Once a getaway for late-career crooners, honeymooners and over-the-hillers, neon-lit, Vegas in the 21st century is one of the most popular gay travel getaways in the world. Despite its lack of a huge queer-specific infrastructure, the town by nature is as gay as it comes. Tight-clad gymnasts are beautifully featured in every Cirque du Soleil show, feathered showgirls still high-kick their heels and chances are your Vegas visit will include a residency by Britney, Cher or some other diva du jour.
Vegas has no bona fide gay ghetto, although the “Fruit Loop” between Paradise and Swenson has a number of LGBT establishments. The city’s pride parade happens in October (at night no less!) while Matinee makes a splash every Memorial Day weekend. There are so many shows and attractions in Vegas—centered both on the Strip and downtown—it would take a lifetime to see them all. Almost all the hotel resorts are open to the public, and just inhaling the vibe of each which alternates between
over-the-top themes (Caesars Palace, Excalibur, Luxor) and elegance (the Cosmopolitan, Aria, the Wynn) is itself an excellent way to discover the city. Meanwhile, once-downtrodden downtown Vegas now boasts its own vibe including must-do cultural attractions, hipster hangouts and the touristy Fremont Street Experience.
Linked to flagship resort Wynn Las Vegas on the Las Vegas Strip, Encore is a distinct destination resort with its own repertoire of accommodations, culinary offerings, and leisure activities. The Fashion Show Mall is across the street.
The historic Flamingo Las Vegas has been welcoming guests for 70 years. The centrally-located hotel is filled with retro charm while offering modern accommodations.
Stay at Harrah’s Hotel and Casino Las Vegas and you’ll be in the heart of the Las Vegas Strip. The hotel is also a stop on the Las Vegas Monorail system, which means you can easily visit the rest of the Strip and all of its attractions.
Located on the southern end of the famous Las Vegas Strip, this hotel is close to McCarran International Airport, T-Mobile Arena, and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
This central-Strip Paris-themed hotel features an Arc de Triomphe entrance, a beautiful Eiffel Tower replica, and a Parisian streetscape lined with shops, a buffet, and restaurants.
Situated in the center of the Las Vegas Strip, Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino is close to all of the action and features a mall conveniently attached to the property.
Two miles from Las Vegas airport, The Signature's proximity to the heart of MGM Grand provides the best of both worlds! The hotel is directly connected to MGM Grand, the Entertainment Authority, with legendary shows, world-class dining, and unbeatable nightlife.
The South Beach-inspired Tropicana resort is conveniently located just minutes from the airport, major convention centers, and top entertainment stadiums.
1. Avoid traffic by not driving.
If you’re staying on the Strip, which a majority of travelers do, you don’t need a car (and in fact some resorts have begun charging for parking). The Strip has an easy-to-use monorail system on its east side and just walking the larger-than-life boulevard is an experience in itself.
2. Get hitched.
Vegas still makes for the classic wedding destination both quickie and planned and same-sex couples are lining up to take advantage. From the smaller, campy chapels on the
northern part of the Strip to opulent venues overlooking the Bellagio fountains, Sin City is still the place to proclaim ‘I do.’
3. Vegas can be cold.
Although summers are brutally hot (although a summer pool party is not to be missed), winters can be downright chilly. Hotels close their outdoor pools, and it’s been known to snow on the Strip! Pack at least a light jacket between November and February and you’ll be just fine.
The gay summer season officially kicks off with outrageous Matinee, a weekend of day and nighttime parties that center around the pool and promise to get you soaking wet.
It may not be as legendary as Sydney’s nocturnal Pride Parade, but make no mistake that Sin City’s downtown Pride (lasvegaspride.org) is an after dark, rainbow swirl of sequins, glitter and over-the-top pageantry. Orbiting the parade is a full weekend of events including circuit parties, family-friendly events and a pet-friendly festival.
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