winner's circle

Best of GayCities 2023 Winners Announced

Best of GayCities 2023

Last month, GayCities readers helped us celebrate the best of gay travel and submitted over one hundred thousand votes for Best of GayCities 2023. We asked and you answered. Here are the winners…

Dream Destination

Mykonos, Greece

Mykonos, Greece

This incredible, LGBTQ-friendly destination gave our readers some serious wanderlust.

For many gays the world over, Mykonos is THE destination in Greece. Just over 40 square miles, this sun-baked island is some 95 miles southeast of Athens, but a world away in terms of atmosphere. Relaxed, stylish, moneyed, and always fun-loving – Mykonos is a timeless playground. Not entirely gay, but the boys keep flocking in force.

Mykonos got its start as an international getaway in the 1960s and ’70s, when (probably with the help of Jackie Kennedy Onassis, who came here with Greek second-hubby Aristotle) the famous and super-wealthy (like Grace Kelly and Gregory Peck) discovered its charms and began spending their summers here. Where celebs go, the gays are sure to follow, and by 1973 Mykonos had its very first gay bar. By the ‘80s and ‘90s, Mykonos had become a full-fledged gay hotpot.

Runner up: Amsterdam, Netherlands

See all winners for Best of GayCities 2023 Dream Destination


Fun in the Sun

Herring Cove, Provincetown

Herring Cove Beach

Gorgeous and popular queer beach Province Lands Rd · Provincetown, MA 02657


Part of the Cape Cod National Seashore, Herring Cove is Provincetown’s most popular beach. You’ll see gay men and lesbians everywhere, and a LOT of them, too.

This is an unofficial nude beach. While it is technically illegal to disrobe here, the National Park Service generally looks the other way. The dunes are infamous for cruising and connecting, so don’t wander off the beaten path—unless you want to!

Runner up: Black’s Beach, San Diego

See all winners for Best of GayCities 2023 Fun in the Sun


Queer Enclave

Palm Springs, California

Palm Springs, California

There’s something for everyone in this desert oasis. Located about two hours from Los Angeles and San Diego, Greater Palm Springs has long been a popular getaway for Southern Californians. But its desert hiking, golfing, and laid-back atmosphere attracts visitors from all over the world.

There is a very large gay population here and some even jokingly refer to it as a “gay retirement village.” And it is a wonderful place to grow gay and gray. But in truth, you’ll see every age and type under the sun here. There are plenty of cool gay bars – and many of the modernist hotels have great bars with mixed crowds – but visitors tend to be more focused on the daytime sun and fun.

There are many terrific gay resorts here and whether you are looking for a clothing-optional place to sunbathe poolside or something a little more family-friendly, there’s little that can’t be had in Palm Springs.

Runner up: Provincetown, MA

See all winners for Best of GayCities 2023 Queer Enclave


Legendary Bar

Moby Dick, San Francisco

Trends come and go, but Moby Dick is here to stay, henny.


Runner up: Roscoe’s Tavern, Chicago

See all winners for Best of GayCities 2023 Legendary Bar


Party Haus Photo of the Year

San Francisco Pride, by Gooch Photography

San Francisco Pride, by Gooch Photography

This has to be the MOST San Francisco photo in the world. Congratulations to Gooch, a local San Francisco photographer, for capturing the winning picture.

Runner up: Mexico City Pride, by Bil Browning

See all winners for Best of GayCities 2023 Party Haus Photo of the Year


Travel-worthy Festival

Folsom Street Fair, San Francisco

Folsom Street Fair
photo by Gooch Photography

On the last Sunday in September, kinksters take over a corner of San Francisco’s SoMa District and create a world where exhibitionists and voyeurs reach perfect harmony. This iconic kinky carnival celebrated its 40th birthday this year. So, it’s safe to say, Folsom Street Fair is the Daddy of all kink festivals.

At this street fair, the largest in the world of its kind, you can peruse one of the many fetish vendor booths or watch a scene unfold on the street. Who knows? Maybe you’ll walk away with a new k*nk.

Runner up: Market Days, Chicago

See all winners for Best of GayCities 2023 Travel-worthy Festival


Dynamic Duo

Stefan & Sebastian (@nomadicboys)

The Nomadic Boys are no strangers to the Best of GayCities. For the third year in a row, this dynamic duo takes the top spot.

Runner up: Michael & Matt (@michaelandmatt)

See all winners for Best of GayCities 2023 Dynamic Duo


Stay Gay

Santiago Resort, Palm Springs

Santiago Resort is a private escape for gay men resting at the foot of the San Jacinto Mountains in Palm Springs.


Runner up: Parker Guest House, San Francisco

See all winners for Best of GayCities 2023 Stay Gay


Drag Brunch

Lucky Cheng’s, New York City

photo courtesy of Lucky Cheng's
photo courtesy of Lucky Cheng’s

Lucky Cheng’s is the oldest drag cabaret in New York City. Since 1993, this iconic cabaret has made a name for itself by hosting wild performances with drag queen waitresses, delicious food, and signature cocktails. It’s a great place to celebrate anything and everything!

Runner up: Mangoes, Key West

See all winners for Best of GayCities 2023 Drag Brunch


Clubbing King

Heaven, London

Heaven is home to the popular party known as G-A-Y Late. Started in 1976, the dance-and-cruise club spent most of its iconic years in Charing Cross Rd, in various sections of the London Astoria (a former cinema). Until the late 1980s, the club night went by the name of Bang!, but was changed to G-A-Y in the early 1990s when taken over by Bang! DJ Jeremy Joseph. In 2008, anticipating Astoria’s much-protested demolition, Joseph took G-A-Y to subterranean homo haven Heaven for a thriving afterlife.

Unfortunately, in a statement posted on social media, event organizers announced that G-A-Y will close on December 10, 2023. London lovelies, let’s make sure G-A-Y goes out with a bang!

Runner up: Piranha, Las Vegas

See all winners for Best of GayCities 2023 Clubbing King


Sapphic Space

Jolene’s, San Francisco

photo courtesy of Jolene's and Christina Hensley Productions
photo courtesy of Jolene’s and Christina Hensley Productions

When Jolene’s took over Dear Mom a few years back, it became an instant queer classic. This laid-back bar offers themed nights, billiards, dancing, Sunday brunch, and delicious pub eats in a relaxed, spacious setting.

Runner up: Henrietta Hudson, New York City

See all winners for Best of GayCities 2023 Sapphic Space


Viral Travel Story

Timothy Cappelli (@tcappelli)

This Pittsburgh-based content creator’s reels gave us major homo FOMO.

Runner up: Calum McSwiggan (@calummcswiggan)

See all winners for Best of GayCities 2023 Viral Travel Story


Wander Luxe

Four Seasons Maui at Wailea, Hawaii

photo: Quentin Bacon / Four Seasons
photo: Quentin Bacon / Four Seasons

On Wailea Beach, one of Maui’s most breathtaking stretches of sand, the Four Seasons Maui at Wailea stands as a beacon of opulence and natural beauty. This world-famous luxury resort, featured in season one of The White Lotus, is a paradise within paradise where visitors will discover the essence of Hawaiian beauty and hospitality.

The Maile Presidential Suite, named after the fragrant Maile plant native to the Hawaiian islands, is the most desirable lodging on the property. The suite exudes sophistication, featuring contemporary furnishings, a spacious primary bedroom with a soaking tub and rainforest shower, floor-to-ceiling windows, and multiple private lanais with sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean.

Its outdoor living space is nothing short of spectacular. The suite’s expansive terrace has a private plunge pool, loungers, and a dining area. It’s a great place to work on your tan or enjoy a meal al fresco and offers a front-row seat to Maui’s famous sunsets.

If that wasn’t convincing enough, the Maile Suite comes with dedicated 24/7 butler service, catering to your every need throughout your stay. 

Runner up: The Retreat at Blue Lagoon, Iceland

See all winners for Best of GayCities 2023 Wander Luxe


Out on the Road

Desert Glam – Palm Springs to Joshua Tree

Runner up: Pacific Break – San Francisco to Big Sur

See all winners for Best of GayCities 2023 Out on the Road


New Kid on the Block

Buddies, Denver


Opened in 2023 by two real-life buddies, this gay bar is quickly becoming Denver’s darling. A short walk from downtown, this laid-back neighborhood pub is a great place to start or end your night. 

Folks love its weekend brunch and happy hour specials. On warmer nights, the outdoor patio hits the spot.

Runner up: Nathan’s Beach Club, Miami Beach

See all winners for Best of GayCities 2023 New Kid on the Block


Photos That Make Us Proud

Very first Pride for mother & son

Very first Pride for mother & son

Runner up: Parading in protest

See all winners for Best of GayCities 2023 Photos That Make Us Proud


Gayest City

San Francisco, California

Marchers at San Francisco Pride in 2019 (Photo: San Francisco Travel Association)
Marchers at San Francisco Pride in 2019 (Photo: San Francisco Travel Association)

We asked and you answered. The ultimate question. Which city is THE gayest of them all? Among all the awesome LGBTQ+ travel destinations nominated for Best of GayCities this year, San Francisco took the top spot.

San Francisco is a port of call for the alternative, the adventurous, the creative, and the aspirational. The “City by the Bay” is known as the gay capital of the US, where over 860K locals welcome nearly 17 million visitors every year.

Culture is San Francisco’s trademark, from the people to the politics straight down to the rainbow street art. There are over 60 gay bars and clubs that cover a variety of interests, with nearly every city establishment welcoming anybody with open arms.

Runner up: New York City

See all winners for Best of GayCities 2023 Gayest City

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