5 Great LGBTQ Destinations That Go All-In For the Holidays

Coming off of a revitalized Pride season in 2021, the LGBTQ community is amped and ready to continue the festivities through the end of the year, willing to switch from blistery to blustery for the winter season.

The good news is that even though temperatures drop across the country and most of us are cuddling up to a cozy heat source there is still plenty to do in the outside world among the extroverts, you just have to know where to look.

Gaycation Magazine visited the website GayTravel4u which has put together an extensive list of LGBTQ inclusive activities that may interest yuletide traditionalists and the broad-minded alike who want to venture out beyond their frozen stoops to experience a whole new world.

But the travel industry is waiting with bated breath on which way the latest COVID variant is going to veer. To keep it simple, we have compiled five of what we thought are the most interesting winter hot spots for the community. They range from boat parades to marketplaces, to magical light shows festooned above city streets and parade routes.

Charleston, South Carolina

Cobblestone streets, horse-drawn carriages and Antebellum architecture are all hallmarks of the holiday season. Charleston has all of those things plus much much more. There is a Festival of Lights boat tour a wine tasting event and even a New Year countdown for those planning their midnight kissing plans early.

For entertainment, check out the Charleston Music Hall where drag queens put on a Winter Wonderland Variety Show.

Click HERE for more details.

Smokey Mountain Christmas

If you believe as we do that Dolly Parton is a national treasure then you're going to want to head to the Smokey Mountain Christmas event at her theme park Dollywood located in Pigeon Forge, TN.

This special celebration may even outdo Disney World's holiday makeover. With plenty of themed shows playing in the park's many theaters, and tree lightings galore, this is one destination that should be on your country Christmas bucket list.

Plus the park's many themed lands transform into wintertime dreamlands filled with charm, hospitality and yuletide gayness.

For more info, click HERE.

Chicago, Illinois

As with most big American cities, when the holidays come around they pull out all the stops. But Chicago is different somehow, they celebrate and then some.

The city comes alive with lights, festivities, and people who get lost in the season. And who can blame them? Everywhere you turn it's a reminder of just how magical the holidays can be.

There's Winter at Gallagher Way where skaters glide across the ice, curlers compete and guests enjoy a Hanukkah celebration. The marketplace is also nearby so any last-minute shopping lists can get checked.

Furthermore, all of this is close to the LGBTQ section of town called Lakeview. Gay bars, gay-owned businesses, and boutique hotels are all a part of the landscape which means you're never too far away from all the fun.

For more information click HERE.

Atlanta, Georgia

Arguably there is no other destination on this list more colorful than the Atlanta Christkindl Market in Atlanta, GA. This huge and visually stunning event takes place at the Centennial Olympic Park and is presented by the German American Cultural Foundation.

Not far from Atlanta's gaybourhood, Midtown, the Chistkindl Market is crammed full of artisanal crafts, food, and beers.

After taking in all the Winterland sights, head back to Midtown. On 10th Street and Piedmont Avenue, there is a variety of LGBTQ entertainment. Considered an active cultural hub not only for the gay community but the city itself, Midtown is on par with such districts such as The Castro in San Francisco and Hillcrest in San Diego.

More details HERE.

Denver Colorado; Christkindlmarket

Much like the bazaar above, Denver's annual Christkindlmarket has all the realness of being an authentic German town transported into the middle of America. Although winter has arrived a little late this year in the city, there's no denying Denver's charm stays intact all year long.

Plus with a thriving LGBTQ community, it ticks all the boxes for inclusivity and Pride.

Set up in a series of huts, Christkindlmarket offers visitors authentic German cuisine, handmade crafts and traditional celebrations which include appearances by St. Nikolaus, the evil Krampus, and the Christkind herself.

This event is only a 10-minute drive to the River North Art District (RiNo), the city's gay watering hole that includes bars, restaurants and lodging.

After getting settled in, make sure to make your way to The Blossoms of Light at the Denver Botanic Gardens on York Street. This electric flora extravaganza will inspire awe in your heart and serenity in your soul. This display only lasts until early January so it should be a part of your winter travel itinerary.

This is only a partial list of things to do around the country. With COVID still putting a damper on some things and protocols changing by the day, it's always a good idea to check out each city's safety precautions before heading anywhere.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) is a good start. Click HERE for details.

Images including header are courtesy of gaytravel4u

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Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash

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