Spreading the LGBTQ Love: Where We Traveled in 2019

by Matthew Wexler

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Monday January 6, 2020

EDGE editors and writers spanned the globe in 2019 with some of our most expansive travel coverage since our founding more than 15 years ago. Here's a look back at favorite LGBT destinations:

Sinfully Delicious: 3 New Las Vegas Restaurants
We kicked off the year with a bite out of Sin City and some of its latest openings, including Smoked Burgers & BBQ, Best Friend (Roy Choi's out-of-this-world modern take on Korean) and Sadelle's — a Vegas outpost of the famous New York City spot famous for smoked fish, bagels and other brunch delicacies.

6 Beautifully Bookish Hotels
"Slow travel" was a huge theme in 2019, and that meant putting the cell phone away and settling into a cozy chair with a good book... with actual pages. We discovered six of our favorites to celebrate World Book Day, including The Jefferson (Washington, D.C.), Oil Nut Bay (British Virgin Islands), Conrad Cartagena (Colombia), Crowne Plaza HY36 (New York City), The Grayhaven Motel (Central New York), and Volcano House (the Island of Hawaii).

Pittsburgh's Food Scene Turns the Rust Belt City Shiny Again
The birthplace of Andy Warhol and Gertrude Stein has seen a major boost since it's post-Industrial slump, thanks in large part to a blossoming culinary scene. Notable spots include Eleven Contemporary Kitchen, downtown's sleek Union Standard, Acorn, and restaurant incubator Federal Galley.

Kauai by Land, Air and Sea
The lushest of all the islands, Kauai offers a bounty of ways to experience its grandeur. A tubing adventure uses canals originally built for the island's sugar cane industry, while Holo Holo Charters will take you to the Napali Coast for views of the dramatic topography.

5 Essentials for a Weekend in Lenox
We've long been a fan of the Berkshires, and this time around focused on the charming enclave of Lenox. The Kemble Inn is an absolute must for Gilded Age flair with a modern sensibility. Nearby, discover Nudel Restaurant, Tanglewood Music Center for concerts all summer long, and Edith Wharton's home, The Mount.

Rebels with a Cause: A Weekend in Providence, Rhode Island
With plenty of ups and downs since its founding in 1636, the city has remained resilient, and most recently, seen a resurgence of small businesses and a flourishing LGBTQ scene. Don't miss the Korean fried chicken at Den-Den or the sumptuous tasting menu at Birch. Check out the historic architecture at the Arcade (built in 1828) and spend the night at The Dean, a boutique hotel with custom-designed furniture. Plan your visit to coincide with WaterFire, the city's annual immersive river bonfire installation.

Curtain Up: Where to Stay for Your Chicago Theater Getaway
The Windy City declared 2019 as The Year of Chicago Theater — and what a year it was! Two hotels in the heart of the Loop are within walking distance of many of the venues. The grand Kimpton Hotel Allegro dates back to 1926, while the Kimpton Gray Hotel (named after the Georgia gray marble featured throughout) was originally built in 1894 as the New York Life Insurance Building. The larger theaters house touring shows, but be sure to check out what's playing at the Tony Award-winning Goodman Theatre, one of the most acclaimed regional theaters in the country.

JW Marriott Austin: Bigger IS Better
The largest JW Marriott in the country boasts more than 1,000 rooms and is the ideal spot to settle in for a getaway to one of Texas's most LGBTQ-friendly cities. Be sure to check out the latest musical acts at the legendary Continental Club, or hop on a bike tour to explore local attractions such as the Texas State Capital and the Mexic-Arte Museum.

Oahu: 72 Hours in the Heart of Hawaii
Experience an authentic luau at the Waikiki Aquarium, plan on a day to pay your respects and understand the impact of the attack on Pearl Harbor, and spend your nights at the exquisite David Rockwell-designed 'Alohilani Resort. Your must-eat meal should be at The Pig and the Lady.

Guadalajara: How Losing Out on the Gay Games Catapulted Jalisco's Capitol Into the LGBTQ Spotlight
When in 2015, the governments of the Mexican state of Jalisco and its capital Guadalajara began a bid to host the Gay Games in 2022, they unwittingly set the city on a path to LGBTQ-awakening. Spoiler alert: Gay Games ultimately chose Hong Kong for 2022 though Guadalajara was one of three finalists. But for Guadalajara, the victory was in playing the game. City highlights include Guadalajara Pride, Ballet Folclorico Diversidad Jalisciense, an all LGBTQ+ troupe that has been recreating traditional dances with an inclusive message, and a late-night snack at Tacos Gay.

West Michigan Rising: A Grander Grand Rapids and Saugatuck Untucked
Move over, Provincetown and Fire Island. Summer weekenders in the Midwest have long declared Saugatuck an LGBTQ haven and with good reason. Nearby Grand Rapids is also seeing a resurgence, where we discovered Meijer Gardens and Brewery Vivant. Saugatuck's Dunes Resort is a blast, with a friendly crowd and a legendary annual Halloween Bash.

Park MGM: A Feast for the Senses
A $600 million renovation revealed one of the Las Vegas Strip's most splendid new properties, featuring an outpost of Bavette's Steakhouse & Bar, Eataly, a brand new multi-room night club On the Record, and none other than Lady Gaga in residence at The Park Theater, located within the property.

Discovering Art and Culture in Cape Town
While many head to South Africa for the safari experience, be sure to spend time in Cape Town to discover its art and architecture. Highlights include the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa, First Thursdays (where you can walk among the galleries throughout the evening) and the Grand Daddy hotel.

Hawaiian Airlines Celebrates 'Ha'aheo' Through Inclusivity and Innovation
We visited several islands in Hawaii, but getting there was half the fun, especially flying on Hawaiian Airlines, which has been trailblazing for more than 50 years. Supporters of Honolulu Pride and the Honolulu Rainbow Film Festival, the airline helps ensure that all are welcome to our 50th state.

Killer Queens: Seattle's Drag Queens are Slaying It
Move over, RuPaul. Seattle's drag scene revealed some of the most innovative performers in the country. We spent a night with Sylvia O'Stayformore to check out some of the city's best, including stops at The Palace Theatre & Art Bar, Kremwork + The Timbre Room Complex and Studio Current.

Bauhaus Style: Celebrating 100 Years Throughout Germany
From architecture to fashion, the Bauhaus Movement was one of the most influential design aesthetics of the 20th century. Examples can be found in Weimar, Dessau and Berlin, including the Bauhaus Museum Weimer, which opened in April.

4 Hotels with Museum-Worthy Art Collections
Hoteliers have merged design and art in stunning properties that celebrate the creative mind. We discovered four notable properties, including Shinola Hotel (Detroit), Fitler Club (Philadelphia), Ocean House (Rhode Island), and Hamilton Princess (Bermuda).

Edmonton Essentials
We headed north of the border to discover Canada's best-kept secret. Highlights include its annual Fringe Festival, along with the Citadel Theatre, which has become an incubator for Broadway-bound shows such as "Hadestown" and the forthcoming "Six." Check out craft cocktails at Clementine and the newly opened JW Marriott ICE District.

The LGBTQ Cruise Industry: What You Need to Know
Looking ahead to 2020, our last feature of the year partnered with our newly launched investigative division, EDGE-i, to take a deep dive into how the cruise industry is evolving for LGBTQ passengers. Intimate conversations with VACAYA, Brand g Vacation, R Family Vacations and industry experts revealed that transparency and authenticity are key factors for LGBTQ travelers.

Contributions by Dan Allen, Kelsy Chauvin, Jill Gleeson, Ivan Quintanilla and Matthew Wexler.

Matthew Wexler is EDGE's National Senior Editor of Travel, Lifestyle, Health & Branded Content. More of his writing can be found at www.wexlerwrites.com. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @wexlerwrites.

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