From WeHo to the West Village, LGBTQIA+ Celebrities Dish On Their Favorite Queer-friendly Destinations in the U.S.
While many eager travelers are still at home navigating a new normal, this time has given us the opportunity to reflect on the places both close and far that bring us great joy — and which we'll be returning to as soon as we can. For your favorite LGBTQIA+ celebrities, support for the inclusive businesses that queer people regularly frequent has been pouring out across social media, as many of these small businesses are at risk of closing.
So, where in the U.S. do some of your favorite celebrities hang for queer congregation and culture? We asked LGBTQIA+ actors, musicians, comedians, influencers, and athletes alike to highlight the best queer-friendly destinations and businesses across the country. See some highlights below, then visit Orbitz's LGBTQIA+ microsite for more queer-friendly itineraries.
Adam Rippon — West Hollywood, CA
"My favorite LGBTQIA+ spot in L.A. is Pump in West Hollywood," the Olympic figure skater says. "I love it because when I first moved to L.A., I always felt so cool going to this spot. I like the food, it's in the heart of the LGBTQIA+ district in WeHo, and every time I have gone there with friends, I've always had a blast," he adds."Meanwhile, my favorite international LGBTQIA+ spot is Helsinki. Is Helsinki really a huge LGBTQIA+ city? Not entirely, but my boyfriend is from Finland and we are definitely gay so, in theory, every place we go to is an LGBTQIA+ spot," he says. "Finland is a really progressive country and very LGBTQIA+ friendly and if you've never been, it's also incredibly beautiful," he adds, in earnest. Our picks: In Helsinki, queer nightlife centers itself around mega dance clubs like Hercules and more casual, low-key hangout spots like Room Blvd.
Jeremiah Brent — New York, NY
Though Brent tells us he's been spending time during the pandemic at home with husband, Nate Berkus, and their kids making coffee from his super automatic, and very aesthetically-pleasing Saeco Xelsis espresso machine, as an avid traveler who gets design inspiration all over the world, he misses travel and is eager to get on a plane again. One of his favorite LGBTQIA+ spots in New York City, which he calls home now, is the Stonewall Inn. "There is never a dull moment — there is literally a drag show like four times a day — and all of our [LGBTQIA+] history is right there on that one block," he says. "But I'm desperate to go to Europe and be around something old and beautiful again," Netflix's Say I Do star adds, mentioning that London has always been a really beautiful LGBTQIA+ haven for both him and Nate.
Isis King — Los Angeles, CA
"Sugar Taco — I'm not vegan nor vegetarian but this is a gem of a restaurant," the fashion model, designer, and motivational speaker tells T+L of this vegan establishment in queer mecca West Hollywood. "Outside of the amazing food and very kind host and waiters, the actual location is so cozy. During [the] COVID-19 [pandemic], most restaurants have seating out front but Sugar Taco has hidden indoor-outdoor seating in the back, making it a good, low-key place to catch up with a friend and enjoy tacos that even carnivores like me enjoy," King says of the well-priced menu.
Tommy Dorfman — Los Angeles, CA
"I live in Los Angeles and it strikes me as odd — to say the least — that there are so few safe LGBTQIA+ specific spaces that aren't bars or restaurants. As a person who doesn't drink, I think I'd have to say Out of the Closet is my favorite LGBTQIA+ spot in the city," the 13 Reasons Why star shares.
The store offers free HIV testing; 96 cents of every dollar goes to patient and homeless care towards people living with HIV and AIDS; and, there's free pharmacy delivery. Dorfman adds, "There are multiple locations that I frequent to donate items and shop for fun, vintage pieces for my home — often they have incredibly unique plates and glasses and their clothing items are always fun."
Lea DeLaria — New York, NY
"That's easy," DeLaria says when asked about her favorite LGBTQIA+ spot. "It's the Cubby Hole in New York City's West Village." The comedian, actress, and jazz singer — who owns her own buzzy queer establishment, The Club in Provincetown, MA — tells us it's a neighborhood bar with a HUGE pour. Lesbian bars, according to DeLaria, are in trouble, adding that "most of them have shut down.
"The Cubby is a neighborhood [lesbian] bar about community and fun. Every day they order pizza at 7 p.m. and pass slices out to patrons. They do free shots for all occasions. If you throw your birthday party there, they supply the cake and balloons, etc. But mostly, I love it because it's a fixture of the West Village, and the jukebox is the shit," she exclaims.
Collin Martin — Washington, D.C.
"When I'm home visiting family in Washington, D.C., I always try to make a stop at Nellie's Sports Bar on U Street," says the professional soccer player and forward for the San Diego Loyal. "Nellies is a special place because it has something for everyone — it always has sports on the TVs and it plays great music to dance along to," he adds, noting that his favorite part is the outside patios on the second floor that overlook U Street and all the other bars in the area.
Michael Stipe — New York, NY
NYC's oldest operating gay bar located in the West Village, Julius', is the spot artist and singer Michael Stipe says is his favorite because it was the home of the Mattachine Society, an early queer-rights organization. Stipe also shares another place close to his heart in the Big Apple, Ali Forney Center, which is dedicated to protecting LGBTQIA+ youths from homelessness.
Jesse Tyler Ferguson — Los Angeles, CA
"Casita Del Campo, in Los Angeles, is a really fantastic restaurant that also has a theater in the basement where I have seen some of the greatest drag shows of my life," says Tyler Ferguson, an OZO partner known for portraying Mitchell on Modern Family. "It is where I discovered one of my favorite drag queens, Dina Martino, who also performs a lot in Provincetown, MA which is one of my favorite places to visit in the United States...if I'm going to a gay mecca!"
Allie + Sam — Miami, FL
High on the lists of locals and pretty much any queer person visiting South Beach, Youtuber couple Allie + Sam tells us that a drag show at The Palace really does live up to the hype. "It's a must-see! You'll be laughing until you cry! We loved going for dinner, too," they tell us.
Located off the main South Beach strip in Miami's exciting Mimo District and quieter North Miami Beach is another fave, the LGBTQIA+-friendly Holi Vegan Kitchen. "This is a must-stop spot for any plant-based travelers out there! Get ready to have the best lunch ever that could fool any meat-eater," they add.
Joey Graceffa — West Hollywood, CA
"Before COVID-19 radically changed the way we traveled, one of my favorite LGBTQIA+ places to visit in Los Angeles was Micky's in WeHo for their Level Up Happy Hou r —the perfect kickback for gaymers!" Known for his YouTube channel and being the co-founder of jewelry and apparel brand Crystal Wolf, the self-proclaimed gaymer says nothing is better than sipping cocktails and duking it out in Super Smash Bros. against his fellow gays at these unique, video games-centric happy hours. "Growing up as a gay nerd was an isolating experience, so to safely celebrate that now as an adult is really special — and it turns out that tequila really brings out my competitive side(!)," he adds.
Kalen Allen — Philadelphia, PA
A mainstay of Philly's LGBTQIA+ scene, Kalen Allen tells us Woody's is the spot. "But you have to go to Voyeur right after," the actor adds. "Woody's sits in the heart of the gayborhood … I think overall, it's just comforting to have one place where you feel welcomed and are surrounded by people who you can relate to and feel free around. What I love the most about Woody's is the variety. There are multiple rooms where you can get different genres of music. Personally, I think they need to expand the Hip-Hop and R&B room because we used to be packed like sardines in there!"
Alice Kremelberg — New York City
"For me, a top LGBTQIA+ place in New York is actually one that moves. The Get Down is — hands down — one of my favorite dance parties around," The Trial of the Chicago Seven and Orange Is the New Black star says. "The party is held all over New York, but often at the notorious House of Yes in Brooklyn," she adds. "I love it for so many reasons, though the incredible DJs and live drumming are at the top of the list. It is truly a place where respect, inclusivity, and joy are fully celebrated. The environment is one that engulfs all of you, since phones and drinks are not allowed out on the dance floor. It has a 'come as you are, and dance your wild self into oblivion' type of vibe with a ton of sex positivity — not to mention lots of glitter and sweat!"
Harvey Guillén — Savannah, GA
"A few years ago I visited Savannah, GA and had a fun experience at Club One! Club One was home to the late trans icon The Lady Chablis who in 1990 was featured in John Berendt's book 'Midnight in The Garden of Good and Evil,' based on a true crime story," the What We Do in the Shadows star says. "She also played herself in the Clint Eastwood film of the same name. I recommend checking this place out for the story and the drinks — and don't skip out on a fun ghost tour by Blue Orb Tours," Guillén adds.
Lance Bass — Los Angeles, CA
"For years, the Mondrian Los Angeles has been my go-to place to host friends and family that visit," says the longtime *NSYNC member and philanthropist. "My husband Michael and I are regulars at the open air SkyBar which has the most amazing views of the city." Located in the gay, glitzy neighborhood of West Hollywood on prime Sunset Blvd., if you need an oasis in the big city, this is definitely it, Bass tells us.
Toddrick Hall — Dallas, TX
This talented choreographer and familiar face on Rupaul's Drag Race is a Texas native, and has fond memories of the Cathedral of Hope in Dallas. "It's a vibrant, inclusive, and progressive congregation; it is the largest predominantly LGBTQ church in the world. Everyone is welcomed and greeted with warmth and acceptance," he says. And while you might find a spiritual awakening at Cathedral of Hope, you'll want to balance it out with a little debauchery from the Round Up Saloon. "Round Up Saloon is the epitome of Texas and was the first place I saw gay men line dancing," Hall adds.
Chris Rhodes — Austin, TX
Known for an eclectic foodie scene rooted in BBQ and Tex-Mex, and famed for its live music venues earning it the nickname of "The Live Music Capital of the World," Austin has a few charms most travelers there might not know about. For Chris Rhodes, those charms can be found at Pennybacker Bridge, an often-photographed arch bridge also known as 360 Bridge. "This landmark is located atop a short hike with an overlook that is breathtaking. This is a very Austin-y place to get outdoors, take your pup, and snag a photo to show all your friends the endless Texas skies," he says. If you're looking for a place to stay in town, the multi-talented creative, entrepreneur, designer, and influencer recommends Austin Motel. "Queer-woman owned, this is a super cute boutique hotel with rainbow photo-ops at their shop, neon lights in the carport driveway area, iconic signs, and a retro pool area."