Southern beau shows us how to have a good time below the Bible Belt

The South is not always shown in the best light, especially when it comes to its acceptance of the LGBTQ community. As a true southern boy, trust me when I tell you this – there are tons of gays below the Bible Belt, too! You just need to know where to look.

These southern states might not have as large an LGBTQ population as gay hubs like San Francisco or New York. But, as we’ve all heard before, it’s not that size that counts. These cities more than make up for it with gorgeous weather, delicious eats, affordability, and classic Southern hospitality.

On your next trip down south, consider adding these LGBTQ-friendly cities to your itinerary:

Atlanta, GA

Atlanta, or “New York of the South” as it is often called due to its ever-growing population and entertainment industry, is home to a thriving gay community. There is no doubt that “Hotlanta” is the epicenter of the southern gay universe. The entire city is a haven for the LGBTQ community, but Midtown is considered to be the center of gay life in Atlanta. It’s home to Blake’s On The Park and Atlanta Pride.

Atlanta

Blake’s On The Park

Midtown’s favorite

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Oct 7-9, 2022

Atlanta Pride

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Dallas, TX

Dallas has one of the largest LGBTQ populations in the United States, the sixth-largest to be exact. Gayborhood is primarily focused on the Oak Lawn neighborhood with bars, restaurants, and stores. The country’s most conservative state has a vibrant and thriving gay community (and is worth the hype). 

Dallas

The Mining Company

A gay institution

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Dallas

JR’s Bar and Grill

Extremely popular spot in the center of it all

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Dallas

Station 4

Dance club and drag lounge

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Miami, FL 

It will probably come as a shock to no one that an inclusive gay scene flourishes in Miami. With its flavorful nightlife, and popular bars like Twist, Miami has long been a hotspot for the LGBTQ community.

We’re marking our calendars for Dreamland Festival for NYE 2023. For those not much into the party scene, the city boasts two “semi-official” gay beaches: 12th Street Beach, with its rainbow flags, and Haulover Beach, with a designated “clothing-optional” area.

Miami Beach

Twist

‘Never a Cover, Always a Groove’

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Dec 29, 2022-Jan 2, 2023

Dreamland Festival

Miami

Haulover Beach

Go au natural at a spectacular beach

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Miami

12th Street Beach

Follow the rainbow flags to this oh so popular gay beach

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Memphis, TN

Memphis just might be the most progressive city for the LGBTQ community in Tennessee. There’s something special about this small, booming city in the heart of the South. In addition to experiencing the sights and sounds of bluesy Beale Street, there are plenty of gay nightlife options scattered across the city for travelers and locals alike. Though, everyone usually ends up at DRUS or Pumping Station for a nightcap.

Memphis

DRUS Place

Never a dull moment

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Memphis

Pumping Station

Leather club since 2001

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RELATED: This adorable gay couple tells us how to enjoy Memphis like a local

Birmingham, AL

Birmingham Museum of Art

Ok, hear me out on this one… The Magic City is my home! As a gay black man, I have seen nothing short of a reinvention in Birmingham. Alabama’s largest city is committed to promoting the good in the South – because, despite all the bad, there’s a lot more good. Positive energy and potential are palpable in the air.

As a noticeable sign of this transformation, Birmingham’s current mayor Randall Woodfin appointed the city’s first full-time LGBTQ Affairs Liaison and advisory board in June 2018. Birmingham is a gem not only for the LGBTQ community but for everyone. 

You won’t find any fast food chains in the heart of the city. Instead, you’ll have a wide variety of James Beard Award-winning restaurants to choose from.

Houston, TX

The hometown of Beyonce Giselle Knowles-Carter. Enough Said! Her latest album ‘Renaissance’ pays tribute to the Black queer roots of house and disco music and to her Uncle Jonny, her godfather, a proud gay man.

As the fourth-largest city in the country, Houston is a progessive city filled with art, shopping and sexy nightlife. So it is only fitting to say that Houston has a diverse LGBTQ crowd. There is something for everyone afterdark, from leather bars and neighborhood pubs to video lounges and dance clubs.

Oh, let’s not forget about the food!!! While chili is the official state dish… Houston is famous for its barbeque joints. Recommendation for the vibe and good time: Present Company Houston. 

Houston

RIPCORD

Leather bar with dark corners and a kink shop

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Houston

Present Company

Tropical-themed patio bar

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Nashville, TN

Nashville, the capital of Tennessee is also known as Music City and the “home of country music”  because it has plenty of bootstrapping fun and southern culture to offer to the traveling cowboys and bachelorette parties!

The National Museum of African American Music, the Country Music Hall of Fame, and Broadway strip (a one-of-a-experienced bar that offers live music every day of the weekend partying into the early morning hours) fuel this vibrant hotspot in the center of the South.

Also worth noting, its inclusive neighborhood “The District” is where you’ll find most of the gay action. Bars like Play and Tribe are all within walking distance from one another.  

Nashville

Tribe

Nashville’s original video bar

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Nashville

Play Dance Bar

Everyone’s friendly, everyone’s welcome

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New Orleans, LA  

Laissez les bons temps rouler. This Cajun French phrase is thrown around bars and clubs across Lousiana. In English, it means, “let the good times roll,” and trust me – New Orleans lives up to this motto as a true leader in embracing and allowing you to be who you are.

New Orleans’ Creole cuisine, historic architecture, and local color will leave you absolutely charmed. Highlighted LGBTQ-friendly event: Southern Decadence, one of the largest annual celebrations and festivals in NOLA, has become known as the Gay Mardi Gras. 

New Orleans

Le Pavillon Hotel

Heart and history

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Aug 30-Sep 5, 2022

Southern Decadence

Laissez les bon temps rouler!

RELATED: 5 LGBTQ travel destinations to visit in conservative states

Did you miss your favorite gay travel destination on our list? Let us know in the comments!