Everyone has an idea of the perfect vacation. Will it be active outdoor play or pampering spa treatments during the days, and high-energy entertainment or romantic poolside dining the nights? Consider Las Vegas. It has something to appeal to every vacation style.
The best part about Las Vegas: The whole town is LGBT friendly. Vegas has a long history of acceptance. Affectionately nicknamed Sin City, Las Vegas is known for its discreet encouragement of whatever pleasures make its guests happy. You don’t have to confine yourself to a certain bar or part of town. Anything goes, everywhere. It is a near perfect blending of gay and straight.
Las Vegas is surrounded by natural beauty. A helicopter ride over Hoover Dam and down into the Grand Canyon is unforgettable. Hiking, kayaking, biking and manmade beach swimming can fill your days with outdoor activity.
Once you have worked up an appetite, the sky is the limit when it comes to dining. Every famous chef in the world has a signature restaurant that is both a feast for the eyes as well as the stomach.
Planet Hollywood is the home of The Strip’s gay nightclub, Krave (www.kravelasvegas.com). It opens at 11 p.m. Expect a $20 cover and a doorman screening clubbers. It features hot shows and dancing. On Saturdays Krave becomes The Strip’s only lesbian club, Candybar. They say it is “for girls who like to party.”
Where to stay
A vacation in Vegas should include touring the unique hotels. Most are replicas of famous landmarks like the Eiffel Tower, waterways of Venice, the Statue of Liberty and the roads of old Rome. Choosing where to stay is a matter of personal taste and how much you want to spend. Consider these choices:
• Luxor Hotel & Casino (www.luxor.com): The Egyptian-themed, pyramid-shaped hotel gives their staff diversity training and hosts a weekly LGBT pool party, Sunkissed Sunday. Their wedding chapel has several Commitment Ceremony packages. Ask for the Pride Offer if you arrive Sunday through Thursday. The Luxor averages $75 a night and is on The Strip.
• Encore & Wynn (www.encorelasvegas.com): Upscale yet inviting, these sister hotels offer a Pride Concierge (702-770-LGBT) to suggest bars, entertainment and nightlife. Their website has an extensive LGBT travel section. They are on the $275 a night and on The Strip.
• Blue Moon Resort (www.bluemoonlv.com): The only hotel exclusively for gay men, Blue Moon Resort has all the amenities you would expect, from luxury suites to spa treatments and entertainment. Twitter specials daily; rooms average $70 night. The Blue Moon is close to the strip.
• May 15- June 26: Do you believe in life after love? Cher still does, and so do her legions of adoring gay fans. The icon performs at Caesars Palace, with a visually unbelievable hit parade of dancers and costumes designed by Bob Mackie. www.caesarspalace.com.
• May 28-31: For Memorial Day Weekend, lesbian travel company Sweet takes over the Golden Nugget Hotel Downtown. Hundreds of women will enjoy special entertainment, kayaking, biking and parties. With an eye to community service, the weekend also includes volunteering at The Shade Tree, a shelter for abused women and their kids. www.discoversweet.com.
• June 13 – 24: The annual “Ribbon of Life” stage spectacular is the largest HIV/AIDS fundraiser in Nevada, and features hundreds of performers from all the Vegas shows. The event at the Hilton Hotel benefits Golden Rainbow, an HIV service organization. www.goldenrainbow.org.
• Aug. 28: If you missed the Atlanta HRC Dinner or just want to experience the Human Rights Campaign’s signature event in another city, check out Las Vegas’ 4th Annual HRC Gala Dinner, dubbed “No Excuses.” The dinner will be held at the Paris Hotel. Packages available, and you can visit the LGBT page on hotel’s website. www.parislasvegas.com, www.lasvegas.hrc.org.
Top photo: An icon to many gay fans, Cher performs this summer at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas (Publicity photo)