In terms of a country as big as the US we as gay people really seem to navigate to just a handful of cities. There’s no question at some point or another we will most likely all visit New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco and Miami.

This is list of places special in their own and that deserve some recognition to gay travelers ( of course we want to be biased and only tout how amazing sunny Fort Lauderdale & Wilton Manors is and how there is no better place to vacation ! ).

The criteria is based on a combination of the following areas: 1-Art & Museums / 2- Restaurants and Dining Scene / 3-Neighborhoods /4-Architecture / 5-Nightlife / 6- Culture / 7- Recreation & City Parks.

1-San Diego,CA= Simply beautiful and perfect weather. Long over shadowed by LA and San Francisco with Hillcrest & Balboa Park and it’s world famous zoo as top picks. With LaJolla and miles of rugged beaches you can not lose here.

2-Philadelphia,PA= The city of Brotherly Love is somewhat over shadowed also but by NYC and DC. Philly is rich in history, charm and down to earth people. The Benjamin Franklin Pkwy has some of the best museums in the country. Don’t forget to visit Old City and Penn’s Landing or Liberty Bell.

3-Houston,TX=  This city truly lives by the “Everything is bigger in Texas” rule. It has more skyline’s than some entire states do (Downtown, Uptown, Texas Medical Center, Greenway Plaza, Energy Corridor to name a few). The Museum District here is the largest in the South and Southwest and you can shop for days in Uptown/ The Galleria. For the hip and the gay head to Montrose.

4-Kansas City,MO= The Midwest is home to beefy and friendly men as well as a handful of under rated cities. Kansas City is one of them. It’s slightly hilly surprisingly pretty and has more fountains than any other city in the America’s. Downtown and City Market are fun and don’t shut down after 5pm and has some great art museums. And don’t forget to check out Country Club Plaza.

5-Pittsburgh,PA= If you have never been to Pittsburgh please forget what you may think it is. This is one rustbelt city that has truly turned itself around in the last 20 years. Pittsburgh is a city of neighborhoods-start off in Oakland where college students and an impressive Carnegie Museum of Art and Natural History is. Then trot over to Shadyside where it’s streets are lined with shops and places to eat. These are just a couple of things to see and do as there are many in Pittsburgh.

6-Austin,TX= Yes there is something very special in the “Hill Country”. Who would have guessed that in the middle of the Lone Star state that a scenic,hip and liberal city awaits you. Built on the Colorado River and packed with creativity by it’s population Austin is an outdoor lovers dream. Kayak, hike,bike, walk to one of it’s many clubs,bars,shops or galleries. Don’t forget to head to Hippy Hollow and sun your buns with the fun men of Texas. And of course check out the “Bat” show at sunset or catch a band.

7-Columbus,OH= Our other pick from the Midwest. Columbus is forever growing and improving an already nice city. The large college population and educated work force don’t hurt. There are cute neighborhoods like German Village and the so gay Short North. The dining scene has really grew and has something everyone as do the nightlife options. Fall and Spring would be the best time of year to visit.

8-Portland,OR= The Pacific Northwest has to be one of the most beautiful parts of the United States. And Portland is one of that regions best cities. With a busy downtown and one of the most pedestrian friendly ones getting around is easy.  With the Columbia and the Willamette Rivers adding to the beauty as well as biking and jogging trails-it’s a very active city. The Pearl District and Stark Street are touristy as well as Old Town. Spring, Summer and early Fall would be best to visit.

9- Denver,CO= The mile high city is one that anyone that loves the great outdoors has to visit. As for a large city based in the heart of the Rocky Mountains you are so close to some of the best skiing and hiking in the world. Combine that with a pretty and lively downtown and active nightlife you can’t lose. So bring or rent ski’s, a bike and get outside as there’s a good chance the sun will be out here. And with quirky and fun Boulder a little over an hour away it to is well worth a trip.

10-Dallas,TX= Another Texas city on this list? Yes and for good reason, the Big D is full of stuff to do. You can shop and shop and shop for more here. OK aside from shopping you have some funky neighborhoods like Oak Lawn that is home to a large and busy gay community. There’s Highland Park, Knox-Henderson and Deep Ellum that all have character and some amazing homes. For those that want to get outside head to White Rock Lake. Dining in Dallas also won’t disappoint as there are tons of options.