Best Alternative Gay Cities
Major destinations like Paris, New York and London all have a unrivalled gravitas and are excellent cities to visit. However, there are endless fantastic places which are often overlooked in favour of their larger counterparts. Here are five of the best alternative cities to visit on your next adventure.
Most visitors to Germany head straight for the capital Berlin but lying some 600km to the west on the banks of the Rhine River is one of the best alternative cities – Cologne. The eclectic range of Veedel or ‘city quarters’ are famed for their independent bookshops, fashionable restaurants and excellent bars – the most popular Veedel is the perennially cool Agnesviertel.
Once the largest city in the Holy Roman Empire, today the city is one of Europe’s most underrated destinations for gay travellers. The Kölner Dom dominates the skyline and is the city’s primary attractions. It’s free to enter but don’t waste your money paying for admission to the tower. If you’re into art then the Ludwig Museum hosts an impressive collection of modern exhibits and hosts an array of rotating guest shows.
Billed as the second city in the UK, Manchester is famed for Oasis, Emmeline Pankhurst and the world’s longest-running television drama – Coronation Street. The city is packed with excellent museums, fantastic restaurants and a world-famous gay scene – Canal Street. Manchester’s industrial past is evident in its red brick architecture which still adorns much of the city today, much of which is the canvas for some inspiring street art.
To explore more of the city’s heritage then visit The People’s History Museum and the Museum of Science and History. The Whitworth Art Gallery and the Imperial War Museum North are another two informative, and free, places you should check out. The Northern Quarter is the city’s bohemian, queer district, filled with eclectic pubs, speakeasy cocktails bars and artisan coffee hangouts making Manchester one of the best alternative cities to visit in the UK.
Poland’s capital is often overlooked in favour of its more southerly neighbor Krakow. The historic centre is adorned with excellent attractions and museums including the Royal Castle, the Modern Art Museum, the Warsaw Uprising Museum and the Polish History Museum. Polish cuisine is a hearty and filling affair – the local dumplings known as pierogi are a must.
Warsaw has seen a huge uptake in the number of craft beer joints around the city. These provide an excellent antidote to the Soviet-style bars, tucked away on the side streets of the main thoroughfare running past the universities and ending at the Royal Palace. Warsaw also has a burgeoning gay scene with many bars and clubs gaining popularity in the once Conservative city.
The state capital of Texas is one of America’s underrated gems. The ‘Keep Austin Weird’ slogan can be seen emblazoned on shirts and stickers across the city – a show of determination of Austin’s residents to keep their city a beacon of bohemianism.
While the city is short on traditional landmarks, there is an abundance of cultural activity taking place in the boutique bars, restaurants and cafes centered in the Downtown region. The University campus is well-worth visiting for its grand architecture – quite unique in Texas and if you enjoy the great outdoors then Barton Creek Greenbelt is just moments from the city centre and will satisfy your trekking desires.
If you’re considering a trip to an Asian megacity like Bangkok or Kuala Lumpur then maybe have a rethink and consider the fantastic Malaysian destination of Georgetown. This former Colonial island is packed with historical points of reference and the legally protected shophouses are still in use as retail and hospitality venues today.
Georgetown is a melting pot of cultures and religions and this is reflected in the architecture, food and heritage. Little India serves a fantastic range of food originating from the sub-continent and The Little Penang Street Market, held on the last Sunday of every month, sells a range of local crafts and trinkets. With nearby beaches and Botanical Gardens on your doorstep, what’s not to love about a trip to one of the best alternative cities like George Town?