New York, San Francisco, Portland. Long histories of glitter and grit have made these cities the LGBT havens they are today. Across America’s south, towns and cities are catching up and creating unique experiences for queer visitors in the process.
Eureka Springs, AR
LGBT capital of the Ozarks, Eureka Springs is a queer oasis in the deep South. Charming natural springs, Victorian architecture and mountain scenery give Eureka a sleepy air but the town wakes up at night with a surprisingly rowdy LGBT scene.
Fort Worth, TX
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Fort Worth is emerging as a worthy destination for the modern queer adventurer. In its 19th-century heyday, Fort Worth was known as “The Queen City of the Prairies”. Today, Fort Worth isn’t quite a Queen city, but it has a decent scene, three theatres, five museums and a gay rodeo!
Pigeon Forge, TN
Pigeon Forge is home to Dollywood. Need we say more? Fans of living-legend Dolly Parton love the park’s 150-acres of attractions, especially the live shows written by the lady herself. The nearby Great Smoky Mountains offer incredible hikes and LGBT-friendly B&Bs for post-hike hot tubbing.
There’s more to Savannah than colonial estates, oak trees and peaches. A community of discerning LGBT locals has thrust Savannah into the 21st century with dozens of LGBT-friendly accommodations and some fine bars in pride of place on the bank of the Savannah River.
Louisville boasts a growing number of LGBT-friendly clubs, hotels and restaurants. The city’s Urban Bourbon Trail mixes history with hard liquor and, whatever they say, the Kentucky Derby is a lesson in camp. Three pride festivals, the Kentuckiana, Louisville and Louisville Black Pride Festivals, keep Louisville LGBT rights on the agenda.
Norfolk’s active LGBT community has shown up for Hampton Roads Pride Fest for two decades. With Norfolk’s ban on gay marriage lifted, the LGBT community can focus on the town’s incredible culture, including the historic NorVa Theatre and hyper-modern Chrysler Museum of Art.
Memphis is the promised land for fans of BBQ and music history. Graceland and the Memphis Music Hall of Fame honor legends while Club Spectrum, one of the largest gay clubs in the US, lets the music play. Visit the Cooper-Young neighborhood for the best food and vibes.