleans’ historic streets. A bon voyage departure like you’ve never seen will take place on the River Club Terrace and the top Deck, so grab your parasol and make your way to witness how authentic steam power can propel us back in time as we get to know our traveling companions for the next few days. Dinner and an evening of entertainment await!

There’s always plenty to do between dawn and dusk on the river and today is the perfect day to enjoy the many public spaces and activities that are available to you onboard. Gaze at the beautiful landscapes and small river towns as you mingle with fellow guests and discuss the unique aspects of river life. If you fancy a moment for yourself, retreat to The Lincoln Library adorned with ornate bookcases stocked with an imaginative selection. Take hold of a literary classic, curl up on a plush chair in a cozy corner and relish every moment of serenity. Our fitness facility, business center, movie theater, and grand lobby offer a more stimulating day on the river for those who wish to indulge in more energy-infused activities. However you wish to spend your day, make it your own and revel in every moment!

Established in 1809, St. Francisville is the oldest town in the Florida Parishes. Below where St. Francisville is located currently, was a settlement called Bayou Sara in the 1790s. When this settlement was destroyed by flooding and fires, many of the structures and artifacts were hauled up the bluff into St. Francisville where they still stand. With over 140 buildings on the National Register, beautiful homes nestled in the rolling countryside, and bustling Main Street shops, this quaint town situated on the bluffs of the Mississippi River has a style all its own.

GAY & CHUBBY NEW ORLEANS

New Orleans has always been accepting and welcoming for the LGBTQ community. Gay and Lesbian leisure traveler is an important group for New Orleans, and as a result, you will find most resorts, attractions, and venues are sensitive to the community’s needs. Many offerings you’ll find in New Orleans cater exclusively to gay travelers. You can find more information on sites like (link above).

Learn and see first hand about New Orleans’ Gay Life and participate in the Rainbow Whirl! Tour

That said, be prepared to deal with crowds and the peculiar way of theme park life that exists. For the big “chubby” travelers, New Orleans is welcoming, friendly and has a supportive infrastructure. But you should always plan for humid and hot outdoors and keep hydrated. Drink plenty of water and plan to carry at least one bottle with you when doing outdoor activities.

Looks can also be deceiving. To get from one end to another can take up to 30 minutes. Walking through a park may be stressful and exhausting. The parks may offer scooters or wheelchair or electrical vehicle-friendly, you will need to find out in advance of any location/park you plan to attend. Always leave extra time to get to your pick-up and drop-off points and remember there can be a wait time.

Most restaurants and venues cater to a wide variety of body shapes by having armless chairs. Generally speaking, many New Orleans tourist attractions, restaurants, venues, and resorts are aware of the issues facing their largest customers. Chubby people are rarely escorted to a seat that would be inappropriate; however, you can always inquire about armless chairs before seating.

Parks and adventures often can accommodate people of size. You should always inquire about the size of the seats and the possibility of free-standing chairs before you book.

Whatever your tastes are we want this to be a memorable event and look forward to hosting you New Orleans Big Bayou style!

Café Lafitte in Exile

Unpretentious with unbeatable prices, Lafitte’s is a low-key favorite among New Orleans locals. One of the oldest gay bars in the country and once frequented by Tennessee Williams and Truman Capote, this unassuming spot remains a welcoming neighborhood hangout home to friendly bartenders, a wonderfully mixed clientele, some of the best drink prices in the city and great dance music. Lafitte’s sits along the „pink“ stretch of Bourbon Street, just a block beyond Oz and Bourbon Pub towards Esplanade. There’s been a scene here since 1933 – if only these walls could talk. The bar is open 24/7 for whenever you get the urge.

Recommended for Gay Clubs because: There’s always something going on at Lafitte’s, from karaoke on Wednesdays to a balcony for people-watching upstairs.

Beth’s expert tip: A 24-hour weekday happy hour makes having fun in the Big Easy incredibly easy on your wallet.

Oz

One of the most popular gay clubs New Orleans has to offer, Oz is a French Quarter frenzy of bar-top go-go boys, high-energy music and a laser show that adds to the electrifying atmosphere. Repeatedly named NOLA’s best dance club by „Gambit“ and one of the top 50 clubs in the country by „Details,“ Oz features a balcony overlooking Bourbon Street and is open 24-hours-a-day on weekends, allowing club-goers to dance until dawn. The place can get rowdy in the wee hours, but bartenders are tougher than they look and generally keep the peace no problem. Drink prices are rock bottom.

Recommended for Gay Clubs because: Oz is a favorite spot for drag shows, dancing and cheap potent cocktails.

Beth’s expert tip: Expect a younger crowd on the dance floor, especially on the weekends.

Napoleon’s Itch

Napoleon’s Itch is a dance club and gay bar located on the far end of Bourbon Street if coming from Canal. The theme of the club is based off the premise that when visitors come into the city, they are often looking to satisfy their „itch,“ or concealed yearning. Whether that’s the case or not, a good time can be had by all here, as the crowd is often just as diverse as any on the Bourbon strip. The venue is cash only, so make sure you’re prepared if you plan to sample some of the best Mojitos and Martinis in the French Quarter. (There is an ATM onsite, and while on the topic of preparedness, be ready to dance.)

Recommended for Gay Clubs because: Always a great time, this friendly spot is worth a dip in, but remember it’s cash only.

Beth’s expert tip: The drink menu is stellar here and includes one of the best Mojitos in town.

Bourbon Pub and Parade

Bourbon Pub and Parade is located in the cluster of gay bars on Bourbon. The venue is known for its male go-go dancers prancing around the bars, regular karaoke and spacious balcony for people-watching. There is usually a mixed bag of queer patrons, from gay men to lesbians and straight friends and couples too. There usually is a cover, but the bar makes up for it by having a friendly staff that does their best to make each and every patron feel welcome. The upstairs Parade club with its wrap-around balcony is 18-and-over (21 to drink), and it’s open seven days a week.

Recommended for Gay Clubs because: Bourbon Pub and Parade is the place to be for amazing costumes on Mardi Gras day.

Beth’s expert tip: Bourbon Pub is the definitive New Orleans gay nightclub, period.

Phoenix Bar

Phoenix Bar is an interesting anything-goes establishment catering to the leather and bear community. Known for being grungy, edgy and pretty much out there, (there’s an infamous sex swing in the back), this is a popular neighborhood hang-out. Phoenix sets the mood with dim lighting and bars on two levels. This isn’t the type of place where girls can go and dance and mingle with the gay crowd. This is where the gay crowd goes to hang out with the gay crowd. Unlike other alternative spots in New Orleans, this place never charges a cover, and has plenty of street parking available if you plan to come from outside the area. There are special parties for a fee during Decadence.

Recommended for Gay Clubs because: If it’s the lords of leather scene you are seeking, seek no more.

Beth’s expert tip: Lesbians and women in general aren’t part of the scene at the Phoenix.

Cutter’s

Cutter’s is a sweet quirky neighborhood hole-in-the-wall with a welcoming clientele mix of gay, straight and everyone in between. Tuesday is usually trivia night, organized by sometime bartender Marc Paradis. Bartender „Mama“ Craig knows everybody by name and is known for his sass and strong drinks. Start here, or a few doors up at Big Daddy’s, to find a cast of oddball regulars. Both bars, on the dividing line between the Marigny and the Bywater, are places friends gay, straight or whatever, meet to relax and get out of the tourist fray.

Recommended for Gay Clubs because: Cutter’s is a neighborhood bar with patrons gay, straight and everything in between.

Beth’s expert tip: Tuesday is trivia night, and it’s no joke.

Tubby’s Golden Lantern

Tubby’s has been a New Orleans staple for years, set on the quiet end of the vibrant French Quarter. The bar is the starting point for the famous Southern Decadence Parade (the LGBTQ event held over Labor Day weekend) and a gathering spot at Halloween, Easter and throughout Mardi Gras. As for the bar itself, they host endless events such as trivia, line dancing lessons and bingo with host Sister Mary Isawhore. There are happy hours daily, and Bloody Marys are a specialty, often ordered to go. Drag shows are also a hit here, with glamour gals taking the stage in all manner of festive getups.

Recommended for Gay Clubs because: Golden Lantern is ground zero for Decadence, but popular year-round.

Beth’s expert tip: If you’re traveling with Fido, this is the bar to come to; all dogs are welcome.

The Corner Pocket

The Corner Pocket has been called an institution by some. The main draw is the endless supply of scantily clad twink types up on the bar/stage dancing for dollars. These dancers tend to keep things more to the „R“ side as opposed to „PG,“ so if you’re looking for a show, this is where to head. No VIP or private rooms here so be prepared for the shenanigans to happen out in the open. Have your dollars ready and be prepared to have an unworldly experience at The Corner Pocket, located in the French Quarter, just a few short blocks from Bourbon.

Recommended for Gay Clubs because: The Corner Pocket is a lively spot with eye-candy dancers and lots of R-rated fun.

Beth’s expert tip: Check the schedule in advance if you want to catch – or avoid – wet underwear contests.

Good Friends Bar

Although it’s just a stone’s throw from the raucous club scene on Bourbon, Good Friends is a calmer, cozier respite from the fray. Relax at the lovely mahogany bar or head upstairs to the Victorian-vibed pub space, complete with piano music on Saturdays, a pool table and a lovely wrap-around balcony offering views of the French Quarter. There’s something going on every night, from karaoke to wheel of fortune and trivia, and the crowd is always friendly. Expect a slightly older crowd of gay men and lesbians, but really everyone is welcome at this cozy neighborhood bar and lounge.

Recommended for Gay Clubs because: Good Friends and Queens Head Pub draw an older mellow crowd and offer a nice break from Bourbon.

Beth’s expert tip: Try the frozen Separator cocktail, the signature refreshing libation at the Good Friends Bar.

The Country Club

The Country Club may just be the best kept 40-year-old secret in New Orleans. Located in a stunning circa 1884 Italianate manse in Bywater, the restaurant bar has it roots as a gay staycation spot, and still attracts a strong LGBTQ crowd to the gorgeous salt water pool out back. But it’s a mixed crowd that frequents the excellent restaurant up front as well as the freewheeling pool scene. Eat up front in the lovely art-filled dining rooms, with chef Chris Barbato in the kitchen (last of Commander’s Palace), or have nibbles poolside. Guests can pay a day rate to swim and lounge or pay an annual membership for unlimited privileges. This place feels like being on vacation. What’s not to love about that?

Recommended for Gay Clubs because: The Country Club is a fun place to gather with all flavor of friends for pool time or drinks at the bar.

Beth’s expert tip: Drag brunch on Saturdays is a hoot, with the crowd usually dominated by gaggles of lively bachelorette parties.

Gay Travel New Orleans

Mardi Gras, jazz and amazing food! New Orleans is a major tourist destination not just in LouisianaUnited States, for so many reasons. 

When we think of New Orleans, we all think of the French Quarter, as we should. “The Vieux Carre,“ which translates to „the old square,” is filled with opportunities to sample great food, from a fantastic “po boy” from a simple stand to five-star restaurants serving exceptional Creole and French cuisine. If you like jazz, this is your place. The sound of saxophones can be heard all over the French Quarter, and LGBT nightlife is abundant – you’ll never get bored. When you need a break, grab a beignet at the famous Café du Monde and take a ride on the Mississippi River. 

But remember: New Orleans is more than just the French Quarter. The Garden District is filled with fantastic homes. The Riverbend neighborhood in Uptown overflows with coffee, cuisine, and shops, making it a great place to wander. Then there’s the skyscraper-filled Central Business District, bohemian Bywater, and the authentic Treme neighborhood. With all its lively districts and bustling corners, the Big Easy will not disappoint you!

New Orleans Gay Scene

Because of the large draw of tourists to New Orleans, it’s a very welcoming and gay-friendly city. It’s also a popular gay weekend destination from travelers within driving range such as Austin and Houton in Texas, or the Florida panhandle. New Orleans is arguably the most gay-friendly city in the American South and boasts quite a few gay bars and clubs for its size. Most of the city’s gay bars are scattered on or near Bourbon Street, the French Quarter’s world-renowned party spot. The costumes and colorful characters during Mardi Gras (or really: any other weekend on Bourbon Street) make NOLA a very gay-friendly city.

In New Orleans, Ambush Magazine and Flame Magazine each publish gay guides to all the weekly LGBTQ parties, events, festivals, and special performances. You can usually find copies available in any of the gay nightlife spots.

When to Visit

If you’re a fair-weather traveler, NOLA is the city for you. The climate tends to be mild in the winter and spring, while the summer and fall months are more humid. Southern Decadence (the biggest LGBT circuit party in the south) takes place in “The Crescent City” every Labor Day Weekend but there’s a gay ol’ time to be had all year round. With more than 250,000 visitors each Labor Day weekend for Southern Decadence, it’s the most fun time of year for gay visitors, so book accommodation early if you plan to attend. New Orleans, though, is a popular weekend destination all year and there’s a healthy gay scene of local bars and restaurants which make it fun to visit no matter when.

Gay-Friendly Activities & Attractions

There’s no shortage of things to see and do in New Orleans—it’s a city meant to dazzle you with its bright colors and lively spirit, but here are few local favorites:

NOLA’s most pictuesque neighborhood, the French Quarter (Vieux Carré or Barrio Francés) is the city’s oldest neighborhood, dating back to the early 1700s. Most of the historic homes and buildings (the iconic architecture you’ll find from NOLA postcarrds) dates to the late 18th cenutry or early 19th century. The district, as a National Historic Landmark, is a great spot to wander during the day, but it really comes alive at night with buzzing restaurants, bars, and meandering pedestrians. In the heart of the French Quarter is Bourbon Street – where many of the biggest bars and clubs are, and made famous from the annual Mardi Gras celebrations each year. Jackson Square in the French Quarter is a great spot for people-watching as many street buskers and performers hang out there.

Formerly known as The National D-Day Museum, this is one of NOLA’s top museums. The military history museum focuses on the contribution made by the United States to Allied victory in World War II and is affiliated with the Smithsonian Instutuion. It’s a great spot to escape the humidty on a summer day.

Gay-Friendly Dining

Once your stomach calls for a break — and, with all these great restaurants around, it surely will — make sure to eat a global-NOLA-inspired fusion dish at one of the many amazing restaurants around town! Sample gumbo and crawfish pie and don’t forget to grab a café au lait and one of New Orlean’s signature beignets, powdered-sugar French bread doughnuts.

The city’s oldest restaurant offers a glimpse of what 19th century French-Creole dining was like, with a labyrinthine series of dining rooms and a menu as traditional as the architecture. Oysters Rockefeller, Pompano en papillote, crawfish Cardinal and baked Alaska are signature dishes.

Frank Brigsten serves updated Creole and contemporary Louisiana cooking in a beautiful, converted home. Game dishes like roast duck with cornbread dressing and tart dried-cherry sauce are house specialties.

Gay-Friendly Nightlife

Turn the corner — bar. Turn to the other corner — bar. Bourbon Street is like the Las Vegas Strip — the party never stops. You won’t have trouble finding a gay bar here!

As the original New Orleans French Quarter gay GLBT bar since 1974, Bourbon Pub Parade is New Orleans‘ largest gay bar for Southern Decadence, Mardi Gras, Halloween and New Years Eve. Open 24/7!

Don’t miss Oz, New Orleans‘ #1 gay dance club located on Bourbon Street in the heart of the French Quarter! This two-story space never closes, meaning there’s no end in sight to the party. 

Good Friends Bar is a multi-level venue designed for a casual night on the town or a quiet evening with that special someone or group of friends. The bar’s signature drink is the Separator (a must-try!), though you can also choose from a wide selection of liquor and beer.

Safety

New Orleans if a very welcoming city to LGBTQ travelers, and has made a concerted effort to attract gay and lesbian travelers for many years. Though it’s recommended to stick to the main tourist arers. New Orleans does have higher rates of crime than other American cities, and there is some petty crime like pickpocketing at night. Avoid dark, empty streets if staying out late in the French Quarter. 

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What if you could have… Meaningful connections. Kick-ass parties. All-star entertainment. Endless fun. AND world-class hospitality. AND abundant communication. AND unlimited beverage packages. AND booking numbers 60-90 days out. AND party themes 120 days out. All wrapped up in LGBTQIAPK fabulousness with “the freshest and most exciting line-up of trips in LGBT+ travel history!”

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Bourbon Pub & Parade

French QuarterTwo-story dance club anchoring the French Quarter’s “Fruit Loop”A major anchor of the LGBTQ bar scene since the 1970s (prior to that, it operated under the name Caverns), Bourbon Pub & Parade remains a top-ranking queer party destination. Four-on-the-floor house remixes of top 40 songs? Check. Wraparound balcony overlooking Bourbon Street? Check. Pretty boys dancing on the bar in their underwear? You better believe that’s a check.

Oz New Orleans

French QuarterYet another thumping, two-story dance club with wraparound balconyThis two-story gay dance bar sits directly across Bourbon Street from the Bourbon Pub & Parade and is so similar, both inside and out, that it’s easy to confuse the two. Together, they form the glittery, rainbow-soaked epicenter of gay New Orleans. The Oz brings its drag and “boylesque” productions to the next level, thanks to an acrobatic cast of pole and burlesque performers who elicit screams of delight from gay men and straight girls alike. 

The Country Club

BywaterCirca-1884 Italianate mansion with a saltwater pool and drag brunchIn the 1970s, a gay couple launched The Country Club, and it remains a stalwart player in the local LGBTQ scene. Featuring a mural-emblazoned restaurant, indoor and outdoor bars, sauna, hot tub, and a saltwater pool, it’s gone from glorified bathhouse to bachelorette party-soaked day club in recent years. Management did away with the clothing-optional policy and no longer brands The Country Club as a gay bar (it’s more of a “gay-adjacent” space now), but rainbow flags still beckon from the front porch, its Saturday drag brunches book up months in advance. Happy hour runs from 4pm to 7pm weekdays… or whenever it’s raining.

Cafe Lafitte in Exile

Grrlspot

Various locationsPop-up lesbian barSadly, the slow extinction of gay lady hangouts is by no means unique to the Crescent City (RIP Rubyfruit Jungle, Kims 940, and so many other spots). In response, Grrlspot organizers created this pop-up lesbian bar which attracts a diverse crowd (cis guys must be accompanied by a woman or trans person) to a different spot on the third Saturday of every month. Launched in 2007, Grrlspot is gearing up for its summer social season, which includes a slew of parties for Pride Month and Southern Decadence.

The AllWays Lounge

Golden Lantern

French QuarterIntimate, dog-friendly hangout open since 1964You’ll recognize this laid-back neighborhood gay bar by its water-filled dog bowls and the absence of a cover charge — even on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights, which bring live music and drag shows. Just be sure to tip the hard-working ladies — which should be easy to do, given that drinks are cheap and strong, and happy hour runs from 8am to 8pm daily. Don’t miss the string bean- and okra-packed bloody Mary, the perfect drink to have in hand when Southern Decadence’s annual parade kicks off from Golden Lantern on Labor Day weekend.

Gay New Orleans Guide: The Essential Guide To LGBT Travel In New Orleans Louisiana

Gay New Orleans Guide: The Essential Guide To LGBT Travel In New Orleans LouisianaGay Things To Do In New OrleansTop Things To Do In New OrleansGay Events In New OrleansGay Nightlife in New OrleansOther Gay-Popular Venues In New OrleansCruising and Gay Bathhouses In New OrleansGay New Orleans Map

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VACAYA REACHOUTLEAVE YOUR MARK BY SUPPORTING LGBT+ AND BLACK-OWNED BUSINESSES

Give Back While On Vacation: One of VACAYA’s main missions is to give back to the communities we visit. The rising popularity of U.S. river cruising has brought tourist dollars into smaller, lesser known U.S. towns from travelers worldwide. AQSC takes great pride in supporting local businesses along the river and VACAYA is honored to continue the tradition, especially in these times of great need. We’ll pinpoint LGBT+ and black-owned businesses for all of us to patronize in each port.

VACAYA is rewriting the playbook on value. With so many inclusions, close-to-home cruising has never been more exciting.

Spacious luxury awaits aboard the floating masterpiece that is American Duchess.

The prices for American Duchess can be found on this page. Endless luxury and refined elegance await.

Read our FAQs or contact our Vacation Planners via phone/chat from 12-2pm ET Monday – Friday.

VACAYA completely reinvents the all-gay cruise and all-inclusive gay resort concepts by opening up the experience to lesbians, bisexuals, trans persons, queer men/women, those questioning their sexuality, intersex, asexual, pansexual, and polyamorous individuals, as well as gay men who’ve enjoyed the typical gay cruise experience. VACAYA is the only large-scale vacation company on earth built for the entire LGBTQIAPK community and their straight ally friends. VACAYA offers fun easy vacations with customized itineraries, personalized service, tailored entertainment, welcoming activities, friendly parties, and transformative moments. Shared experiences with like-minded LGBT+ adults and friends give us a new perspective on the world and remind us how lucky we are to be alive. VACAYA charters the entire ship or resort so we have the freedom to express our individuality, make personal connections, celebrate life, rev up, or simply relax… together. Our mission is to fulfill the vacation dreams of all adults who believe “love is love” while giving back to the community and immersing our guests in the cultures and places we visit around the world.

All-Inclusive Resorts – Staying at a VACAYA Oasis all-inclusive resort delivers a truly relaxing and exhilarating vacation because it’s all included for one incredible price, from meals and alcohol to spa treatments and excursions. Our resorts offer scores of daytime activities, exclusive nightly entertainment, gourmet restaurants, exquisite turquoise waters, and sun-soaked beaches. But that’s only the beginning. These are places where we come together and feel part of a bigger family. With so much included, all that’s left to do is have fun and enjoy the value!

LGBT+ Cruises – Life on the open water is about savoring the good times, finding beauty in the details, appreciating friends, and discovering new ones. Sailing the seven seas is about leaving the ordinary behind. It’s the moments we spend connecting, laughing, and living life to the fullest. Its possibilities are endless and exciting. Sensual. Life changing. These experiences connect us to each other. They open our minds and unify our rhythm.

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Gay-friendly and Gay Hotels in New Orleans

LGBT tourism is booming in New Orleans, and pretty much every hotel and hostel in New Orleans can be considered gay-friendly. After all, being gay-friendly is not all about upscale luxury, but about friendly and open service and welcoming everyone with open arms. 

There are no exclusively gay hotels here, but luckily, public acceptance has progressed to the point it’s no longer necessary to stay in exclusively gay hotels in New Orleans to avoid discrimination. Many hotels in New Orleans actively court the ‘pink dollar’ while hosting LGBT events, Pride promotions, and giving staff training on the local New Orleans gay scene so they can better help gay guests.

Some hotels have courted the gay’s better than others, which are the hotels in New Orleans we recommend because of their solid reputation as spots for gay travelers to stay – and who doesn’t like to be surrounded by like-minded people. 

Staying central within walking distance of the New Orleans French Quater is ideal – although prices get cheaper the further away you travel.  No matter where you choose to stay, it pays to book as far ahead as you can because occupancy rates in the best New Orleans hotels routinely exceeding supply – though it does depend on which season you visit. Competition keeps prices from varying too much – but quality varies greatly. 

There are plenty of other hotels in New Orleans you could consider. Still, as it stands, these options are the most popular and closest to a gay hotel in New Orleans. Whether you want a fun and social hostel, a cheap but private place to crash after a night of partying, or a chic luxury option with a pool to spend the day lying by, Gay New Orleans as something for everyone!

Gay Nightlife in New Orleans

It wouldn’t be a night out in Big Easy without a few bad decisions, and luckily Gay New Orleans has more than enough gay bars, clubs, and venues for you to make them in. With everything from dirty dive bars and full-scale nightclubs with international DJs to kinky leather bars and gender-bending cabaret lounges, you are never going to be bored here.

Most of the gay venues in New Orleans are conveniently located in the French Quarter –  thought is gayest on “Lavender Line,” a stretch of St Ann Street that bisects Bourbon St. 

Most queer spaces are within easy stumbling distance of each other, so bar hopping is common, and you can even take your drink as long as its in a plastic cup. Plenty of bars never close, meaning that it is up to you how wild you want to go! We should also note that almost every bar in NOLA is a gay-friendly, but have focussed on those who specifically cater to LGBTQ patrons – or are well-known hotspots for our community.

Cruising and Gay Bathhouses In New Orleans

New Orleans might be a popular LGBT holiday destination, but if you are looking for some steam, anonymous fun – you might be a little disappointed. The famous gay bathhouse, Club New Orleans, has recently closed – and the other bathhouse here, Flex, closed a few years earlier.  Sadly, this is a common trend seen in North America from HawaiiMemphis, and more. In North America, very few bathhouse scenes are thriving outside of QuebecFort Lauderdale. A sign of the changing times, we suppose.

Still – nothing is going to stop the gays from having fun, and, as you would expect, the gay cruising apps are particularly busy. You will find plenty of tourists from all over the US and the world looking to engage in a little holiday shenanigans. Just have your hotel sorted if you want to be able to host.

Other than that, we recommend trying the cruisy gay bars we covered earlier.

Gay New Orleans – Travel Gay Guide

New Orleans is one of the most exciting cities in America. It’s the home of jazz, voodoo and Mardi Gras. It’s also the setting for many of Anne Rice’s vampire novels. New Orleans is one of the best cities in the South for gay travellers. It has a big gay scene centred around many bars and clubs.

Mardi Gras is, of course, the biggest annual event in New Orleans. It begins on “12th night” and it ends on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. The most popular time for tourist to visit during Mardi Gras is the weekend before Fat Tuesday.

New Orleans is also famed for its music scene. So many major artists in the music industry have to New Orleans to seek inspiration. It’s also home to many – allegedly – haunted houses. The atmosphere along Bourbon Street is pretty wild at night. New Orleans is a city you have to see at least once in a lifetime.

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Spa Atlantis offers a high quality spa experience, with the utmost in luxury, serenity and…

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Nov 14-22, 2021 – AMERICAN DUCHESS

VACAYA makes history yet again with an exciting and innovative CLOSE-TO-HOME vacation option for North Americans– an 8-night adventure roundtrip from easy-to-get-to and seductively gay-friendly New Orleans up the Mississippi River! This fresh new getaway from VACAYA is the first US-based river cruise in LGBT+ travel history!

Spacious luxury awaits aboard the floating masterpiece that is American Duchess. This uniquely American, boutique-style paddlewheeler offers exquisite dining, beautiful decks, fun entertainment venues, and exceptional amenities. Her spacious suites reach up to 550 square feet, providing you with the largest accommodations on the rivers. An included pre-night hotel stay at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside affords us the luxury of a short walk from the hotel to the French Quarter and to our ship.

You’d have… VACAYA! 

Never forget… you can have it all and you deserve it all.

Jaymes Vaughan joins The Vacayans as Cruise Director of our inaugural Ptown Cruise on Celebrity Summit. You’ll recognize Jaymes as co-host of Celebrity Page TV, from his frequent appearances on CBS’s The Talk, and as one of “The Chippendales” from the Emmy Award-winning series The Amazing Race.

Jaymes’ commitment to the LGBT community is evident through his work with The Dru Project, which honors Pulse Nightclub shooting victim Christopher Andrew Leinonen. The project’s mission is to strengthen gay straight alliances. Jaymes’ visibility in the gay community and his advocacy for LGBT issues perfectly align with VACAYA’s embrace of the entire LGBTQIAPK community, including straight allies.

Fuel your VACAYA dreams with our eNewsletter, First Look

Each of our vacations has its own unique rhythm, feel, and charm. Whether you’re a classic cruise fan, a neo-beach enthusiast,or the ultimate off-the-beaten path adventurer, you’ll find yourself with VACAYA. Discover Bliss, Oasis, and Luxe.

“with VACAYA, you’re part of a much larger family – one connected through space, time, and social media. put yourself out there, engage, and enjoy the ride”

Read our FAQs or contact our Vacation Planners via phone/chat from 12-2pm ET Monday – Friday.

VACAYA completely reinvents the all-gay cruise and all-inclusive gay resort concepts by opening up the experience to lesbians, bisexuals, trans persons, queer men/women, those questioning their sexuality, intersex, asexual, pansexual, and polyamorous individuals, as well as gay men who’ve enjoyed the typical gay cruise experience. VACAYA is the only large-scale vacation company on earth built for the entire LGBTQIAPK community and their straight ally friends. VACAYA offers fun easy vacations with customized itineraries, personalized service, tailored entertainment, welcoming activities, friendly parties, and transformative moments. Shared experiences with like-minded LGBT+ adults and friends give us a new perspective on the world and remind us how lucky we are to be alive. VACAYA charters the entire ship or resort so we have the freedom to express our individuality, make personal connections, celebrate life, rev up, or simply relax… together. Our mission is to fulfill the vacation dreams of all adults who believe “love is love” while giving back to the community and immersing our guests in the cultures and places we visit around the world.

All-Inclusive Resorts – Staying at a VACAYA Oasis all-inclusive resort delivers a truly relaxing and exhilarating vacation because it’s all included for one incredible price, from meals and alcohol to spa treatments and excursions. Our resorts offer scores of daytime activities, exclusive nightly entertainment, gourmet restaurants, exquisite turquoise waters, and sun-soaked beaches. But that’s only the beginning. These are places where we come together and feel part of a bigger family. With so much included, all that’s left to do is have fun and enjoy the value!

LGBT+ Cruises – Life on the open water is about savoring the good times, finding beauty in the details, appreciating friends, and discovering new ones. Sailing the seven seas is about leaving the ordinary behind. It’s the moments we spend connecting, laughing, and living life to the fullest. Its possibilities are endless and exciting. Sensual. Life changing. These experiences connect us to each other. They open our minds and unify our rhythm.

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We offer guides to 200+ cities worldwide and know the best gay bars, hotels, clubs, saunas, parties, beaches, and not-to-be-missed experiences. Plus films, fashion, pop culture, gay events, and much, much more.