Traveling on the EDGE: Where to Go in 2014, Fall
The final installment in our four-part series, EDGE's travel editor Matthew Wexler scopes out 12 months of adventure, relaxation and surprises for the LGBT jet setter. ??
Part One profiled Colorado, Vienna and Mexico.
Part Two continued the global journey as EDGE explored Madrid, England and the home of World Pride 2014 - Toronto, Canada.
??Part Three explored Lucerne, Switzerland; Cleveland, Ohio; and Asheville, North Carolina.
And for our final hurrah? EDGE explores Fort Lauderdale, Chicago and Johannesburg.
Once cast in the shadow of her more gregarious sister, Miami, Fort Lauderdale has become a major player in the LGBT vacation scene as well as an appealing destination for full-time residence. EDGE National Nightlife Editor JC Alvarez says, "There's plenty happening in Fort Lauderdale -- people are calling it the 'New South Beach,' and there are many folks from New York City actually moving down there just because the living is better."
Whether you choose to go for the weekend or early retirement, you'll be in good company: Last year Fort Lauderdale welcomed 1.2 million LGBT visitors.
Viva Italia!: Who needs Venice when you have the il Lugano Hotel? Located along the Intercoastal Waterway, this Italian-inspired property features luxurious suites, private cabanas and easy access to the ocean.
A Bloody Good Time: As a result of the 2010 census, Wilton Manors was named the second-gayest city in the United States. All the more reason to shut down the street and throw the biggest, bloodiest annual Halloween street party in south Florida. Even on an average night, Wilton Drive boasts more than 40 restaurants, lounges and nightclubs, but on October 31 all hell breaks loose for "Wicked Manors," which includes a main stage, DJ, costume contests and "Thriller" flash mob.
Bookworm: What began as a collection in 1973 by Mark Silber, then a student at Florida Atlantic University, has grown to a 4,000-square-foot archive and exhibition space within the Fort Lauderdale Branch Library/ArtServe building. The Stonewall National Museum and Archives is one of the only permanent spaces in the U.S. devoted to the display of exhibitions relating to LGBT culture and history.
Never underestimate nice. Chicago's Midwestern sensibility shines through any time of year as the Windy City's LGBT presence continues to grow beyond Boystown.
Chicago offers everything from street festivals to award-winning theater companies and cultural attractions.
What's Hot in the Windy City
Park It: The Hotel Lincoln overlooks 1,200-acre Lincoln Park, with serene Lake Michigan in the distance, but its quirky furnishings offer their own eye candy. Be sure to head to J. Parker, the rooftop lounge, for panoramic city views and signature cocktails like the Wise Fool and the French Maid.
I'm Ready for My Close-Up: Celebrating 32 years, Reeling: The Chicago LGBT International Film Festival presents works ranging from international feature films to experimental shorts and more in a variety of genres.
A Hole in One: Once you've conquered Chicago's other signature eats (deep-dish pizza and hot dogs), save room for the almighty doughnut. This yeasty confection has taken the city by storm, and while you're sure to find a local shop in every neighborhood, don't miss the small-batch artisan varieties produced by Do-Rite Donuts that include pistachio-Meyer lemon, buttermilk old-fashioned, and vanilla bean-glazed cinnamon crunch.
Located in South Africa's lush northeast corner, Johannesburg boasts 10 million trees - the world's largest urban forest.
Amid its natural beauty, the city's multicultural nightlife scene has exploded in recent years, and South Africa's pro-LGBT rights include same-sex adoption (2003) and gay civil marriage (2005), epitomizing the country's progressive attitude.
Urban Forest and Beyond
Urban Chic: The newly opened Maslow offers sophisticated accommodations for the international traveler and a complimentary shuttle service to Nelson Mandela Square and the Sandton City shopping complex. However, you may never want to leave after a holistic treatment at the hotel's Africology Spa.
Alas, Babylon: Not nearly as apocalyptic as it may sound, Babylon offers theme nights like Funked Up Fridays and a chance to mingle with an eclectic LGBT crowd.
Royal Expedition: Head northwest, and in less than three hours you'll find yourself at the luxurious Palace of the Lost City in Sun City, South Africa. The opulent five-star resort overlooks a scenic valley in the heart of the South African plains and is only minutes from Pilanesburg Game Reserve, where you can enjoy a safari experience or game drive.