Mississippi is currently trying to pass a Senate bill that would allow business owners to openly discriminate against gays. The bill, better known as “Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act” had us wondering who the hell would want to visit Mississippi anyway when the American South is packed full of the country’s most exciting and beautiful cities.
So in honor of this preposterous, soon to be vetoed bill, we decided to name our top 5 favorite southern destinations that are not Mississippi.
1. Austin, TX
We covered Austin in our March 2013 issue, and for gays, it remains the mecca of the south. Tons of fun bars, clubs, nightlife, and culture have defined this weird city full of cute cowboys and eccentric charm
2. New Orleans, LA
You don’t need much convincing to visit New Orleans – this charming, crazy, up-all-night city is unlike any other in America; from its scenic bayous to its emerging food scene, NOLA is a national trendsetter, and its acceptance of gay rights is no exception. You can find our insider’s guide to New Orleans in our Oct 2012 issue.
3. Atlanta, GA
Atlanta is a liberal blue island in an otherwise mostly red conservative state. There’s a vibrant, approachable gay scene here filled with queer refugees from the entire region. You’ll find lots of LGBT venues to enjoy, (the best of which you can find in our Sept. 2013 issue) with the only drawback being the driving distances between the most popular venues. And the food; my God, the food.
4. Charleston, SC
We haven’t yet covered Charleston – shame on us – but it’s coming soon and for good reason; Charleston remains one of America’s most historic, scenic, chambering small cities. And just an hour drive from Savannah and 30 minutes from Kiawah Island, we think of Charleston as a nearly perfect gay destination.
5. Dallas, TX
The two areas to remember for any visitor are Oak Lawn — the gayborhood with its high concentration of gay-friendly accommodations, nightlife, and eateries — and the new downtown Performing Arts Center, with its world-class theaters and museums. Spring heralds the best of outdoor Dallas, with many of the big gay events popping up in April and May. You can purchase our April 2013 insider guide here.