There’s a reason the capital of Argentina is a top destination for LGBT travelers from all over the world. From gay-friendly places to stay to international cuisine (to say nothing of the beautiful men that make up the city’s gay community), Buenos Aires is unlike any other city in the world. Seasoned travelers might say the city is reminiscent of Paris, with its exquisite European-style architecture, or New York City with its bustling theater-lined city streets. But there’s a definite Latin American influence that separates it into its own class.
No matter what corner of the city you’re in, you will find the people of Buenos Aires are warm and the city is welcoming of diversity. Here are the top reasons why this city is the number one place to visit for the gays traveling South of the equator.
- GNETWORK 360 (gnetwork360.com) celebrated its 9th year this year as the premier conference for LGBT tourism in Latin America with more than 1,400 attendees coming to discuss business opportunities within the market and listen in on education sessions about the changing world of LGBT tourism. Fifty speakers, made up of a collection of professionals in tourism, marketing, tour operators, airlines, international journalists, bloggers and even officials from Argentina’s local and national governments, presented about the strong state of LGBT tourism.
- The third annual Buenos Aires Diversa Week (https://turismo.buenosaires.gob.ar/es/article/noticia-buenos-aires-diversa) paired up with GNETWORK this year. The city’s week-long LGBT winter festival (yes, an excellent excuse to beat Florida’s summer heat!) brought tourists and locals alike out to experience art installations, live music, film noir, drag shows and sports tournaments, just to name a few. Signs of the community’s pride and celebration of the festival were reflected throughout the city with even major landmarks cascaded in rainbows.
- Same-sex marriage became legal here in 2010. To put that in perspective, it was the second country in the western and southern hemispheres to allow same-sex couples to tie the knot. The country’s government grants all of the same rights to gay couples as it does to straight ones, including the right to adopt. Argentina is still years ahead of the U.S. on that front. And there’s even a welcoming culture for Argentina’s transgender community - the country has in place a gender identity law, allowing citizens to define their own gender.
- The cuisine in Buenos Aires makes it one of the top cities for international cuisine in the world. With a clash of cuisine from just about every major country in the world—early immigrants that populated the city came from Italy, Spain and Russia after all—so from empanadas to pasta, you can find just about anything you’re craving (and numerous pizza spots throughout the city, just like NYC!). For those interested in trying authentic Argentinian cuisine, prepare yourself for a lot of BEEF—it’s an important staple in the country’s dishes (and a must for many gay men, no?). Lastly, don’t get us started on wine from Argentina’s Mendoza region. Many porteños (locals) will swear it is the best in the world. It is reason enough to visit.
- The city’s nightlife isn’t for the faint of heart. Its already late (late) culture of eating dinner after 9 p.m. means the city’s clubs don’t get started until the early morning hours. You can forget about sleep here because you’ll still be drinking and dancing when the sun comes up. Gay bars and clubs are spread throughout the city, but Palermo and San Telmo neighborhoods are a good place to start. Sitges (http://www.sitgesonline.com.ar/) is a local favorite for cocktails and drag shows.
- Buenos Aires’ art scene rivals that of other top cities in the world, with performing arts and art museums a prominent focus in the city. The Teatro Colón (http://www.teatrocolon.org.ar/en) is proof—listed as one of the top opera houses and overall performance venues in the world, it’s easy to fall in love with the building’s mix of Italian and French architecture. The city just finished a four-year restoration and it’s hands down one of the most beautiful buildings you will see during your travels. And of course there’s the Argentine tango; this popular form of dance originated in the city and became popular worldwide. Here in Buenos Aires, tango is also proudly danced by same-sex couples—which I encourage every visitor to seek out a performance to experience it in person, or better yet, learn it for yourself with a queer tango lesson. There’s nothing sexier than two men (or women) locked in the seductive embrace.