Gay Guide • CALIFORNIA | Itineraries, Tips and What to See | Practical Complete LGBT Friendly
GAY FRIENDLY CALIFORNIA
Travel solutions with itineraries to discover all the wonders of this destination, places not to be missed, tips about where to sleep and what to eat, and above all many small special tips to enjoy your journey !
Welcome to warm and welcoming California, a land that is alive, fun and above all sunny.
From the hectic beaches of Malibu, to the mythical Venice Beach, passing through the famous Hollywood and venturing into the metropolis of Los Angeles, finally arriving in the spectacular San Francisco with its immense Golden Gate Bridge.
Get ready to visit the wonderful national parks of Yosemite and Sequoia and to arrive in the warm and suggestive Death Valley.
An On The Road journey that will be impossible to forget!
GAY FRIENDLY CALIFORNIA
One of the most liberal states in the United States and the state that has most marked the history of the LGBT community and movement around the world. California was also the first state in the United States to legalize same-sex civil unions and today it fights at the forefront to celebrate Queer pride through its famous Los Angeles Pride and West Hollywood, San Francisco. and San Diego. A state that knows how to have fun, especially in the Palm Springs area, today one of the world's leading destinations for LGBTQ + tourism. Also not to be missed is Laguna Beach in Orange County, thanks to its long artistic tradition and the now established presence of an LGBT community.
You can find out more by clicking on the official LGBT California website - Click Here
Visiting this destination at its best depends essentially on how long you have to fully enjoy it. Here is a solution based on the number of days available to you:
Day 1 - San Francisco - Google Maps
Day 2 - San Francisco (Alcatraz & Golden Gate Bridge) - Google Maps
Day 3 - San Francisco - Napa Valley - Google Maps
Day 4 - Napa Valley - Yosemite National Park - Google Maps
Day 5 - Yosemite National Park - Monterey - Google Maps
Day 6 - Monterey - Santa Barbara - Google Maps
Day 7 - Venice Beach - Santa Monica - Malibù - Google Maps
Day 8 - Los Angeles & Hollywood - Google Maps
Day 9 - Los Angeles / Universal Studios e/o Warner Bros Studios
Day 10 - Los Angeles
(By opening the Maps with Google, you can easily follow our itinerary)
Click'n'Go - Click on the places to find them on the Map
WHAT TO SEE in CALIFORNIA?
10 THINGS TO SEE in CALIFORNIA
San Francisco is a fun and exciting city in Northern California at the tip of the San Francisco Bay Area peninsula. Without a doubt, the Golden Gate Bridge is the number one attraction in the city. You can drive, cycle or walk this famous bridge to admire and photograph breathtaking views. Also, in San Francisco you can't miss Lombard Street, famous for its hairpin bends, and a tour of San Francisco's Chinatown, which is the largest outside of Asia. And then, of course, there are two other popular tourist attractions: Fisherman's Wharf, the northern waterfront neighborhood of San Francisco, and Alcatraz, the prison on the island of the same name.
Los Angeles, the second largest city in the United States, is located in Southern California. Known as the City of Angels, it is home to the American television and film industry. Do not miss Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles, the TCL Chinese Theater with the hand and footprints of numerous stars and the "Walk of Fame" catwalk. There are also many beaches in Los Angeles, including the famous Venice Beach, Malibu and the Santa Monica Pier. In Los Angeles you can find some of the most famous amusement parks on the planet, including Disneyland and Universal Studios Hollywood.
Yosemite National Park
Located in the Sierra Nevada mountains of eastern central California, Yosemite National Park is famous for its towering granite cliffs, giant redwoods, beautiful waterfalls, and wildlife. You can hike countless miles of trails or drive along scenic routes. Not to be missed: Glacier Point, one of the most beautiful viewpoints in Yosemite Park, Tunnel View, one of the most famous viewpoints in Yosemite National Park from where you can see three of the beauties of the park: El Capitan, Half Dome and Bridalveil Fall. Also, don't miss the park's waterfalls: Bridal Veil Falls, Lower Falls and Upper Falls.
Sequoia National Park & Kings Canyon
These two national parks are located next to each other in the southern Sierra Nevada mountains, and both are famous for their giant sequoias. These trees can grow to over 90 meters in height and their trunks can be up to 30 meters wide. Not to be missed in Sequoia National Park is the Giant Forest, the wood in which the famous General Sherman Tree (the largest tree in the world) is located. Also, don't miss Tunnel Log (you can drive under a sequoia) and Moro Rock for one of the most beautiful views of the Sierra Nevada. Kings Canyon, on the other hand, boasts the deepest canyon in America.
With fabulous beaches and ideal weather, it's no wonder San Diego is one of the most popular places to visit in California. Just north of the Mexican border, San Diego's most popular attraction is America's premier zoo in Balboa Park, complete with flower gardens and Spanish architecture. The city is home to other family attractions such as SeaWorld San Diego and Birch Aquarium. Don't miss the stunning San Diego coastline with miles of beaches, including the upscale La Jolla beachfront neighborhood.
This charming island is located about 35km off the coast of Los Angeles in the Pacific Ocean. Santa Catalina is a small island with two main population centers, Two Harbors and Avalon, where most of the visitors stay. The island also has a small population of American bison brought here while filming a movie. You can reach the island by private boats, ferries, helicopters or small planes. Once on the island, transportation is limited to bicycles, taxis, and golf carts.
Napa Valley is the premier destination for wine lovers in the United States. Its wines are considered among the best in the world. The area boasts a variety of accommodations, including charming bed and breakfasts, charming boutique hotels and popular hotel chains (and even a few camping sites). In addition, Napa Valley boasts many spas to relax, be pampered and indulge in activities such as balloon rides and guided wine bike tours.
Lake Tahoe is the second deepest lake in the United States. It stretches between California and Nevada and is a perfect year-round destination. South Lake Tahoe is the most popular part of the lake, with the city of Stateline, Nevada. The lake became a winter sports destination after the 1960s Winter Olympics took place in Squaw Valley on the north shore. Perfect destination also for the summer with excursions in the mountains and boat trips on the lake.
Big Sur is a region on the central coast of California located between Carmel Highlands and San Simeon. Here is one of the most famous scenic roads in the United States in the world. The most famous piece of road in all of Big Sur is certainly that of Bixby Creek Bridge, a bridge built in 1932, 85 meters high, for beautiful panoramic views. The Big Sur area also offers many hiking opportunities (more than 80 trails).
Located in the Mojave Desert, Death Valley is the driest and lowest place in North America. From snow-capped mountains to colorful sand dunes, Death Valley's unique desert landscapes are like nowhere else in California. Places of interest include the panoramic view of Zabriskie Point and historic sites such as Scotty's Castle, Wildrose Coal Kilns and the ghost town ruins.
WHAT TO DO in CALIFORNIA
Take a Tour along the Big Sur
Did you know that California is home to one of the most beautiful scenic drives in the United States? If you like On the Road, remember this name: Big Sur. Breathtaking views overlooking the Pacific, just follow Highway 1. The best part is from Morro Bay to Monterrey.
See Salvation Mountain
Not far from San Diego (in American distances, of course) is Salvation Mountain, one of the most curious places in California, which became famous thanks to the film “Walking Routes”. In the middle of nowhere stands this small artificial mountain completely covered with colors and messages by the owner, Leonard Knight.
Eat a Hamburger from In-N-Out Burger
In-n-Out, a fast food chain that has become a symbol of this state. You don't really know California if you haven't eaten a burger at In-n-Out.
See the End of Route 66
Did you know that the Mother Road, Route 66, ends in Santa Monica? After 8 states of America and more than 4,000 kilometers, the last stretch of this legendary road leaves Arizona to cross into California. In Santa Monica Bay you will find the "End of the Trail" sign.
Have fun at Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park
If visiting a Disneyland Park is one of your dreams, you can do it big in California. In California there is the first park inaugurated by Walt Disney himself, in 1955. Today it houses two parks: Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park. It is one of the best excursions from Los Angeles.
Surfing in Malibu or Venice Beach
California is synonymous with waves and surfers. It doesn't matter if you are a professional or a complete beginner, there are beaches for all tastes and schools where you can learn this fascinating sport. Also, saying you surfed in Malibu or Venice Beach sounds great, doesn't it?
Venture along the Pacific Trail Coast
Over 4000km of hiking trail through California, Oregon and Washington state. It is one of the most beautiful trails in the world, through different landscapes such as beaches, 25 national forests, 7 national parks, cliffs and even deserts!
Take a trip to Silicon Valley
The San Francisco Bay Area is home to Silicon Valley which is home to international technology companies such as Facebook, Google and Apple. Silicon Valley takes its name from the presence of the silicon with which the first microcircuits were produced here. Today all these companies and all this innovation are surrounded by metropolitan areas that have developed to accommodate an ever-increasing number of investors, researchers and tourists.
10 SMALL TOWNS TO SEE in CALIFORNIA
Carmel-by-the-Sea is one of the most beautiful cities in California. A quaint town featuring European-style cottages and a gorgeous white sand beach. Its beauty and charm have made it a popular destination for romantic getaways and artists. In the vicinity of Carmel-by-the-Sea, don't miss 17 Mile Drive, famous around the world for its breathtaking views of the coast and the Pacific Ocean.
Located in Ventura County, an hour and a half drive from Los Angeles, this pretty, laid-back town has long been a popular weekend destination for Los Angeles residents. here you can go hiking, cycling and shopping.
St. Helena is located in the middle of the famous Napa Valley, making it a great base from which to explore the region's many wineries. And because fine wines are paired with good food, St. Helena has a myriad of fine restaurants.
Founded in 1849 about 100km northeast of Sacramento. Before long, Nevada City became one of the richest mining towns in California. Its streets were lined with arcades, hotels and, of course, saloons. Some of the old buildings still exist, including the 1865 Nevada Theater. Today, Nevada City's charming historic district still looks like a scene from the Wild West.
This quaint seaside town, nestled between Monterey and Pebble Beach, is famous for the thousands of butterflies that invade Pacific Grove between mid-October and mid-February for the mild winter weather. If you're planning a trip to Pacific Grove, don't miss the Monterey Bay Aquarium. It is located on the border of Pacific Grove and Monterey and is considered to be one of the best aquariums in the nation.
Located in the heart of the Sonoma County wine region, Healdsburg will seduce you with its understated atmosphere and small-town charm. Over 100 wineries and tasting rooms await you. If you are a lover of wine and cycling, we recommend you try the Sip Cycle route: 50 kilometers of route between beautiful landscapes and stops in enchanting wineries.
The atmosphere in Sausalito is a mix of trendy, beachy and artistic. In fact, Sausalito is home to the largest artists' cooperative in San Francisco Bay. Sausalito also boasts a beautiful beach and a considerably warmer climate than San Francisco, albeit a short distance from the metropolis. To get to Sausalito from San Francisco, you can either cross the Golden Gate Bridge or, for a more scenic option, take the ferry.
Julian is an ancient Californian gold rush town nestled in the Cuyamaca Mountains, just hours from San Diego. With its old historic buildings, this small town still retains the flavor of the Old West. In the fall, don't miss the cakes from the famous Julian Apple Pie Company.
Solvang was founded in 1911 by a group of Danes. So don't be surprised to see several windmills scattered around the city or the traditional Danish farmhouse-style facades on the city's buildings. Just like in Denmark, stock up on Danish sweets and shop for souvenirs like little wooden shoes or windmills.
Avalon, located on Santa Catalina Island, is only an hour by boat from Los Angeles and the atmosphere is much calmer and more relaxed. Only a limited number of cars are allowed on the island, so you can get around on foot, by bicycle, by bus or by hiring a golf cart. Some of Avalon's most popular activities include snorkeling, hiking, glass bottom boat rides, and shopping on the town's small main street.
BEST EVENTS of CALIFORNIA
Grammy in Los Angeles (Febbraio)
The Grammy Awards, one of the most prestigious musical awards (such as the Oscars for cinema), are held in Los Angeles at the Staples Center in February and is broadcast live on both coasts. Tickets to the Grammy Awards cost hundreds of dollars and are generally reserved for voting members, guests and artists. But that doesn't mean you can't attend pre and post show entertainment at local Los Angeles parties.
Academy Award in Los Angeles (March)
The Oscar honors the art of film and awards iconic awards to world-class movie stars. While it will be difficult for the public to get tickets to the Oscars, you can attend the Oscars party for a reasonable price. In addition, the city has a variety of restaurants, bars and nightclubs where you can attend the award ceremony.
Los Angeles Pride (June)
LGBT pride festivals are held in many cities across the United States, and Los Angeles is certainly no exception. The Pride Festival takes place every June in West Hollywood and is a beautiful parade full of costumes, art and colors. The Pride Parade was the first authorized gay parade in the world, in 1970. Concerts, parties and many other events animate and color Los Angeles during the days dedicated to Gay Pride.
Cherry Blossom Festival of Japantown in San Francisco (April)
In April, cherry blossom and Asian traditions are celebrated in one of the three remaining Japanese neighborhoods in the United States. The largest cherry blossom festival on the West Coast includes a Grand Parade, food stalls, cultural performances, martial arts, live bands and traditional Japanese activities.
Gay Pride San Francisco (June)
If you're in San Francisco in June, don't miss the Bay Area's largest parade. San Francisco comes to life in an explosion of color, excitement and celebration. The highlight of San Francisco Pride is the Pride Parade along Market Street. Check out the SF Pride Parade route on the main website.
Halloween Parade in West Hollywood - Los Angeles (October)
As October approaches, Los Angeles residents flock to West Hollywood for the famous Halloween carnival. This fantastic Halloween party, which is free to join, is suitable for all ages and is held on Santa Monica Boulevard between La Cienega and North Doheny, from 6:00 pm to 10:30 pm on Halloween night.
Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival (April)
The Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival, held in April at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California, has developed into something of a cultural and style phenomenon, taking place over two weekends featuring celebrities of the musical world. The event gathers nearly 300,000 every year. These days there are many events throughout the Greater Palm Springs area during both weekends of the Coachella Festival.
San Francisco Jazz Festival (June)
A world-renowned jazz concert series that brings some of the biggest names in the genre to the Bay Area. Sonny Rollins, Branford Marsalis and Gilberto Gil are just some of them. The shows take place at the SFJAZZ Center, the newest and most modern music venue in the city.
Los Angeles Film Festival (Giugno)
A cinematic event held every June in Westwood Village. During the Los Angeles Film Festival, independent films from the North American panorama are shown, world premieres and documentaries are presented.
Music in the Vineyards
Music in the Vineyards is a chamber music festival held every August in Napa Valley. Three weeks of festivals showcasing nearly 40 artists from the US, Europe and Canada performing a repertoire of chamber music in beautiful winemaking settings. With a free wine tasting at each interval and stunning views of Napa Valley, this unique blend of wine and music is an event not to be missed.
US Open of Surfing (August)
A surfing competition held every summer in Huntington Beach. The best surfers in the world brave some of the most beautiful waves in Southern California. For nine days, it's nothing but surfing, surfers and parties in Huntington Beach.
San Diego Beer Fest (June)
Every September dozens of local and international breweries present their best craft beers at this hugely popular beer tasting festival. The intersection of Columbia and B Street in downtown San Diego turns into a huge street party, featuring some of California's tastiest beers accompanied by music and food.
WHERE TO STAY in CALIFORNIA?
BEST LGBT FRIENDLY HOTELS & APARTMENTS in CALIFORNIA
San Francisco - San Francisco Proper Hotel **** (area: SoMa)
San Francisco - San Francisco Marriott Union Square **** (area: Union Square) ® Testato dai World Mappers
San Francisco - W San Francisco **** (area: SoMa)
San Francisco - Axiom Hotel **** (area: Union Square)
San Francisco - Hotel Zephyr **** (area: SoMa)
San Francisco - Hotel Zelos **** (area: SoMa)
San Francisco - Hotel Abri Union Square *** (area: Union Square)
San Francisco - Hampton Inn San Francisco *** (area: SoMa)
San Francisco - Beck's Motor Lodge *** (area: Castro)
San Francisco - Twin Peaks Hotel ** (area: Castro)
Los Angeles - The London West Hollywood ***** (area: West Hollywood)
Los Angeles - Sofitel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills **** (area: Beverly Hills)
Los Angeles - Andaz West Hollywood **** (area: West Hollywood)
Los Angeles - Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles **** (area: Downtown)
Los Angeles - InterContinental Los Angeles Century City **** (area: Downtown)
Los Angeles - Le Parc Suite Hotel **** (area: West Hollywood)
Los Angeles - Freehand Los Angeles **** (area: Downtown)
Los Angeles - Hollywood Le Bon Hotel *** (area: Hollywood) ® Testato dai World Mappers
Los Angeles - The Garland *** (area: Warner Bros Studios)
Los Angeles - The Tangerine Motel ** (area: Burbank / Warner Bros Studios)
WHERE TO EAT in CALIFORNIA?
BEST TYPICAL RESTAURANTS of CALIFORNIA Quality / Price
San Francisco - € - La Taqueria
San Francisco - €€ - Hog Island Oyster Co.
San Francisco - €€ - Swan Oyster Depot
San Francisco - €€ - Hollywood Cafe
San Francisco - €€ - Wipeout Bar & Grill
San Francisco - €€ - Pacific Catch
Los Angeles - € - Philippe The Original
Los Angeles (fuori città) - €€ - Brent’s Delicatessen & Restaurant
Los Angeles - €€ - Langer’s
Los Angeles - €€ - The Original Pantry
Los Angeles - €€ - Roscoe’s House of Chicken & Waffles
Los Angeles - €€ - The Griddle Cafe
Los Angeles / West Holliwood - €€ - Musso & Frank Grill
Los Angeles - €€ - The Factory Kitchen
Los Angeles - €€€ - Perch (Ristorante Francese)
Los Angeles - €€€ - Water Grill
Santa Monica - €€ - Johnny Rockets
San Diego - € - El Zarape Restaurant (Tacos)
San Diego - €€ - Pacific Beach Fish Shop
Santa Ynez Valley / Los Alamos - €€ - Bob’s Well Bread
Santa Ynez Valley / Los Alamos - €€ - Bell's
Santa Ynez Valley / Los Alamos - €€ - Full of Life Flatbread
Sacramento - €€ - Magpie Cage
Sacramento - €€€ - The Waterboy
WHAT TO EAT in CALIFORNIA?
BEST TYPICAL DISHES of CALIFORNIAN FOOD
In the 1960s, a new concept of cuisine was born in Los Angeles and in general throughout the California region. Californian cuisine was a fusion cuisine that combined the different culinary traditions of different cultures with the typical and seasonal products of California. If you have the opportunity to try Californian cuisine, you will see that it is a healthy diet that shuns manufactured products and which, moreover, stands out for its natural and fresh flavors.
One of the best things about California is the myriad of cultures and nationalities that collide and blend together on a daily basis and, thankfully, this is reflected in the food of this state. The ramen burrito is the perfect example of this. Imagine the ramen, eggs, beef and onions all wrapped in a tortilla.
A combination of Asian "noodles" and hamburger. Delicious meat between two noodle "sandwiches". Strange to see but very good to taste.
San Francisco is the birthplace of Sushirrito, a combination of sushi and burrito. Californians love Mexican and Asian cuisine, so this gigantic sushi roll is born where the tortilla gives way to nori seaweed.
In California you can find the best Mexican food outside of Mexico! Tacos are a staple of Mexican cuisine, and since we're right next to the Pacific Ocean, fish tacos are a must.
Mac and Cheese
The legendary macaroni and cheese, very famous in America. They are nothing more than macaroni topped with industrial quantities of cheeses (Cheddar, Gruyere and many others) and then baked.
Carne Asada Fries
Imagine nachos, but with chips, topped with salsa, guacamole, sour cream, and cheese. The dish was invented in San Diego, which makes it the perfect appetizer after sailing, sightseeing, or whatever else you do there.
The In-N-Out burger chain puts all other venues to shame. The burgers are just wonderful and the fries are cut and fried right there. Employees wear clothes straight out of a 1950s movie, and there's even a secret menu.
The typical Vietnamese Pho is very popular in California and the goodness is just like that of the original.
You can't think of California cuisine without thinking of Mexican food. There are lots of small family-run places and vans selling yummy big-sized burritos at great prices.
GAY NIGHTLIFE in CALIFORNIA
BEST GAY PLACES, BARS & CLUBS in CALIFORNIA
San Francisco - The Edge - Gay Bar
San Francisco - 440 Castro St - Gay Bar
San Francisco - The Mix - Gay Bar
San Francisco - Twin Peaks Tavern - Gay Bar
San Francisco - Midnight Sun - Gay Bar
San Francisco - Moby Dick - Gay Bar
San Francisco - Cinch Saloon - Gay Bar
San Francisco - Hi Tops - Gay Bar
San Francisco - Wild Side West - Gay Bar & Club
San Francisco - Jolene's Bar & Restaurant - Gay Bar & Restaurant
San Francisco - Powerhouse - Gay Bar
San Francisco - The Eagle Tavern - Gay Bar
San Francisco - Beaux - Gay Bar & Club
Los Angeles - The Abbey Food & Bar - Gay Bar
Los Angeles - New Jalisco - Gay Night Club
Los Angeles - Hi Tops - Gay Bar
Los Angeles - The Bayou - Gay Bar
Los Angeles - Eagle LA - Gay Leather Club
Los Angeles - Micky’s West Hollywood - Gay Club
TRAVEL TIPS about CALIFORNIA by World Mappers
If you rent a car to get around California you have to be careful of two things: to have a valid credit card (notify the bank before the trip in order to avoid blocks for suspicious use - as happened to us) and check if the roads you have to pay for. Many main roads also have toll lanes, the "Fast Lanes" especially in the busiest sections, or special pay lanes in which to channel to escape the traffic (sometimes blocked) on the other normal lanes (they have optical license plate readers). Here are the toll roads in California - Click Here
Northern Bay Area FasTrak
Golden Gate Bridge
Richmond-San Rafael Bridge
San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge
San Mateo-Hayward Bridge
Southern Toll Roads
State Route 73
State Route 133
State Route 241
State Route 261
Borrego Springs is a unique and special desert city. For one thing, it's the only city in California located entirely in a state park, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, to be exact. It's also a great place to see twinkling stars at night, as it's also an official Dark Sky International community. And don't be surprised if you come across a dinosaur or some other strange creature as you drive through the grasslands of the Galleta de Borrego Spring. Along the paths of this area there are 130 large metal sculptures. Borrego Springs is, in fact, such an interesting city that it has even been included in Travel Leisure's list of America's Coolest Desert Cities. This small town, located in San Diego County, is also a popular destination for the "snow" birds that flock to Borrego Springs during the winter.
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