Gay Vacations in Atlanta, Georgia

Aerial view of downtown Atlanta, Georgia
Atlanta, Georgia (Andrew Gunners/Digital Vision/Getty)

Atlanta Highlights

  • Go in spring or fall. These are the two best seasons for gay travel—especially in April for the Dogwood Festival, which celebrates the city’s blooming dogwood trees with food, art, and music in Piedmont Park.
  • Take a train from the airport. Instead of a $25 taxi ride to downtown, take the local subway, called MARTA, which only costs $1.75. Almost all the major downtown hotels are close to MARTA rail stations, and it only takes 20 minutes to get there via MARTA from the airport.
  • Get a breath of fresh air in Piedmont Park. Atlanta's favorite public park is fun and funky and a terrific place to watch the world go by. Take your in-line skates or pack a lunch and find a shady spot for a picnic.

Maybe it’s Scarlett O'Hara, maybe it's the fact that the South has few bona fide gay-welcoming cities, but Atlanta acts as the regional hub where all Southern queers seem to end up living and working, making it an ideal gay travel destination. It’s vibrant, cosmopolitan, and surprisingly international (about half of the residents are not from the South). And the gay and lesbian scene is the biggest in the region, despite a recent law that ended 24-hour bars and clubs.

The city's downtown has undergone a remarkable regeneration, and Midtown just north of downtown is gay party central. The city has no lack of gayborhoods: Inman Park and the adjoining Little Five Points district (filled with old Victorian homes) are Atlanta's mainstay bohemian and queer-popular areas. Decatur and the Candler Park neighborhoods are filled with lesbians, and the refurbished Castleberry Hill neighborhood was once an area of abandoned factories but is now a thriving artsy district popular with queers. The first neighborhood gays gentrified, Virginia-Highland, also remains popular with gays.

Atlanta has a lot of fun sites to take in. The impressive Georgia Aquarium is the world's largest, boasting more than 100,000 animals. News junkies can tour the CNN Center, headquarters of the Turner broadcasting empire, and you can learn more than you ever wanted to about Coke at the World of Coca-Cola through artifacts, theatrics, pop art, and drink samples. The expanded High Museum of Art is the leading museum of its kind in the Southeast, with Native American, African, Asian, and European art. And the revitalized black neighborhood of Sweet Auburn is a National Historic District, filled with famous sites linked to Martin Luther King, Jr., including his boyhood home, his crypt, the church where he preached, a museum, and the King Center. June has a big pride event in Piedmont Park, and a huge Out on Film festival is held in November.

Published: 16 Jul 2008 | Last Updated: 6 Aug 2012
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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