Metro Weekly

Take A Break: 5 LGBTQ Spring Travel Picks

Philadelphia, St. Louis, and New Orleans and more should be top of your travel list this spring

Ready to break out of your winter hibernation? Here are some LGBTQ-friendly destinations that are perfect in the spring:

Philadelphia

Photo credit: B. Krist/Visit Philadelphia

With its beautiful landscaped garden and masterpieces of outdoor sculpture, the Rodin Museum is a perfect example of why spring is the ideal time to visit Philadelphia. And it’s not just the Rodin — the City of Brotherly Love is filled with wonderful outdoor spaces amid its many world-class attractions.

The warm spring weather also make its easy to to explore the city’s vibrant and very walkable “Gayborhood.” Running from 11th Street to Broad Street and from Chestnut Street to Pine Street, the Gayborhood sits in the heart of Philadelphia’s Midtown Village and distinguishes itself with 36 rainbow street signs throughout the area. Here visitors will find more than a dozen LGBTQ-friendly restaurants, shops, and nightlife spots including Woody’s and Voyeur Nightclub.

Where to stay: Hilton Garden Inn Philadelphia City Center recently completed a $9 million renovation that included all of its guest rooms. It’s only four blocks from the Gayborhood and within walking distance to many of Philadelphia’s most popular attractions. The hotel is also a proud sponsor of Philly Pride and a member of the Independence Business Alliance (Greater Philadelphia’s LGBT Chamber of Commerce).

New Orleans

Photo credit: Will Montague

There is rarely a bad time to visit New Orleans, but spring in the Big Easy is pretty exceptional. The Garden District is awash in beautiful colors and the French Quarter’s cobblestone streets become welcomed extensions of its famed bars and restaurants.

One of the best ways to explore New Orleans is via one of the many available walking tours that are made even better with spring temperatures. Glenn DeVillier is among the top guides and offers The Twirl, a Gay Heritage and Drinks Tour that provides an insightful and fun overview of a city that has long been a top destination for LGBTQ travelers. Let’s not forget that New Orlean’s Cafe Lafitte in Exile claims be the oldest continuously operating gay bar in the United States.

Where to stay: Moxy New Orleans is one of the newest hotels in New Orleans. It’s a fun and funky property that gives you a free cocktail at check-in. The boutique-style hotel also has a 24/7 lobby bar and located just steps from the French Quarter.

Dallas

Photo credit: Joseph Haubert

As they say, everything is bigger in Texas — and this includes spring — especially in Dallas. There will be no asking “who shot JR” when visiting, it will be “how do I decide what to do next?”

Dallas is not just a major business center, but also a vibrant city with outstanding cultural attractions and foot stompin’ nightlife. In the downtown core, visitors will find the Dallas Museum of Art, Nasher Sculpture Center, Crow Museum of Asian Art, and Meyerson Symphony Center within easy walking distance of each other. And in the city’s Oak Lawn neighborhood, there are a half-dozen gay bars and clubs practically spitting distance from each other.

Where to stay: W Dallas – Victory is located between downtown Dallas and the Oak Lawn neighborhood. Its boutique accommodations offer cheeky Southern décor, state-of-the-art amenities, and thoughtful luxury touches.

Las Vegas

Photo credit: LVCVA

It should come as no surprise that a city built in the middle of a desert would be good to visit in the spring.

Las Vegas is a city that is always evolving. Visitors this spring will find many new attractions, ranging from Lady Gaga in residency at the Park Theater to an over-the-top zipline experience right on the strip called Fly LINQ. In addition, the spring weather give added appeal to Vegas’ often overlooked natural attractions, such as the magnificent Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.

Where to stay: Following a more than $500 million complete makeover, the Monte Carlo is now the Park MGM. Still a megaresort, the property was given a boutique vibe through a partnership with New York-based hotelier Sydell Group, which operates the trendy LINE Hotels in DC, Los Angeles, and Austin.

St. Louis

Photo credit: Explore St. Louis

When springtime comes to St. Louis it’s as if an alarm clock is sounded — the city wakes up and gets straight to business.

The iconic Gateway Arch is central to any trip to St. Louis. The 630-foot monument to the country’s westward migration was recently part of a nearly $400 million remodeling project that included a major expansion of the surrounding greenspace (perfect for spring) and a new pedestrian path connecting to the Old Courthouse (the site of the landmark Dred Scott trial). A cool way to experience the arch is to schedule a visit to coincide with Decked Out Divas, a monthly drag show aboard one of the Gateway Arch Riverboats.

Where to stay: Red Lion Hotel St. Louis City Center is just a 25-minute walk to the Gateway Arch. Set in an art deco-style building from 1929, the hotel’s featured amenities include a heated outdoor pool and rooftop sun deck.

Troy Petenbrink is Metro Weekly's contributing writer for food and travel. He can be reached at thegaytraveler@gmail.com.

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