Las Vegas is brash, bold and, in its own way, beautiful — from The Strip’s four miles of iconic resort hotels and casinos, to the re-energised Fremont Street, where the city’s first casinos opened over a century ago.
In the desert state of Nevada, Las Vegas is something of an oasis, an adult playground where a shot of adrenaline is never too far away — from world-renowned nightlife, watching a Cirque Du Soleil show or zooming along the SlotZilla zipline.
LGBTQ travellers will feel at home in the city, which was one of the first major US destinations to recognise the value of queer tourism.
Gay or straight, the reasons to visit are the same: world-class entertainment, top cuisine, and the chance to explore and relax in equal measure.
Music residencies have become part of Las Vegas’s cultural tapestry since Liberace introduced the concept in the 1940s, followed by stars such as Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley.
This year, you can see gay icons such as Celine Dion, Lady Gaga, Christina Aguilera, Mariah Carey and Janet Jackson in action.
No trip to Vegas is complete without taking in one of these unforgettable concerts. During the summer, finding ways to stay cool is a must. Luckily, you can stroll through the renowned, air-conditioned hotels and casinos with ease, each with its own character and quirks (take a gondola ride on The Venetian’s canal, for instance).
But from May to September, head to Luxor’s weekly Temptation Sundays’ pool party to cool off surrounded by gays from near and far — think Kylie’s 'Slow' video in real life.
Alongside the dozen or so LGBTQ-specific bars and nightclubs, such as Flex, The Phoenix and Don’t Tell Mama, queer highlights include the popular drag brunches at Señor Frogs in Treasure Island or the new Hamburger Mary’s, and the annual Pride weekend on 11 and 12 October, which features a night parade set against a sparkling background of neon lights.
And each January, Las Vegas plays host to the annual Sin City Classic sports tournament — the world’s largest LGBTQ sporting event, with over 8,000 people in attendance.
Further afield, if you want to escape the hum of the city for a while, the Hoover Dam, Valley of Fire and Grand Canyon are great options for day trips. Whoever you are, whenever you visit, and whatever your tastes, Las Vegas is ready to show you a gay old time.